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 ANALYSIS OF REBELLION!

HOW ABSALOM STOLE THE HEARTS OF THE MEN OF ISRAEL!

PREACHERS, YOU HAD BEST READ THIS ONE! IT COULD BE HAPPENING TO YOU RIGHT NOW!

2nd SAMUEL 15:1-6

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

 

 

"And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel." 2nd Samuel 15:1-6

 

LESSON 1:             (Monday Morning, May 28, 2007)

Jesus had a Judas in His Life!

Paul had a Demas and an Alexander the Coppersmith too!

Elisha had a Gehazi!

And many of the Kings of Israel and Judah were confronted with such wicked men, traitors who were disloyal to the core!

And I, over dozens of years of preaching God's Word, can't count the times I've either seen it happen or seen someone try to make it happen!

They are everywhere ... and becoming more numerous by with each passing year.

Yet the Bible, completely inspired of God, paints us such a clear picture of a rebellion in the making that it is nearly startling!

How they come.

How they happen.

Perhaps even why they occur.

And maybe how to avoid them, when possible that is.

Oh, yes, one more thing: what happens to the rebel in the end!

And just in case you think that "rebellion," leading a "coup" against the Man of God, is not serious ... read this verse: "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." 1st Samuel 15:23

To "rebel" is to follow the initial sin of Satan!

And it's a dangerous thing to do!

Beware!

There are certain protections that apply to a true Man of god, written into the very fabric of His Call to preach!

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." Isaiah 54:17

"Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." This one is so important it is recorded twice in Scripture, 1st Chronicles 16:22 and Psalm 105:15

And this Lord asked this to a grumbling Miriam and Aaron, just before He gave her a case of leprosy: "Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed." Numbers 12:8-9

Christian friends, particularly including you Men of God, read and study this 2nd Samuel Text carefully.

To be fore-warned is often to be fore-armed!

Class begins tomorrow, the Lord willing!

Be in attendance, with an open Bible in your hand!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 1:

"And it came to pass."

That's the first sentence in our Text really!

In its midst is the verb "hayah," which means "to become, to exist, to occur."

In reality that's the "heart" of God's great Name Jehovah! He is the God Who IS! He is the eternal I AM THAT I AM!

This short clause reveals God's Hand, God's Name ... even in the passing of time!

But what had come to pass?

Absalom's sister Tamar had been raped by a half brother! This happened in 2nd Samuel chapter thirteen.

Absalom, after King David did nothing, had the rapist Amnon killed. Yes, David was "wroth," but passive! 2nd Samuel 13:21 and 28-29

Absalom, now a killer, then fled Israel and stayed away for three years. 2nd Samuel 13:38

Eventually King David's heart ceased mourning for the dead Amnon and he began to yearn to see Absalom once again! By the way, this is an Absalom who has committed murder and gone unpunished in any way at all!

Thus Joab, David's General, brought the rebel to Jerusalem, but strangely, David refused to see him!

Two years passed like this according to 2nd Samuel 14:28, no communication!

Finally the two met again, Absalom and His dad the King! "And when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom." 2nd Samuel 14:33

That's what had come to pass!

Unresolved conflict!

Hurt feelings!

Lack of discipline!

These things can build!

And often they do, growing roots of bitterness deep into a person's soul! And those roots usually are attached to a plant, one that eventually bears fruit, deadly fruit!

Thus ... a rebellion is born!

Now for today's verse: "And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him." 2nd Samuel 15:1

The young rebel already has his plans made!

He will "steal the hearts" of the people of Israel! The "quoted" expression is taken from verse 6 of our Text.

To "prepare," using "asah" as its verb, means to do or make or fabricate these plans! The horses and chariots, while prohibited for the King of Israel, nonetheless give an impressive aura. See Deuteronomy 17:16. Why would a killer want to obey some seemingly irrelevant command of Scripture anyway? (Beware when a potential Church leader ignores Scripture, discounting its import! That person well may have an agenda!)

"Chariot" comes from the Hebrew word that means "to ride." It's spelled "merkabah" and is used 44 times in the Bible.

"Horses," in Hebrew "sus," is from an unused root that means "to skip!" Picturesque, isn't it?

Absalom wants to be "somebody!"

He will derive his importance now from the rebellion he is about to start!

This might could have been avoided had David been a better leader, a better Dad!

Fifty men running before an entourage of chariots and horses indicates a person of note is traveling the roadway!

And that's exactly what Absalom intended it to mean too!

Watch it carefully when someone at Church suddenly becomes bent on looking more important! Running things! Making the decisions!

Those activities can become the very seeds of rebellion! Maybe better said, they can indicate the already present of seeds of rebellion!

This fact we shall soon observe!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 2:

The plot builds, as they say!

Absalom, the rebellious son of David, is planning his attack!

"And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel." 2nd Samuel 15:2

To "rise up early" in Scripture shows diligence. I did a quick search to find the men or women who "rose up early" to meet with God. Abraham did as well as Jacob. So was it with Moses and Joshua. Add Job too, among others.

But Absalom gets up early to do mischief, to plan an insurrection. The Holy Spirit uses a special word to indicate this early rising, "shakam." It means to start early on a job also.

The "gate" was where men congregated to do their various business transactions. "Shaar" can mean a portal or a door too.

Interestingly, "beside" translates "yad" which really means "hand." Beside the city gate is literally on its right or left "hand!"

The "way" of the gate means on the "road," in Hebrew "derek," that leads to the gate.

Busy place sounds like!

By "any" man is meant "all" men who came to the city on a certain day! The word is "kol."

Eventually then Absalom would come into contract with nearly every man in Israel! What a strategy this reveals!

Rebels are not necessarily dumb!

And most of the time they are "people" persons too! Good with their mouths, expert at influencing others! They know how to arose sympathy ... or anger! Or incite riots!

A "controversy" means a "contest." A difference of opinion has developed between a Jewish citizen and his neighbor or him and the government. "Riyb" is derived from a verb that means "to grapple or wrangle or toss or debate."

To "have" a controversy means "to become" a controversy! Yes, the verb "hayah" means "to be."

This is a courtroom scene really!

The King generally judged his people, especially in the more difficult cases. With the more "important" folks, the "money" people and the "power" people!

But maybe David, wise as he was, lacked interest in this mundane job. It must have been boring when compared to writing Psalms or killing Giants!

In the absence of a more organized system, Absalom gladly was available to fill any void!

He would be the judge!

And, believe this, he would make them all happy too!

His goal was to influence them to his favor, not just to be a skillful interpreter of the law!

"And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel." 2nd Samuel 15:2

Look how Absalom diverts their attention from the King.

Men of God, if a rebellion is brewing against you ... do NOT go on vacation! Do NOT attend that out-of-town seminar! Cancel that Revival that would take you far away from your people!

Be present!

Then look at the "small talk" this little smart-aleck generates! "Of what city art thou?" Had there been a copy of winning friends and influencing people handy, Absalom no doubt would have held it in his possession!

Remember their names.

Smile.

Nod you head affirmatively.

Be sympathetic.

Win them to your cause!

And ... soon, the person being "helped" responds: "Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel." Look at that! These people were NOT the servants of Absalom! Far from it! He was an exile just a short while ago! And he's still a murderer! Lacking patriotism too, and certainly without natural affection!

The word "servant" means "slave" literally, "ebed" in Hebrew.

The public had been misled, deceived, overcome ... and have placed themselves under the control of a wicked man!

It's happened before and it will happen again!

We are studying the anatomy of  rebellion!

How one starts.

How it is sustained.

And its sad results.

Lord willing, more tomorrow.

What Wisdom this Bible paragraph contains!

"Preventive maintenance," I'd call it.

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 3:

Today's verse certainly reveals the heart of a rebel! "And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee." 2nd Samuel 15:3

Absalom is deliberately trying to stir up trouble!

He apparently wants to usurp the throne of David His Father!

I base this conclusion on the fact that the boy storms Jerusalem, running His Dad out of town! He has sexual relations with his Father's wives too, an abomination unto the Lord! Read Amos 2:7. "And a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane My holy Name." He also sought to kill the King! See 2nd Samuel 17:12! Civil war ensued, resulting in thousands upon thousands of deaths! 2nd Samuel 18:7

But it all started with this kind of attitude: The King is wrong! But I am right!

Yes, the King is wrong! But I am right!  That's loosely the same thing as ...

The Preacher is wrong! The Deacon is right!

The Teacher is wrong! The student is right!

The coach is wrong! The player is right!

The policeman is wrong! The speeder is right!

The Parent is wrong! The child is right!

And that kind of reasoning soon degenerates into something like this: The Law is wrong! The free-thinker is right!

Authority is wrong! Dissension is right!

Then, if that's so!

Anything goes!

Anything is acceptable!

Read with me 2nd Samuel 15:3, again today's verse. "And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee."

Absalom the rebel is sitting at the gate of the city.

Multitudes there come for counsel and direction from the King!

Absalom waylays them, intercepting their mission.

He wins their hearts by politicizing the truth!

Sir, he says to Jew after Jew, YOU ARE RIGHT!

It's THE KING THAT IS WRONG!

Someone needs to be here to see your side of the story!

It's sort of like today's situation in decadent America. Politicians "buy" votes with promises for the future! Free medicine and free education and free transportation and free retirement! Notice the "key" word here? Free!

We'll take care of YOU!

No matter about the Nation or the Church or the Pastor or any other Leader!

The common people, the illegal ones, the have-nots, the lazy ones, the immoral crowd too, the baby-killers ... but what they're really saying is "the growing voter block" will be pacified!

It's just another way of quoting Absalom: "Thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee."

The noun "matters" is spelled "dabar" and means "words." Really, "Anything you say is true, is right," spills Absalom!

Liberal psychology, isn't it?

I am surprised that some American Universities don't offer "Master of Pleasing the Populace" Degrees, MPs I guess! Then of course a Doctorate program will soon follow!

"Right" is spelled "nakoach" and is an unusual word. It means straightforward, but is not the word used to describe God's righteousness! The word also carries the idea of something being "plain" and easily visible. See "plain" here in Proverbs 8:9. "They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge." And Proverbs 24:26 uses two of the words Absalom just repeated. "Right answer" is "nakoach dabar." Read it: "Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer." Kisses! Kisses! That's what Absalom wanted! Good favor ... at any cost! Popular support!

Not only does Absalom pander to the people here, but also he discredits the King! "There is no man deputed of the king to hear thee."

The King has failed!

He's not properly on the job!

Inadequate!

Time for a change!

We need people power!

The majority are always right!

Something's wrong up at the palace!

What a mess!

You need someone to "hear" you, your felt needs! "Hear" is spelled "shama" in Hebrew and means "to really listen" to someone! Government exists you YOU! YOU are the most important person in the universe! Ego-centricity! Ego-mania! Me first!

You folks have heard it all before now!

A twofold attack!

YOU are right!

You LEADER is wrong!

Then, soon it will be; Honey, pass the guns, or the swords in this Biblical case!

Lord help us!

And I'll guarantee you this exact scheme is being enacted in dozens of Churches right now, once good Churches too!

You're right!

The Preacher is wrong!

Let's rebel!

Let's get rid of that unpopular Bible-preaching Man of God!

After all, who's running this Church anyway?

Sad, but so!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 4:

Talk about psychology!

And it being used in the wrong way too!

The young rebel Absalom was a Master at manipulation. Most spoiled children are!

After empathizing with nearly every man in Israel, taking his side in confrontation after confrontation, he "drops" a little hint!

After ALL he has done for the public at large, maybe "pulling some strings" here and there, calling in "favors" from highly positioned acquaintances, throwing his "weight" around a bit ... Absalom whines, "Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!" 2nd Samuel 15:4

Read "justice" here as "whatever the plaintiff wants!"

The verb "made" is significant, "sum" in Hebrew. It means "set in place, appointed or ordained!" He wants a "position!" He is "worming" his way into government! Or like Jude says of these reprobates, "creeping in unawares!"

A "judge" is simply one who governs and vindicates and punishes and often declares right and wrong. In a monarchy that's ultimately the King's job! And this "upstart" wants it! No matter who is hurt along the way!

The noun "suit" is "riyb," a controversy or dispute.

This is a classic case of perverted democracy. If you fellows want to get "all you can" ... put me into office! I'll let the government care for ALL your needs! I'll keep you satisfied, regardless of those pesky little points of law!

"Cause" is "mishphat," the same word as gives us "justice." Your petition will be declared right and proper and fitting!

Anyone that stupid, or maybe just wicked, could probably find a way to "legalize" killing unborn babies!

To "do justice" to someone, especially friends, is "tzsadaq." It means "to legally rule as righteous!"

You boys help elevate me into high political office ... and I will take care of you.

Where have we heard that lately?

"Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!"

The verb "said" is spelled "amar" and accents "how" he campaigned as well as what he said when doing so! It also here indicates much political posturing, "saying" these things again and again! Repetitively!

If ever a precious Passage of Scripture is relevant, both in government and at church, this one is!

Lord, make us wise!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 5:

The name Absalom means "My Father is peace." The noun "Father" in Hebrew is actually spelled "ab" and "peace" is spelled "shalom."

This whole Absalom rebellion could likely, at some early point,  have been avoided had King David spent more time with his little boys. It really looks like Absalom early in life may have highly regarded his Daddy.

Preachers, we ourselves might be creating some of our own "rebellion" troubles. Of others, of course, this is not always so! It depends on the individual insurrectionist apparently.

Other troublemakers will surface anytime they are not given all they "want!" Those simply must be faced head-on with godly correction! All of us must learn the meaning of the word "no."

Verse five adds even more to our account: "And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him." 2nd Samuel 15:5

The noun "obesiance" is spelled "shachah" in Hebrew and means "bowing down" to someone, showing reverence or respect.

This man is, after all, the King's Son!

One whom David even allowed to escape any punishment for murder!

One who could return from exile without one day of imprisonment!

Plus ... he had personality!

To "put forth" means "to stretch out," using the verb "shalach." It is three times in the King James Text translated as "soweth!" And that's exactly what Absalom was doing, sowing rebellion and hatred!

The verb "took" is "chazaq" and is a strong word. It means "to catch and hold" or "to prevail" or even "to strengthen" a man, here in his individual grievance.

And while "nashaq" can mean "to touch," the vast majority of times it appears in the Old Testament it obviously means "to kiss." Its root word means "to catch on fire!" Here's an attempt to incite passion, not sensually, but politically and socially! It also can mean "to equip with weapons!" That's what Absalom had in mind too, but these plaintiffs did not know that yet. Many of them, touched with the feeling of Absalom's compassion, will fight for his illegal ascension to the Throne!

This is brainwashing!

Some people are so gifted.

Apparently even Hitler was that way to some extent.

They can so impact and influence people as to nearly mesmerize them, fashioning them into mere "pawns" in wicked manipulative hands!

And, sadly, many in today's Churches are skilled in this art of "sowing discord among the brethren!"

Preachers, master this Text!

To be fore-warned is to be fore-armed!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 6:

We would say that Absalom "won" the hearts of the children of Israel. That's just our colloquial way of talking.

But God says so much more!

"And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel." 2nd Samuel 15:6

The verb "stole" is spelled "ganab" and means "to carry away" something. But the verb here is framed in the piel stem in Hebrew, meaning that the action involved is intensive and deliberate and vigorous!

It is used 57 times in the Bible. And it often carries the forbidden connotation of taking something that is not rightfully yours. Shamefully, here's an example. "And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's." Genesis 31:19

"Ganab" also can indicate one's doing something in a sneaky manner, underhandedly. "And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled." Genesis 31:20

Absalom had no right at all to be "turning" men's hearts away from His Father the King. Here's "ganab" as a noun: "If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him." See the word, thief?

Absalom, in the worse sense of the word, was "stealing" men's hearts!

Our hearts at Church belong firstly to the Lord God Almighty! Then, secondarily, to our Pastor who faithfully feeds us God's precious Word. And anyone who would "steal" our allegiance from either ... is a thief and a robber! That is, as long as God's Man is living right and preaching straight! Now, if he has a girlfriend, other than his wife ... or has stolen from the Church treasury ... or no longer believes the Bible ... that's another issue altogether!

The noun "manner" in our verse today, "dabar," is the usual term for one's "words," his speech!

Most rebels are good with their tongues, smooth and persuasive!

Absalom siphoned off the unfortunate of Israel, those who were having trouble, from King's David's jurisdiction and turned their hearts toward himself!

It is certainly possible that as David aged he became more interested in things other than governing. Many wives, unruly children or grandchildren, mostly "spoiled" apparently.

Future Kingdom plans too!

Battles always surfacing now !

But likely few Psalms to write!

His heart was not concerned with judging his people. And, as usual, the rebel capitalizes upon the leader's weakness!

No doubt about it, Scripture is clear. The judiciary was the means by which Absalom overran the government.

Anyone today thinking about our Supreme Court?

The one that outlawed the Word of God from our schools?

And demanded the removal of the Ten Commandments from courthouse facilities?

And legalized abortion? By the way, something can be legal in this country ... but still not moral in the eyes of God!

Absalom wins, so it appears!

He will be King!

Poor David abdicates!

Runs for his life!

It seems that Absalom has won the day!

But God, as of 1st Samuel 15:6, had not yet finished writing the final chapter of that story!

Let me give you just a hint of what happened to Mr. Absalom: "Behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out." Numbers 32:23

Amen!

Soon, Absalom will be dead and David will be back on the Throne!

For you see: "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." Proverbs 21:1

Truthfully, God controls everything else too!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, CONCLUSION:

Absalom was a selfish man, very much so!

And the Holy Spirit provides us a little "hint" to that effect by using what might be called an "inclusio" at the beginning and end of our Text.

Verse 1: "Absalom prepared him horses and chariots ...."

Verse 6: "Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel."

Look!

In both cases things had to happen "for Absalom's sake!"

One positive, one negative!

One openly, one in secret!

One from the animal world, one the human world!

But both ... for Absalom's pleasure!

Even in Hebrew this "inclusio" can be seen! Both verses 1 and 6 include this construction: "Abshalom asah!" Things Absalom did for himself!

Absalom's behavior was first flattering, then forceful! It's often that way with autocrats!

With as many horses and chariots and runners as verse one describes, Absalom by now again had access to some real wealth! Perhaps even His Father's! King David never loved such pageantry and ostentation.

Absalom could have taught a course in psychology! Devious Leadership Practices 101 it would have been called.

The part of 2nd Samuel we could not discuss, due to time and space constraints, adds further light to Absalom's rebellion too:

He waited until the timing was just "right!" 2nd Samuel 15:7

He used "religion" to help cloak his wicked plans! Again 2nd Samuel 15:7-8, "Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron. For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD." This was really an excuse to get out of Jerusalem and solidify his plans for the rebellion!

He was covert in his activities, sly and subtle! "But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron." 2nd Samuel 15:10

He recruited plenty of helpers, two hundred men. Many of them didn't even know the depth of their leader's iniquity! "And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing." 2nd Samuel 15:11

Absalom, "rubbing it in" so to speak, enlisted the help of David's trusted counselor Ahithophel. This was like Judas betraying Jesus! "And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom." 2nd Samuel 15:12

Then David learned! "And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword." 2nd Samuel 15:13-14

A venerable old King, fleeing the likes of this scum!

Shame!

Men of God, I do not ask you to be distrustful of your people. But you had best "keep your eyes open." Rebellion has happened before ... and it will come again, even at the House of God!

Beware!

Be alert!

Walk circumspectly, as Paul says in Ephesians 5:15, looking all around each step of the way!

After all, you want to survive another year ... to live for the Lord and preach the precious Word of God and help your people grow in the faith!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

LORD help us to properly apply these sobering truths! we thank thee for thy word! it indeed is profitable to the man of god!

 

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