Then the woman said, “Why then have you thought such a thing against the people of God? For in speaking this word the king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring back his banished one. Bible see other translations

“against the people of God.” It is not specifically stated how David’s relationship with Absalom was “against the people of God,” but there are some possibilities. One likely one is that it was important for the stability of the kingdom that the king had many healthy sons who could be king if the king suddenly died. By this time in his life, David had almost certainly lost three sons, his eldest, his second eldest, and his son by Bathsheba. Some may have considered it a sin against the kingdom and God’s people that Absalom was banished when what he did was kill a rapist, which many would argue was his right as an avenger of blood anyway. In any case, David understood what the woman meant and seems to have agreed with it, at least up to a point, and he allowed Absalom to return to Jerusalem.

“the king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring back his banished one.” The woman says that by making the judgment he made, David made himself to be guilty, because he did not bring Absalom home. But that David was convinced by this woman’s argument once again shows his blindness toward his own sons and his misplaced love for them. The case the woman brought to the king and what happened between Absalom and Amnon are totally different. According to the woman, her two sons got into a fight in a field and one killed the other in the fight. She never said the fight started as a plot on the part of one son to kill the other, so the killing could well have been unintended, especially at the start of the fight, in which case the law of manslaughter, not murder would apply (Exod. 21:12-13). David apparently never bothered to ask about the situation. In any case, what Absalom did to Amnon was clearly premeditated murder. Furthermore, beyond that, in the woman’s story, she had no other sons to carry on her heritage, and that was part of her argument that her son not be executed for killing his brother. But David’s situation was different. David had many sons, and if Absalom had been executed for the premeditated murder of Amnon, which according to the Law of Moses, he should have been, David would have still had sons to carry on his heritage and take over his throne when he died. David’s lack of justice toward Absalom nearly cost him his life and kingdom, because once Absalom’s murder was ignored and he was allowed back into the palace, he rebelled against David and tried to kill him and take the kingdom (2 Sam. 15).

Commentary for: 2 Samuel 14:13