2 Samuel 18 Love and Justice

March 27, 2024   /   Feather Sound Church

2 Samuel 18 Love and Justice


  • In Chapter 17 we saw the stage being set for the showdown of King David and his son Absalom.
  • King David’s moral failure that started on his roof has led to significant problems in the nation of Israel.
  • Chapter 18 we see the conflict between love and justice. King David loves his son Absalom, but Absalom is guilty of treason against his kingship.
  • We live in the same conflict. At times we want love to prevail, and other times we want to see justice carried out.
  • Sin creates this tension. Before the fall of man in the garden, there was no tension between love and justice.
  • Only God is perfect in these two areas.

The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. — 1 John 4:8 (CSB)

Be assured that a wicked person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will escape. — Proverbs 11:21 (CSB)

God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be just and justify the one who has faith in Jesus. — Romans 3:26 (CSB)

SCENE 1: Battle Lines are Drawn (1-5)

  • We were left at the end of Chapter 17 with Absalom having a large army gathered in the land of Gilead that were referred to as “all the men of Israel” under the command of Amasa.
  • King David was with “the people with him” in the city of Mahanaim and they were “hungry, exhausted, and thirsty”.
  • It is unclear how much time transpired between the end of Chapter 17 and the beginning of Chapter 18.
  • David divides his men into 3 groups.
  1. Joab
    • He was a very capable and trusted leader but had a history of doing things his .

Then Joab left David and sent messengers after Abner. They brought him back from the well of Sirah, but David was unaware of it. When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab pulled him aside to the middle of the city gate, as if to speak to him privately, and there Joab stabbed him in the stomach. So Abner died in revenge for the death of Asahel, Joab’s brother. — 2 Samuel 3:26-27 (CSB)

  • In 2 Samuel 14 he came up with the plan to reconcile David and Absalom.
  1. Abishai
    • Joab’s brother.
    • He was also headstrong and fiercely loyal to King David.

Then David asked Ahimelech the Hethite and Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, “Who will go with me into the camp to Saul? ”  “I’ll go with you,” answered Abishai.  That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice! ” But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be innocent? ” — 1 Samuel 26:6-9 (CSB)

  1. Ittai
    • A was a surprising pick.
  • The king in .
    1. King David wants to lead this fight personally.
    2. The people recognize what this battle is about, taking out King David.
  • The King’s .
    1. David speaks as king but in the words of a Father.
      • Absalom was guilty of treason and deserved death, that was justice.
      • The heart of the father wanted “gently for my sake”, and still saw him as a young man, that was love.
      • The demands of justice and the requirements of love were in terrible conflict.

SCENE 2: The Battle (6-8)

  1. Where it was .
    • Forest of Ephraim.
    • The battle ended up back across the Jordan river to the West.
    • Area known for being thickly wooded, rough terrain, ravines, marshes, and cliffs.
  2. What .
    • Israel suffered a great loss of 20,000 men.
    • The terrain killed more than actual battle indicating Israel was fleeing recklessly.

SCENE 3: Justice (8-18)

  1. What appears to be chance is God’s .

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. — Proverbs 16:33 (CSB)

  1. Often justice overtakes us .

And just as it is appointed for people to die once ​— ​and after this, judgment — Hebrews 9:27 (CSB)

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring ​— ​what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. — James 4:14 (CSB)

  • Absalom was heir to the kingdom.
  • Absalom was buried in a tomb fit for a sinner.

Then Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the cloak, and the bar of gold, his sons and daughters, his ox, donkey, and sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and brought them up to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, “Why have you brought us trouble? Today the Lord will bring you trouble! ” So all Israel stoned them to death. They burned their bodies, threw stones on them, and raised over him a large pile of rocks that remains still today. — Joshua 7:24-26 (CSB)

SCENE 4: Good News (19-end)

1. We are called to be messengers of the

2. Some will it and others will .


1. As a result of the providence of God, Absalom hung from a tree where he paid the consequences of his sin. There was another man who hung from a tree, and this time and did intersect.

For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person ​— ​though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. 8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. And not only that, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation. — Romans 5:6-11 (CSB)


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