2 Samuel 15:7-23 Loyal Friends Are Given By Divine Appointment

2 Samuel 15:7-23

7 After four years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the LORD and fulfill a vow I made to him. 8 For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the LORD in Hebron if he would bring me back to Jerusalem.” 9 “All right,” the king told him. “Go and fulfill your vow.”

So Absalom went to Hebron. 10 But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. “As soon as you hear the ram’s horn,” his message read, “you are to say, ‘Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.'” 11 He took 200 men from Jerusalem with him as guests, but they knew nothing of his intentions. 12 While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David’s counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum.

13 A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!” 14 “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.” 15 “We are with you,” his advisers replied. “Do what you think is best.” 16 So the king and all his household set out at once. He left no one behind except ten of his concubines to look after the palace. 17 The king and all his people set out on foot, pausing at the last house 18 to let all the king’s men move past to lead the way. There were 600 men from Gath who had come with David, along with the king’s bodyguard.

19 Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, “Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile. 20 You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don’t even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the LORD show you his unfailing love and faithfulness.” 21 But Ittai said to the king, “I vow by the LORD and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens- whether it means life or death.” 22 David replied, “All right, come with us.” So Ittai and all his men and their families went along. 23 Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. They crossed the Kidron Valley and then went out toward the wilderness.


David’s throne was almost usurped not by a foreign enemy but by his own mismanagement of domestic affairs and by his erroneous judgment distorted by his sentimental connection with his son. David was taken in by Absalom’s ruse yet again, this time with grave consequences when Absalom successfully diverted a great proportion of David’s subjects towards himself. David grieves over the hurt of being pursued by his own son  seeking to kill him. Yet, David finds in the midst of the crisis a group of men who are faithful and loyal to the end. In today’s passage, we learn that loyal friends are given by divine appointment whom God will send to our aid in our time of need.


Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the LORD and fulfill a vow I made to him – The day comes when Absalom felt it is time to reap the fruit of his conspiracy that spanned over four years. For four years, he has been weaning the people away from David by cunning. In the pretext of fulfilling his vow of offering to God for his return to Jerusalem, he gains permission from David to go to Hebron. The true intent is to proclaim his rebellion in the city that first welcomed David as king of Judah. To strengthen his cover, he brought along with him 200 unsuspecting people, ostensibly to attend his votive celebration. It is hard to accept that despite Absalom’s very public display of his rebellious intent, he is allowed to operate for four years without raising an eyebrow. David again plays into Absalom’s ruse by failing to recognize his true motive of going to Hebron. Absalom’s call to rebellion is met with overwhelming support including David’s sagacious counselor Ahithophel because he is heir-apparent. Many hope that through Absalom they could see better administration of domestic affairs in the nation.

All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you! – It is surprising that David is so quickly convinced of the hopelessness of the situation and insisted on an immediate evacuation of the city. It is possible that David, already bearing a soft spot for Absalom and having pledged to himself to never prosecute his son to the full extent of the Law chooses to avoid a direct confrontation in Jerusalem. Perhaps, David has also pledged that under no circumstance will he face off with his son in a cul-de-sac.

Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel – David’s decision to leave Jerusalem indirectly forces his associates to openly declare their allegiance. When Ittai, the leader of the men of Gath whose association with David went back to the days of Gath (1 Samuel 27) is offered an exit, he throws his allegiance firmly behind David: I vow by the LORD and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens- whether it means life or death. Despite him being a foreigner and having no vested interest in domestic politics, he chooses to follow David. Hence, Ittai’s loyalty brought David 600 men, a sorely needed protection for the envoy. We observe the steadfast loyalty of Ittai, the Philistine vividly contrasted with the perfidy of Ahithophel and the rest.

The withdrawal from the city is laden with emotion so much so: Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. The people’s sorrow is attributed to Israel’s abandonment of their king and the now mangled picture of the place they once called home.


Expect those who remain loyal may be unrelated to you. When calamity strikes, do not hang on to hope that your relatives will remain loyal to help you through. When push comes to shaft, those who choose to remain loyal may be unrelated to you. Loyal friends and associates come by way of divine appointment and not by blood relations, nor by the promises of men. In other words, God Himself will bring people who are faithful to support you in your time of dire need. Ittai, though a foreigner (Philistine) and having no political obligations to David could have chosen a safer route. However, he sticks with David not for convenience, but because he is steadfastly loyal to him. Such men are rare in this pragmatic and self-serving society. In the same vein, the Bible says concerning the followers of Christ,

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12

To those who remain loyal to Christ despite the deprivation of life’s comfort, to those who pursue the glory of God as opposed to the glamour and riches of this world, God gives the right to become children of God. When believers are called to choose between suffering for the sake of God’s kingdom and for the comfort of this world, how many will remain loyal to Christ? If you are thrown back into the days of David, and knowing there will be certain peril for the king, who would you choose to follow? David or Absalom?

When sentiments get in the way of judgment. David was taken in again and again by Absalom so much so readers are baffled by David’s complete naivety towards Absalom’s conspicuous moves. It is natural that one will be less objective when dealing with another whom he has an emotional connection. David was no doubt blinded by his sentimental connection with his son. No wonder, he is unable to come to terms with the fact that his son is planning a rebellion against him until it’s too late. There are many who allow their sentiments to color their judgment resulting in their own demise. Therefore, when seeking an opinion concerning one whom you are emotionally invested, seek a third party opinion.


  1. Do not write off those who are unrelated to you, for they may be the most loyal of friends.
  2. Are there people whom you tend to dispense undue favor? And whom you think can do no wrong? Perhaps, it is time to self-examine where such unrealistic perceptions come from.

Dear Lord, I thank you for sending loyal friends to support me in my times of dire need. Help me be a faithful friend to those who are experiencing protracted struggles in their lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar