2 Samuel 19:1 It was told Joab, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” 2 So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the troops; for the troops heard that day, “The king is grieving for his son.” 3 The troops stole into the city that day as soldiers steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. 4 The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 5 Then Joab came into the house to the king, and said, “Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your officers who have saved your life today, and the lives of your sons and your daughters, and the lives of your wives and your concubines, 6 for love of those who hate you and for hatred of those who love you. You have made it clear today that commanders and officers are nothing to you; for I perceive that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. 7 So go out at once and speak kindly to your servants; for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night; and this will be worse for you than any disaster that has come upon you from your youth until now.”
Joab was Kind David’s military commander-in-chief. Joab and his armies put down a rebellion by Absalom, King David’s son. It was a great victory for sure. Many of Joab’s men lost their lives in restoring King David to his rightful place on the throne in Jerusalem – but David was heartbroken because his son was killed in the process. David had specifically asked his military people not to harm Absalom, but Joab disregarded David’s request and killed Absalom. The passage for today describes a conversation between Joab and David after the battle was over.
What I find interesting is Joab’s courage in bluntly telling King David the hard truth. I’m guessing David was not used to being talked to in this manner, but Joab was correct. David risked losing the loyalty of his army if he didn’t stop being the grieving father, at least in public, and instead be a king grateful for the sacrificial service of his soldiers.
This morning I’m wondering who my Joab might be – a person or persons who will tell me hard truths. What about you?