Lord, how are they increased that trouble me? - We are told that the hearts of all Israel went after Absalom, 2 Samuel 15:13; and David is astonished to find such a sudden and general revolt. Not only the common people, but his counsellors also, and many of his chief captains. How publicly does God take vengeance for the sins which David committed so privately! In the horrible rebellion of Absalom we see the adultery of Bath-sheba, and the murder of Uriah. Now the words of Nathan begin to be fulfilled: "The sword shall not depart from thy house."
Lord, how are they increased - How are they multiplied; or, how numerous they are. Perhaps the idea is, that at first they seemed to be comparatively few in number, but had now so multiplied as to endanger his crown and life. This is an appropriate expression on the supposition that it refers to Absalom. At first the number of those who adhered to Absalom was not so great as to excite much alarm; but by the arts of a demagogue, by complaining of the government, by saying that if he were made a judge in tim land, every man would have justice done him 2 Samuel 15:4-5, he won the hearts of the people, and gathered so many under his standard as to make it necessary that the king should flee from Jerusalem to a place of safety.
That trouble me - literally, my enemies. The allusion is to those who were now enlisted under Absalom, and who were engaged in endeavoring to overthrow the government.
Many are they that rise up against me - That is, that have become my enemies.
A Psalm of David - literally, belonging to David; that is, belonging to him as the author. This is marked in the Hebrew as the first verse, and so in the Syriac version, the Latin Vulgate, and the Septuagint, making in the Hebrew, and in each of these versions, nine verses in the psalm instead of eight, as in our translation. This may have been prefixed to the psalm by the author himself, for it was not uncommon in ancient times for an author to prefix his name to his own composition, as is commonly done by the apostle Paul in his epistles. It is not absolutely certain, however, that this was done in the Psalms by the authors themselves, but it may have been done by him who collected and arranged the Psalms, indicating the prevalent belief in regard to the authorship, and under the Spirit of inspiration.
When he fled - On the occasion of his fleeing. That is, it was composed at that time, or was subsequently composed in remembrance of it. See Introduction, Section 2.
From Absalom his son - See the introduction, Section 2.
Many who see not as God seeth, but view matters from man's standpoint, might reason that with David there might have been excuse for repining and that the sincerity of his repentance years before might have excepted him from present judgment.... David utters no complaint. The most eloquent psalm he ever sang was when he was climbing Mount Olivet, weeping and barefooted, yet humbled in spirit, unselfish and generous, submissive and resigned.46Letter 6, 1880. CC 181.6Read in context »
“And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” But there was one who was not deceived—one who clearly foresaw the result of this fatal mistake of Absalom's. Ahithophel knew that the cause of the rebels was lost. And he knew that whatever might be the fate of the prince, there was no hope for the counselor who had instigated his greatest crimes. Ahithophel had encouraged Absalom in rebellion; he had counseled him to the most abominable wickedness, to the dishonor of his father; he had advised the slaying of David and had planned its accomplishment; he had cut off the last possibility of his own reconciliation with the king; and now another was preferred before him, even by Absalom. Jealous, angry, and desperate, Ahithophel “gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died.” Such was the result of the wisdom of one, who, with all his high endowments, did not make God his counselor. Satan allures men with flattering promises, but in the end it will be found by every soul, that the “wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. PP 741.1
Hushai, not certain that his counsel would be followed by the fickle king, lost no time in warning David to escape beyond Jordan without delay. To the priests, who were to forward it by their sons, Hushai sent the message: “Thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and thus have I counseled. Now therefore ... lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him.” PP 741.2
The young men were suspected and pursued, yet they succeeded in performing their perilous mission. David, spent with toil and grief after that first day of flight, received the message that he must cross the Jordan that night, for his son was seeking his life. PP 741.3Read in context »