“So the king set out, with all the
people following him, and they halted at the edge of the city.” 2 Sam 15:17
It was the place he loved dearly, yet David had to leave her behind. He could have stayed
in the city and fought to the death, but he chose to escape, for he decided not
to turn his beloved city into a killing field.
David and his men halted briefly at the edge of the city, which gave the king time to reflect
on what was happening.
He could hardly believe what was taking place. How could he? Just a few days earlier he
was sitting on the throne, thinking that things were going so well, not knowing
that trouble was brewing. The situation with the Philistines was pretty much
under control and, after a long struggle with the heathens, David and his men
were able to take a breather from war. Yet, an internal strife was about to
“Think about danger when you are at ease (居安思危,)”
goes a Chinese saying. I don’t think David was overly concerned about what was
going on within his own household at the time. In fact, Absalom was gradually
becoming David’s pride and joy and it had never entered David’s mind that his
beloved son would rebel against him.
David indeed was being a little naïve. Even though he had been ruling over Israel for some time
now, the king had yet to master the art of scheming and politicking within his
own court. He had no idea that someone closest to him was about to stab him in
Yet the inevitable happened.
Many times he had set out from the city with every intention to return, but this time was
different. David must have had apprehension in his heart as he was looking at
the city of David for perhaps the last time, which might have brought tears to
He remembered the day he entered into the city and assumed the kingship over entire Israel. O
what a joyful day that was! With all his wives and children by his side, with
the heavy crown on his head, he stepped up to the throne and pronounced
blessing on all his subjects, who shouted in union: “Long live the king!”
O how he loved the city that sat on a hill with all her splendor and beauty! How could
he forget the day when he welcomed the ark of the Lord into the city with
dancing and singing? The memory was as fresh in his mind as if it had only taken
place days ago, and the thought of leaving the ark behind was painful beyond
“So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at the edge of the
So they halted for a brief moment for the king and his men to bid farewell to the city,
to reflect on what was happening to them, and perhaps say a quick prayer for
the city they loved and the homes they treasured.