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2 Samuel 14:13-14 meaning...

This passage unfolds as a woman from Tekoa delivers a wise and impassioned plea to King David. She questions the king's decision to banish his son Absalom after he killed his brother Amnon. In doing so, she appeals to the principles of mercy and urges David to consider the consequences of his actions against God's people.

  • Condemnation in Condemning:

The woman astutely points out that by condemning Absalom, the king condemns himself. Her argument is based on the idea that the king, in his role of leadership, should also exemplify mercy and reconciliation. By not bringing back the banished one, David risks standing in judgment of his own actions, and in doing so, she suggests he goes against the principles set by God for his people.

  • The Impermanence of Life:

In verse 14, the woman delves into a deeper philosophical reflection on the impermanence of life. She uses the metaphor of water spilled on the ground, emphasizing the irreversibility of certain actions. The imagery suggests that, like spilled water, life once lost cannot be gathered back. This metaphor sets the stage for her appeal to the king to find a way for the banished one not to be permanently cast away.

  • God's Devising of Means:

The woman concludes her plea with a profound statement about God's nature. She asserts that God does not take away life irrevocably but devises means for the banished not to be forever cast out from Him. This theological insight invites reflection on the divine capacity for reconciliation and redemption, even in the face of human wrongdoing.

Theological and Practical Significance:

Mercy and Justice: The passage grapples with the delicate balance between justice and mercy. It prompts believers to consider how they navigate issues of wrongdoing and reconciliation in their own lives.

Human Responsibility in Leadership: The woman's appeal challenges the notion of leadership and responsibility. Leaders, whether in positions of authority or within families, are urged to embody principles of mercy and reconciliation.

God's Redemptive Nature: The theological insight into God's devising of means for reconciliation underscores the redemptive nature of God. It encourages believers to trust in God's capacity to restore and redeem even the most broken situations.

Restorative Justice: The passage contributes to discussions on restorative justice, emphasizing the potential for redemption and reconciliation even in the face of wrongdoing.

Leadership and Mercy: In various spheres of leadership, whether in governance, community, or family, the principles of mercy and reconciliation continue to be essential for fostering healthy relationships and resolving conflicts.

Human Frailty and God's Grace: The woman's acknowledgment of the impermanence of life invites believers to reflect on their own frailty and the boundless grace of God, who devises means for reconciliation and restoration.


Psalm 103:8: "Yahweh is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness." This verse reflects on God's character as merciful, emphasizing the divine quality the woman appeals to in her plea to David.

Jeremiah 31:3: "Yahweh appeared of old to me, saying, 'Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.'" The theme of God's everlasting love and kindness aligns with the woman's appeal for mercy and reconciliation.

2 Samuel 14:13-14 stands as a timeless and insightful passage, challenging readers to grapple with the complexities of justice, mercy, and the redemptive nature of God.

2 Samuel 14:13-14. The king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring home again his banished one. For we must die, and are like water spilt on the ground, which can’t be gathered up again; neither does God take away life, but devises means, that he who is banished not be an outcast from him.


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