Robert Wurtz II
And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom. (2 Samuel 18:5 KJV)
Then Joab said, “I cannot linger with you.” And he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through Absalom’s heart, while he was still alive in the midst of the terebinth tree. And ten young men who bore Joab’s armor surrounded Absalom, and struck and killed him. So Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel. For Joab held back the people. And they took Absalom and cast him into a large pit in the woods, and laid a very large heap of stones over him. Then all Israel fled, everyone to his tent.” (2 Samuel 18:14–17 NKJV)
The king said, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about. (2 Samuel 18:29 NKJV)
Our times are similar to a story found during king David’s reign over Israel. When David’s rebellious son Absalom was killed, there were two messengers who went to bring the news. The man who left first was a Cushite and he went with both the good news and the bad news. The second man was Ahimaaz, a friend of David’s who begged Joab to allow him to run as well. Joab’s words are insightful, “Why do you want to run, my son, since that you will have no reward for the news?” Ahimaaz said, “Come what may, I want to run.” So Joab said, “Run!” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and outran the Cushite (2 Samuel 18:22b, 23).
As we read on in the text, we see that Ahimaaz out ran the Cushite in order to be the first to bring good news. In fact, when he reached ear-shot of David he shouted out, “All is well!” (2 Samuel 18:28 NKJV) This is the Hebrew “Shalom!” He then went on to tell David that the battle had been won. The trouble was, David was most concerned about the fate of his beloved son, Absalom. In other words, he was concerned with with all the news not just the good news. His son had been killed, but Ahimaaz did not have the heart to share that bad news with his friend. He left the job half finished and the king with the impression that “All is well!” Nevertheless, the Cushite was more direct and told the whole story – bad news and all.
Matthew Henry comments saying, “Ahimaaz soon discerned, what Joab intimated to him, that the death of the king’s son would make the tidings of the day very unwelcome, and therefore in his report left that matter doubtful; and, though he gave occasion to suspect how it was, yet, that the thunderclap might not come too suddenly upon the poor perplexed king, he refers him to the next messenger, whom they saw coming, for a more particular account of it.” Amihaaz thought he would win a reward for the news, but he soon found out that once the bad news is told along with the good news… it would not be well received. I think it more reasonable to say that Ahimaaz message, void of the vital truth the king needed to hear, was in fact a lie.