Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run now and take the news to the king, how the Lord has avenged him of his enemies.” And Joab said to him, “You shall not take the news this day, for you shall take the news another day. But today you shall take no news, because the king’s son is dead.” Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed himself to Joab and ran.
And Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” So Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, since you have no news ready?” “But whatever happens,” he said, “let me run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.
By way of background, Absalom inspired and led a rebellion against his father king David, at a time when he was most vulnerable. Amidst the battle, the king gave orders to his army to spare Absalom’s life, but when Joab (a General) heard that Absalom was hanging on a tree; he ignored the king’s order, went there with his henchmen to mercilessly execute the penalty for rebellion on him. The dialogue in my opening verses took place just after this incident.
Good morning friends. Ahimaaz (son of Zadok) and Jonathan (son of Abiathar) were assigned messengers for this campaign. Both men were sons of high priests, and their role as runners between the battle lines and the king was critical in keeping the chain of command. However, on this occasion Joab was fearful of the king’s reaction to the news of his son’s death. From experience, Joab must have recalled the faith of the Amalekite who took the news of Saul’s death to David, and how he was summarily executed. So he was concerned for Ahimaaz’ wellbeing; as a result he asked The Cushite to be the runner on this occasion.
Little is known of The Cushite, he is only known by where he is from, which would have been around subsaharan Africa. I suspect he was Joab’s choice either because of his wisdom, or perhaps the fact that he was a foreigner.
In any case, Ahimaaz desperate for the limelight, and probably hoping the king will reward his faithfulness demanded to run; so he was released to run. He overtook The Cushite, and he got to the king. In his haste to deliver the good news, his message was not well prepared; it was vague and pointless. In a nutshell, he had no message; he had run in vain. As a result he was asked by the king to turn aside and stand still, for The Unknown Cushite’s version of events. The Cushites version was woven with threads of wisdom and reverence. Ahimaaz’s reputation was in tatters; he had lost face with Joab, and he never got the recognition he was so desperately seeking from the king. They were both called, but on that faithful day, The Cushite was the vessel of choice!
In the words of Jesus:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Depart from me… Similar to David’s instruction to self seeking Ahimaaz: “Stand aside and wait here.”
Dear friends, there are no rooms for self seekers in God’s kingdom. We serve a servant King.