“Aaron and his sons made offerings upon the altar of burnt offering and upon the altar of incense for all the work of the most holy place. They were making atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded. These are the sons of Aaron, Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son, Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son, Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son, Zadok his son, and Ahimaaz his son.”
This list of Aaron and his sons is exactly the same as the list of the high priests before the building of the Temple at Jerusalem in the early part of this chapter. These priest sons of Aaron could make sacrifices on the altar, in particular the burnt offerings. They did atonement for the people of Israel according to the Law of Moses. However, after the listing of Eleazar, Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, and Ahimaaz, the list stops. There is no mention of any of the high priests after the building of the Temple in Jerusalem by Solomon as earlier in this chapter.
“David was sitting between the two gates. The sentinel went up to the roof of the gate by the wall. When he looked up, he saw a man running alone. The sentinel shouted and told the king. The king said. ‘If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.’ He kept coming, and drew near. Then the sentinel saw another man running. The sentinel called to the gatekeeper and said. ‘See, another man running alone!’ The king said. ‘He also is bringing tidings.’ The sentinel said. ‘I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz son of Zadok.’ The king said. ‘He is a good man and comes with good tidings.’”
Meanwhile, David was sitting at the gates awaiting news. The sentinel or watchman was on the roof looking out. He saw one man running alone. Then he saw a second one. David said that if it was one person, it probably was good news. Then the sentinel recognized the running style of Ahimaaz. King David was pleased to see that. If it was bad news, a group of fleeing people would come back.
“Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king. ‘All is well.’ He bowed before the king with his face to the earth, and said. ‘Blessed be Yahweh your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.’ The king said. ‘Is it well with the young man Absalom?’ Ahimaaz answered. ‘When Joab sent your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I do not know what it was.’ The king said. ‘Turn aside, and stand here.’ So he turned aside, and stood still.”
Ahimaaz told the king that all is well because the traitors have been defeated. However, when King David asked him about Absalom, he pretended that he did not know. The king said okay.
“Then the Cushite came. The Cushite said. ‘Good tidings for my lord the king! Yahweh has vindicated you this day from the power of all who rose up against you.’ The king said to the Cushite. ‘Is it well with the young man Absalom?’ The Cushite answered. ‘May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man.’”
The Cushite reported the good news about the battle also. The traitors had been turned away. However, when it came to the question of Absalom, the king’s son, the Cushite was more forthcoming. All the king’s enemies should be like Absalom. He presented an implied death.
“Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said. ‘Let me run, and carry tidings to the king that Yahweh has delivered him from the power of his enemies.’ Joab said to him. ‘You are not to carry tidings today. You may carry tidings another day, but today you shall not do so, because the king’s son is dead.’ Then Joab said to the Cushite. ‘Go! Tell the king what you have seen.’ The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said again to Joab. ‘Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.’ Joab said. ‘Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the tidings?’ ‘Come what may,’ he said, ‘I will run.’ So Joab said to him. ‘Run.’ Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.”
Ahimaaz was the son of the high priest for David, and one of his informants about Absalom. He wanted to tell David the good news about the defeat of his enemies. Joab, David’s nephew said he should not go today. Instead he was going to send the Cushite, someone from Egypt, to tell the king about the victory. However, Ahimaaz insisted that he should go. Finally, Joab said okay. Ahimaaz could run after the Cushite. In fact, Ahimaaz outran the Cushite.