In part 1, Ahimaaz, the pro-David, tender son of Zadok, wanted to report news about the battle to King David. Joab had refused to allow him to run to the King.
The purpose of these three articles is to get the reader to see an example of being overly sensitive, with the hope that those who find themselves as Overly Sensitive Christians (OSCs) would step back from that imbalance. We are considering the overly sensitive nature of this good man – Ahimaaz — because some Christians today are overly sensitive.
Second Appeal, vs. 22 Again, Ahimaaz asked if he could run to the king. This second appeal carried a word of humility and submission (common characteristics of sensitive believers). Ahimaaz acknowledged that he would run behind the Cushite, thereby accepting the Cushite as runner #1, the official messenger, but requesting that he be designated runner # 2. This also hints that Ahimaaz understood Joab’s motive for refusing him.
Again Joab put him off, explaining that the news would not bring him a reward. Reward may have motivated the Cushite, but not the sensitive Ahimaaz. Material reward is not important to one who highly values people and relationships.
An unknown amount of time passed between verses 22 and 23 during which the Cushite-the first runner, the Joab-approved runner-is making progress toward reaching the king.
Third Appeal Ahimaaz said in effect, “Even if there is no reward, I want to run” (v. 23).
When Ahimaaz made this third appeal, Joab – now apparently convinced that Ahimaaz could not possibly arrive ahead of the Cushite4–gave permission for Ahimaaz to run to the king.
How much time did the tender man have to make up to arrive first?
Given his driven, overly compassionate nature, Ahimaaz was determined to make up the time and arrive first.
As he waited for permission from Joab, I am convinced Ahimaaz was thinking about how he could arrive first. Overly diligent people pour themselves out to achieve their goals – and many, many times, they supply just what is needed. God is glorified and we are all grateful for their service.
Such Christians think about what is needed before people with other gift-orientations even realize there is a need.
Verse 23 notes that Ahimaaz ran “by way of the plain,” apparently a longer but flatter route, in contrast possibly to a steeper but shorter route the Cushite may have taken.
Ahimaaz had a mission – to soften the blow of Absalom’s death for his beloved king. He would do whatever it took to arrive first.
And Arrive First He Did At verse 24, the reader is given the perspective of King David and the watchman waiting for news. A runner was seen in the distance. Either the watchman was not looking in the right direction to see runners coming on different routes, or Ahimaaz had so out-distanced the Cushite that Ahimaaz is said to be alone.
Based on the runner’s gate, style and silhouette, the watchman identified Ahimaaz to King David before he was close enough for facial recognition. King David interpreted the runner being alone as evidence of a positive message (v. 25).
Then the watchman spotted a second man coming–the Cushite was now in sight, but Ahimaaz was closer to the king.
In seconds, Ahimhaaz was close enough to be recognized, and King David responded that Ahimaaz was a “good man.” David knew the sympathetic and loyal Ahimaaz and was confident he carried positive news. Coming within shouting distance, the exhausted runner called out, “All is well.” Even when things are not “well,” tender believers want them to be.
Reaching the king, he bowed down and reported that those who have “lifted up their hands against the king” had been subdued.
The king immediately inquired about the safety and well-being of his rebel son (v. 29).
3. The title is a bit strong. Certainly not everyone who is overly sensitive is a characterized by lying.
4. Based upon the fact that the narrative of verses 19-23 focuses on when Ahimaaz was granted permission to run.