Lessons from King David: A Revolt

Absalom killed his half brother, Amnon, for raping his sister, Tamar. For three years he lived in exile, before King David allowed him to return home. However, it was another two years before David agreed to see his son.

Absalom incited a revolt against his father

Yet, the trouble with Absalom was far from over.

Absalom decided that the time has come for him to become king. He is willing to over throw his father to get what he wants.

At first, David seems to be unaware of what is going on, but he soon hears reports of what his son is up to.

“The conspiracy grew powerful and Absalom’s supporters multiplied.” {2 Samuel 15:12}

This isn’t a small conspiracy, but has spiraled out of control and even one of David’s advisors has sided with Absalom.

Absalom made everyone bow before him

Things were so bad that David did not have time to raise up his army, but instead he had to flee. “So the king and his entire household escaped on foot.” {2 Samuel 15:16}

When the Ark of the Covenant is taken out for safety, David commands “Take the Chest back to the city. If I get back in God’s good graces, he’ll bring me back and show me where the Chest has been set down. But if he says, ‘I’m not pleased with you’—well, he can then do with me whatever he pleases.”

Even while on the run and in great turmoil, David continues to long to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. He sends the ark back. Then he states that the outcome is based on the Lord and whether David has favor in his eyes but if he doesn’t then he can do whatever he wants with David.

We live in a society where we only want good things to happen to us and nothing bad. We live in a society where we are told positive thinking will get us anything we want.

David had to flee from his own son

David realized the outcome wasn’t based on what he wanted, but on God’s will.

But, David isn’t without taking action. He sends men back, which at first seems counterintuitive. But then he says, “Do that and you’ll be able to confuse Ahithophel’s counsel for me…anything you pick up can be sent to me by them.” {2 Samuel 15:32-36}

David is sending his own spies in to discover what is going on. With the “inside information” he will be able to discover how to attack and defeat his son.

David was on the run from his own son

As David passes by a man starts to curse him, but David does not stop him. “If he’s cursing, it’s because God told him, ‘Curse David.’ So who dares raise questions?…“Besides,” continued David to Abishai and the rest of his servants, “my own son, my flesh and bone, is right now trying to kill me; compared to that this Benjaminite is small potatoes. Don’t bother with him; let him curse; he’s preaching God’s word to me. And who knows, maybe God will see the trouble I’m in today and exchange the curses for something good.” {2 Samuel 15:10-12}

Absalom is caught in a tree

David allows himself to be cursed. He knows that he has done wrong and in this man’s words, the Lord is ministering to him. He’s still trusting that the Lord will see his trouble and send him assistance.

But, David is also grieved that is own son is trying to kill him. Especially, when he showed such compassion and mercy to his son and allowed him to return to Jerusaleum after he killed Amnon.

But, Absalom is not finished humiliating his father. He openly sleeps with David’s concubines. {2 Samuel 15:21-23}

Even while David’s army is marching to fight with Absalom’s army, David tells his commanders “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” {2 Samuel 18:5}

Wow, if that’s not mercy? But most of all that is a father’s heart longing to protect his son.

Absalom was later murdered

But, God had the final say. “Absalom ran into David’s men, but was out in front of them riding his mule, when the mule ran under the branches of a huge oak tree. Absalom’s head was caught in the oak and he was left dangling between heaven and earth, the mule running right out from under him.” {2 Samuel 18:9-10}

Absalom was caught in the branches and hung by them. The first man that saw him refused to kill him for the fear of what King David would do to him. But, Joab and his men stabbed Absalom to death and buried his body.
When David sees the men running with news, his first question is “But is the young man Absalom all right?” {2 Samuel 18:29}

David was concerned about his son

Even with his son jeopardizing his life, his first concern is for his child.

On hearing the news of his son’s death “The king was stunned. Heartbroken, he went up to the room over the gate and wept. As he wept he cried out,

O my son Absalom, my dear, dear son Absalom!
Why not me rather than you, my death and not yours,
O Absalom, my dear, dear son!” {2 Samuel 18:33}

They say that a “parents love knows no bounds”. David showed this in his love for his son, Absalom.

Absalom was buried

Absalom had hurt David time and again. He had killed his half-brother, Amnon and then he’d caused a riot and war to take the throne from David. Yet, to the very end David wanted to make sure that his son was okay and when he died, he mourned terribly for him.

David showed his son forgiveness time and time again, even when Absalom did not deserve it.  {After Absalom’s death David is restored as King.}

Jesus told Peter that we should forgive seven times seventy and David lived out this example in his relationship with his son, Absalom.

Is there someone who continues to hurt you? Do you show them compassion and forgiveness?

King David's son revolted against him Share on X

**Pictures from FreeBiblesImages.org

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