Absalom was David’s third son by Maacah the daughter of the king of Geshur. The book of 2 Samuel chapters 13-19 records the accounts of his life and death. Absalom was born while David reigned at Hebron (2 Samuel 3:2). He had a beautiful sister by the name Tamar. His half-brother Amon, David’s first born (v. 2), wanted Tamar but she didn’t consent. So, he tricked her into coming to his house and there he raped her. Then, he dismissed her with shame.
David was angry about Amon’s shameful deed but he failed to punish him. So, Absalom revenged for his sister by tricking Amon to come to his house for a big party and there he killed him. Then, he ran for his life to Geshur and remained there for three years.
Joab, David’s general, helped bring Absalom back to Jerusalem. But David’s son was not allowed in his presence. Absalom felt that he was being mistreated, and the people started to sympathize with him. Later on, King David and Absalom had an outward reconciliation.
Seeking self-glory, Absalom appointed himself a judge in Jerusalem and slowly began to work against David’s rule. He promised the people justice if he was to be king. He was a handsome man and he won the admiration of people. After four years, when his popularity reached its peak, he went to Hebron to crown himself king.
David feared that he could not make a successful stand at Jerusalem seeing that the hearts of some people were stolen away from him. So, he fled the city and left behind his concubines, Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and his advisor Hushai.
The Lord permitted these events to take place as a judgment for David’s sin against Bath-sheba and Uriah, (2 Samuel 12:10–12). David knew that he deserved this punishment and hoped in mercy of God. And He prayed that God would restore the kingdom to him.
Absalom entered Jerusalem and seized David’s house and laid with his concubines. Ahithophel one of Absalom’s counselors advised him to follow and attack King David immediately. But Hushai one of David’s informers advised him to delay his move thus allowing David more time to fortify his troops and re-attack Absalom. So, Absalom listened to Hushai.
When David attacked, he ordered his men not to kill Absalom. But when Absalom was riding, he passed under a thick batch of trees and his long hair got entangled in the branches and he was suspended in the air. So, when Joab saw him hanging, he killed him. And David won the battle, returned to Jerusalem, and reclaimed his kingdom. But he grieved greatly over the death of his son.
In his plot against David, Absalom failed to listen to God. He had wise counselors, powerful followers, and the hearts of some people were with him. But the nation of Israel belonged to God, and David was His appointed King. Therefore, without God on his side, Absalom destined himself for ruin. How different his life would have been if he had followed God and respected his father?
In His service,
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