... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)


David and Absalom: from betrayal to victory by grace!

King David was betrayed by his own son Absalom to the degree that he had to flee Jerusalem. Did this happen purely because of Absalom's greed or was there another reason? And what was David's own contribution to this event?

Jerusalem thé city

David became king over Israel, he concurred Jerusalem and he brought the covenant box to Jerusalem and build his palace there. King David made the city of Jerusalem - de Temple would later be built by his son King Salomon – the capital city of the Kingdom of Israel. To the Kingdom this city was, and still is, of great significance both as its religious and political center. At that time Jerusalem also signified the union between all the twelve tribes of Judah and Israel.

It's from this city that King David had to flee because of the coup d'etat plotted and implemented by Absalom. Who was Absalom? He was David's third son born in Hebron - 2 Samuel 3:2-5 - just as David's eldest son Amnon. Absalom was the son of Maaka the doughter of Talmai, king of Gesur, 2 Samuel 3:3. Twice he grieved his father deeply.

Absalon kills Amnon

The first time was the day Absalom had his half brother Amnon, whom he hated, killed by his servants during a banquet in prepared for all his brothers, 2 Samuel 13:22-39. This wasn't the right punishment for Amnon according to the Torah, that says a man's life for that of another, only when someone commits a murder, Exodus 21:12-14 (GNT),
12 “Whoever hits someone and kills him is to be put to death. 13 But if it was an accident and he did not mean to kill him, he can escape to a place which I will choose for you, and there he will be safe. 14 But when someone gets angry and deliberately kills someone else, he is to be put to death, even if he has run to my altar for safety.

What did Amnon do? Two years earlier he raped Absalom's sister Tamar - 2 Samuel 13:1-22 - whom afterwards went to live in Absalom's house where she was very lonely. David did hear about what happened and he was furious, 2 Samuel 13:20. But what did David do to punish Amnon? Nothing. Why? Could it be because in order for David, him being king and all, to address this mater Tamar had to appear before him and state her case?

Did she do this? No. The reason? She followed her brother Absalom's advice not to tell anyone about what happened, 2 Samuel 13:20 (GNT),
20 When her brother Absalom saw her, he asked, “Has Amnon molested you? Please, sister, don't let it upset you so much. He is your half brother, so don't tell anyone about it.” So Tamar lived in Absalom's house, sad and lonely.

But why did Absalom give her this advise? Could it be he didn't want this incident to stand in his way of his ultimate ambition? To become the king of Israel one day?

Ever since Absalom hated his brother in silence - 2 Samuel 13:22 - while he planned to kill Amnon, 2 Samuel 13:32 (GNT),
32 But Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shammah, said, “Your Majesty, they haven't killed all your sons. Only Amnon is dead. You could tell by looking at Absalom that he had made up his mind to do this from the time that Amnon raped his sister Tamar.

Absalom fled to his maternal grandfather, the king of Gesur, and stays there for three years, 2 Samuel 13:37-38. King David himself didn't put him to death as the Law of Moses required. Could this in some way have to do with David's own contribution to Absalom's acts besides his love for his son? Later he would die at the hands of someone else, but not by David's orders.

Absalom returns

Absalom's returned to Israel, Jerusalem with the help of Joab - 2 Samuel 14:1-24 – who knew David missed Absalom very much, 2 Samuel 14:1. David allowed him to return but he didn't want him to live in the palace and he didn't appear before the king, 2 Samuel 14:24. So, he lived in his own house in Jerusalem.

Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem without seeing David – 2 Samuel 14:28 – and then he asked Joab to arrange for him to see the king, 2 Samuel 14:25-33. When he did this he made the mistake of crossing Joab who became very angry with him – 2 Samuel 14:29-31 – that was possibly one of the reasons for the way Joab dealt with Absalom later.

... 29 Then he sent for Joab, to ask him to go to the king for him; but Joab would not come. Again Absalom sent for him, and again Joab refused to come. 30 So Absalom said to his servants, “Look, Joab's field is next to mine, and it has barley growing in it. Go and set fire to it.” So they went and set the field on fire.
31 Joab went to Absalom's house and demanded, “Why did your servants set fire to my field?”
2 Samuel 14:25-31

David and Absalom reconciled, with Absalom appearing before King David where he bowed down to the ground and David kissed him 2 Samuel 14: 32-33 (GNT),
33 So Joab went to King David and told him what Absalom had said. The king sent for Absalom, who went to him and bowed down to the ground in front of him. The king welcomed him with a kiss.

Absalom's betrayal

After this Absalom got busy socializing to build up his network, to establish his name in order to become more popular. He even built a monument in his own name, 2 Samuel 18:18. His plotting was based on greed. Just as his brother Adonijah, David's forth son, would do later on to snatch the throne from king David and his son Salomon whom God destined to become the third king of Israel, 1 Kings 1 and 2. How many people do these nowadays in order to have positions and possessions that are not meant for them? 

Abasalom did all necessary to have the image of being fit to be a king and to keep up appearances - 2 Samuel 15:1-6 – in order to win people's loyalty.
5 When the man would approach Absalom to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out, take hold of him, and kiss him. 6 Absalom did this with every Israelite who came to the king for judgment, and so he won their loyalty. 2 Samuel 15:1-6 (GNT)

His intentions? To become king of Israel by seizing power through a coup d'etat. After four years of planning and having the loyalty of a key members in King David's court – Ahithophel, 2 Samuel 15:12 – whom he sent for, he executed his plan - 2 Samuel 15:7-12 - while a group of men that went with him from Jerusalem to Hebron on his invitation were not aware of Absalom's plans, 2 Samuel 15:1-12 (GNT),
... 12 And while he was offering sacrifices, Absalom also sent to the town of Gilo for Ahithophel, who was one of King David's advisers. The plot against the king gained strength, and Absalom's followers grew in number.

But, who gave him permission to go to Hebron in the first place? King David. Why? On Absalom's request, 
7 After four[a] years Absalom said to King David, “Sir, let me go to Hebron and keep a promise I made to the Lord. 8 While I was living in Geshur in Syria, I promised the Lord that if he would take me back to Jerusalem, I would worship him in Hebron.” 2 Samuel 15:7-8 (GNT)

The betrayal came not only through Absalom, but also by Ahithophel. But, later King David would triumph over both.

The case Uriah

Why was all this happening to King David, a king that was put in place by God Almighty himself and whom had his full support and love? 

The cause of all this lies years before Absalom killed Amnon, with the case Uriah. David had Uriah killed in battle so he could take his wife Bathsheba whom he had got pregnant, 2 Samuel 11. God didn't agree at all with David's actions, 2 Samuel 11:7b-9 and 12:9
27 When the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to the palace; she became his wife and bore him a son. But the Lord was not pleased with what David had done. 2 Samuel 11:27 (GNT)

So, he sent the prophet Nathan to David - 2 Samuel 12 - to confront him with what he did. Ultimately David admitted he sinned against God – Psalm 51 - and god forgave him, 2 Samuel 12:13 (GNT),
13 “I have sinned against the Lord,” David said.
Nathan replied, “The Lord forgives you; you will not die.

So much is God's grace that David didn't have to die as according to the Law of Moses - Exodus 21:12-14 - should have happened as a result of the death of Uriah. And even though David himself thought that he deserved to die as he said in his reaction to Nathan's story, 2 Samuel 12:1-5 (GNT), 
4 One day a visitor arrived at the rich man's home. The rich man didn't want to kill one of his own animals to fix a meal for him; instead, he took the poor man's lamb and prepared a meal for his guest.”
5 David became very angry at the rich man and said, “I swear by the living Lord that the man who did this ought to die!

Consider this!
It wasn't the first time David became interested in a married woman that he later on would marry. This was also the case with Abigail, 2 Samuel 25. David had met her only once - 1 Samuel 25:23-35 - the day she went to speak to him in order to prevent him and his men from attacking her husband Nabal and succeeded in her attempt. But, in her case David sent his messengers to ask her to be his wife after her husband died, 1 Samuel 25:39-42 (NIV),
39 ... Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife. 40 His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, “David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife.”... 42 Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five female servants, went with David’s messengers and became his wife.
If David was patient concerning Bathsheba the same way he was with Abigail, would the same have happened this time? Possibly, for David's army, which Uriah was a member of, had many battles to fight. God whom rules supreme and has the sole power over life and death was and is able to use this by his wisdom. Suppose David would have treated Bathsheba as he did Abigail. David would have married a widow and his son with her would still be loved by God - 2 Samuel 12:24-25! - whom could still have made him king as he did for Salomon. All this could have happened, but then without all the events which were the result of David's sin, his wrong doing to Uriah. 
A similar case as that of Abigail, to a certain extent, is that of Boaz marrying the widow Ruth, in the book of Ruth. Both women were send by God to the man they later married - Ruth 2:19-23, 1 Samuel 25:19-23 - both were treated well and properly lawful by the man - being Boaz and David - that remarried them and these women were a blessing to them!

But, this time, in the case of Uriah's wife, David choose to do otherwise and in doing so followed a sinful path. His actions did have serious consequences because he had shown so much contempt for the God of Israel whom said by his prophet Nathan, 7 ... ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah.
And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.
2 Samuel 12:7-8

God punished David by letting his and Uriah's wife Bathsheba her newborn son to die, 2 Samuel 12:14-15. This may seem harsh, but what about the way Uriah was treated by David, that ultimately led to his death? David had Uriah killed in battle so he could take his wife Bathsheba whom he had got pregnant, 2 Samuel 11. God didn't agree with David's actions, 2 Samuel 11:27. God is righteous and wise when he intervenes where man-made problems are caused. Afterwards she gets pregnant again and they have Salomon, 2 Samuel 12:24-25.

In contrast to Bathsheba's newborn son, there is other story that with a different outcome because of God's choice when it came to the live of a newborn baby. One tells us of King Salomon judging a difficult case concerning a stolen newborn baby boy, 1 King 3:16-28. The real mother had so much love for her son that she was concerned with him staying alive and his well being that when confronted with the choice she was prepared to give him away. But, God who gave Salomon the wisdom to set up the trap in the first place intervened to prevent the mother from loosing her child. Another story occurred at the time of baby Moses when he and other Israeli babies were saved from being murdered, Exodus 1 and 2

Their would be more consequences of David's bad deed against Uriah, 2 Samuel 12:9-12. Sadly in this way he himself contributed to what was set to happen to him and his family in the future. Which is? In every generation some one of his descendants will die a violent death - 2 Samuel 12: 9-11b - and someone from his own family will cause trouble for him. Who?

11 I swear to you that I will cause someone from your own family to bring trouble on you. You will see it when I take your wives from you and give them to another man; and he will have intercourse with them in broad daylight. 12 You sinned in secret, but I will make this happen in broad daylight for all Israel to see.’” 2 Samuel 12:11-12 (GNT)

Whom did that passage refer to? Absalom, 2 Samuel 16:15-23 (GNT),
... 22 So they set up a tent for Absalom on the palace roof, and in the sight of everyone Absalom went in and had intercourse with his father's concubines. ...

David fled

13 A messenger reported to David, “The Israelites are pledging their loyalty to Absalom.”
14 So David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “We must get away at once if we want to escape from Absalom! Hurry! Or else he will soon be here and defeat us and kill everyone in the city!”
15 “Yes, Your Majesty,” they answered. “We are ready to do whatever you say.” 2 Samuel 15:13-15 (GNT)

Absalom succeeded in having King David flee the city of Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 15:13-37, 16:1-14. With his following David crossed the river Jordan after he was warned that Absalom's men were looking for him - 2 Samuel 17:15-16 - and they went to the land of Gilead where they stayed, 2 Samuel 17:15-29

David fled Jerusalem going over the mount of Olives walking barre footed, weeping and praying.
... 30 David went on up the Mount of Olives crying; he was barefoot and had his head covered as a sign of grief. All who followed him covered their heads and cried also. ... 2 Samuel 15:13-37 (GNT)

On his way out of Jerusalem, both loyal people as his enemies met with him and his officials whom went with him. Some join him, others he sent back, while one of his enemies Shimei meets him to curse him. His reaction to this man's curse?

... 9 Abishai, whose mother was Zeruiah, said to the king, “Your Majesty, why do you let this dog curse you? Let me go over there and cut off his head!”
10 “This is none of your business,” the king said to Abishai and his brother Joab. “If he curses me because the Lord told him to, who has the right to ask why he does it?” 11 And David said to Abishai and to all his officials, “My own son is trying to kill me; so why should you be surprised at this Benjaminite? The Lord told him to curse; so leave him alone and let him do it. 12 P e r h a p s  the Lord will notice my misery and give me some blessings to take the place of his curse.” ... 2 Samuel 16:5-14 (GNT)

Why did David say "... perhaps ..." in his prayer? Couldn't he always count on God's forgiveness and blessings? Maybe because he was aware of Nathan's prophecy to him at the time of the case Uriah, while he hoped for God's mercy. For he does know the Law of Moses and subsequently about the words God spoke to him as in Exodus 33:19 (NIV),  ... I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Compare with Romans 9:15-18.

And he knew God's deeds for his people, Deuteronomy 23:4-5 (NIV),
4 For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Aram Naharaim to pronounce a curse on you. 5 However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you.

Did God notice David? Was he merciful to him? After all, Absalom's action towards David was prophesied to him years earlier and he himself paid a part in causing it. God did, for he loved David.

David's return to Jerusalem

King David cried and prayed as he was leaving Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 15:31, 16:12 (NIV). But, did God answer his prayer? Yes, he did. So David and his allies did have a victory over both Absalom and Ahithophel.

Ahithophel, whom was King David's most trusted adviser - 2 Samuel 16:23 - chose contrary to Joab - 1 Kings 2:28 - the side of Absalom. He is the one who advised Absalom when they arrived in Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 16:20-21 (GNT)
20 Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and said, “Now that we are here, what do you advise us to do?”
21 Ahithophel answered, “Go and have intercourse with your father's concubines whom he left behind to take care of the palace. Then everyone in Israel will know that your father regards you as his enemy, and your followers will be greatly encouraged.”

David's prayer concerning Ahithophel while he went up the Mount of Olives, 2 Samuel 15:31 (GNT),
31 When David was told[a] that Ahithophel had joined Absalom's rebellion, he prayed, “Please, Lord, turn Ahithophel's advice into nonsense!

God did answer this prayer which led to Ahithophel's downfall, 2 Samuel 17:1-17 (GNT),
14 Absalom and all the Israelites said, “Hushai's advice is better than Ahithophel's.” The Lord had decided that Ahithophel's good advice would not be followed, so that disaster would come on Absalom.

What happened to him?
23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and went back to his hometown. After putting his affairs in order, he hanged himself. He was buried in the family grave. 2 Samuel 17:23 (GNT) 

And, Absalom?
His men were defeated with twenty thousand killed – 2 Samuel 6-8 – in a war David's men didn't want David himself to fight, although he wished to join the fight and made preparations for it, 2 Samuel 18:1-4. Absalom died at the hands of Joab and afterwards his men buried him in a deep pit in the forest and covered him with stones, 2 Samuel 18:9-17 (GNT),
... 14 “I'm not going to waste any more time with you,” Joab said. He took three spears and plunged them into Absalom's chest while he was still alive, hanging in the oak tree. 15 Then ten of Joab's soldiers closed in on Absalom and finished killing him.16 Joab had the trumpet blown to stop the fighting, and his troops came back from pursuing the Israelites. 17 They took Absalom's body, threw it into a deep pit in the forest, and covered it with a huge pile of stones. All the Israelites fled to their own hometowns. ...

But, they didn't act according to David's explicit orders,
5 He gave orders to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake don't harm the young man Absalom.” And all the troops heard David give this command to his officers. 2 Samuel 18:5 (GNT)

David was overcome with grief when he heard about the death of his son Absalom, 2 Samuel 18:19-33. Later, much later Joab would be killed by the orders of David's son Salomon, then king of Israel, who was informed by David about Joab's actions in the past - not including him killing Absalom in battle as a reason to punish him - 1 Kings 2:6-7 - and at the hands of Benaiah after which Benaiah took his place as commander of Salomon's army, 1 Kings 2:28-35.

It took Absalon about nine years, since what happened to his sister Tamar, to plot first against Amnon and then against his father David to overthrow him and take his place as king of the Kingdom of Israel. Ultimately to end up death, deprived of everything.

King David returned to Jerusalem where he continued his reign ultimately up to a total of 40 years over the whole Kingdom of Israel.

... 4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he ruled for forty years. 5 He ruled in Hebron over Judah for seven and a half years, and in Jerusalem over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years. ... 2 Samuel 5:1-15 (GNT)

God bless you,


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Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: King David