2 Samuel 14-16:14 Chapter Study
A. The “Bathsheba Incident” Chs. 11-12
B. David’s Troubled Family Chs. 13-14
1. Amnon rapes Tamar 13:1-22
2. Absalom’s conspiracy to murder Amnon 13:23-33
3. Absalom flees 13:34-39
Joab saw the troubles of the royal house as a serious threat to the security of the nation.
David’s distress over his estrangement with Absalom was a distraction that was creating problems.
So he hatched a plan to remove the distraction by reconciling father & son.
This woman came with a sad tale of her 2 sons who fought.
One killed the other & the towns-people wanted to execute the killer, leaving her as a poor widow.
The tragedy would be that while having one son murder the other was bad, being childless was worse.
When David told her to go home & not worry about her lone son’s survival, she asked for a pledge of protection for him. David promised.
Taking the promise of protection for her son, she asked why he would not apply the same measure of mercy & grace to his own sitch with his son.
She backed up her appeal he show leniency toward Absalom by saying the entire nation needed to know the passing of the throne was safe & secure.
V. 14 – She used God’s forgiveness & desire to be reconciled to sinners as a model for how David ought to act.
God doesn’t judge the sinner the moment he/she sins; time is given for the sinner to come to his/her senses & repent so he/she can be restored.
But once a person dies, there’s no second-chance, no going back or undoing the past.
Death seals the choices we make in life. When this life is done, there are no more opps to do what’s right.
God gives us all the time we need to do what ought to be done – but if we don’t take advantage of that time, there’s no undoing it in the afterlife.
This woman urged David to model his treatment of his estranged son on how God treats us & us the time he had to be right with Absalom.
We must do the same. Sunday, I briefly talked about the difference between forgiveness & reconciliation.
While forgiveness is something we do unilaterally & isn’t conditioned on the other person’s behavior, reconciliation is conditioned on the other person’s willingness to be in a healthy relationship with us.
But as far as we’re concerned – genuine forgiveness means we’re willing to be reconciled, even if they aren’t.
If they want to be reconciled & put aside the behavior that hinders it – then we WOULD be reconciled to them.
David heard some of the very same words & lines of reasoning the woman had used from Joab’s own mouth when trying to counsel the king. He suspected Joab was the inspiration behind her & confirmed it.
Joab didn’t have any special affinity for Absalom. He just recognized his exile was a distraction that weakened David’s effectiveness as king. He thought returning Absalom to Jerusalem would lift David out of his funk.
All it did was encourage the ambitious upstart to set his sights even more firmly on the throne.
David’s impatience in going after Bathsheba is repeated in Absalom’s impatience to ascend the throne.
If David won’t get out of the way, Absalom will try to take the throne from him.
This was the only punishment David applied to his murderous son.
Absalom was the original Fabio; actually—Fabio is a late imposter who wishes he Absalom!
Absalom was absolutely awesome – his fame as a hunk spread far & wide. He was loved by all.
Not because of the excellence of his character, but he was easy on the eyes.
They called him ‘Absalom’ because he was so ripped, his six-pack abs were a mogul field you could slalom down = Ab-slalom J
In that day, men kept their hair fairly short, rarely going past their shoulders.
Absalom’s hair style was unique in that he only cut it once a year, allowing it to grow quite long - a sign as royalty he was exempt from manual labor. His hair grew fast, weighing over 5 lbs. when cut.
He was a good looking guy with a good looking family – it’s all adding up to an attraction that’s going to work heavily in his favor.
Absalom’s goal was the throne. Being froze out of the palace didn’t advance his plans.
Unless something was done to reacquire his father’s favor, he’d lose his shot, so he took drastic action.
Knowing it was Joab who’d managed to end his exile, he got his attention by using a little arson.
Absalom asked what the point in bringing him back from exile was if there was no reconciliation with his father.
If fellowship wasn’t restored, what difference was it if he was in Syria (Geshur) or Jerusalem?
Joab took this to David who agreed, & father & son patched things up – or so it seemed.
David was sincere in his reconciliation, but Absalom was merely scheming to renew his path to the throne.
C. Absalom’s Rebellion Chs. 15-19
1. Absalom wins the peoples’ heart 15:1-13
What’s this? Well, it’s an entourage. Absalom wanted everyone to know he’d been reconciled to his dad & welcomed into the role of heir-apparent.
This entourage was the beginning of a political machine he’d now use to build his own support base.
This was slick! As the crown-prince, Absalom could be expected to assist in helping his father render justice in such cases.
But he did more than help David, he continually pointed out the inefficiency of David’s court & promised when he took the throne things would be dramatically better.
When people came with their issues, Absalom treated them as equals & implying the king was too far removed from the condition of the common people to deal with the real problems they faced.
Absalom was different! He understood them & was their advocate in the midst of a system that no longer cared about them.
But all of this was just affected by him to win their support. He was using them just as he’d used his sister Tamar to get rid of Amnon.
As I mentioned Sunday, there was no vow. Absalom was merely playing on his father’s faith.
Hebron was the regi0nal capital of the South, the place where David had reigned before becoming king over all Israel.
It would make the perfect place for starting a coup, which is precisely what Absalom intended.
A lot of time & planning went in to this – 4 years worth.
Israel had by this time installed a communications system through the use of ram’s horn trumpets. It was probably David who’d invented it, stationing people in every city, village, and town who had the job of passing along information via a code.
One of the most important codes was the message the throne had passed to a new king.
Absalom had corrupted the system and turned it into one more part of his coup.
These were court officials & influential types who thought they were merely being honored by the crown prince in this invitation to attend his trip to Hebron.
They had no idea what Absalom had planned.
On his part, Absalom wanted to gut David’s court of as many supporters as possible so when the coup started, he’d despair and surrender, thinking all these guys had sided with Absalom.
Among the 200, those who refused to go along with the coup would find themselves badly outnumbered & easily killed.
Of course that would convince the rest the smart thing was to back Absalom.
We considered Ahithophel’s part in the rebellion Sunday.
Notice Absalom staged this coup while offering sacrifices.
The author words v. 12 in such a way as to make his hypocrisy clear. Though he was in flagrant rebellion against God, he still went through the motions of religion.
The lesson is obvious – being religious has nothing to do with being righteous.
You can be both religious & wrong. Absalom was.
2. David flees Jerusalem 15:14-16:14
As they came to the wall of the city, David stopped & let all those sticking with him go first.
As the king, he wanted to be the very last to leave & would stand as their rear-guard.
The people who stuck with him were the people who’d been with him form the beginning, his mighty men & even those Philistines who’d defected to his side long before he became king.
Those who remain loyal when the chips are down are usually those who were loyal before you became a success, and so it was for David.
As we saw in an earlier study, the Cherethites & Pelethites were foreigners who’d aligned with David & become his personal body-guard.
They’d not been interested in Absalom’s coup because they weren’t interested in power.
They had only one aim & that was to be loyal to David.
We’ll take a closer look at this Sunday.
Both Zadok & Abiathar were serving as lead priests at this time. They knew David was God’s anointed & supported him. When he fled Jerusalem, they made to go with him & took the ark with them.
David was touched by their devotion, but would not allow it.
He knew what he was going through was the result of his earlier sins & would make no claim on special protection from God.
He knew the best way to deal with things was to humbly submit to the Lord’s discipline.
So he sent the ark back, saying if it was God’s will, he’d be back. If not, he wouldn’t.
Knowing Zadok was a prophet as well as a priest, he encouraged him to take his direction from the Lord & not to assume anything.
If they believed God’s call & anointing was still on him as king & Absalom’s rebellion was wrong, then they could show their support by keeping David informed of what was going on in the capital.
David’s weeping on the Mt. of Olives as he fled foreshadows the Son of David weeping in the same place as He looked out over Jerusalem.
David fled & wept because the nation had rejected him.
The Son of David wept for the same reason; but He didn’t flee, He went TO Jerusalem were in their rejection, they crucified him.
Absalom’s supporters said of David – “We will not have this man rule over us.”
The Jewish leaders of Jesus day said of David’s later Son the very same thing.
David knew Ahithophel’s skill as an advisor & was deeply troubled to hear he’d sided with Absalom.
There was little chance in David’s survival with guys like Ahithophel backing the rebellion.
So David asked God to disarm his counsel.
I’m sure this one time close friend’s betrayal moved David to think back to his betrayal of Uriah, another close & loyal friend he’d betrayed.
It foreshadows Judas’ betrayal of the son of David, who came to Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, right there on the side of the Mt. of Olives to betray Him with a kiss.
Even though David is in extreme distress & in the middle of major trial, he worships God!
There’s an important lesson & great example in that for us.
Hushai was another of David’s advisors. David asked him to stay in Jerusalem to counter whatever advice Ahithophel gave.
Any info Hushai could dig up that would help David would be sent out through the priest’s covert message system.
Not long after David became king, he made an official inquiry after survivors of his friend Jonathan, Saul’s son, so he could honor the vow he’d made to protect his descendants.
This guy Ziba had been the chief steward of Saul’s property and was brought to David to help in the inquest.
Ziba said the only son of Jonathan’s he knew about was a disabled young man named Mephibosheth.
David then gave Mephibosheth all that had belonged to his grandfather Saul. He assigned Ziba to continue on in his role as chief manger of the property while Mephibosheth would live with David in the palace and be a perpetual guest at his table.
As David is now fleeing, Ziba comes to meet him with provisions, which were badly needed.
When David looked around to thank Mephibosheth, he realized he wasn’t with them and asked Ziba where he was.
Ziba said his master was still back in Jerusalem, saying that Absalom’s rebellion would be the means by which he could regain the kingdom. How he thought that would happen isn’t made clear.
And that should have been a huge clue to David something was fishy with Ziba’s story. As we’ll see later, Ziba was making this up – Mephibosheth hadn’t fled with David because he was lame & knew he’d slow him down.
So he’d stayed behind in Jerusalem, knowing Absalom might very well kill him as a potential threat to the throne.
Ziba said this for precisely this reason, to make a grab for Saul’s estate. He didn’t want to be a manager anymore, working for someone else. He was greedy and wanted it for himself.
David’s error was in passing judgment without hearing the whole matter & both sides.
This is something anyone in leadership & who’s called on to render judgment needs to keep in mind – to not be hasty in decisions, but to wait and get both sides, investigating the truth of what someone says.
It was easy for David to assume the worse about Mephibosheth when his own son was rebelling against him.
Shimei was a relative of Saul’s who saw David’s distress as an opp to express how he felt about him, which was really bad.
He threw stones & profane insults at the king. Even when David’s bodyguard surrounded the guy, he continued to his abuse.
Shimei blamed David for what had happened to Saul & his sons, which was simply idiotic.
But there was no r4easoning with this guys – we wanted to believe what he was sayng & wouldn’t be talked out of it.
He called David a butcher & worthless who was only getting paid back for what he’d done to Saul.
We don’t know where Shimei got his information form, but he obviously was wrong. David had done nothing to Saul or his sons. On the contrary, he’d NOT killed him when he had the chance, twice!
Abishai was Joab’s brother & one of David’s chief officers.
He was itching for action in the face of the humiliation of having to run away from a fight & saw in Shimei someone to vent on.
But David rebuked him & said Shimei’s abuse may very well be part of the discipline David had to endure for his previous sins with Bathsheba & Uriah.
If he were to resist & shut Shimei up, then it would only prolong the agony for God would find some other means to discipline him.
If Shimei wasn’t part of God’s discipline & was just mouthing off, then God would use that as the means to return and reward David.
David had come to the place of such complete trust in God. he would not resist the circumstances.
If they were part of God’s plan, then it was best to go along with them.
If not, then as David submitted to them anyway, God would come to his aid & rescue him, rewarding his faith.
This guy was a pest. As we’ll see later, Shimei wasn’t part of God’s discipline of David.
But he becomes a fitting picture of the role the enemy plays in trying to condemn while God is at work to correct us.
While Shimei wasn’t part of God’s discipline, Absalom’s rebellion & David’s flight from Jerusalem were.
God was using all this adversity to weed the sins of lust, impatience, betrayal, & corruption out of David.
Every step eastward was another reminder of the foolishness of sin & David was quickly becoming Valedictorian of the Class of 948 BC of UGD = University of God’s Discipline.
But at the same time God was doing His good work of shaping David into a righteous man, the devil was running alongside in the person of Shimei trying to confuse David & thwart the work of God.
How? – Well, David knew Shimei’s charges were false.
It would be easy for him to grow indignant & defend himself.
But once he started down that road, how easy it would be for him to begin resisting the legitimate work the Spirit was doing in him through God’s discipline.
Just as Shimei threw stones & hurled dust into the air, the enemy tries to confuse, condemn, & discourage us by throwing lies at us.
If he can get us busy dodging stones & waving dust away, he knows we may also turn away form the legitimate work of the Spirit.
David provides a good model for how to deal with the Shimei’s of life – ignore them!
If they’re really from God you don’t want to resist them, & if they aren’t then in the long runs there’s really nothing they can do. By reacting to them you only empower them.
With the supplies Ziba brought.