What a Mess!


Thoughts About What We’re Reading…


2 Samuel 13-18 is a sad tale of a dysfunctional family and the consequences of sin.

In these chapters we learn that seemingly small sins of omission can spawn large sins of commission.

David had a son named Absalom, described in scripture as handsome in every way, with beautiful long hair – foreshadow of things to come.

Absalom also had a beautiful sister named Tamar who was violated by another brother from another mother – Amnon.

Deuteronomy 22 and Leviticus 20 are very clear on the penalty for Amnon’s action, yet David did nothing when he learned what happened – perhaps because Amnon was his first born.

Absalom is angry at the violation of his sister and exacts revenge on Amnon a couple of years later by arranging for his murder.

Absalom’s actions force him into exile with his maternal grandfather for three years.

David is heartbroken and longs for his exiled son, which is evident to all, but no one knows how to achieve Absalom’s return and reconciliation.

Through an elaborate hoax, Joab – David’s commander-in-arms, arranges for the return of Absalom, and David agrees to his return but will not see him personally or let him visit the palace.

After two more years of estrangement from his father, Absalom is desperate for attention and after trying to get Joab’s attention to no avail, he sets fire to Joab’s barley field. This gets Joab’s attention!

Joab intervenes with the king and they are reunited. But as subsequent events demonstrate, David’s long-delayed acceptance of his son came too late.

Absalom was embittered and resolved to do whatever was necessary to make David pay for his obstinacy.

Absalom’s first move to achieve his purposes of revenge was to make himself conveniently available by the city gate to hear the complaints of the citizens.

Over time, Absalom gains the support of the people.

When the time is ripe for revolution, Absalom leads a coup, forcing David to flee the city, leaving behind ten concubines.

David’s forced flight from Jerusalem not only put his own kingship in jeopardy, but it also opened the door to further contention for the throne between the dynasties of Saul and David. Another foreshadow of things to come in the Book of Kings.

Absalom marches into the city and lies with David’s ten concubines on the roof of the palace for all to see – further consequences from David’s sin with Bathsheba, 2 Samuel 12:11.

Absalom seeks to kill David but is finally defeated and killed by Joab after getting his hair – head, stuck in an oak tree. So ends the story of Absalom.

All in all, it’s a messy, costly business—events set in motion by sin always are.

Carelessness in the palace has landed David in the wilderness again!

Saul’s death brought his wilderness years to a close the first time.

This time, it is the death of his own son – Absalom.

Through it all, God preserves David, and restores him to his throne.

We are reminded that sin is never trivial, and grace is never cheap.

But God never leaves or forsakes those who are truly his.

Until next time… keep reading!


Excerpts for this blog were taken directly from: Gospel Transformation Bible Notes and The Bible Knowledge Commentary.

One thought on “What a Mess!

  1. Thank you Jim. This was very helpful

    Sent from my iPad

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