Turned A Nation Against King David (Part 2)
Absalom murdered his
half brother for the rape of his sister Tamar. He fled Israel.
Returning after 3 years, he waited 2 more to see his father in what
appears to be reconciliation. Soon
after, however, Absalom began his plot to take over the kingdom from
his father King David by a cunning plan of amassing political and
Though David’s sin
allowed the “sword” to enter his household, the methods Absalom
used to manipulate a population are worth studying.
Jesus said before his
crucifixion that the prince of this world is coming and he has no
hold on me. John
Absalom began to manipulate the population of Israel, there were
many worldly holds for him to exploit, ripe & ready to be
We are attracted to
beauty. If someone has
the look, they start off with favorable ratings, having done nothing
more than to appear.
In all Israel there was
not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom.
From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no
blemish in him 2 Sam. 14:25
A SHOW OF POWER
We (fallen humans) are
attracted to confidence and displays of power.
Now it came about
after this that Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses
and fifty men as runners before him.
2 Sam 15:1
We love people who seem
to validate our claims of justice and victim-hood.
Absalom used to rise
early and stand beside the way to the gate; and when any man had a
suit to come to the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and
say, "From what city are you?" And he would say,
"Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel." Then
Absalom would say to him, "See, your claims are good and right,
but no man listens to you on the part of the king."
2 Sam. 15:2,3
Absalom was shamelessly
‘using’ the suffering within others for his own purposes,
implicitly promising relief “if only he had the power”.
Moreover, Absalom would
say, " Oh that one would appoint me judge in the land, then
every man who has any suit or cause could come to me and I would
give him justice." 2 Sam 15:4
We like people who
compliment and build us up, and there is nothing wrong with giving
honor to whom honor is due, but Absalom became an over the top
And when a man came
near to prostrate himself before him, he would put out his hand and
take hold of him and kiss him. 2 Sam 15:5
OF SOCIAL JUSTICE
Absalom exploited a void
of justice left by David, who was absent, and not providing any
leadership to deal with the civil concerns of his people.
In this manner Absalom
dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom
stole away the hearts of the men of Israel.
Absalom did anything but
‘go in peace’. Like
the Pharisees, he put on a religious show to impress others.
Perhaps he was trying to out-righteous his father.
Now it came about at
the end of forty years that Absalom said to the king, "Please
let me go and pay my vow which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron.
"For your servant vowed a vow while I was living at Geshur in
Aram, saying, ' If the LORD shall indeed bring me back to Jerusalem,
then I will serve the LORD.'" The king said to him, "Go in
peace." So he arose and went to Hebron.
1 Sam 15:7-9
Absalom used the fear of
man to persuade others to go along.
He created a sudden sense of finality about seizing power by
making noise and hiring bold persuasive loud mouths to proclaim the
seizing of power in the past tense.
Then Absalom sent
secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, "As
soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, 'Absalom is
king in Hebron.' " 2
In our fallen world,
numbers bring credibility to any endeavor; it is a strong temptation
to judge God’s approval based on how many others are present.
Of course many people can be deceived, and God save by many
or by few. The amount
of people involved in anything means only that those people are
there. It is never
proof of the justness of any cause.
Then two hundred men
went with Absalom from Jerusalem, who were invited and went
innocently, and they did not know anything.
Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from
his city Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the
conspiracy was strong, for the people increased continually with
Absalom. 1 Sam 15:12
While Absalom was showing off his piety, he called for the man who
was closest to King David, his trusted and wise counselor Ahithophel.
This was decisive since the reputation of Ahithophel was
Now in those days the
advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God.
That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel's
advice. 2 Sam 16:23
But if Ahithophel was so
wise, why did he join Absalom’s rebellion?
Perhaps his wisdom was clouded by deep & bitter
resentments, privately held against the man of God he served.
Perhaps Ahithophel could not keep his own heart clean but
bore a secret rage. Compare
2 Sam 11:3 & 2 Sam23:34 for one possible source of abiding
In the end however, the
first cause of this rebellion was David’s sin, which brought a
sword into his household 2
Sam 12:10,11 Yet, David
was repentant (Psalm 51) and the call of God remained upon
his life. The Messiah Jesus will still sit upon the throne of David.
God did not abandon him but redeemed the sin of David and
used it to show the power of his forgiveness.
Absalom was overthrown,
his plot was destroyed, and he died in disgrace.
When an Absalom is
stirring up strife and manipulating the unfinished business in the
hearts of people, it is our own responsibility to guard our hearts
with all diligence and not be taken in by shameless exploitation of
worldly desires. It is
also our responsibility to hold our leaders accountable.
Many might not confront a gifted leader for fear of being an
Absalom. None of us
need be an Absalom by stirring up strife in secret. None of us need
be manipulated by an Absalom, listening to divisiveness in secret.
It is our responsibility
to walk in the light, to confront in the light, and to also cleanse
our hearts of bitter resentments by walking in forgiveness.
Church splits happen.
But we don’t have to be a part of it.