The narrative of Absalom is found in the Old Testament. He was loved by his father David and granted lands. Yet he rebelled against his father and ultimately died in battle.
This post will explore Absalom, what led him to rebel against King David, why he eventually lost the battle for Israel, and what you can learn from these narratives about rebellion to avoid making similar mistakes yourself.
Who was Absalom in the Bible?
Absalom was the third son of King David. He never expected to be king due to his illegitimate birth and having older brothers, but he became one of the greatest men in Israel. Absalom’s mother was Maacah (2 Samuel 3:3-4). David loved his sons very much and they became mighty men. Due to their status as David’s sons, they were given high positions in the government.
What happened to Absalom?
Absalom became angry because his sister Tamar was raped by David’s son Amnon (2 Samuel 13). The law was clear about the penalty for such an evil act. (Exodus 22:16-17, Deuteronomy 22:28-29). However, Amnon refuses to marry Tamar after the horrific acts he has done to her (which is what the law prescribed in such an event).
Relevant: Beware Of Following Absalom’s Footsteps
The Bible says that King David was furious (2 Samuel 13:21) but seems to have done nothing to give justice for this evil done in Israel. Absalom on the other hand has been fostering anger and bitterness towards Amnon for nearly two years until one day, he took things into his own hands and avenged the rape of his sister by having Amnon murdered (2 Samuel 13:29-30). This act greatly increased his fame and gave him more influence with the people.
Why did Absalom conspire against David?
From this point, Absalom bitterness towards David became apparent and he begins to manipulate the people of Israel against their king. He constantly undermines David and feels that he should be made king even though his father has done nothing wrong. Because of this complaint by the people, David eventually offers his older son Adonijah the throne after Solomon was born (2 Samuel 5). However, God promises King David through Nathan that “your offspring will sit on Solomon’s throne” (2 Samuel 7). God had other plans for Israel. This caused more resentment in Absalom toward his father because he could not have what he wanted.
Absalom’s rebellion finally comes to fruit in chapter 15 when he rallies Israel with him against David. He even makes a speech to the people proclaiming his intentions of being (a self-proclaimed) king. But God intervenes when one of David’s servants, Hushai, tells him what is coming (2 Samuel 15:31-35).
It seems like Absalom had more pride than character because no matter how many times David forgave Absalom for rebelling, he continued to do so (2 Samuel 13:37).
The Result of Absalom’s Rebellion
Absalom continues to lead Israel against David but eventually loses the battle to his father. He is killed by Joab at the time when he was caught in a tree. This shows another example that pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). He wanted to be greater than his father and led an army, but was defeated.
Though it may seem like Absalom had a right to be angry, we must remember that everything he did was due to pride and bitterness towards his father. Because of these two factors, he lost everything including his life by trying to overthrow his father. There are so many lessons from this narrative but bottom line is – don’t be an Absalom!