Because Absalom coveted and temporarily usurped the kingdom, David and the faithful subjects were forced to flee Jerusalem.

A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son:

LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah (Psa. 3).


As Absalom was growing up, he must have been a delight to both his father and his mother. The scriptures say he had physical beauty and personal charisma far beyond anyone else in the kingdom.

But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year’s end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king’s weight (2 Sam. 14:25-26).

His mother was Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur (2 Sam 3:3). What a delight it would be for any parent to envision the potential of such a child as Absalom. However, it appears that Absalom allowed himself to become proud of his ability or his appearance and that pride eventually destroyed him.

The first glimpse we have of Absalom is when he seeks vengeance for the defilement and rejection of his beautiful sister Tamar (2 Sam. 13:1-39). Another son of David had fallen in love with Tamar and longed for her so much that an evil friend arranged that he should entice her to commit fornication with him. Tamar was not to be enticed by such immorality, so Amnon forced her—afterward casting her away with more vehement feelings of hatred than his first passion for her. Her life was ruined because she was no longer a virgin daughter of the king. The Mosaic Law would have provided punishment for her attacker if only Absalom had obeyed the law and let his father and the priests have time to do their work.

The law made clear that what had been done to Tamar was wrong (see Lev. 18:9-11; compare with Lev. 20:17), but what Amnon did was still not punishable by death because Tamar had not been betrothed to anyone. If he had done the right thing according to the law, he could have married her. No doubt King David as well as the whole nation of Israel were waiting to see whether Amnon would repent and marry the virgin whom he had defiled.

But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days (Deut. 22:25-29).

When Amnon thrust her away after committing his evil act, Tamar tore her clothes and put ashes on her head to show her grief. She begged Amnon to cover the shame by making her his wife.

And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee (2 Sam. 13:13).

But Amnon did not do his duty by Tamar, nor did Absalom wait for the law to take its course. He took the law into his own hands and killed his brother. Afterward he fled to the protection of his maternal grandfather for the next three years.

But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years. And the soul of King David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead (2 Sam. 13:37-39).

David’s beautiful son did not follow the law, and thus he became a murderer. Who would ever have dreamed that a beautiful son whom David had loved could cause such grief? No doubt David wept for his soul. Not only would David want to be with this son, but most of all he also would want to see him obey the Heavenly Father in order to save his soul. No doubt David mourned more for the folly Absalom had committed than for his absence.

When our children go astray, nobody in the world grieves as much as we do. Nights and days are consumed with tears and thoughts of despair. There is never as much pain over a lost soul as there is for a son or daughter who goes astray.

The next time we see Absalom, is after Joab tricks David into bringing him back into the kingdom. Joab actually pulled a series of tricks to force David to be reconciled with Absalom whether he had repented or not. And once David had given his word (even though he had been deceived), he did not go back on it. David allowed Absalom to return to Jerusalem, where he was able to carry out his treacherous plans.

And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron. For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD. And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron (2 Sam. 15:1-9).

Finally, the day came when the situation was ripe for Absalom to carry out a coup to take the kingdom away from his father. Even though David had done nothing worthy of such treatment, nor was he an unrighteous king, Absalom obviously despised his father and coveted his position. Perhaps it was envy. Maybe it was pride combined with jealousy, but whatever it was, Absalom was totally wrong to have the loathing for David that he had. Little did he know that God would kill him for his evil against his father.

And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword. And the king’s servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint. And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house (2 Sam 15:13-16).


David mustered his men and sent out three groups to put down the rebellion. David commanded his soldiers not to harm Absalom. He obviously wanted to spare his life so that there could be time for him to repent. David loved Absalom deeply, and his love caused him to accept shame at Absalom’s hand rather than retaliate. David could easily have put down the rebellion by having Absalom killed, but he would rather suffer wrong at his hand than to cause him to lose his soul in death. Finally, when the news of victory was brought to David, the first thing he asked was for the welfare of his traitorous son.

And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is. And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! (2 Sam. 18:32-33).

The death of Absalom was no comfort to David, because he knew that Absalom was not in a right relationship with God. David would far rather have given up his own life and left Absalom to live, because in life there is hope. In Absalom’s death, there was no hope for his repentance.

What does God think of a child who lifts his hand against his father or mother? For further study, read: Lev. 20:9; Deut. 5:16; Deut. 21:18-21; Deut. 27:16. Finally, consider the very plain New Testament teaching on the topic of respect for the parents God has given us.

For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death (Matt. 15:4; Mark 7:10).


Sheba was a traitor, deserving to be punished by death. Complete details of Sheba’s treachery are given in 2 Sam 20, and from that reading we can know that such things were as common then as they are in the world today. Not only do these things happen in governments, but also happen in the church.

After Absalom had failed in his attempt to usurp the throne from David, Sheba must have felt that the “time was ripe” to gather the revolutionaries to himself. He thought to do what Absalom had failed to do. He must have reasoned that David was unfit to rule and that the majority of the people would want a new king, but his reasoning was flawed at best.

However, there was a wise woman of Abel, a city to which Sheba had fled, who saved her people. Joab and the men of David had begun to fight against this town because the people there were harboring a criminal (2 Sam. 20:15). A certain wise woman made an appeal to Joab (2 Sam 20:16-17), which showed good diplomacy as well as loyalty to the kingdom of Israel (2 Sam 20:18-19).

Joab’s reply to her was that their only interest in burning the city and killing its inhabitants was to bring the traitor harbored there to justice (2 Sam 20:20, 21). At that point she promised to throw down Sheba’s head as proof of their loyalty (2 Sam 20:21). Notice what she did in her wisdom, and notice Joab’s response (2 Sam 20:22). Much bloodshed was avoided because this woman was brave enough to stand alone and be counted.

We would do well to follow her behavior in revealing the “traitors” in the church today. There are those who would destroy us from within and who would “take the kingdom” from the people of God. Can we save our “city?” Should we stand idly by while the traitors destroy the people of God?


“Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psa 41:9).“I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he” (John 13:18-19).The name “Judas” inspires no one. The other apostles accepted Judas as their equal for three years, and it appears that none of them suspected his wicked heart and actions. Judas Iscariot masqueraded as one of Jesus’ closest friends. He not only posed as a friend but he pretended to be a faithful and zealous disciple and apostle. Jesus honored him by making him a part of the inner circle of twelve, taking him everywhere He went teaching and healing the people when, in fact, Judas was a thief and a traitor. He stole from the bag of money intended to feed the poor, and he will always be remembered as a traitor of the worst kind.

We gain deeper insight into Judas’ heart in Psalms 109. Peter identified the prophecy as Judas Iscariot: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office” (Acts 1:20). We can easily recognize Judas’ heart as he condemned Mary for anointing Jesus’ body for the burial. The Psalmist declared, “Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart” (Psa 109:16). The Lord further revealed Judas’ heart in that he loved to curse! In fact, the Lord testifies that he “clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment…for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually” (Psa 109:18-19). Like the Pharisees, Judas was a great hypocrite!

Judas easily concealed his true nature from the rest of the disciples for the entire three years. He may have incited the other apostles to have evil thoughts at times (Mark 14:4). Immediately after Jesus rebuked Judas, he went straight to the high priest and volunteered to betray his Master! Solomon warned us that if we rebuke a wicked man, we will get ourselves a blot. A root of bitterness can easily arise and defile many. But what was the cause of Judas’ bitterness? Covetousness! He had 300 pence in mind, and Jesus blocked his greed! Furthermore, Judas stole from God himself, but God said vengeance is mine, I will repay. Jesus sorrowfully noted: “Did not I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil” (John 6:70). I don’t know of even one soul who would want to stand in Judas’ shoes on Judgment Day.

Jesus showed a beautiful attitude toward His self-declared enemy. He knew what Judas was in the very beginning, but said nothing for three years. Only when it was necessary to defend one of God’s children from Judas did He oppose him. To show the apostles that He had the power of God to foretell the future, He warned the apostles about Judas. Only then did He differentiate between Judas and the rest of the apostles: “Ye are clean, but not all,” and “He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me,” (John 13:10, 18), but even then He did not name him. It seemed as if Jesus wished to give Judas every opportunity to repent. Then for the last time, when they sat down to eat, Jesus appealed to him saying, “One of you shall betray me” (Matt 26:21; Mark 14:18; Luke 22:21; John 13:21). And at the end, in answer to His disciples’ questions, He revealed his betrayer, not by name, but by a sign: “He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it” (John 13:26). All of Jesus love seemed to have no effect on Judas. He quickly left the upper room; the opportunity he longed for had come (John 13:30; Matt 26:16). He soon found himself with the high priest, and led the mob to Jesus as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He dared to betray his Master with a kiss! (Matt 26:47-50; Mark 14:43,44; Luke 22:47; John 18:2-5 ).

Somehow Judas suddenly realized the enormity of his sin. Rather than turn to righteousness, he committed still another wicked act. Matthew testified that “… he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matt 27:5). His last act on earth was in keeping with the rest of his life. He began, lived, and died in his wickedness! It seems to be very fitting that the chief priest purchased the potter’s field, and called it “the field of blood.” The prophecy (Zech 11:12-14 ) was fulfilled. The last thing we hear about Judas simply states that he “obtained a field with the reward of his iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out” (Acts 1:16-20 vs. 18).

“The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born” (Mark 14:21).