Journey Through The Scriptures

David, Part III

Lesson 3: Absalom’s Rebellion

(Scripture to Read: 2 Samuel 15:1–17:23)

It seems evident that Absalom’s years of banishment from David, first at Geshur and then in Jerusalem, allowed his resentment to build and turn into bitterness and rebellion against his father. This may have played some part in Absalom’s revolt, but he was also a proud, headstrong, and perhaps quick-tempered man. Whatever the case, Absalom’s plot was obviously well thought out. He spent time using his charm and good looks to win the people’s loyalty, and then he chose the important city of Hebron, twenty miles south of Jerusalem, to declare himself as the new king. This was the very place where David had begun his rule (2 Samuel 2:1–4).

Once word reached Jerusalem that Absalom had proclaimed himself king, David made preparations to flee Jerusalem. He had no heart to fight Absalom, and wanted to spare the holy city the devastation of war. David and his followers left Jerusalem toward the Mount of Olives to cross the Jordan River, out of Absalom’s reach for the moment. The remainder of this study clearly shows where various people’s loyalties lay, either with David or Absalom.

Study Questions

  1. Since Hebron was in the territory of Judah, David’s own tribe, what effect was Absalom trying to achieve by declaring himself king at Hebron?
  2. Why did David tell the priests to take the Ark of the Covenant back to the Temple in Jerusalem (15:2425)?
  3. Why did Shimei curse David so bitterly?
  4. Why did Absalom’s counselor Ahithophel take his own life after his advice was rejected (17:23)?

Something to Think About

Loyalty is a wonderful quality, whether for a king’s servant or for us in our everyday lives. The Scripture says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). Let this be our motto for friendship!