From Eternity Past


Chapter 72—The Rebellion of Absalom, David's Son

This chapter is based on 2 Samuel 13 to 19.

“He shall restore fourfold,” had been David's unwitting sentence upon himself, on listening to the prophet Nathan's parable. Four of his sons must fall, and the loss of each would be a result of the father's sin. EP 528.1

The shameful crime of Amnon, the firstborn, was permitted by David to pass unpunished. The law pronounced death upon the adulterer, and the unnatural crime of Amnon made him doubly guilty. But David, self-condemned for his own sin, failed to bring the offender to justice. For two years Absalom, the natural protector of the sister so foully wronged, concealed his purpose of revenge, but at a feast the drunken, incestuous Amnon was slain by his brother's command. EP 528.2

The king's sons, returning in alarm to Jerusalem, revealed to their father that Amnon had been slain. And they “lifted up their voice and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore.” But Absalom fled. David had neglected the duty of punishing Amnon, and the Lord permitted events to take their natural course. When parents or rulers neglect the duty of punishing iniquity, a train of circumstances will arise which will punish sin with sin. EP 528.3

It was here that Absalom's alienation from his father began. David, feeling that Absalom's crime demanded punishment, refused him permission to return. Shut out by his exile from the affairs of the kingdom, Absalom gave himself up to dangerous scheming. EP 528.4

At the close of two years Joab determined to effect a reconciliation between father and son. He secured the services of a woman of Tekoah, reputed for wisdom. The woman represented herself to David as a widow whose two sons had been her only comfort and support. In a quarrel one had slain the other, and now the relatives demanded that the survivor be given up to the avenger of blood. And so, said the mother, “will they quench my coal which is left, and will leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the face of the earth.” 2 Samuel 14:7. The king's feelings were touched and he assured the woman of royal protection for her son. EP 528.5

She entreated the king's forbearance, declaring that he had spoken as one at fault, in that he did not fetch home again his banished. “For,” she said, “we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person; yet doth He devise means, that His banished be not expelled from Him.” This tender and touching portrayal of the love of God toward the sinner is a striking evidence of the familiarity of the Israelites with the great truths of redemption. The king could not resist this appeal. The command was given, “Go therefore, bring the young man Absalom again.” EP 529.1