top of page

Why David's son Absalom rebelled against his father?

Who is Absalom?

Absalom's Usurpation is Unreasonable

Why did David do this?

God is Faithful

Story of David

Who is Absalom?

Absalom Is David's third son. He was good looking, and his mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3). Both his parents were royals, and he was born prominent.

In all the land of Israel there was no one so handsome and praised as Absalom. From the soles of the feet to the top of the head, there is no blemish. 2 Samuel 14:25

The future was bright, but Absalom made a big mistake by killing David's eldest son Amnon because Amnon defiled his (Absalom's) own sister Tamar. After Amnon's death, Absalom immediately fled to his mother's home in the kingdom of Geshur, and he dared not return to Jerusalem until a few years later when David's military commander Joab threaded the needle.

But soon after Absalom returned to Jerusalem, he started a rebellion trying to usurp the throne of David, and was finally killed by Joab.

Absalom's Usurpation is Unreasonable

In fact, I have always had doubts about Absalom's motives in usurping his father's throne. Looking at the following facts, I would rather believe that the whole set of usurpation conspiracies was actually David's carefully arranged abdication strategy.

  1. All the Israelites at that time knew that David was God's anointed king. After Absalom killed his eldest brother Amnon, he fled because he didn't even dare to see David's face. Where did he gather the courage to rebel against his father?

  2. Absalom recruited troops only after returning home to see David. If Absalom had any plans to rebel against his father, wouldn't David have noticed it? Why didn't David stop Absalom from building himself up as a leader, knowing very well what he was doing right from the very beginning?

  3. David's army was much stronger than Absalom's. They had fought much bigger enemies like the Philistines, Moabites and Ammonites! Why then did they retreat immediately without a fight when young Absalom entered the city?

  4. When David left his palace, he left ten of his concubines behind. If Absalom defile his ten concubines, these children would become brothers and sisters with David's other children. What would then become of Absalom's seniority in David's family?

  5. At that time, David had already handed over all the battles to his generals. However, he insisted in going to battle against Absalom. Could it be David's attempt to save Absalom's life, knowing very well that other generals might kill him?

  6. Other facts like David warning his generals not to harm Absalom in the battle, and his mourning the loss of his son more than the loss of his throne were not to be mentioned.

Why did David Do This?

Why did David do this? I believe it is because the Lord had already commanded David that Solomon would be his successor at that time, but David did not really want to do this.

Of all my sons—and the LORD has given me many — he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. 1 Chronicles 28:5

David of course wants to give his throne to his more prominent sons instead of Solomon who was the son of his adultery. If he let his handsome and noble son Absalom take the throne, it would not only bury the Bathsheba incident, but also the heroic image of David's line could be preserved. Could this be the reason why the Bible said David missed Absalom, and wanted him back after his flee?

So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead. 2 Samuel 13:38-39

But commandment of the Lord cannot be violated. David's plans failed, and he killed his beloved son Absalom instead.

God is Faithful

God is faithful. He promised Abraham's descendants a land flowing with milk and honey, and He fulfilled His promise. However, because of the people's disobedience, entry into the Promised Land was delayed by forty years. Even more tragic than this, because of the corruption of the kings (beginning from David), the powerful kingdom received from God was torn apart, and the people were enslaved for thousands of years.

We can see from history that for a country to stand firm, good citizens and good rulers are indispensable! Fortunately, in the Lord's New Heaven and Earth, all the people there will be righteous men who have gone through many trials, and the King is our Lord Jesus Christ! The Kingdom of God will surely stand forever!

Story of David

David's characters was full of strength and weaknesses. There are a lot of writings about him in the Bible, which can be used for the sake of learning and discernment in the hereafter. When I have more time in the future, I will write another book to introduce, discuss and analyze David's life in more detail.

bottom of page