David the Ousted King

Second Samuel 15:1 to 19:8

The pathos-filled narrative of David and his family reaches its dramatic center in this extended story concerning Absalom’s rebellion. This section is a series of loosely related encounters, each of whom draws us more powerfully into the terrible drama of ruthless power and ambivalent love. In most cases the speeches and words are more important than the actions. They invite us to “listen in” while we witness Absalom, like a moth attracted to a flame that will cause its death, Absalom will end up at the point of Joab’s javelin, his ultimate death and destruction being self-inflicted.380

One of the saddest episodes of the whole Bible is the story of David’s flight from Absalom. Perhaps the most pathetic thing of all was that deep down in his heart David was probably conscious that he deserved what he got. Self-inflicted wounds are the deepest of all. As we have seen before (see Dd – Nathan Rebukes David), this was the discipline of Ha’Shem because of his great sin with Bathsheba. He was being put through the fire, through the testing, by the hand of a loving God.

His attitude at that moment was surely one that honored YHVH. His heart-filled cry is found in Psalm 62. King David, rejected by his people, was going out into the loneliness and barrenness of exile. His son and many of his relatives and friends, who had hailed, “Hosanna, welcome to the king!” were now in revolt against him. Even under those trying circumstances, David would say: Yes, my soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge (Psalm 62:5-7).381

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