David’s sin with Bathsheba was not something that God took lightly. When the prophet Nathan came in to give that parable, at the conclusion, this was David reply to Nathan regarding the situation.
2 Samuel 12:6
And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
- Unknowingly, David was passing the sentence upon himself. He was going to pay back fourfold, four times what he had done to Uriah.
- The first had already been paid. It was the baby that had been conceived by David and Bathsheba.
- 2 Samuel 12:15-19
15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. 16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. 17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. 18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? 19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
- This innocent baby would perish because of David’s sin. Yes friends, as parents and leaders, we have great influence over the lives of others. What we do affects others.
- However, remember this was only the first.
Let’s keep reading in the next chapter.
- 2 Samuel 13:1-2
1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her. 2 And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.
- This is drama at its extreme level. Amnon fell in love with his sister Tamar. He was love-sick for her and couldn’t stop thinking about her.
- Eventually he hatched a plan. He would pretend to be sick and she would come in to take care of him. Look at what happened.
- 2 Samuel 13:8-11, 14
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes. 9 And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him. 10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. 11 And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister. 14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.
- He would force her to sleep with him. Basically, he raped her, his very own sister.
Eventually the news would spread and Absalom, Tamar’s brother would discover what happened.
- 2 Samuel 13:20-22
20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. 21 But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth. 22 And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.
- He hated Amnon in his heart for what he had done to his sister. And he would lay a plan and would wait for the right moment to revenge his sister.
- He would wait for two whole years to pass before he would have the opportunity to do so (2 Samuel 13:23).
- To make matters worse, his father, David did not do anything about it. He himself had just committed adultery and so the guilt he felt in his heart held him back from bringing justice to Tamar.
- The law actually called for the sentence of death on the adulterer. And even more so that it was done by her very own brother – a crime of incest.
So Absalom took the law into his own hands.
- 2 Samuel 13:28-29
28 Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant. 29 And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.
- He would make a feast for everyone and invite Amnon as well. Absalom would instruct his servants to carry out his wicked plan to kill Amnon.
- This would be the second death in the family of David which David would pay back because of his sin with Bathsheba. His own judgment was coming to fruition. It was the second but not the last. There would be two more to go.
News would eventually reach back to king David. First he thought that all his sons were slain but eventually the dust settled and it was clear that it was just Amnon that was killed. But what would Absalom do?
- 2 Samuel 13:37-38
37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. 38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.
- Absalom would flee. He was scared for his life. If adultery called for the life of the offender, how much more would murder cost? Absalom knew he deserved death, so he ran.
- Two wrongs don’t make a right. But David must have known that he should have done something as king. He was being neglectful as the ruler of the kingdom and as well as father to his children. He was watching this terrible scene unfold before his very eyes.
- He would mourn every day for his son. Yet he was paralyzed with fear and guilt. He must have known that God was punishing him for his sin. His sin was ever before him.
Friends, that is what guilt does to us. When we carry guilt and shame around with us, it stops us from being the man and woman God intends us to be. It hedges up the way for us from doing right. When we see the same sin in others, we can’t bring ourselves to execute justice because we, ourselves, were in that same position.
But God had kept David in that position of authority and it should have been enough of a sign for him to see that God had pardoned him and that he should have been true to his trust. Yet Absalom would be gone for three years, exiled from the presence of his father and from the kingdom.
- 2 Samuel 13:39
And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.
- Even though David longed to go forth to Absalom, he didn’t go. He was being neglectful as father and king.
Because of David’s neglect, God would permit events to take their natural course and did not restrain Absalom.
- First, Joab, David’s chief of the army, would be instrumental in bringing Absalom back to try and bring reconciliation between the two. Joab would send a woman to David who represented herself as a widow who had two sons. And through that story, she would turn it around and ask for reconciliation between him and Absalom. She was successful.
- 2 Samuel 14:21
And the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring the young man Absalom again.
- So Absalom returns to the kingdom. However, not everything is fully reconciled.
- 2 Samuel 14:24
And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king’s face.
- Though he had returned, David did not want to see him. Was this a form of punishment on Absalom? It seemed that way. But it would not work out in David’s favour as we will see later.
- 2 Samuel 14:28
So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king’s face.
- This would continue for two years. Five years total would pass without Absalom seeing his father’s face. Even Joab would not come to see him until he set his field on fire. Then finally Absalom would get the attention of both Joab and king David.
However, Absalom was not done yet.
- 2 Samuel 15:1-6
1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 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. 3 And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. 4 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! 5 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. 6 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.
- Absalom began to steal the hearts of the people. Every grievance that people had, he stood before the people to listen to them. And one by one, people began to trust more in Absalom than in David.
- There was only one thing left for Absalom to do.
- 2 Samuel 15:10-12
10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron. 11 And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing. 12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.
- He was trying to become king in his father’s stead, and he wasn’t alone. Ahithophel was also with him. He was one of David’s counsellors and one of the wisest political leaders. This is what we read of him.
- 2 Samuel 16:23
And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.
- People really respected Ahithophel and took great heed of his counsel and advice.
- 2 Samuel 16:23
- However, upon hearing of this conspiracy to take the throne, how does David react?
- 2 Samuel 15:14
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.
- He gets up to flee from the city as he doesn’t want to bring war on the city. His mighty men go with him as well. The priests get up to bring the Ark of the Covenant as well, but David stops them and asks them to go back into the city. If God would be merciful to him, He would bring him back to the city again.
Why does it seem that Ahithophel would join this conspiracy against David, the king that he would pledge to be loyal to? How come he would defect to the side of Absalom, David’s son? What do we know about Ahithophel?
- 2 Samuel 23:34
Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.
- Notice that Ahithophel’s son is Eliam.
- 2 Samuel 11:3
And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
- Who is the daughter of Eliam? It was Bathsheba.
- Ahithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba.
- He was exacting revenge on David for bringing shame into his family for the wrong that he did to Bathsheba. He had been biding his time and this was the time he best saw fit to take action against David.
By and by, Absalom comes to ask counsel of Ahithophel on what he should do.
- 2 Samuel 17:1-4
1 Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: 2 And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only: 3 And I will bring back all the people unto thee: the man whom thou seekest is as if all returned: so all the people shall be in peace. 4 And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.
- Ahithophel would counsel Absalom to strike while the iron was hot, while David was weak and taken by surprise.
- However, Absalom would take counsel also with Hushai who was under cover for David to try to change the counsel of Ahithophel and to also warn David.
- He would give counsel opposite to what Ahithophel would say to try and give David more time to escape and prepare for war.
- 2 Samuel 17:7-8
7 And Hushai said unto Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time. 8 For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.
- Moreover, he would give counsel that would appeal to the pride of Absalom.
- 2 Samuel 17:11-14
11 Therefore I counsel that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go to battle in thine own person. 12 So shall we come upon him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the dew falleth on the ground: and of him and of all the men that are with him there shall not be left so much as one. 13 Moreover, if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one small stone found there. 14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.
- However, there was one that was not deceived. It was Ahithophel. He could see that the intents and purposes of Hushai was in favour of David. But to go against it was too late as it was to go against the decision of Absalom.
- Ahithophel might have been wicked, but he was not stupid. When he saw Absalom choose Hushai’s counsel, what did he do next?
- 2 Samuel 17:23
And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.
- He knew that when Absalom chose to follow the counsel of Hushai, that David would come out victorious. David would have more time to prepare. David also had all the seasoned soldiers with him as well. Defeat for Absalom was inevitable.
- So before he could be punished for treason, he decided to take the matter into his own hands and take his own life.
So Absalom would follow Hushai’s counsel and prepare all Israel for war against David. What would be the result?
- 2 Samuel 18:6-8
6 So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim; 7 Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men. 8 For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
- The armies of Israel under the command of Absalom would suffer a terrible defeat. They were untrained and unready for war. They stood no chance against the mighty men and well-oiled machine of David’s troops.
- 2 Samuel 18:14
Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.
- Not only that, but Absalom would also perish in battle.
Upon hearing of the death of his son, how would David react?
- 2 Samuel 18:33
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!
- He would weep for his son who just a few moments before that was seeking his life. But the life of his son was more dear to him than his own life.
- David cared so much for his son that the celebration they should have had for the victory that his soldiers had won for him that day was replaced with mourning instead.
- Joab, his commander, could not stand to see what was taking place and so came in and reprimanded David.
- 2 Samuel 19:5-7
5 And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines; 6 In that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well. 7 Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.
- If it were not for Joab to come in and speak so directly with David, there would have arisen another rebellion much worse than that plotted by his own son Absalom.
Finally, peace came back on the kingdom of Israel. David was reinstated as king over all the tribes, but not before losing his own son, Absalom, in battle. This was the third strike of the fourfold prophecy that he had pronounced on himself because of his sin with Bathsheba. God was not going to allow the consequences of his sin to be removed. He would eventually pay four-fold, the fourth of which we still look at in the next study.
God is not a man that He should be trifled with. He will be true to His word. Though God forgave David’s sin, the consequences of that sin still followed him and lingered over his head throughout the remaining years of his rulership. One act of passion, one act of indiscretion, made him to pay back throughout his lifetime.
Let us be careful with the decisions that we make. Truly, we reap what we sow. One unwise act may change the whole course of our lives. May God give us wisdom, courage and strength to always follow through with that which is right, and also to be able to resist that which is wrong.