THE REBELLION of Absalom comes to a quick and bitter end. The wise counsel of David’s former adviser, Ahitophel, is disregarded, giving David and his loyal forces much-needed time to regroup and rest at Mahanaim, east of the Jordan.
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THE PSALMS in our study this week reflect the mood of David after his sin in sending Uriah the Hittite to his death. We discuss several penitential psalms, including the best-known (Psalm 51).
We then look at the consequences of David’s shortcomings as a father as his eldest son, Amnon, rapes his half-sister, Tamar, the sister of David’s son Absalom. Absalom waits two years and then murders Amnon. After three years of exile in the small Aramean kingdom of Geshur, Absalom returns to Jerusalem, is eventually reconciled to David — and then organizes a rebellion against him.
OUR OLD Testament study this week moves to a new phase of David’s life as he is declared king of Judah. The rest of the tribes, however, elect to follow Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth (called Eshbaal, or “man of Ba’al”, in 1 Chronicles 8:33), who decided that Saul’s headquarters at Gibeah was just a little too close to the territory of Judah, David’s tribe.