2 Samuel 15–18: Absalom Seeks to Be King

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 103


The last verses of 2 Samuel 14 tell how Absalom was lovingly received by his father, David, in Jerusalem. Chapter 15 of 2 Samuel tells how Absalom went about getting the people’s support to overthrow David as king. When David heard that Absalom gained favor among the people, he saw the events as a punishment from God for things he had done. He left Jerusalem in the attitude of humility, hoping the Lord would be merciful to him.The story of Absalom’s attempt to set himself up as the new king is told in 2 Samuel 16–17. He received some of David’s counselors and servants who hoped to gain political favor. One of them encouraged Absalom to sleep with his father’s concubines as a symbol that he was now the king. This fulfilled one of Nathan’s prophecies (see 2 Samuel 12:11–12).Finally, Absalom was encouraged to go out and fight David and David’s men. The story of how Joab found and killed Absalom is in 2 Samuel 18. David wept when he heard the news. Perhaps one of the reasons David wept was that he saw his own sins reflected in the lives of his children.