2 Samuel 13:23-39
23 Two years later, Absalom invited all the king’s sons to come to Baal Hazor. It was near the border of Ephraim. The workers who clipped the wool off Absalom’s sheep were there. 24 Absalom went to the king. He said, “I’ve had my workers come to clip the wool. Will you and your attendants please join me?” 25 “No, my son,” the king replied. “All of us shouldn’t go. It would be too much trouble for you.” Although Absalom begged him, the king still refused to go. But he gave Absalom his blessing. 26 Then Absalom said, “If you won’t come, please let my brother Amnon come with us.” The king asked him, “Why should he go with you?” 27 But Absalom begged him. So the king sent Amnon with him. He also sent the rest of his sons. 28 Absalom ordered his men, “Listen! When Amnon has had too much wine to drink, I’ll say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down.’ When I do, kill him. Don’t be afraid. I’ve given you an order, haven’t I? Be strong and brave.” 29 So Absalom’s men killed Amnon, just as Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got on their mules and rode away. 30 While they were on their way, a report came to David. It said, “Absalom has struck down all your sons. Not one of them is left alive.” 31 The king stood up and tore his clothes. Then he lay down on the ground. All his attendants stood near him. They had also torn their clothes. 32 Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah, spoke up. He said, “You shouldn’t think that all the princes have been killed. The only one who is dead is Amnon. Absalom had planned to kill him ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar. 33 You are my king and master. You shouldn’t be concerned about this report. It’s not true that all your sons are dead. The only one who is dead is Amnon.” 34 While all of that was taking place, Absalom ran away. The man on guard duty at Jerusalem looked up. He saw many people coming on the road west of him. They were coming down the side of the hill. He went and spoke to the king. He said, “I see men coming down the road from Horonaim. They are coming down the side of the hill.” 35 Jonadab said to the king, “See, your sons are coming. It has happened just as I said it would.” 36 As he finished speaking, the king’s sons came in. They were weeping out loud. The king and all his attendants were also weeping very bitterly. 37 When Absalom ran away, he went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud. Talmai was king of Geshur. King David mourned many days for his son Amnon. 38 So Absalom ran away and went to Geshur. He stayed there for three years. 39 After some time the king got over his sorrow because of Amnon’s death. Then King David longed to go to Absalom.
“…The king asked him, ‘Why should he go with you?’ But Absalom urged him, so he sent with him Amnon and the rest of the king’s sons.”
It would seem to me that David’s love for his son Absalom blinded him to the plotting and dangerous intentions Absalom kept hidden. It is no easy task to discern true and false motives with someone so close to you as a family member, a loved son. But if David had been more discerning, perhaps he could have thwarted this plot.
The lessons I learn from this episode in the life of King David is – the human heart can be blindsided, especially the closer someone is to you. As a result, I need to walk closely with God who knows the motives of all, and be prepared to push for answers to my questions, especially if I am uncomfortable or unsettled by what is being planned.
I know I am called to love people – this is part of the greatest commandment. I most certainly want to love those closest to me. But I don’t want to be blind to poor decisions made with unhealthy motives. As such, I need the help, wisdom, and discernment of God and His Spirit and the courage to ask the hard questions if and when I feel they are needed.
Lord, I refuse to live in suspicion towards the people around me, but neither to do I want to be fooled. Lord, only you know all hearts, and have all wisdom. You alone can really show me the truth and best course of action in these complex moments. Lord, lead me in a walk that is close to you and courageous in asking the hard questions of people when needed.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh