ABSALOM’S AND SHIMEI’S REBELLION

[2 Samuel:15:1-17]; [2 Samuel:16:5-14]; [2 Samuel:18:1-33]; [2 Samuel:19:16-23]; [Psalms:3:1-8]

Lesson No.: 
241
Class: 
Senior
Memory Verse: 

“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head”  (Psalm 3:3).

Cross References: 

I Absalom’s Treachery in Winning the People
1. He is an attractive prince, [2 Samuel:14:25-26].
2. He is vain and ambitious in character, [2 Samuel:15:1-4].
3. He is deceitful and unprincipled in conduct, [2 Samuel:15:5-6].

II Absalom’s Plot to Attain the Throne
1. He uses duplicity in his journey to Hebron, [2 Samuel:15:7-9].
2. His plot is laid throughout Israel, [2 Samuel:15:10-12].

III David’s Humiliating Flight from Jerusalem
1. David departs from Jerusalem, [2 Samuel:15:13-17].
2. Shimei curses David, [2 Samuel:16:5-14].

IV The Victory for David; and Absalom’s Death
1. David mobilizes his forces and pleads for Absalom, [2 Samuel:18:1-5].
2. Absalom has a fatal mishap and loses the battle, [2 Samuel:18:6-18].
3. David grieves for Absalom upon news of the victory, [2 Samuel:18:19-33].
4. David shows clemency to Shimei upon his return, [2 Samuel:19:16-23].
5. David trusts in God, [Psalms:3:1-8].

Notes: 

A Handsome Prince
“In all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him” [2 Samuel:14:25]). But the wise brother of Absalom said, “Beauty is vain.”

Men may be swept away by the outward appearance of a person, as the heart of Israel was by Absalom, but “the LORD looketh on the heart” [1 Samuel:16:73]). Beneath the grandeur and pomp of this beautiful prince who rode his ornate chariot down the crowded street while fifty men cleared the way before him, God could see abominable pride. Behind the embellished greeting was the kiss of a Judas. “Oh that I were made judge in the land,” were the words of this office-seeking, hand-shaking vote-stealing politician.

Duplicity
With a deceitful heart and a pretence of paying a vow unto God, this vain prince went to Hebron to wrest the kingdom from his God-chosen and divinely anointed father, David. How easily fooled were the people of Israel! “Ye are like unto whited sepulchres,” said Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees of His day, “which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Such was the condition of this son who murdered his brother and sought to slay his own father. Oh, the vanity of a smooth exterior when we come to stand before the almighty God! “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” said a people once whom God pronounced “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”

Driving down the highway in a luxurious custom-built automobile and clothed in a costly suit of clothes, many a sinner may think that he is doing very well, only to realise too late that his stock in trade will bring him nothing but eternal damnation. A man “clothed in purple and fine linen” awoke one day tormented in the flame of eternal hell. Oh, the folly of seeking the tinsel of this world while neglecting the soul!

The Flight of David
With fair words and flatteries Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. No doubt for years his cunning mind planned the betrayal of his father. David seemed unmindful or blind to the actions of his over¬indulged son. What a contrast between Absalom and David! Absalom, mid the blowing of bugles and fanfare, declared himself king in Hebron. “And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up” [2 Samuel:15:30]).

The priests and Levites bearing the Ark of the covenant of God started out with David’s company, but David said, “Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation: but if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him” [2 Samuel:15:25];[2 Samuel:15:26]). In the affair David seemed to feel that the Lord was punishing him for his past sin. When Nathan the Prophet brought the message of the Lord to David the words were, “Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house” [2 Samuel:12:11]). With humility and resignation David accepted the punishment as from the Lord. How few men there are like David -- willing to take reproof!

Shimei’s Shameful Conduct
As though the grief of losing the kingdom and the betrayal by his favoured son were not enough, Shimei, of the house of Saul, cursed David and cast stones at his company. The brave warriors who were with David would soon have put an end to his maledictions, but David restrained them with, “So let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?” He then added, “Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day” [2 Samuel:16:10-12]).

Could not such humility on the part of David warrant the words of Peter? “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God” [1 Peter:2:19];[1 Peter:2:20]).

The Death of Absalom
After a journey of more than sixty miles from Jerusalem, David organised his defence into three divisions and set captains over thousands, which shows that a sizable army went with him out of Jerusalem. Twenty thousand fell at the hands of David’s servants that day, but the leader of the revolt, Absalom, met with a strange fate. “Absalom rode upon a mule and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.” It has been said that the things of this world, like Absalom’s mule, run away and leave us when we need them most.

David’s Grief
The great love that David had for his rebellious son is shown in his words upon hearing of the death of Absalom: “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” [2 Samuel:18:33]).

Shimei Repents
When the victorious armies of David started the return trip to Je¬rusalem, who should meet them first but Shimei, the man who had cursed the king bitterly. He fell down before David in humble repentance. Although Abishai, one of David’s generals, justly clamoured for the life of Shimei, the king turned to Shimei and said, “Thou shalt not die.”

We are reminded of the mercy of God to those who have sinned against Him all their days until driven by necessity to call upon His name and then to hear Him say, “Thou shalt not die.” Think of that great love of Jesus, who while He was being nailed to the cross cried, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” [Luke:23:34]). Although great was the compassion of David, it could not compare with that of the Son of God who died for His enemies.

Questions: 

1. What were some of the flaws in Absalom’s character?
2. How did Absalom display his vanity?
3. In what way did he use duplicity?
4. Do you think it was necessary for David to flee from Jerusalem?
5. Who was Shimei?
6. Had he any right to say that the blood of the house of Saul was on David?
7. Was there any kinship between Abishai and David?
8. Can you see the hand of God in the death of Absalom?
9. What indication is there of the size of the company that went with David?
10. What points in this lesson bear out the fact that David was a man after God’s own heart?