Thursday after the Seventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Samuel 15:1-15 (NKJV)
1 After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, “What city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel.” 3 Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you.” 4 Moreover Absalom would say, “Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.” 5 And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. 6 In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
7 Now it came to pass after forty years that Absalom said to the king, “Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the LORD. 8 For your servant took a vow while I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, saying, ‘If the LORD indeed brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.'”
9 And the king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron.
10 Then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom reigns in Hebron!'” 11 And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything. 12 Then Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city—from Giloh—while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number.
13 Now a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.”
14 So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee; or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”
15 And the king’s servants said to the king, “We are your servants, ready to do whatever my lord the king commands.”
Thus says the Lord God of Israel, “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house” (2 Sam.12:10).
Between yesterday’s reading and today’s reading “the sword” struck the House of David. After the incestuous rape of Tamar by her half-brother Amnon, Absalom sees an opportunity to rid himself of the one who stood between him and his father’s throne. Amnon was heir to the throne and Absalom, Tamar’s full-brother, takes revenge and has Amnon killed.
Because he had taken revenge rather that allowing King David to exert his authority, Absalom flees. After time had past, intercession is made on behalf of Absalom. He is allowed to return to his home. However, the stigma of what Absalom had done remained as Absalom was not allowed to see his father, so Absalom coerces a king’s servant to arrange for Absalom to see the king. Absalom bows before David and David kisses him.
Our reading for today picks up at this point. Much like the parable of the prodigal son, Absalom is fully restored in the eyes of the people. However, he immediately begins undermining the authority of his father, King David, which reminds us, “…the sword shall never depart.” Absalom steals the hearts of the people in an attempt to steal the throne of his father, and his plan comes to fruition.
After all that David had done for Absalom, David must now flee for his life having been betrayed by the son he kissed.
We pray: Lord, Your Son was betrayed but did not flee. He went to the cross to pay the price for our sins. Thank You for forgiving our sins for Jesus’ sake. Amen.