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Absalom rebels against King David

Absalom rebels and gathers an army.
Contributed by Sweet Publishing
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Hindi, Simplified Chinese
(2 Samuel 13 and 14). David had several sons by different wives. Absalom was his third oldest son. David’s oldest son was called Amnon. – Slide 1
Absalom’s mother was the daughter of the King of Geshur. Absalom also had a sister called Tamar. There was big trouble in the family when Amnon raped Tamar. When Absalom found out what had happened to his sister he plotted revenge. – Slide 2
Two years later, Absalom got his servants to get Amnon drunk and then murdered him. King David mourned many days for his son. – Slide 3
Absalom fled to hide in the land of Geshur for the next three years. David, although longing to see Absalom again could not forgive him. Joab, commander of David’s armies tried to resolve the problem by inviting a wise woman to see David. – Slide 4
The woman arrived dressed as a widow in mourning clothes. ‘I had two sons,’ she explained, ‘but they got into a fight and one killed the other. Now everyone is saying hand over the son who murdered so we can put him to death for taking the life of his brother. This son is all I have.’‘Go home and I will issue an order to stop them killing your son,’ said David.The wise woman then said, ‘When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son?’ – Slide 5
David summoned Absalom to come back to Jerusalem and although he would not see him immediately he later sent for Absalom. Absalom arrived and bowed face down before his father who kissed him. – Slide 6
Absalom became very proud. He provided himself with chariot and horses and fifty men to run ahead of him. Everyone praised him for his handsome appearance. Absalom was particularly proud of his hair, which he cut once a year. The weight of the cut hair was 200 shekels (2.2 kg or 5 pounds). – Slide 7
Absalom would sit by the city gate to meet those coming to the king for a judgment. He would say, ‘I can see that you are right in this matter. It is a shame the king doesn’t have anyone to assist him in hearing these cases.’ – Slide 8
‘I wish I were the judge – Slide 9
And when anyone came to bow to him, Absalom wouldn’t let him, but shook his hand instead! So in this way Absalom became very popular with the people of Israel. – Slide 10
After four years of gaining popularity, Absalom plotted to become king instead of his father David. – Slide 11
He went to the King and asked permission to go to Hebron to keep a promise he had made with God to make a sacrifice to Him for bringing him back from Geshur. David gave him permission to go. – Slide 12
Absalom and 200 of his guests went to Hebron. When he got there he sent messengers to every part of Israel to announce, ‘As soon as you hear the trumpets you will know that Absalom has been crowned in Hebron.’ – Slide 13
Men started gathering to support Absalom’s rebellion. Ahithophel, one of David’s trusted counselors, declared his support for Absalom. Absalom and his rebel army started marching towards Jerusalem. – Slide 14
A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell King David, ‘All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!’ David decided to flee the city with his household and 600 loyal troops. – Slide 15
There was deep sadness in the city as the king and his retinue left. David’s head and feet were covered as a sign of mourning and he wept as he walked away. The people with him covered their heads and wept also. – Slide 16
When Absalom arrived in Jerusalem he wondered what to do next. David’s former advisor Ahithophel urged him to pursue David while he was weary and discouraged. However David had left a loyal advisor called Hushai in Jerusalem to give Absalom poor advice. Hushai told Absalom not to pursue David immediately as he was a great fighter and there were mighty warriors with him. Absalom listened to Hushai’s advice and David had time to make his escape. Ahithophel, publically shamed when Absalom didn’t listen to him, returned to his home town and killed himself. – Slide 17
David made it to Mahanaim where people brought him provisions. He organized his army under the command of Joab, Abishai and Ittai. They insisted David did not go into battle with them. Absalom and his troops advanced to find David and battle broke out in the forest of Ephraim. – Slide 18
The battle raged throughout the forest and 20,000 men were killed. During the battle Absalom came across some of David’s troops and fled on a mule. As the mule went beneath the thick boughs of a great oak tree, Absalom’s hair got caught in the branches. His mule went on, leaving him dangling in the air. One of David’s men saw him and told Joab. – Slide 19
Joab asked the man why he had not killed Absalom. ‘We all heard the king say to you and Abishai and Ittai, “For my sake, please don’t harm young Absalom,”’ the soldier replied. ‘Enough of this nonsense,’ Joab replied. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into the heart of Absalom as he dangled from the oak.  – Slide 20
They threw Absalom’s body into a deep pit in the forest and piled a great heap of stones over it. Absalom’s army fled to their homes. – Slide 21
A messenger told David, ‘Blessed be the Lord your God who has destroyed the rebels who dared to stand against you.’ – Slide 22
‘What of young Absalom?’ the king demanded. ‘Is he all right?’‘May all of your enemies be as that young man is!’ the messenger replied. – Slide 23
Then the king burst into tears, and went up to his room wailing, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom. If only I could have died for you! O Absalom, my son, my son.’ As people heard of the king’s deep grief for his son, the joy of victory was turned into deep sadness. David later retuned to Jerusalem to reign as King of Israel once more. – Slide 24
Slide 25