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The United Kingdom of Israel. Lesson #5: Absaloms' Rebellion II Sm. 15:1-37; 16:1-20; 17:1-29; 18:1-33; 19:1-8 “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

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The United Kingdom of Israel

Lesson #5: Absaloms' Rebellion

II Sm. 15:1-37; 16:1-20; 17:1-29; 18:1-33; 19:1-8

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”(I Corinthians 10:11)

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  • Review David’s losses and struggles.

    • “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.” (II Sm. 12:10-14)

    • We must accept God’s discipline to become stronger (Hb. 12:10-14).

  • REMEMBER:Struggles and losses are not always because of sin (i.e. Job 1-2; Jh. 9).

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  • Absalom physical appearance – “In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him. Whenever he cut the hair of his head—he used to cut his hair from time to time when it became too heavy for him—he would weigh it, and its weight was two hundred shekels by the royal standard” (14:25-26).

  • Absalom’s character – “Absalom said to Joab, "Look, I sent word to you and said, 'Come here so I can send you to the king to ask, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there!" ' Now then, I want to see the king's face, and if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death.” (14:32).

  • Absalom returns to Jerusalem – “Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him…so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (15:1-6).

  • Absalom deceives/betrays David. He rebels and claims the kingdom for his own. Joab kills Absalom. David mourns.

  • Remember: Family trouble was the consequence of one adulterous sin with Bathsheba.

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Discussion Questions

  • How did Absaloms’ conspiracy grow and how did he deceive David (II Sm. 15:7-12)?

    • Deception – “Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the LORD.” (15:7)

    • Allegiance is challenged - “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!’” And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything…And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number.” (15:10-12)

    • Conspiracy was fueled by:

      • Acting as a servant of the people. He pleases the people.

      • Puts David down, and elevates himself as a fair judge.

      • Recruits allies such as Athithopel (15:12; 16:23).

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Discussion Questions

  • Lesson to Learn: Backbiting, slander, and propaganda, whether intentional or not, reveals motives and tactics similar to people who conspire. Watch out for idle "hall talk" and speaking evil of others. (Ep. 4:29-32; Ro. 12:9-21; Ga. 6:1-10; Mt. 6:14-15; Lk. 23:34; Ga. 5:14-15; II Co. 12:20-21; Ro. 1:30; Pr. 10:18; I Tm. 3:11)

    • Our hearts predisposition and bias comes out in our actions (i.e. forgiving and forgetting).

    • Childish ways include anger, malice, bitterness, etc.

    • A lack of love as the root cause of all the problems in the church at Corinth (I Co. 13).

    • Paul’s apostleship was continuously challenged by false teachers.

    • Beware of “hallway conversations” regarding co-workers, bosses, and other people.

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Discussion Questions

  • Why did David flee Jerusalem (II Sm. 15:13-18, 25-29)?

    • Hearts of the people were aligned to Absalom – “Now a messenger came to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” (15:13).

    • Why flight versus fight response?

      • David had no intention to give up the throne as evidenced by leaving his concubines.

      • Divine discipline should not be resisted – “But if He says thus: ‘I have no delight in you,’ here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.” (25-29).

      • City is put in danger due to unfinished walls (Ps. 51:8).

      • David does not want to kill Absalom (II Sm. 13).

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Discussion Questions

  • Describe the commitment of Ittai, the Gittite to David (II Sm. 15:19-23). Compare to Ruth 1:16-17.

    • Old faithful friends from Gath – “all the Gittites, six hundred men who had followed him from Gath” (15:18).

    • Foreigners were not to fight – “Why are you also going with us? Return and remain with the king. For you are a foreigner and also an exile from your own place. In fact, you came only yesterday. Should I make you wander up and down with us today, since I go I know not where? Return, and take your brethren back. Mercy and truth be with you” (15:19-20)

    • Ittai would not leave – “As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be” (15:21; cf. Ruth 1:16-17).

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Discussion Questions

  • Why did Ahithophel defect to Absalom (II Sm. 15:30-37; 11:3; 23:34)? How did David respond to this news (II Sm. 15:31)? Who did David leave in Jerusalem (II Sm. 15:32-37, 16; 16:15-19)?

    • Ahithophel was a wise advisor and respected - “Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. So was all the advice of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom” (16:23).

    • Ahithopel defects – “Then someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” (15:31).

      • WHY? Bathsheba was his granddaughter (11:3; 23:34), and he may have felt the same way as Absalom toward Amnon.

    • David asks God to thwart his council. Hushai is sent back to counter his council – “And David said, “O LORD, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!” ” (15:31)

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Discussion Questions

  • Lesson to Learn:God is our true friend while people may betray our friendships. (II Tm. 4:9-11, 16-18; Hb. 13:5; Ph. 4:10-16; 2:19-30; Pr. 18:24; 27:10; 19:6-7; Jm. 2:23; Mt. 26:14-16; II Tm. 4:10; I Sm. 18:1)

    • Betrayal is a part of life. Judas betrays Jesus.

    • God will NEVER betray His friends (Hb. 13:5). Friends of God betray Him by going back into a life of sin.

    • Examples of true earthly friends: Jonathan/David, Paul/Timothy, etc.

    • True friends provide help and support in time of need.

    • We must “show ourselves to be friendly.”

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Discussion Questions

  • What did Ziba do for David (II Sm. 16:1-4)? How did Mephibosheth react to all these events?

    • Ziba, the former servant of Saul (2 Sm. 9), provided provisions to David (16:1).

    • Mephibosheth’s reaction – “Then the king said, “And where is your master’s son?” And Ziba said to the king, “Indeed he is staying in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me” (16:3).

    • David gives the possessions of Mephibosheth to Ziba and his sons – “So the king said to Ziba, “Here, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” And Ziba said, “I humbly bow before you, that I may find favor in your sight, my lord, O king!” (16:4)

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Discussion Questions

  • How did Shimei treat David (II Sm. 16:5-14)? What did Shimei say to David?

    • Shimei says, “The LORD has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!” (16:5)

    • Shimei mocks David – “And David said to Abishai and all his servants, “See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the LORD has ordered him. It may be that the LORD will look on my affliction, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing this day.” And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust.” (16:11-14).

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Discussion Questions

  • What advise did Ahithophel give Absalom (II Sm. 16:20-23; 17:1-4; 12:9-12)? What advise did Hushai give Absalom (II Sm. 17:5-14)? Which advise did Abaslom select?

    • “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; and all Israel will hear that you are abhorred by your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strong.” So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel” (16:21-22).

    • “Now let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and weak, and make him afraid. And all the people who are with him will flee, and I will strike only the king. Then I will bring back all the people to you. When all return except the man whom you seek, all the people will be at peace” (17:1-3).

    • “So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom” (17:14).

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Discussion Questions

  • How did Hushai warn David about Absaloms’ plan (II Sm. 17:15-22)? What did David do and how was he showed that God was with him (II Sm. 17:23-29)? What happened to Ahithophel?

    • Hushai sent Zadok and Abiathar who use Jonathan and Ahimaaz, but Absalom’s supporters spot them and tell Absalom. They hide and escape (17:5-22).

    • Ahothophel kills himself – “Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey, and arose and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died; and he was buried in his father’s tomb” (17:23).

    • Shobi, Barzilla and Machir join and bring provisions which encourages David (17:27-29).

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Discussion Questions

  • Lesson To Learn:Sin does not pay and often leaves a "trail of tears." We should find comfort in the sovereignty of God who will use difficult times to bring us to greater maturity of our faith and patience. (Ge. 50:20; Ro. 8:28; Jm. 4:7-10; 1:2-7; 5:19-20; II Co. 7:10; Mt. 27:3-10; Ro. 6:23; II Sm. 12:10-14)

    • Our faith is tested by trials - “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (Jm. 1:2-3).

    • We will face adversity (i.e. Job).

    • God can turn evil into good – “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Ge. 50:20).

    • We must submit to the providence of God and trust in His promises.

    • Sin affects the innocent (i.e. adultery and the impact to children).

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Discussion Questions

  • Lesson To Learn:We must choose which king we will serve; the King of Kings or the Prince of this World. (I Sm. 8:7; Josh. 24:14-25; II Co.4:1-6; Ep. 2:1-10; Hb. 11:24-27; I Jh. 2:15-17; Ac. 5:29; 2:36-47; Mt. 4:1-11)

    • God has drawn the line: We must chose between life or death, God or man, godliness or worldliness, faith or doubt, for Him or against Him, righteousness or sin, etc.

    • We must make a choice and decide who we will serve.

      • “…But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Jos. 24:15)

      • “…choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin…” (Hb. 11:24-27)

    • Who will we serve this day?

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Discussion Questions

  • Describe the defeat and death of Absalom (II Sm. 18:1-18)?

    • David army is divided into 3 divisions (18:1-3).

    • Instructions are given to the army leaders – “Now the king had commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains orders concerning Absalom…For in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Beware lest anyone touch the young man Absalom!’” (18:5, 12).

    • 20,000 of Absalom’s army die (18:7).

    • Absalom’s hair gets caught in branches and Joab executes him with 3 spears in the chest (18:14-15).

    • Absalom is buried in a pit – “And they took Absalom and cast him into a large pit in the woods, and laid a very large heap of stones over him. Then all Israel fled, everyone to his tent” (18:17).

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Discussion Questions

  • What good news was reported to the king and how did David respond (II Sm. 18:19-33; 19:1-8). Why did Joab rebuke David?

    • Good news is mentioned four times (18:29-31) - “The king said, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about…And the king said to the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” So the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you to do harm, be like that young man!” (18:29, 32)

    • David grieves and does not want to accept the news – “Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: “O my son Absalom—my son, my son Absalom—if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!” (18:33).

    • Joab rebukes David saying he is disregarding the lives risked, he is loving the enemy more than his friends, go greet the soldiers, stop mourning or else the army will abandon him (19:1-8).

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Discussion Questions – Final Thoughts

  • Lesson To Learn:When our values get mixed up, we need to listen and learn from criticism and rebuke. When we become discouraged and depressed we need to turn to God's word (Mt. 6:19-21; 11:28-30; 5:1-4; II Co. 4:16-18; II Tm. 4:1-5; Ro. 15:4; II Tm. 3:14-17; Ac. 8:9-24)

    • “Preach the Word!...convince, rebuke, exhort” (II Tm. 4:1-5). If we are not preaching the word, then we need rebuked! (1/3rd positive and 2/3rd negative).

    • If in sin we must repent and pray. We will find comfort and hope in God’s word.

    • Let’s not lose perspective and see the big picture – “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Co. 4:16-18).