2 Sam 13.23 says that it was two years after the incident with Amnon and Tamar that Absalom had sheep shearers in Baal-hazor (“Lord of the village”) and Absalom invited all the king’s sons to come for a celebration. As we have said before, this story beginning in 2 Sam 13 is a seven year drama which is a picture of the seven thousand year plan of God. We have seen that Absalom has been plotting for two tears. In 2 Sam 13.38-39 we will see Absalom flee to Geshur (his mother was from there) for three years. Then in 2 Sam 14.28 we will learn that he returned to Israel but did not see his father David for another two years. Then in 2 Sam 18.14-15 we learn about the death of Absalom after his rebellion.
Getting back to our story, having all the king’s sons there at the sheep shearing would have been expensive (v 25), so Absalom requests that Amnon (the heir) come. David asks, “Why should he go with you?” This would have been expensive, too, or David suspected something. To cover his plot, Absalom asks David to send all of his sons to show no exception to just one, but Absalom only had eyes on Amnon. So Amnon and all the sons went (27).
Absalom told his servants that when Amnon was drunk, he will say, “Strike Amnon” and then they were to fall on him and put him to death. He told them not to fear because he would take full responsibility. So, they did it and the heir Amnon died like Adam did as the result of his sin. All the other sons rose and mounted their mules and left thinking they were next. When they were on their way, David heard that Absalom struck down all the king’s sons and none of them were left. David thought that was the plan.
Then Jonadab, the same guy who who advised Amnon in 2 Sam 13.3-5, told David not to believe the report. He said only Amnon was killed and that had been the intent of Absalom since he raped Tamar. In other words, Absalom has been a “murderer from the beginning (John 8.44) and this alludes to Satan and the False Messiah.
Meanwhile, Absalom fled because he couldn’t protect himself. He went to Talmai (“furrowed”) the king of Geshur, his grandfather, and his daughter was Maacah, who was the mother of Absalom and Tamar (2 Sam 3.3). He would be there for three years (2 Sam 13.38-39). Now its been five years in our drama. David refrained from going out after him. The word “longed” in v 39 means “refrained” and it is used that way in Psa 40.9.
In 2 Sam 14.1-33 it tells us that David’s general Joab believed that David’s heart was inclined towards Absalom, so Joab employed a wise woman to feign a case before David. This will illustrate a point to David which he will see, and cause David to recall Absalom. The woman brought a story before David about two sons, one dead and another threatened with death. You could appeal to the king if all else fails.
She tells David that an avenger of blood is trying to avenge the death of a member of the family. In Israel, a brother had the right to avenge his sister if she was murdered by Torah law, but Tamar was raped. The cities of refuge mentioned in Num 35.9-34 were given to protect someone guilty of manslaughter from being killed by the avenger of blood. So, it is possible, that after these three years David was seeing this in another light.
She tells David that her two sons struggled together in the field and one son killed the other son. This is like David with his two sons. They struggled and David never corrected them. Nobody saw the two sons fight, and nobody saw the rape of Tamar. One was the aggressor in all of this, Absalom.
Then she says the whole family has risen against her and they want her to hand over the other son so he can be put to death by the avenger of blood (David’s other sons). This would destroy the heir. This was meant to insinuate that this was the real reason David’s other sons wanted Absalom dead. She said this would extinguish her “coal” or leave no heirs. This is where the story differs from Absalom’s. She was told to go home and David would check out her story. She said if this is not true let the iniquity be on her and her house, but she wants an immediate verdict (in case David gets too busy and forgets the case). David said if anyone brings in the son, they were to bring him to David. She then tells David that he should remember that God is merciful and compassionate, and she wanted a universal ruling of the avenger not to harm her son. David swears that her son will be safe if he brought in.
Now she has made her point and this story will now be applied to Absalom. She asks the king to be able to speak freely. She says that the king is contradicting himself in his ruling because he does not bring back his banished son. She says that God finds ways to bring us back to him, so David should be as merciful and bring back his own son before it is too late. David was estranged from his son and growing bitter. This made Absalom a threat through insurrection and disputes over succession. She is saying that David should initiate a reconciliation. If he is willing to forgive the murder of a brother for a poor widow, then he should be willing to pardon his own son.
David now understands that her case is not a real case but a parable to shed light on Absalom (v 18-19). David asks if the hand of Joan is in all of this, and she says “Yes” (v 19-20). The story was told so that it applied to Absalom, at the direction of Joab. Then David told Joab that he would recall “the young man Absalom.” This was to imply that what was done was done in youthful passion.
So Joab went out and got Absalom from Geshur and brought him back to Jerusalem. However, he was to remain in his own house and not see his father to show that David detested what Absalom did, and to show his resentment. He wanted to humiliate Absalom. In this, we find out something very interesting and prophetic about Absalom, who is a picture of the False Messiah.
It says in 2 Sam 14.25-26 that there was no one as handsome as Absalom, and there was no defect in him. How opposite this was from the true Messiah (Isa 53.2). It also says he cut his hair every year and it weighed about six pounds. He was not a Nazarite and his hair was his glory and pride, like the power behind the False Messiah Satan has (Ezek 28.17). Absalom also had three sons and this alludes to the nations that will depart from the False Messiah in Dan 7.8, 20, 24. These sons apparently died young and are never named. He also had a daughter named Tamar, after his sister.
So Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem and did not come face to face with his father. Now we have a total of seven years since the sin of Amnon (2 Sam 13.23, 38-39, 14.28). Absalom has killed the heir (Satan has killed the heir Adam) and now he will begin to plot and put himself into a position to take the whole kingdom after seven years, just as Satan has plotted and will attempt to take the Kingdom of God after seven thousand years (Rev 20.7-10). This story will end with Absalom’s rebellion against the king, and this is a picture of what will happen with the false Messiah who will rebel against David’s descendant and king, Yeshua, and try to take the kingdom. We know that will fail, and Satan will try to do it himself at the end of the seven thousand years.
Absalom felt uncomfortable about this so he sent for Joab, but Joab didn’t come. Revealing his true nature, Absalom sends his servants to burn Joab’s barley field. When Joab finds out, he goes to Absalom and asked him why he burned his barley field. Absalom tells Joab, “Behold, I sent for you” and you did not come. He wanted to send Joab to David and ask him why he even came back from Geshur. He was part of the royal family there and had it pretty good. He wanted to see his father face to face and if he finds me guilty, then let him put me to death. This would be less humiliating for Absalom then to live like he was. Absalom is not ashamed for burning Joab’s field, nor does he even ask to be forgiven for it.
So Joab told David about what Absalom has told him, and David called for Absalom. He comes and falls prostrate before his father, and David kissed him. David never corrected his son and he makes the same mistakes that he made with Amnon. Perhaps David thought that Amnon should have been put to death and failed to do so, and Absalom did what he should have done. This reconciliation lays the seed for all the trouble that will follow. We will pick up here in Part 13.