Sermon: Lessons from Absalom and King David


I  am convinced that  the  three  greatest things for the healing of a relationship are Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness. This story has got to be  one of the saddest in all of  scripture. Here are  a father and a son, both of whom  loved  each other, but they died as enemies. It didn’t have to be  that way. There are undoubtedly  some  damaged relationships  here  today. Can  we  learn  some lessons from the story of David and Absalom?

Read 2 Samuel 13:1-38; 18:1-33

1. Absalom’s grievance with his father

A. Amnon was David’s oldest son. Absalom and his sister Tamar were born of a different mother than Amnon. Amnon who burned with lust for his half-sister Tamar, tricked her and raped her. Because of his powerful position as the legal heir, nothing was done about his crime.

B. Absalom seethed with frustrated anger for two years for what Amnon did to Tamar. Anger at his own failure to retaliate and anger at his father for his failure to avenge Tamar’s disgrace.

C. Though David was able to forgive Amnon for what he had done, he failed to communicate this to Absalom. There appears to be little communication in the King’s family.

2. Absalom’s chosen course of action

A. Important to remember that he had a choice. What should he have done? Go to his father and discuss his inner feelings!

B. Instead he seethed with anger and bitterness for two years, plotting vengeance on Amnon, finally killing him. Honestly, how many of you gave a silent cheer for Absalom for what he did?

C. It seems that justice was done. “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way that leads to death.” Then he went into self-imposed exile for three years.

3. The tragedy of unspoken love

A. David loved Absalom, (2 Samuel 13:39). He had forgiven Absalom for killing his half brother. But for three years he did not follow his heart and go to Absalom.

B. Only after a wise woman tricked him did he send for his son Absalom. (Mr. Macho wouldn’t bend!)

C. Note also that Absalom too loved David, his father, (2 Samuel 14:32).

4. The sad and cold encounter

A. Don’t let the word “kissed” mislead you; this was a formal, ritualistic greeting, (2 Samuel 14:33).

B. The clue is what is not said; there are no tears of repentance, there are no cries for forgiveness, no explanations, no joyous reunion. Just cold formality!

C. Even after sending Joab after Absalom, David and his son live for two years in the same city and never see each other! They loved each other, but their stubbornness kept them apart!

5. The tragic end

A. In the very next verse (2 Samuel 15:1) Absalom begins his treacherous plot to take his father’s throne. In the ensuing battle his hair gets caught in a tree.

B. Joab spears him with three spears and he is killed by Joab’s armor bearers. News is brought to David of his son’s death

E. The scene closes with King David weeping, “Oh Absalom, my son, oh Absalom my son”


What might have been? If only foolish pride had not gotten in the way. “Like father, like son”. David and Absalom sinned the same sin, both lacked the courage to say “I love you!” If you have sinned that sin, will you today confess it to God, and then be reconciled to whomever you need to?

Taken from Dr. Arnold Lastinger’s personal sermon notes collection

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