Absalom, having avenged his sister’s rape by their own half-brother Amnon, “fled to his grandfather, Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur” and “stayed there in Geshur for three years” (II Samuel 13:37b-38). During that time, “King David, now reconciled to Amnon’s death, longed to be reunited with his son Absalom” (II Samuel 13:39, NLT).
“Joab realized how much the king longed to see Absalom. So he sent for a woman from Tekoa who had a reputation for great wisdom. He said to her, ‘Pretend you are in mourning; wear mourning clothes and don’t put on lotions. Act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for a long time. Then go to the king and tell him the story I am about to tell you.’ Then Joab told her what to say” (II Samuel 14:1-3).
“When the woman from Tekoa approached the king, she bowed with her face to the ground in deep respect and cried out, ‘O king! Help me!’ ‘What’s the trouble?’ the king asked” (II Samuel 14:4-5).
“‘Alas, I am a widow!’ she replied. ‘My husband is dead. My two sons had a fight out in the field. And since no one was there to stop it, one of them was killed. Now the rest of the family is demanding, ‘Let us have your son. We will execute him for murdering his brother. He doesn’t deserve to inherit his family’s property.’ They want to extinguish the only coal I have left, and my husband’s name and family will disappear from the face of the earth’” (II Samuel 14:6-7).
“‘Leave it to me,’ the king told her. ‘Go home, and I’ll see to it that no one touches him.’ ‘Oh, thank you, my lord the king,’ the woman from Tekoa replied. ‘If you are criticized for helping me, let the blame fall on me and on my father’s house, and let the king and his throne be innocent.’ ‘If anyone objects,’ the king said, ‘bring him to me. I can assure you he will never complain again!’” (II Samuel 14:8-10).
“Then she said, ‘Please swear to me by the Lord your God that you won’t let anyone take vengeance against my son. I want no more bloodshed.’ ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ he replied, ‘not a hair on your son’s head will be disturbed!’” (II Samuel 14:11).
“‘Please allow me to ask one more thing of my lord the king,’ she said. ‘Go ahead and speak,’ he responded. She replied, ‘Why don’t you do as much for the people of God as you have promised to do for me? You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son. All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, He devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from Him’” (II Samuel 14:12-14).
“God does not just sweep life away; instead, He devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from Him.” David’s sin with Bathsheba had separated David from close fellowship with God. David’s own words confessed his wrongdoing: “Against You, and You alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:12a). He also showed us how he received God’s forgiveness: “I confessed all my sins to You… And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone” (Psalm 32:5a, c).
“All my guilt is gone.” God didn’t partially forgive David – He completely forgave Him. But would David extend to Absalom this same level of forgiveness?
“Forgiveness is not that stripe which says, ‘I will forgive, but not forget.’ It is not to bury the hatchet with the handle sticking out of the ground, so you can grasp it the minute you want it.” (D. L. Moody)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates