Biblical Theology and Absalom’s Rebellion (Preaching 2 Samuel 14- 24 part 4)


Graeme Goldsworthy and Chris Wright have helped us to think about Biblical Theology in terms of the paradigm that God’s People live under God’s Blessing in God’s land or God’s place. How do we see this paradigm at work in 2 Samuel 14 – 24? Here are some thoughts.God’s rule and blessing

There are two dimensions to this. First of all, the examples of God himself speaking either directly or through prophets and God’s will being revealed explicitly by the author. As we have noted, those occasions are rare in this section. However, we have three important examples:

There is the occasion when the author explains that God is confusing Absalom’s counsel because he intends harm to Absalom (2 Samuel 17:14).

There is God’s explanation of why there is famine because of Saul’s breach of covenant with the Gibeonites (2 Samuel 21).

There is the final issue at the very end where God is angry and provokes David (2 Samuel 22).

We have also seen that we need to understand this section in the light of God’s prophetic word through Nathan in 2 Samuel 12.

Then the other way that we think about God’s rule expressed through his chosen king. Now, here is the challenge we have the representative of this who simply does meet up to the expectations. He is a failed and flawed ruler. David’s limitations remind us that his greater son would be without flaw. However, they also put him into a position where he foreshadows Christ as he goes into exile, is mocked, bears a curse and all if this willingly without protest.

David finds himself offering a sacrifice and insists he will not offer something that costs him nothing just as Christ’s sacrifice is costly.

God’s People

A theme is how God’s people respond to being under his rule and reign. It is right to first of all think of David himself as a representative of God’s people.  We see this as he receives discipline and correction and as he worships with Psalms of thanksgiving.

Repentance and worship are costly. David will not offer worship that costs him nothing. Grace is free but not cheap.

Then there are the different ways in which people respond to God’s rule through his own chosen king. We see those who oppose the king, rebel and try to usurp his legitimate authority. These include Shimei, Sheba and Absalom. There are others who try to manipulate, hoodwink and use him for their own purpose. There’s Zeba who lies about Mephibosheth. Then we see Joab who thinks fiercely loyal to David but also thinks he knows better than the King and presumes to tell him what to do.

God’s Land/Place

This is the final theme. Here we are confronted with the constant theme of exile and return first with Absalom and then with David. For Absalom, exile is not just about being physically absent. It is no use being back in the royal court without access to the king.

For David exile is about being away from Jerusalem the city of peace.

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