Who was Absalom?
Absalom was the third born son of David. His mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur (2 Sam. 3:3). He was the son and the grandson of kings. He was praised above all others in Israel for his good looks. And he knew how to use them, charming all Israel not only with his looks, but with his endearing words. Yet, Absalom, whose name means “My father is peace” (Ab “father” + Shalom “peace”), brought rebellion to his father’s house.
Ironically, it wasn’t his father’s peace, but his passivity that opened the door to Absalom’s treason. After David had passively stayed home from war with Ammon, he fell into sin with a married woman, committing adultery and having her husband murdered to cover it up. The prophet Nathan delivered God’s judgment that even though the Lord had forgiven him, the “sword would never depart” from his house (2 Sam.12:10). The sins of the father would become the sins of the sons.
David’s firstborn, Amnon, committed adultery with his half-sister, Tamar, the full-sister of Absalom. Although David was angry, he passively did nothing. So, Absalom took matters into his own hands and conspired to have Amnon killed. After he fled to his mother’s family for a while, David later invited him back home, yet passively did not meet with him to address what had happened. Over time, Absalom took advantage of David’s passivity and began to woo the people to see him as their new king.
Surely David heard about Absalom’s behavior, riding about in a horse drawn chariot with 50 men running before him, sitting as a judge in the city gates, offering to be a better king to anyone who would listen. But David took no action.
So, Absalom “stole the hearts” of Israel and went to Hebron to declare himself king. And David fled from Jerusalem to hide from his own son.
Absalom was named to be the son of his father’s peace. Yet in reality, he was the son of his father’s passivity. And passive fathers often produce rebellious sons.