Summary: This sermon relates the grief of David over the death of Absalom to God’s grief over our sin.

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Turn with me to 2 Samuel 18.

Read 2 Samuel 18:24-33.

Here we see a sad picture. King David is well advanced in years. He is no longer the young vibrant man that he once was. He is a broken man. The years had taken their toll on this once strong warrior.

He had seen his family fall apart around him. After his affair with Bathsheba, the family fell apart. David’s eldest son, Absalom, had led a rebellion against him. A rift had developed between David and Absalom. Absalom gathered a group of men to lead a coup against his father. David was forced to leave Jerusalem.

Forces loyal to David met the forces loyal to Absalom. Absalom was riding a mule that went under a thick tree, and his hair got caught up in the tree. The mule ran on, leaving Absalom dangling in the tree. Some of the men loyal to David went and killed him while he was suspended from the tree.

David had given the order to protect his son. He did not want to see Absalom killed. The young man, Ahimaaz, was desperate to tell David the news of the crushed rebellion. The commander of the army thought it better to send the Cushite to tell David. Ahimaaz pestered the commander until he told him to go as well.

Ahimaaz outran the other man, but he didn’t have the nerve to tell the king that his son had been killed. He lost his nerve. The Cushite told him that Absalom was dead. David retreated into the watchtower. There he wept for his son.

It is interesting to compare David’s reaction here with the reaction after his infant son died. When the infant son, who had been born as a result of David and Bathsheba’s affair, fell ill and died, David said, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” David’s reaction here is much different this time. His grief is overwhelming. Let’s take a look at…

I. David’s GRIEF.

David’s grief is deep. We see the depth of his grief demonstrated in his inability to come up with words. He says, “My son” five times. Three times he says Absalom’s name. We see his intense grief. David also declares that he would have rather died than Absalom. There are three apparent reasons for David’s grief. The first is…

A. His son’s DISSENT.

David was grieved at his son’s dissent. His son had rebelled against him. Absalom had acted in open disobedience against his father and against God. He led a coup attempt against his father. Absalom had tried to kill his father so he could be king.

One of the quickest ways to throw your parents into despair is to rebel against them. Parents try so hard to keep their kids on the right path, but sometimes the kids wander off the path. That is the quickest way to break a parent’s heart.

David thought of himself as a failure in being a father. He had let his family down. His affair with Bathsheba had plunged the family into a dark period. He saw much of this as a result of his own actions.

David was grieved that his son had walked away from him and the way that he had taught him to go. The second aspect of David’s grief was…

B. His son’s DEATH.

Ask any parent who has lost a child, and they will tell you that it was probably the darkest day of their life. We expect to see our parents and grandparents die. That is how life works. To lose a child is to interrupt that part of life. That isn’t how it should happen, so we think. Unfortunately, it does happen.

David was grieved that his son was dead. It is never easy to lose a child, even they are the rebellious sort like Absalom. His son—his own flesh and blood—was dead. It was of no consolation for the king, that the kingdom was saved. David wasn’t the least bit pleased that he would still be king. That meant nothing to David in the face of his son’s death.

He would rather have died himself, and his son lived. David was willing to die in the place of his wayward son.

David had hoped to reconcile his relationship with his son. He wanted to patch things up and make their relationship right. He wanted to heal the wounds that had led to Absalom’s rebellion.

The third reason David grieved was there were…


The reconciliation would not occur now. Absalom was dead. He wasn’t coming back to patch things up with David. Like David had said about his infant son who had died, “He will not return to me.”

Absalom died without reconciliation to his father. There would never be another chance at reconciliation.

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