“For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” – Ecclesiastes 12:14
There are consequences in every action that we take, and in the end, our very deeds will be judged by the Lord Almighty. This brings us to the very chapter that has illustrated a clear example on the tragic fate of Absalom.
It started with the vengeful murder of his half-brother, Amnon, over the insult of his sister Tamar. However, David allowed Absalom to return to the palace three years after his flight from the palace without passing any judgment for the murder of Amnon (2 Samuel 13). David’s forgiveness, however, was not accompanied by the spirit of justice. After Absalom was restored to his position, his character did not improve, but instead, he became the biggest threat to David’s throne.
In this chapter, Absalom met his final defeat at the Battle of the Ephraim’s Wood.
“And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.” – 2 Samuel 18:9
Not only was Absalom’s head trapped in the great oak, he was killed by Joab and his armour-bearers. Absalom had indeed paid the price for his sins, and David had to mourn his son’s untimely and tragic death; a price he paid for his past sins as well as his forgiving yet unjust management of Absalom’s wrongdoing.
Now Joab, on the other hand, is someone who thought he knew-it-all. David had before instructed his men to spare the life of Absalom (2 Samuel 18:5). However, Joab showed his disobedience to the king’s order and killed Absalom. Although what Joab did was correct in a way that it was in the interest of protecting the king and preventing further bloodshed on the battlefield, Joab’s action of taking matters into his own hands was not right. In fact, this act was a display of disloyalty to David (2 Samuel 18:10-16).
“And the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders about Absalom.” – 2 Samuel 18:5
In the later part of the bible, in 1Kings 2:29-34, Joab’s disloyalty and betrayal towards David soon brought about his tragic downfall. So much for taking matters into his own hands.
How do we treat the authorities that have been placed over our lives? Are we submissive to the authority of the church? Or do we take matters into our own hands?
Likewise, are we obedient to God’s word and commandments? Or do we find ways to do it our own way, which could lead us into our own doom?