Absalom and David - The Dead End of Dishonoring Parents - 2 Samuel 15-18

Absalom's Sin That Led To All of His Other Sins

I can understand Absalom's anger when Amnon raped his sister Tamar and David did nothing to punish Amnon.(1) Amnon was definitely a low life.

But Absalom made a fatal error. He decided his father's negligence gave him the right to play God.

He not only violated the Sixth Commandment by murdering his brother, he violated the Fifth Commandment by dishonoring his father.

All parents are sinners and they will be held accountable for their sins, but we never have an excuse to dishonor them or treat them badly. 

Nor can we blame them for our adult choices and sins.

Years ago, a parent had to be genuinely abusive to be despised, neglected, or sidelined by their adult children. Now, it's become popular for adult children to judge, reject, and neglect good parents who made mistakes. 

We've become a nation of Absaloms, whining about our parents' failures and overlooking our own. 

It's popular culturally, but it violates God's commands.

In the end, David enjoyed God's favor and praise. Absalom did not.
(1) David's refusal to act could have been based on his guilt over his own sexual sin (of which he'd repented) or because the law required a witness to such a crime and there were none, or simply because he refused to treat the crime as it deserved. Scripture does not explain.
Note: God does not tell us to put ourselves in harms way in order to honor our parents, not does He expect us to agree with everything our parents do, but undermining them and seeking to hurt them violates God's commands.
To read the story of Amnon and Tamar: 2 Samuel 13
To read the story of Absalom's dishonoring of David: 2 Samuel 15-18 
And check out these other helpful 1-minute devotions on this subject: 
3 Aspects of Honoring Parents
Honoring God
Adult Children and Parents
Speck Finders
Absalom & David
Takers & Givers
The Most Underestimated Command
Give & Gain, Keep & Lose
Devotions specific to Mothers and In-laws:
Bless You Mother-in-law to Strengthen Your Marriage
Every Day is Mother's Day
Giving Mom Grace
Reckless Abandon - C.T. Studd

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Absalom's Sin That Led To All of His Other Sins


  1. Hi Gail, my parents are narcissists and the neglect and emotional abuse they meted out to me and my brother growing up left lasting damage. I have created healthy boundaries as a result and I love them the only way I know how - from a safe, healthy distance. I do not know how I would be able to recover without Jesus and the Word to help me know how to navigate through the constant drama that continues to come from them today, and their unhealthy habits, lifestyle and behavior today. Many of us had Parents whose sin went far beyond the average mistake. I appreciate your input and feedback to those of us who grew up in abusive homes and the only way we can honor our parents is by setting healthy boundaries to protect ourselves and our children from their unhealthy, ungodly ways.

    1. Thanks, Michele, for sharing your insights. I'm sorry that your relationship with your parents has been so hard, and I'm glad that Jesus is guiding you. God bless you,

  2. This is so fitting. My pastor did a sermon on parenting. How we children need to give some grace to our parents. We should honor them. A commandment from God not a suggestion. Look at their position because we will not always like their behavior. He had mentioned David's lack of follow through. But we too have guilty pasts but we don't have to let that hinder our instructing our children. This is perfect timing and reinforcement that we will not like what people do but we can ask God to help us with our behavior, thoughts and attitudes going forward because it is often hard.


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