Absalom - Playing God

Don't miss these important truths found in the story of David and Absalom. Our modern culture needs to learn this lesson.

I can understand Absalom's anger when Amnon raped his sister (2 Samuel 13).

But Absalom made a fatal error. He decided to play God. He didn't appeal to his father and he didn't follow the laws outlined in Scripture. He took matters into his own hands.(1)

Many people read this passage and blame David, assuming his refusal to punish Amnon forced Absalom's hand.(2)  

Not true.

God held both David and Amnon responsible for their sins, but they were not responsible for Absalom's sin:

"The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child." Ezekiel 18:20 

Absalom failed to realize that he was David's son, not his judge, and he was Amnon's brother, not his executioner. As his life played out, Absalom's disrespect for God's laws increased, and he died a tragic and early death while trying to overthrow his own father as king (2 Samuel 15-18)

Sadly, many Christians have taken on the Absalom mindset, thinking they can take matters into their own hands, judging and punishing their family members. But when they do this, they are first and foremost judging and dishonoring God (Exodus 20:12; Romans 12; Ephesians 6:2).(4)

In the end, David enjoyed God's favor and praise. Absalom did not.(3)

(1) What does the Bible say about rape?

(2) When I first wrote this devotion, I assumed what most commentators assume - that Absalom's problem with his father began with Tamar being raped by Amnon and David taking no action. However, I have since read a very convincing in-depth study on this passage (see Absalom), which suggests that Absalom actually interfered with David's ability to punish Amnon so that he could murder him in vengeance. Which ever scenario is accurate, Absalom showed disrespect for both God and David.

(3) Several places in Scripture David is referred to as a man who served God wholeheartedly (1 King 11:4). Even though he sinned seriously with Bathsheba/Uriah, he genuinely repented (See 8 Elements of Repentance and Restoration.) He is remembered as one of the most godly kings of Israel and a man who served God faithfully. Absalom, on the other hand, is remembered as a man whom God opposed (2 Samuel 17:14). 

(4) Many aspects of the Boundaries teaching promotes the "Absalom mindset.

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


I encourage you to check out the Wisdom for Life Devotional. It contains 100 one-minute devotions to challenge, encourage, instruct, and inspire your love for God's Word. Read the story behind Wisdom for Life HERE. And find out about the two free Bible studies with purchase HERE. You can read the first 4 devotions in the book by clicking "look inside" or "read sample" on Lifeway or AmazonIn addition, you can buy the book in Kindle format on Amazon and as an ebook on Barnes and Noble.
I also encourage you to sign up for a free subscription to Bible Love Notes and get a free e-booklet. Find out more HERE.

Don't miss these important truths found in the story of David and Absalom. Our modern culture needs to learn this lesson.

Don't miss these important truths found in the story of David and Absalom. Our modern culture needs to learn this lesson.


  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.

  3. I judge my family members but what? Punishing?