Absalom’s Restoration

Open Your Bible

2 Samuel 12:26-31, 2 Samuel 13:1-39, 2 Samuel 14:1-33, Leviticus 18:9, Deuteronomy 22:28-29

Editor’s note: Some passages in 1 & 2 Samuel, namely those in Day 29, deal in subject matter which might be especially painful for some readers. Though many of the wounds we receive in this life are deeply personal and unimaginably painful, when they appear in God’s Word, we are reminded that He sees them. Whenever sin is addressed in Scripture—whether through teaching or story—it comes to us in the context of God’s unwavering commitment to bring an end to all evil in this world through the finished work of Christ (Revelation 21:3-4). We are praying for and with you as you read.


Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 12:26-31, 2 Samuel 13:1-39, 2 Samuel 14:1-33, Leviticus 18:9, Deuteronomy 22:28-29

“I want to see it, Mom. I’m old enough.” This is what our daughter said to us recently as my husband and I watched the news. We flipped the channel as she walked into the room, and she objected, claiming she could handle it. She wanted, needed, to know what was happening.

It’s a hard line to toe—the line between protecting and equipping—and not just when it comes to children. Even as adults, it’s difficult to know the difference between necessary and gratuitous knowledge. The world is dark. The world is broken. We know this. But knowing in theory is not the same as knowing in fact. It takes coming face to face with the depth and darkness of sin to understand that these are not problems that can be solved with pen and paper and policy. These are problems of the heart.

I know myself. And I know—at least I think I know—the sin I am capable of. I know the darkness I’ve indulged, both in thought and in action, and this knowledge chills me to the bone. But I also know the sin that has been committed against me, sins I have rarely uttered and would be thankful to forget—injustices I may not see a reckoning for this side of heaven. Songwriter Ellie Holcomb sings a line that resonates deep within me, especially when those scenes from the past come calling on my conscience: “I need a rescue, I need a reckoning for all the things I’ve done and have been done to me.”

We all need a rescue. We all yearn for a reckoning.

Today’s passage contains, for me, one of the most difficult in all of Scripture. I have tears brimming in my eyes even as I type this. Tamar’s story makes my insides burn with anger and weep with sorrow at the manifestations of sin. Yet with the fire and the sorrow, I feel the tender voice of the Holy Spirit whisper to my aching heart, “I see this too. In the darkest of the dark—I am here, too.”

These passages from 2 Samuel show us the ugly truth of sin. Sin is deceitful. It is born and bred in lies. Jonadab designed a web of deceit, and Amnon was all too willing to step into it and make it his own. Sin creates desolation—utter emptiness. Amnon’s pleasure became hollow in an instant, and his sin dragged others into this misery. Sin leaves a wake of destruction. What is done cannot be undone. Yes, there is grace for the repentant, but there are still consequences.

I want to gather Tamar into my arms and tell her she is seen. I want her to know that though disgraced, she is valued. I want her to know that though discarded, she is wanted. I want her to know that though dismissed—the sin committed against her gone year after year unacknowledged—that she has a God who fights for her. I want to tell her all the things I wish I could tell myself every time I’ve felt disgraced, discarded, dismissed.

Our God receives us, rescues us, and restores us. This is the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As we stand here at the end of these tough chapters of 2 Samuel, that is all I have in my hands today. I stand, weeping for the reality and consequences of sin, holding the knowledge that we serve a God who sees. He sees us in our struggle against sin, and He offers us His righteousness and strength (Romans 5:17). He sees us when we are hurt and hollowed out, and He offers us His unending, unbreakable love (Exodus 15:13). He sees the wrongs that plague this dark, sin-stained world, and He offers us His promise to make all things new (Revelation 21:5). He vows to dry our tears, not just with His compassion but also with His justice (Revelation 21:4).

Yes, this world is ever so broken. But God is here. He is the Healer and Redeemer, and He is with us.

Thank you, Jesus, for coming to dwell with us, for giving your life for the sins of the world. Thank you, Jesus, that the gospel is true.


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58 thoughts on "Absalom’s Restoration"

  1. SB says:

    For me this story hits home. My brother molested me for years. I didn’t tell my parents till much later. They responded similar to david. Ignore it and it will go away. So it’s kind of comforting to me knowing even King David didn’t know what to do and didn’t do what Tamar or A needed from him but that makes him human, it makes it real. People disappoint us but I also can disappoint people and it makes it better knowing that God can still find favor and love in David because the Bible shows me how much God loves us!

    There can be great healing in rape. I have spent many years in therapy for what my brother did and later in college 2 guys raped me. To see my parents response to that was just as troubling. But God has shown He cares and loves me time and time again. He personally cares about each and every one of us!

    If you’ve been raped please seek counseling from someone you trust and respect! It really helps to talk! And know it wasn’t your fault and that God is near you! He loves you and can heal you!

    1. Jenn says:

      Wow! Thank you for sharing. What an amazing testimony you have for anyone struggling to see that despite something so horrible happening, God is still good. God bless you

    2. H says:

      Amen. He is an amazing Healer, even of our darkest memories.

    3. She Reads Truth says:

      Thank you for being willing to tell your story, SB. This is indeed such a heavy topic. We’re so glad to hear you were able to seek counseling and help in the midst of your healing, and can now use your testimony as an encouragement for others. So glad to have you here in this community.

    4. Lana says:

      Sending you all my love and praying for you mightily, SB.

    5. Allie Smith says:

      Oh, I am weeping for you. I’m so sorry for what you have gone through, and I wish I could sit with you and just cry. Thank you for sharing…I can’t even fathom.

  2. churchmouse says:

    Yes. This is hard stuff. So many times in the passages today, there is a cross road : a place where a path must be chosen. A path of righteousness or a path of selfishness. Amnon chose to let his emotions gather steam. He chose to listen to his cousin’s suggestion. He chose the pretense and called for Tamar. He chose to send his servants out of the room. He chose to grab her. He chose to disregard her words of truth and consequence. He chose to rape and then to hate. Each one a cross road. And that’s just Amnon. At each cross road, he made a decision. David too came to a cross road – anger but no action against Amnon. And later a crossroad with dealing with his murderous son Absalom. Absalom ran into crossroads also. Don’t we all? We sometimes make hasty decisions due to the emotion of the moment. Sometimes we pay a heavy price. Sometimes reconciliation can occur. Sometimes the division lasts a lifetime. Sometimes it is someone else’s decision and we receive the blunt force of it. Sometimes the wound heals quickly and sometimes it lingers, becoming a kind of living torture. Satan is oh so cunning. But our God is not fooled. And He is not pleased. He is a just God who does not misplace your case file. A court date will be set. A trial will occur. Both vengeance and judgment is His. He will exact it in His timing. He sees both the villain and the victim. He is also Healer and Comforter and Deliverer and Restorer. He is ever the Lover of our soul. Though we may not see justice in our earthly life, we can experience victory. Greater is He that is in us… Praying for all of us who have experienced deep pain and injustice. Praying we feel held by Him who holds the universe. Praying we take hold of His strength and power. Praying we rise from the sackcloth and ashes and walk on as who we are – daughters of the King of all Kings, robed in righteousness, profoundly loved, the apple of His eye. He’s a good good Father. He sees. He knows. He will take care.

    1. Tricia C says:

      Thank you Churchmouse.

    2. valerie says:

      So good!
      I always look for and always love your comments!

  3. Karen From Virginia says:

    I am also grateful for Jesus. In the story because Tamor was violated her life was never the same and she lived as a desolate woman. Any woman who has been raped or molested certainly has been changed by it. But my hope and my prayer because the Redeemer lives is that the Lord places that robe of righteousness and dignity and honor back on the Tamor the world. We need to know that we are no longer clothed in shame but the Lord desires to heal and restore and place on us the robe of honor and dignity like Taymor’s virgin robe. He is our redeemer and he can do things that can heal the desolate places!

  4. Karen From Virginia says:

    David. The David we love is flawed (like the rest of us) it’s rough to see him be so passive regarding his daughters rape. The Bible says he was angry but it’s like he never followed through. Then it occurred to me for the first time that may be his lack of involvement has more to do with his own sins. Often it is hard for people to challenge your convict or hold people accountable when they have that same last issue.

    1. Karen From Virginia says:

      Oops! I wasn’t done. It was lust issue. I wondered what the difference was between what happened to Tamar and Bathsheba. The only really difference is that Tamar was a virgin. David also played a role although innocently in making this happen. David need to learn to use his power to bless his children instruction instead of ignoring the problem . Father help us to be humble and be in repentance. Then we can also help others to be restored where they often stumble and fall. Our only hope is in the cross.

  5. Kari says:

    Thank you for this Amanda! What a deep devotional, truly revealing the ugliness of sin. It left me wondering though, do you think that David’s sin in the last chapter with Bathsheba had anything to do with the sins of his son? And with the horrible thing that happened to his daughter? It reminds me of Genesis where Jacob brought his family to Shechem when he should not have, and because of his sin, Dinah was abused. I wonder if this chapter in 2 Samuel has anything to do with God’s punishment of David for his sin.

    1. Abby says:

      I think David’s sin in this is not dealing with either son. He never disciplines his sons as recorded by scripture, perhaps because he is all too aware of his own sin. But God is not a “Cosmic Killjoy” as we sometimes fear. David lost his first son with Bathsheba as a consequence of his sin, but God is not punishing David, he has already restored him. Does this help?

    2. JessMC says:

      I’ve been thinking about the same thing Kari. I’ve also been thinking, is it a surprise that David’s sons acted in this way when their example, their father, has many wives and concubines and uses women?

      Reading through Tamar’s story I can’t help but feel anger towards Kind David for the example he set for his sons. Amnon’s sin is his own BUT I feel that David’s actions towards women had an influence on his sons.

      It makes me reflect and be grateful for the men in my life who have lived a life of integrity and gentleness towards women. I do not have a son but I have two daughters. I pray for them to know men in the future who have had men of integrity in their lives and set a Godly example for them.

      1. Lana says:

        This is such a good point!!!

  6. Tina says:

    Excuse me, but Why are we worried about Absoloms restoration?

    What about Tamar?
    David did not do right by either of those two, did he?

    This cut to the core of me… it truly did…
    I am praying with a friend who was abused as a child by her father and uncle… within me I would want to do absolutely what Absolom did… find them and ….

    But God…. and His Word is what we stand on. And days like today, reading this or hearing of such things, we have to hold on to His Word and promises even more…NOT always or ever easy…

    But God…
    Thank you Lord God that although there is anger within me for this sin against this innocent young woman, and reminds me of my dear friend that I can call on your name, that I can look to you, that I can trust in your word for healing, not for me, but for Tamar and all the Tamars out there Lord God…
    I pray Lord, that although this was old testament stuff that you were with her in this situation and that somewhere down the line she knew You were with her…that you saw her, that there was healing for her, that she found your grace, mercy and love in the life after such horridness …
    Thankful for the grace afforded us by the your Son, through His death and resurrection. Thank you Lord… thank you…
    I know this was about Absolom and David, but my heart was drawn to the plight of Tamar… I also know this is about God and His goodness, grace, faithfulness, healing, love and hope… and I am so very thankful for that…

    Love wrapped hugs and prayers…to all.. x

    1. Abby says:

      I listened to a podcast on the Jude 3 project website by Dr Christina Edmundson on bitterness and the Christian witness. One thing she mentions is that how easy it is in our cry for justice to actually forget the victim. So justice becomes something selfish. She mentions this and also the rape of Dinah. It’s worth asking ourselves if we let others tell their story and release their pain or do we move on quickly or seek justice on a human level. Why are there so many forgotten women in the Bible? Yet none is forgotten to our God, just as each of us is also remembered before him. May we take heart in his love today, sisters of the Word!

  7. Lesley says:

    I’m sure most of us find this passage difficult, but thank you SRT for going there, and for doing it so sensitively.
    I find it reassuring that Tamar’s story is not forgotten but is included in Scripture. We all have our stories of brokenness, where the consequences of others’ sin have been devastating, and God does not forget those either. Our stories matter to him.
    I was reminded of this quote by Eric Liddell this morning: “Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.”
    No matter how broken we are, he can heal and restore. I have seen that in my own life- I have not been raped but was sexually abused as a child- and God has healed and restored so much and used it to grow compassion to help others with similar experiences.
    Praying for you all today, especially those who find this passage particularly tough.

  8. Holly says:

    This was hard to read and process because I, like many other people, was raped when I was a teenager and I feel like such a violation can tear you away from your own body and healing can seem impossible. I do, however, feel God’s work in my life as I finally accepted the fact that I need counseling to deal with burying this trauma for many years. I believe His loving hand is healing me and I press into Him as I’ve never done before. He is for me. He too was publicly humiliated and shamed. I pray for all who have been violated, abused and urge them to turn to God, he is the binder of the broken.

    1. Lesley says:

      Praying for you, Holly. I’m so glad you’ve been able to have counseling to speak about and process what happened. Praying for continued healing and that yoy know how much God loves you and how precious you are to him.

    2. Tina says:

      Holly, holding out my hands to you… filled with love of a mother, sister, friend… and prayers . Keeep holding on to Him who has you, who sees you, who is with you… know His peace, His redeeming, saving, awesome healing love around you… You are His and He WILL wipe those tears, those feelings of worthlessness He WILL take away, one day at a time.. He is with you..

      Sending love wrapped hugs and prayers to you, Holly.. xxx

    3. Karen From Virginia says:

      Praying that you would know God’s loving arms as you heal from your trauma. May God place His royal robe of honor, beauty and grace upon you.

    4. She Reads Truth says:

      Thank you so much for being willing to share a bit of your story Holly, and we are so sorry to hear that you had to experience this. We are praying for you for continued healing and restoration, and are so glad to have you as part of the SRT community!

    5. Lana says:

      Sending you all my love, Holly.