Day 29

Absalom’s Restoration

from the 1 & 2 Samuel reading plan

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

BY Amanda Bible Williams

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.


Post Comments (58)

58 thoughts on "Absalom’s Restoration"

  1. Allison says:

    I have a question related to the Deuteronomy reading, if anyone has some wisdom to share. To me, this passage does not speak to treating women well. Why would a woman be required to marry her rapist? That seems abhorrent and this makes no sense to me. I have run into this question a few times during my reading of the OT law, and have experienced passages like these used as arguments against Christianity. Does anyone know how to address this?

    1. truthseeker says:

      Even Tamar told Amnon that his sending her away was a far worse wronging than his raping her. The reason is that he took the only thing that she could give to her husband and now she no longer had it because of him. Therefore since he took her virginity he was obligated to marry her and would not be legally allowed to divorce her as it was because of him and him alone that she was now “damaged” and therefore unmarriageable.
      You need to remember that our current culture is far different in attitudes than they were at the time this took place. It is a difficult thing to resolve in a modern womans mind. But God gave the law to protect this woman from being an outcast but Amnon disobeyed that law also. The shame is on him.

    2. Lana says:

      I agree with Truthseeker. It’s important to remember these laws were written for a very specific time and place. The Christ message is 2000+ years old now. Thanks to His teachings, we as people and as societies, have evolved. Thanks be to GOD. So happy I didn’t live back then. Bless all the women who did.

      1. Gina says:

        I am not sure if the world is much better now!!! But I understand what you mean…
        I really liked in the first paragraph where she said there is a fine line between protecting and equipping. I have a 6 and an 8 year old. Sometimes I feel like I am teaching them about certain worldly ways much too early, but I would rather them hear it from me than hear or see it on the playground.
        We were in the grocery store the other day, and my daughter was looking at some pretty colors of nail polish. But then she looked at the rack, and the brand name was SIN. She said ‘Mama don’t they know that that is not a nice word’?
        I did not say much…but I was so sad inside. We homeschool, so it is easier to protect them…but it is still getting harder all the time.I am glad for this statement, “Yes, this world is ever so broken. But God is here. He is the Healer and Redeemer, and He is with us.”

    3. Tarah Hoxsie says:

      I think another thing to keep in mind is this is an honor shame culture! This passage really bothered me too. I, as a westerner, feel very strong about my freedom, justice and independence. In this situation our greatest injustice would of been the striping of her choice, the rape itself. We think the fact that a law now dictates that they have to get married only furthers her “lack of voice” in this situation but in all reality it is a kindness, you made me shameful now at least marry me to lessen that shame instead of cast me aside. The greater shame to her would of been to “discard” her like her did. It’s still hard to grasp with my western mind, but shame is a private thing to us, it was so public back then, she outwardly showed what had happened. So for me I would of walked away broken and felt “he robbed me of my choice” and she walked away “he robbed me of my honor”.

  2. Diane Huntsman says:

    It’s so easy to camp out on the injustices.. naturally we are angered and creating our signs for the protest march.. we chant JUSTICE! It’s now fair!!!! And then my mind shifts, it goes back 2000 plus years to the place called Calvary my eyes look upon a couple pieces of rough wood fashioned as a cross where a sinless Savior gave of himself in the most torturous inhumane way… because of heinous sins like this in which we read of, Jesus took the beatings and the nails.. He suffered an excruciating death to pardon our iniquities.. it wasn’t fair.. it wasn’t just for him to have to die.. He did no wrong, no fault was found in Him.. and yet it was the requirement that His Father set that we might be saved.. so yes.. I was seething mad over what I read today.. I wanted justice for Tamar and I want it for every single solitary person who has been violated on this way.. but in my seething anger I have to recall the God/man who took the bullet on my behalf.. the suffering savior who sees all the suffering and has compassion on every last soul who tries to navigate through the utter pain of it all.. He is the rescue in the pit of despair.. He is the healing ointment in the process of recovery.. He sees, He feels, He rescues.. Jesus knows and wants to do the heeling work that truly only He can do.

  3. Chelsea says:

    I, like everyone else, am left angry and confused by such an awful turn of events. However, verse 33 stood out to me.. “& the kind kissed absalom”. It reminds me of the parable of the lost son & how when he returns (after being stupid and hurting his father) he is welcomed with arms wide open. Obviously it took David a while to get there, but nonetheless I think it’s cool David puts his hurt aside from his son killing his 1st born and welcomes him back. I kind of see God acting this way towArd us…he isn’t pleased with what we have done but when we come to him on reverence, he is quick to pick us back up as his own!

  4. Anna says:

    Definitely a God thing that I read this today —

    Having been violated in the past, this story both torments and heals my soul. My heart breaks for what has happened to me, and for others who have gone through similar experiences. Like Tamar, I have been through the grief of losing something that, in truth, I cannot get back. But unlike Tamar, this doesn’t have to consume me. I am SO blessed to know Jesus; to know that He sees what has happened, and His heart breaks right along side mine. The experience was a major catalyst for my placing God at the center of my life — He is where my identity lies, and nothing can remove that.

    Now, I’m struggling to support a close friend who I have just discovered has gone through this. She is not a believer, and so the way I go about comforting her and being there for her is difficult for me, as Christ was my sole healer, and she doesn’t have that yet. This devotional has convicted me– I need to be more courageous in how I handle the situation– I need to talk to her. Acknowledging that I know what has happened and my heart breaks with hers. Prayers are appreciated during this time, as I am reminded of my past and am navigating this today.

    1. Scarleth says:

      Praying for you and your friend.

    2. SB says:

      Praying for you and your friend Anna! I know I continually like to hear it wasn’t my fault from everyone and it’s the same thing I say to others!

    3. She Reads Truth says:

      Anna, thank you so much for being willing to share a bit of your story. We will be praying for your friend, for healing and restoration. We will also be praying for you as you walk through this extremely difficult time with her. We are so glad to have you as part of this community!

      1. Kristen says:

        Praying for You to have strength and wisdom as you walk through this with your friend. Don’t be afraid to share how Jesus helped you through and brought healing and comfort. She may turn to Him. He really is the One to heal and bring hope. How blessed she is to have a friend like you. I admire how you shared that this drew you closer to God and you didn’t let it consume you! You are God’s and you know it! You are an inspiration, because everyone goes through something that they can let ruin them. Thank you for reminding people there is healing through Jesus.

    4. Lana says:

      Praying and sending you both all of my love, Anna!

  5. Kara says:

    Does anyone else resonate with Absalom? He took action! Killed his sisters rapist. Set a field on fire when he couldn’t get Joabs attention. And yet…where is God in his choices? I too long to take justice into my own hands rather than leaving it to the Lord. It’s so much harder to humble myself and pray rather than acting especially when I see someone harmed or disgraced. Change my heart Lord, and help me know that you are a God of justice as well as grace. Absaloms actions only lead to more sin.

    1. Emily B. says:

      Exactly! It’s easy to side with Absalom’s choices regarding what happened to his sister, but you said it perfectly–where was God in his decisions? Definitely something to consider in my own life.

    2. Scarleth says:

      I can totally relate. It is so hard to let go and let God (as cliché as that sounds) but as Romans 12:19 says “Friends, do not avenge yourselves, instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” We must trust that God knows best in every situation good or bad. I’ve learned that when I try to do things on my own I only make things worse. May the Lord help us to remain still and let Him work all things out for the good of those He loves.

    3. Lana says:

      I totally and completely feel the same way. My first reaction to Absalom was a whole hearted GOOD. Kill your sister’s rapists and burn the whole place down!!! What a man!!! The Lord is still working on me.

    4. Audrey Flores says:

      Thank you for this!! I didn’t even realize I was subconsciously agreeing with Absalom! Wow…Lord please heal my heart and seek to put You first!!!

    5. Abigail Woodall says:

      Yes! I can surely relate to Absalom. It always initially seems easier to take matters into your own hands, but ultimately that leads to sin and destruction. It’s always best to walk in the way of the Lord and trust his righteousness and justice.

  6. Sarah D. says:

    So thankful that our God sees us in the midst of sin and chaos! Praying for you all who have been through this.
    First day of college today!! Excited and a little nervous. Prayers appreciated, that they go well, that I manage my time, and meet good friends.

    1. Brenda says:

      Sara, wishing you many good things for your college years. Choose friends wisely, study hard, and stay prayed up! There will be many opportunities to make questionable decisions. Don’t succumb to peer pressure or the words you will here ” it is your time to be free and experiment “. It only takes one bad choice, to ruin your future. I’m not saying these things to scare you, just to make you aware that although college can be a great experience, it definitely will test your values and beliefs. I wish you nothing but the best and am praying you make good choices and stay safe. Wishing you a great four years!

    2. truthseeker says:

      Sara-Brenda has given you fantastic God inspired advice and I hope and pray that you will remember as days turn into weeks, then months, then years. I would like to add something that I heard Jerry Falwell say about LU students”Not all of the students that come to Liberty University are Christians, but we hope that when they leave they will be.” (Not exact wording-it has been some years ago). With this said- keep in mind that just because your fellow students are attending a Christian university they may not embrace or reflect the Christian beliefs and way of life. Be wise and discerning ! I pray for Gods blessings on you as you embark on this new period of your life.

  7. Gina Glennon says:

    Amen and Amen! Beautifully said.

  8. ~ B ~ says:

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

    It is so easy for the enemy to manipulate seasons and cause us to catch glimpses, in movie like fashion, of things that have been done to us and things that we have done. It is like a pit of tar we are surprised to find ourselves in that keeps us stuck, until the good Lord removes us. The enemy knows these things can torment and especially in hard seasons where our emotions give rise and fall to the ups and downs of any given day. These things add up, as if scores on a score card and we can feel overcome by the weight of thoughts such as; “No one understands, I’ll never be the same, the pain is too great, there is too much to overcome, not a soul cares, I am unworthy of anything good, if God cared, He wouldn’t allow this” …. Lies, every single one. In moments where I feel abandoned and these sorts of thoughts are whispered in my ear I have put into practice the need to ask them as questions. Instead of hearing, “Not a soul cares”, I ask “Not a soul cares?” and it immediately allows me to hear the answer because I KNOW the answer, I have read the answer, been told the answer and have seen the answer … “No, my God cares. He cares so greatly”…. “I am unworthy?” … “No, God says I am all together worthy of His love, worthy of His calling, worthy of His attention”. “Too much to bear?” … “God knows pain, Jesus took it. Jesus suffered excruciating pain at the hands of others, too much for anyone to bear and still He overcame and He did it for all, not just some”. God always has the answers. He didn’t design the world this way, sin entered the Garden and God’s plans for us were devoured in one bite. He sees what’s done to us and what we do and He weeps, He knows, He is here but even in our hiding, He seeks us. He will always seek us. There isn’t a circumstance or stain that He will ever say is too much. Jesus just loves us in every state and He will never forsake our hearts … Jesus is always there, holding us in our wretchedness. I am beyond words grateful for a Savior who loves me so much and has placed His desire for me in such a way that it is a life preserver in great seas of torment. Overcome with His faithfulness this beautiful Monday morning.

    1. MNmomma(Heather N) says:

      Thank you for your words this morning B <3 ….love your thought of changing those fears/thoughts into questions….allowing for the affirmation of faith and the TRUTH to be said….powerful!

    2. Hilary says:

      Wow. Thank you for those words! Amen!

    3. Tochi Heredia says:

      Thank you for this, B. It warmed and comforted my heart.

    4. Emily B. says:

      Lovely. Thank you for this. :)

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