The Story of King Absalom
A Man’s Enemies Are the Members of His Own Household

David’s son Amnon was obsessed with his beautiful sister Tamar. Amnon’s nephew advised him to pretend to be sick. Then he could request a meal to be served to him in bed by his sister. So he did. When Tamar went to Amnon’s bedroom and tried to give him some food, he wouldn’t eat it. Instead, he told her to get in bed with him.

Tamar said she couldn’t do that right now, because that would be foolish and wicked and disgraceful. They should get married first! She was sure their righteous father David would allow his children to marry each other. But Amnon ignored her proposal, raped her, and sent her away. Absalom, another son of David, saw Tamar crying, and he told her to shut up. He said she should stop taking Amnon’s actions so seriously, because he was just her brother.

King David was not happy with what Amnon had done. Two years later, Absalom had Amnon killed. David heard that all his sons had been killed, and he wasn’t happy about that, either. When he found out that only Amnon was dead, he was just slightly more happy. Absalom wasn’t allowed to see his father for two years. Then Absalom set Joab’s barley field on fire, which convinced him to let Absalom visit David.

Absalom became popular (despite his disgracefully long hair) by kissing all the men who came to see King David. Then Absalom was able to get the people to declare him king of Israel. When David heard that his son was trying to overthrow him, he and most of his household ran away. But he made ten of his girlfriends stay behind to take care of his palace.

David heard that his counselor Ahithophel was now working for Absalom. So David asked God to make Ahithophel give foolish advice. But God wanted Absalom to be king and David to be cursed. So David had to send somebody else to give Absalom bad advice. To punish David for his adultry, God had Ahithophel advise Absalom to have sex with David’s ten girlfriends, out on the roof of the palace where everyone could see them. So he did.

Ahithophel also gave Absalom good advice on defeating David. But now God didn’t want Absalom to be king, so he made him prefer the advice of the guy David had sent to give him bad advice. Then Ahithophel killed himself.

Absalom rode out on a mule to meet David’s army. But his long hair got caught in the branches of a tree, and the mule kept going without him. A soldier told David’s commander Joab that he had seen the enemy hanging helplessly from a tree, but hadn’t killed him. He reminded Joab that David didn’t want his son to be killed. (David merely wanted to break Absalom’s teeth.) But Joab ignored him and had Absalom killed, so Absalom wouldn’t kill David and his family.

When David heard about that, he was not happy. But Joab told David he should stop mourning, because he was making the people who had killed his son feel bad. So David stopped mourning.

David tried to have his insensitive commander Joab replaced. But then Joab murdered his replacement, so David let Joab keep his job. But David sent his ten girlfriends away to live alone, confined to a guarded house, for the rest of their lives.

The end.

The moral of the story

Don’t have long hair.

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