Two Sons of David 

2 Samuel 15 tells the story of Absalom’s conspiracy. And in this conspiracy we see both a fulfillment of God’s word to David that the sword would not depart his house, and we see a shadow of God’s gracious covenant with David that his son would sit on an everlasting throne.

The Text – A Summary

In the first six verses, we hear that Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel by standing at the gate and lamenting to those who came to David for judgment that he himself was not a judge in the land. In verse seven through twelve, Absalom deceives David by departing Jerusalem and calling the people to join him in rebellion against the king. David flees Jerusalem with his household in verse 13 through 18. And Ittai, one of his 30 mighty men, remain loyal to him. Zadok the priest and all the Levites side with David, bringing the ark of God itself with them as the depart the city (v. 24). But David instructs them to take the ark back to Jerusalem saying, “If I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and she me both it, and his habitation” (v. 25).

David and those who fled with him ascend the mount of Olives, weeping with heads covered as they went (v. 30). Hushai would follow David as well. But David told him to remain as a spy and defeat the counsel of Ahithophel who sided with Absalom.

Two Promises

God’s wisdom and the beauty of his word is seen in how he fulfills his promises. He told David through the prophet only a few chapters ago that trouble would come to his house due to his sin with Bathsheba. That was one promise. But in the Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel 7, God told David that his son would sit on an everlasting throne, and his house would be established.

God’s word regarding the sword upon David’s house is clearly being fulfilled as Absalom, his very own son rebels against him. This trouble is downstream from David’s sin. And yet God has mercy.

We know that God has promised a son of David on the throne. And it is clear from Absalom’s sin that he is not David’s seed that will sit upon his throne. There is an echo here of Cain. Adam was promised that the seed of his wife would crush the head of the serpent. And yet, Cain murders his brother Abel. Adam had a son who degenerated into a murderer. And David has a son who degenerated into a murderer. While Cain was not the serpent-crushing seed, God would provide one. And while Absalom is clearly not the throne-sitting son, God will certainly provide one.

And we see a shadow of this ultimate Son of David in the passage at hand. Surely, God’s covenant with David has reference to his son Solomon in a sense. And yet, ultimately, God’s covenant with David is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Son of David. 

And that son, like his father David, would be betrayed by one close to him. Absalom bears a semblance to Judas. And when the rebellion occurred, our Lord, like his father David went up the Mount of Olives. The trouble was heavy for David such that on that mountain he wept. And the trouble was heavy for our Lord on that very same mountain such that “being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

The passage at hand reminds us that God will not have his purpose thwarted. He will bring forth every one of his promises. And his promises are yes and amen in Christ. We, then, put no confidence in the flesh as if we have a righteousness of our own. King David was a great man. He was a man after God’s own heart. And, in his failure, he points us to the Greater David who is our true righteousness. We must trust every word God has promised us, seeing clearly from the passage at hand that his every word from him proves true. And we must trust every word from God in a particular person, and that person is the God man, Jesus Christ.