Having grown up with apparently little strict paternal discipline, simply under the care of their different mothers, who were jealous of one another, David's sons fancied that they might gratify their own fleshly lusts, and carry out their own ambitious plans; and from this there arose a series of crimes, which nearly cost the king his life and throne. GEM


37 But Absalom [Avshalom] fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David [Dovid] mourned for his son every day.

"The sword shall never depart from thy house: because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine house . . . Thou didst it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun"

(2 Samuel 12:10).

In the working out of this sentence, we are face to face with a plain and signal and unmistakeable illustration of the ways of providence.

The evils to come upon David were to be the work of God-

  • "I will raise up evil,"

  • "I will do this thing,"

  • "The sword shall never depart."

We trace the operation of the thing and we see only men at work so far as appearances and their motives go. David's domestic peace is interrupted by his son Amnon's behaviour to his daughter Tamar. The cloud brought on David's house by this incident is immeasurably deepened by the murder of Amnon in the avenging of Tamar by command of his brother Absalom. A gap is made in the king's domestic circle by the flight of Absalom consequent on this event.

...Apparently, God had nothing to do with it; for in the contemplation of all the events that fulfilled these sayings, nothing is seen but the play of human passion and human lust of power. Yet the evidence is before us that the whole trouble so developed was divinely caused by those angelic manipulations of human affairs... which are unseen by men and which are conducted without any interference with the freedom of human volition. Some have a difficulty in reconciling the two things; but the difficulty must come from want of reflection.

Ways of Providence Ch 17