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  The Great Bible Story #61
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Trouble in David's family

Jacob Ninan
King David had several wives, following the custom of the heathen kings around him. His son Amnon raped his stepsister Tamar. Her brother Absalom was very angry at this, but kept quiet for two years. Then one day he invited all the king's sons for a feast, and got Amnon killed when he was merry with wine. Afterwards Absalom fled from the place and kept away from the king for three years. But finally Joab, the commander of David's army, convinced David to receive Absalom back. Though David allowed Absalom to come back, he would not meet him because of what he had done.

After some time, Absalom made a plan to take the kingdom from David. He got himself horses and a chariot and men to run before him. Every day he would stand where people gathered and enticed them by telling them how he would help them and sort out their problems if he was in charge. After he had won their hearts like this, he went to Hebron and made people announce him as king!

Fearing that Absalom would now put him to death, David fled from the place along with many of his faithful friends. Then Absalom came to Jerusalem, the capital, and took over as king. David gathered all the people who were with him and put three commanders over them and sent them to fight with Absalom's army. He still loved his son Absalom and so he told his army to be gentle with him.

The people following Absalom were defeated by those of David and about 20000 men died that day. As Absalom was riding a mule his long hair got caught in the branches of an oak tree. He was left hanging from the tree as the mule moved off from under him. Somebody who saw it reported to Joab that the king's son was hanging from a tree. Joab went there, took three darts and thrust them through Absalom's heart. Then he blew the trumpet to announce that the battle was over.

When David heard about Absalom's death, he was inconsolable, and his followers did not feel like celebrating the victory. The Joab came and impressed upon him that if he cared more for Absalom than for the people who had followed him, none of them would be with him any more. So David put aside his personal grief and went and greeted his people.

When David was on his sick bed in his old age, another of his sons Adonijah declared himself as king in his place. Bathsheba and Nathan went to remind him that he had committed for Solomon, Bathsheba's son, to be king. So Solomon was anointed as king before David died.


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