1. “THOU ART THE MAN”
a. How did God suddenly disturb the false sense of peace that David had after committing great sins? 2 Samuel 12:1–4. In response, what sentence did David unwittingly pronounce upon himself? 2 Samuel 12:5, 6.
b. What straight testimony did Nathan the prophet give to David, and how did David respond? 2 Samuel 12:7–10, 13 (first part); Psalm 51:4.
“Conscience was uttering bitter and humiliating truths to David. While his faithful subjects wondered at his sudden reverse of fortune, it was no mystery to the king. He had often had forebodings of an hour like this. He had wondered that God had so long borne with his sins and had delayed the merited retribution. . . .
“Many a wrongdoer has excused his own sin by pointing to David’s fall, but how few there are who manifest David’s penitence and humility. How few would bear reproof and retribution with the patience and fortitude that he manifested.”—Ibid., p. 737.
2. BITTER CONSEQUENCES
a. How was the personality of David affected by his sins? Psalm 51:3, 17.
“There was a great change in David himself. He was broken in spirit by the consciousness of his sin and its far-reaching results. He felt humbled in the eyes of his subjects. His influence was weakened.”—Ibid., p. 723.
b. How did David, through his sinful behavior, loose the respect of the people and, in particular, of his sons? Psalm 27:6–7. What consequence followed immediately, and why? 2 Samuel 12:14.
“Now his subjects, having a knowledge of his sin, would be led to sin more freely. His authority in his own household, his claim to respect and obedience from his sons, was weakened. A sense of his guilt kept him silent when he should have condemned sin; it made his arm feeble to execute justice in his house. His evil example exerted its influence upon his sons, and God would not interpose to prevent the result.”—Ibid.
“God and His word have been blasphemed, souls have been hardened in unbelief, and many, under a cloak of piety, have become bold in sin.”—Ibid.
c. Why did God permit the story of David’s fall to be included in the Bible? 1 Corinthians 10:12.
“Those who, by pointing to the example of David, try to lessen the guilt of their own sins, should learn from the Bible record that the way of transgression is hard. Though like David they should turn from their evil course, the results of sin, even in this life, will be found bitter and hard to bear.
“God intended the history of David’s fall to serve as a warning that even those whom He has greatly blessed and favored are not to feel secure and neglect watchfulness and prayer.”—Ibid., p. 724.
3. RETRIBUTION THROUGH REBELLION
a. How did David’s son Absalom avenge the crime committed against his sister by Amnon? 2 Samuel 13:28, 29. What happened three years after Absalom had fled from David? 2 Samuel 13:37–39; 14:23, 24, 28.
b. After an apparent reconciliation with his father, how did Absalom then “steal the hearts” of the people of Israel? 2 Samuel 14:33; 15:1–6. What attitude on David’s part lay at the heart of Absalom’s rebellion? Ecclesiastes 8:11.
“Through the influence of Joab, Absalom was again admitted to his father’s presence; but though there was an outward reconciliation, he continued his ambitious scheming. He now assumed an almost royal state, having chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And while the king was more and more inclined to desire retirement and solitude, Absalom sedulously courted the popular favor.
“The influence of David’s listlessness and irresolution extended to his subordinates; negligence and delay characterized the administration of justice. Absalom artfully turned every cause of dissatisfaction to his own advantage.”—Ibid., p. 729.
c. What instruction did Absalom’s spies carry to all the tribes of Israel? 2 Samuel 15:10. When David received news of Absalom’s rebellion, rather than bring bloodshed into Jerusalem, what did David decide to do? 2 Samuel 15:13, 14.
“David was suddenly aroused to see rebellion breaking out close beside his throne. His own son—the son whom he had loved and trusted—had been planning to seize his crown and doubtless to take his life. In his great peril David shook off the depression that had so long rested upon him, and with the spirit of his earlier years he prepared to meet this terrible emergency. . . . His decision was taken. The horrors of war should not fall upon the chosen city. He would leave Jerusalem, and then test the fidelity of his people, giving them an opportunity to rally to his support.”—Ibid., p. 731.
4. THE REBELLION QUELLED
a. As David and his company were fleeing, why did he send various friends back to Jerusalem?
1. The men who were carrying the ark. 2 Samuel 15:24, 25, 29.
2. Hushai. 2 Samuel 15:32–37. What was his advice, and why? 2 Samuel 17:7, 14–16, 23.
“God, who dwelt between the cherubim, had said of Jerusalem, ‘This is My rest’ (Psalm 132:14); and without divine authority neither priest nor king had a right to remove therefrom the symbol of His presence.”—Ibid., p. 732.
“Again David was forced to recognize in his calamities the results of his own sin. The defection of Ahithophel, the ablest and most wily of political leaders, was prompted by revenge for the family disgrace involved in the wrong to Bathsheba, who was his granddaughter. . . . At David’s request Hushai returned to Jerusalem to offer his services to Absalom and defeat the crafty counsel of Ahithophel.”—Ibid., p. 735.
b. What did David say to one of his soldiers who wanted to kill the man who was cursing David? 2 Samuel 16:9, 11, 12.
“The spirit that leads man to triumph over, to revile or distress, one who is in affliction is the spirit of Satan.”—Ibid., p. 736.
c. With a chance to further escape, how did David divide his forces, and what instruction did he give them concerning Absalom his son? 2 Samuel 17:24; 18:1, 2, 5.
5. A NEW LESSON FOR MODERN ISRAEL
a. What was the outcome of the battle between the loyal forces and the rebel army? 2 Samuel 18:7, 8.
b. What was the end of Absalom, the instigator of the rebellion?
2 Samuel 18:9–11, 14, 16, 17.
c. What lesson may we learn from Absalom’s history in our work as evangelists today? Romans 15:4.
“Again and again was ancient Israel afflicted with rebellious murmurers. . . . In many cases, men of renown, rulers in Israel, turned against the providential leading of God and fiercely set to work to tear down that which they had once zealously built up. We have seen something of this repeated many times in our experience. . . . The church will yet see troublous times. She will prophesy in sackcloth. But although she must meet heresies and persecutions, although she must battle with the infidel and the apostate, yet by the help of God she is bruising the head of Satan. The Lord will have a people as true as steel, and with faith as firm as the granite rock.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 594.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. When prophet Nathan said to King David, “Thou art the man,” what reproach did he bring against the king?
2. How did David, through his sinful behavior, loose the respect of the people and, in particular, of his sons?
3. How has the serious stain on King David’s reputation brought reproach upon the Judean-Christian religion?
4. For what purpose did God permit the story of David’s fall to be included in the Bible?
5. In what sense was the history of Absalom recorded as a warning for church leaders, evangelists, and for the believers in general?