Instructions: Do this exercise in quiet surroundings. As you read the scriptures, imagine that you are a bystander watching the events unfold. Visualize the scenes. Hear the voices. Feel the emotions of the characters. Let the account come to life.
Main characters: David, Absalom, Joab
Summary: Absalom attempts to usurp his father’s throne.
ANALYZE THE SCENES.
—READ 2 SAMUEL 14:25-33; 15:1-17; 18:9-17, 30-33.
Describe the appearance of Absalom, as you picture him. (Reread 2 Samuel 14:25, 26.)
What do you imagine Absalom’s attitude and tone of voice were like as he tried to win the hearts of those coming to the king for justice? (Reread 2 Samuel 15:2-6.)
What do you perceive about Absalom’s personality from the incident recorded at 2 Samuel 14:28-30?
How had Absalom laid the groundwork for seizing the throne? (Clue: Read 2 Samuel 13:28, 29. Amnon was David’s eldest son and hence heir to the throne.)
Despite his ambition and attempts at self-glory, what does the manner of Absalom’s burial indicate as to how he was really viewed? (Reread 2 Samuel 18:17.)
What, do you think, might have contributed to Absalom’s ambitious spirit? (For comparison, read what is stated about Diotrephes at 3 John 9, 10.)
How was David affected by Absalom’s actions? (Clue: Read Psalm 3, which David wrote at the time of Absalom’s revolt.)
APPLY WHAT YOU LEARNED. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU LEARNED ABOUT . . .
The danger of an ambitious spirit.
The pain that a person’s actions can cause to others, including his or her parents.
FOR FURTHER APPLICATION.
How might you fall into the trap of ambition?
How can you avoid developing undue pride?
WHAT ASPECT OF THIS ACCOUNT IS MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU, AND WHY?
Suggestion: Imagine a different ending to this account. What might have happened if Absalom had been modest rather than ambitious?