Absalom is a hard man. He must and will force his father to accept him again. The background is the coup he has in mind. Possibly this also played a role in the murder of Amnon, whom he slew with tricks. To reach his goal he wants Joab to come to him. He has to work for him. If Joab doesn’t want to listen to him at will, then he’ll do it against will. He sets the barley on Joab’s piece of land adjacent to his own on fire.
The life of a neighbor and the proceeds of the land of God mean nothing to Absalom. He is full of Himself. He is the self-confident man who knows that he is beautiful and can therefore impress. He also has power as a king’s son. He also knows his father’s weakness, which he manipulates. He’s the ‘killer’ who does away with everything he encounters as an obstacle on his way to the goal he has set himself. That goal is he himself.
His performance here shows his character, the character of the spoiled crown prince. He destroyed part of the country to get his way. He does not count on the property of another person. Amnon had the same character. He was not interested in what Tamar thought. He wanted her, so he took her. That’s how it goes with children who grow up without discipline and are spoiled. What the children are and what they do is largely determined by the behavior of the parents. It is largely their responsibility. Their words do not play the biggest role in this, but their example. What Absalom was, was not only a character problem, but also an educational problem. David, the great king in public, is the weak father at home.
When Joab to Absalom with a claim, he is not impressed. He does not apologize, let alone speak of compensation, which he was obliged to give according to the law (Exo 22:66“If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, so that stacked grain or the standing grain or the field [itself] is consumed, he who started the fire shall surely make restitution.). Joab should have been directly come, then the burning of his land would not have been necessary. It’s that simple. Absalom also manipulates Joab. Joab is in the power of Absalom and therefore Absalom does not speak of compensation. When Joab later gets the chance to avenge himself, he does so.
Absalom denies his crimes although they are well known. He does not want to know of any iniquity that would be in him. On the contrary, he thinks he has been dishonestly harmed by blocking his way back to Jerusalem. To Joab he defies the righteousness of the king by saying that he should kill him if there is guilt in him. He knows David won’t do that because he, as his father, loves him too much for that. He knows his father’s predilection for him and knows how to use it for his purpose.
When Absalom comes to his father David, David kisses him. However, it is not the kiss that the prodigal son gets from his father who is waiting for him. The prodigal son says he has sinned (Lk 15:20-2120So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion [for him], and ran and embraced him and kissed him.21And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’). From Absalom we do not hear a word in that direction. We do not hear a word from his mouth at all. Poor David is blind to the condition of his son.
We may pray that the Lord will give us an eye for our weaknesses, so that we do not become the plaything of others or of our feelings. This requires that we live in a living relationship with the Lord Jesus. Then we will see through what others would like to achieve with deceit.