Absalom & The Problem Of Legitimate Grievances

One of the most touching cries in scripture is David mourning the loss of his son, “And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!’” (2 Sam. 18:33 and 19:4)

By that point, few in David’s kingdom felt the same way. Absalom had years before murdered his brother, been exiled, returned and ingratiated himself to many, used deception to stage a coup, driven David and those loyal to him into exile, make a public show of taking his father’s concubines and led a army against his father.  

Absalom’s conflicts with his family had started with a totally righteous cause, a completely legitimate grievance, a total injustice that those in power knew about but had not at all punished. his sister Tamar had been raped his his brother, another one of the princes in the land.  

The king did nothing, so Absalom seemed to be on the side of justice when he began. This is retaliation was indulged by his father. And he was indulged further still when he grew bolder in his actions until he ultimately destroyed those who loved him as well as himself.  

To warning: just because your complaint is entirely legitimate doesn’t mean that won’t eat your up and lead to destruction, and if people of goodwill indulge those who act improperly (even if it’s out of the best of intentions and a recognition that wrong have been done to them), then destruction consequences are all the more likely.