King David’s Canyon Of Despair never seemed to end. Pitted with disaster after disaster.
King Saul hunted David like he was a wild animal. David became king, but his personal life remained a canyon of despair. Filled with adultery, incest, murder and betrayal. His daughter raped and two sons killed. Yet, he remained ‘the friend of God’.
Israel’s Greatest King
King Saul was Israel’s first king, but he hunted David for twenty long years. Saul was the people’s choice, but he failed his God-given mission. Saul committed suicide so the enemy could not capture him..
David, the shepherd boy, became Israel’s greatest king. He took Israel to its pinnacle of glory. David increased the kingdom from 6,000 square miles to 60,000 square miles. David was a mighty man of war and conqueror of nations.
Alongside Moses and Abraham, David was called a friend of God. David’s throne was everlasting. The Messiah would come from David’s line. A Messiah who would offer salvation to all.
Marriage was a way of keeping conquered neighbours peaceable. Marriage for David was merely an alliance. He enjoyed beautiful women and ended up with seven wives.
An extraordinarily beautiful woman lived next door to David’s palace. Bathsheba’s husband was not Israeli, but he was away fighting for David.
Bathsheba began spinning her spider web of enticement. After all, it is the woman who chooses the man, not the man who chooses the woman. If you doubt what I say, just watch the next time you are in a group of socialising people. You will see the alpha woman choose and then get her man.
Bathsheba was determined to capture the most powerful man in Israel. She took her bath in plain view. She knew David could look directly down into her house.
David yielded to the temptation of lust. It was no doubt a reoccurring event and Bathsheba fell pregnant.
Deception In The Canyon Of Despair
The long road of deception began, wending its way through David’s Canyon Of Despair. Sadly, David’s sons would follow his example.
David recalled Bathsheba’s husband back from the battlefield. The Hittite, Uriah, was one of David’s strong men and a war hero. David wanted Uriah to sleep in comfort with his wife and cover up the pregnancy. Uriah had other ideas. His men were sleeping in the cold.
David ordered his nephew, the army commander Joab, to send Uriah into the heat of the battle. Joab was to make sure that Uriah was left alone, ensuring that Uriah and some of his men would be killed.
More In The Canyon of Despair
Bathsheba gave birth to a son. David’s Canyon Of Despair was about to get a lot worse. Despite David’s pleading with God, the baby died seven days later.
David did not get over Bathsheba. Instead, he took her as another of his many wives. Was it real love?
Far Reaching Canyon Of Despair
The tentacles of David’s Canyon Of Despair were far-reaching, embracing other members of his family.
David had six sons, all to different wives. His first-born, Amnon, lusted after his exquisite half-sister, Tamar. Amnon got Tamar on her own, through deception. He raped her, refusing to listen to Tamar’s protests.
According to Levitical law, Amnon could marry his half-sister, Tamar, if her father agreed. Tamar’s disgrace would be covered. Not too many women would agree to marry the man who raped her.
Tamar’s disgrace, not Amnon’s. He was the perpetrator. Why is the woman the offender?
From Lust To Hatred
Amnon’s lust turned to hatred. He threw Tamar out like a discarded piece of rubbish. Tamar fled to her brother, Absalom’s house.
He told his sister to get over what had happened, as it wasn’t a big deal. Heartless is the word that best describes Absalom. Tamar was forced to live in shame and desolation. Her memories of the event would haunt her until her death.
King David heard what had happened and did nothing about it. According to the law, Amnon deserved to be executed for incest. Amnon was heir-apparent as the first-born and would inherit David’s throne.
David was a brilliant war strategist, but his Achille’s heel was a father’s deep love for his children. It would give him mountains of grief in his Canyon Of Despair.
Revenge In The Canyon Of Despair
Amnon’s crime went unpunished. He got away with murder., just as his father had got away with murdering Bathsheba’s husband. Only Absalom refused to speak to Amnon.
Absalom watched and waited for two years, plotting his revenge for Tamar’s violation. He used cunning, just as his father had done with Uriah.
Absalom convinced his father to let his brothers attend his celebration for the end of the sheep shearing. He told his servants to wait until Amnon was drunk, then kill him.
Messengers told David about Amnon’s death. David’s Canyon Of Despair was getting deeper and deeper.
Absalom knew his life was under threat. He fled to the protection of his grandfather, the King Talmai of Geshur. The father of Absalom’s mother.
David had seen Bathsheba’s baby die, his daughter violently disgraced and his eldest son assassinated by another son. Absalom was in exile. David had much to mourn. Could David’s Canyon Of Despair grow any deeper? His list of sad memories grew longer with each passing year.
David’s anger eventually abated over Amnon’s death. His nephew, Joab, shamed David into bringing Absalom home.
Absalom returned to Jerusalem, but not to the king’s court. He skulked around Jerusalem for two long years. Bitterness filling his heart. He was the heir-apparent.
Vengeance breeds its own harvest of angst. United again with David, Absalom hatched his own plans. He set about to curry favour with all Israel. Once again, David failed to judge an errant son.
Absalom eventually sent word throughout Israel that he was king in Hebron. It was the same place his father had first been proclaimed king. Many believed Absalom, so the conspiracy gained strength. Tell a lie long enough and big enough until it becomes accepted as truth. That was Hitler’s strategy in the Second World War. It is the same strategy Putin uses today and the way of every dictator.
Absalom usurped David’s authority until David was forced to flee Jerusalem. David was terrified for his own safety and the safety of his family. He left behind ten concubines, in an effort to maintain some semblance of his kingship,
The man who could conquer entire nations could not subdue his own sons. Was it because he had received mercy from his Heavenly Father for a sin that deserved the death penalty?
More Court Intrigue
Absalom set up court in Jerusalem with Bathsheba’s grandfather, Ahithophel, as his adviser. Intrigue upon intrigue followed.
Ever the strategist, David sent his non-Israeli friend Hushai, into Absalom’s court, to act as spy and adviser. Absalom fell for it hook, line and sinker. Hushai’s task was to counteract Ahithophel’s advice to Absalom.
Ahithophel hatched a plan to kill David. He said he would bring the hundreds of people who were with David back to Jerusalem. Absalom thought that was a great idea, but he turned to Hushai for conformation. Hushai convinced Absalom that it would be better if Absalom got the glory for David’s death. He sent messages to David, telling him what Absalom was planning.
Ahithophel saw Absalom preferred to take Hushai’s advice. He went to his house and hanged himself. It seemed David’s canyon of despair would never come to an end. Israel was about to go into civil war, with brother fighting brother.
More Death In The Canyon Of Despair
David was considered too valuable to go into battle with Absalom. He remained behind. He begged his people would deal gently with Absalom. Ever the father’s heart.
The terrain was so difficult many were killed that day in the forest. Twenty thousand men died. Absalom became caught in the boughs of a great oak.
When they found Absalom hanging in the tree, the commander of David’s army, Joab, thrust knives into his cousin’s heart. Joab and a small group of men took Absalom’s body and threw it into a pit and covered it with stones. Their hatred of Absalom was so strong.
David wept, “Would God I had died for thee, Oh Absalom, my son, my son!” His Canyon Of Despair reached new depths.
Joab lost his position as the head of David’s armies. A nephew could be punished, but the actions of sons were without consequence.
David once more compromised, enemies coerced into becoming friends. The seeds of rebellion were firmly sown.
Endless Canyon Of Despair
David’s Canyon Of Despair lasted one way or another until his death. David did not have a life of peace with numerous wives and their children. Bathsheba’s son, Solomon, became king, although he was well down the line of succession.
David, the greatest king Israel ever had, was not the wisest. Yet, he is recorded as being a friend of God, who walked in integrity of heart and uprightness. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Bathsheba played a major role in David’s life. It was because of her voice that Solomon gained the throne of David.
Women everywhere have a unique voice in their sphere of influence. Another woman we know little about, but who backed her husband against all odds, is Mrs Noah.
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