David’s beloved son Absalom premeditated a coup that caused a revolution in Israel that in the end cost the lives of over 22,000 Israelites. Absalom enticed many of the influential men in David’s kingdom to join him in the revolt such as the man Amasa. He was the first cousin of Absalom because Abigail, David’s sister, was his mother. This man, David’s nephew, led Absalom’s army against David and his army.
After Absalom died, the revolt was finally crushed, but the kingdom was completely disorganized. David, as a godly man with a forgiving heart and as a skillful politician, reached out to Amasa and said, “Are you not my bone and my flesh? May God do so to me, and more also, if you will not be commander of the army before me continually in place of Joab” (2 Samuel 19:13). Not only did David forgive his enemy, he intended to have him as the head of his army.
At the beginning of revolt, David and his people had to exile Jerusalem. As he was walking, Shimei came cursing continually and throwing stones at David and the people with him. He said to David, “Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow! The LORD has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are taken in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!” (2 Samuel 16:7 and 8). David’s men wanted to kill him, but David would not allow it.
When the war was over, this same man approached David when he was on his way back to Jerusalem and asked forgiveness for his vile words and actions. David’s soldiers again wanted to kill him, but David forgave him and promised that he would not die. Mephibosheth is another who turned against David and later asked forgiveness and received it. David also forgave all the troops that were in Absalom’s army. He was a great loving and forgiving man!
When reading these records about David, we should be reminded to never allow ourselves to disobey the direct command of our Lord to forgive.