Why did Absalom conspire against David?


In 2 Samuel 13-15 we see Absalom after his exile return to Jerusalem and then ultimately the presence of his father David. At some point Absalom conspires to take the throne from David.

I am having difficulty figuring out his motivation for this.

Is it as simple as wanting to be king? Or angry that David took so long to forgive his murder of Amnon? Or is there something deeper there?

Looking for ideas or commentaries on the topic,



I’m not an expert, but I thought it was because Absalom wanted to be king. Didn’t God also say that the sword would never part from David’s house as a result of God’s punishment for David’s prior actions?


Do you happen to know a Book Chapter Verse where God makes that promise?

And I agree it was motivated by the desire to become king, I was just curious if there could be other motivations as well, he seems to go from wanting David’s forgiveness to immediately planning on taking over the throne.

Thank you


Yes, 2 Samuel 12:10

Therefore the sword shall never depart from thy house, because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Urias the Hettite to be thy wife.




My pleasure.


Amon raped Absalom sister and King David did nothing about it. I would imagine that growing up in polygamous household with all the chaos and cross loyalities that a number of those children were angry about a number of things. Anger about the rape, anger about the lack of control and discipline, ultimately wanting the throne and probably feeling the competition from the other half sibs all probably played a part in what ultimately happen. While he was upset at what happen to his sister Tamar, he likewise raped publically 6 of King David’s concubines. It probably would be better to focus on the reality that polygamy doesn’t work no matter who you are. The OT records with King David and Jacob the reality that these mulitple wives and children don’t lead to peace and love but anger, jeolousy and rapes.


True, there was also all that.


Those are good points as well. I am curious if Absalom had the idea of usurping the throne even before Amnon’s sin, or if he developed it after.

One of the things I was pondering was that I believe Solomon is David and Bathsheba’s other son, and that lineage is the one meant for the throne (reminds me of Abraham and Sarah vs. Abraham and Hagar), and that the only way to become king was to usurp since he wasn’t in the lineage that would inherit the throne by blood. Just a thought.

Thanks for the input.


I think sibling rivalry is the answer - Bathsheba was David’s favourite and I dare say Solomon being her son was too.


I think that is the key. Polygamy seems to have never been the will of God, and to create trouble every time in Scripture it appeared.



I’m no expert either, but from what I have always understood it was because Absalom felt that David was not doing a good job as king after his sister was raped by their half brother. Absalom felt that justice was not served in dealing with Ammon. Ammon was David’s son, just as Absalom and Tamar are his children and David did not want his family to be waring within, even though he knew Ammon did something terrible. David wanted reconciliation and he waited too long, doing nothing, but Absalom burned with indignation over the rape and wanted revenge.

That’s how it got started, from what I remember and learned. It wasn’t as simple as he wanted to be King, though later on he probably thought/felt that he would make a better king than his father and felt his usurpation of the throne was rightful.

I’ve also heard that these waring factions from within David’s family were a punishment from God over his dealings with Bathsheba and her husband. I can’t remember if that was Scriptural or not- but I think the prophet told him as such. Not sure. It seems to me that the error was on both ends, but mostly the error was Absalom for wanting war, having unforgiveness and lack of patience with his father David.

Hope that helps.  As I said, I'm no expert. That's just how I came to understand it.

Edit: Oh, whoops… y’all said that already… Somehow I didn’t see all the posts. :blush:


That’s good, I didn’t consider Absalom seeing David’s inaction over Amnon as a competency issue. I always thought of it as an emotional response.

Concerning the punishment in regards to Bathsheba, I definitely see the connection with the prophet Nathan’s parable about the rich man taking the poor man’s sheep. He will repay 4 times what he took, and he ends up losing 4 sons. 2 of which are directly involved with Absalom (one being Absalom). Thanks to the post above with the 2 Samuel 12 citation.

Thanks for the input.


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