David loved his son, Absalom. He mercifully forgave Absalom and graciously received him back into his favor. But Absalom followed his father’s example in his sin, not in having a heart for God. He immediately began to plot the overthrow of his father’s kingdom. Verse 6 of 2 Samuel 15 makes it clear that all Absalom’s good will toward the people was part of his treacherous plan to oust his father. It says, “So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” He didn’t “win” them. He stole them. He betrayed the one who loved him.

I don’t suppose any treachery is worse than betrayal by a friend or family member. “Et tu Brute?” has become a phrase familiar to us. Julius Caesar uttered these words as his last just before his lifelong friend Marcus Junius Brutus stabbed him to death.

David had his enemies without and within. But I can’t imagine the pain he must have felt at the realization that his own son lead the rebellion against him. 

Absalom, of course, won the “gold of Toulouse.” Caepio had taken the city of Toulouse by an act of treachery and betrayal much like Absalom. He won for himself an immense storehouse of gold and wealth. However, It is written concerning Caepio, “From that day on, he was hunted by calamity: all extremes of evils and disasters, all shame and dishonor were his and his families.” The disgrace was so severe on himself and those who were his that from that day forward any gains achieved through betrayal and treachery were said to be “the gold of Toulouse.” This is also the final chapter in the story of Absalom.

I wonder if Solomon, David’s other son, wrote Proverbs 15:16 with this story in mind. He wrote, “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.”