We may imagine that life should pass without inhibitions, difficulties or heartaches, but deep down we know better. Life can be very hard; even cruel at times. Such is the case in which we find David in this chapter. The very son whom David had forgiven (and to whom he had extended amnesty) had turned on him and stolen his throne. It was a dark and weary path that David was treading when he walked out of his palace, out of Jerusalem, away from the Tabernacle, away from the Ark of God and into the wilderness to hide for his life.
Perhaps he could have stayed and fought, but he recognized the power of persuasion and the influence of his most ambitious son. So, as soon as word came to David that Absalom had risen in a coup and had successfully declared himself to be the new king, David high-tailed it out of town. At this juncture, Absalom was reigning in David's old capitol city (Hebron) and David was fleeing for his life. David crossed the Mount of Olives with bare feet and tears flowing. Now, despite Absalom's wickedness, David loved him. Surely David had many reasons to mourn. No doubt David reflected on his past moral failures as he plodded along in retreat. The loss of all that he had become accustomed to was an added burden. The realization that he had been rejected by his own nation would have been bitter medicine for him as well.
In the departure of David and his court (well, some of his court), it becomes apparent that David had many true friends as well as some very sly and opportunistic political groupies. Take special notice of 2 (in particular) who are mentioned here: Ahithophel and Hushai. One of them was wise, but self-absorbed. The second was loyal and brave. Stay tuned for their story another day. The priests also played an important though somewhat unusual role in this part of the story of David's life. Zadok, Abiathar and their sons served as political spies for David during these days. We will find how much of a risk they were taking as we continue to read.