During the conflict between David and Shaul, David inquired of God (perhaps via the urim v'tummim) as to how to behave (where he should go, what he should do etc.). However, when his son Avshalom rebels David does not make any inquiries, instead he leave Yerushalayim and does not seem to seek the direction of God at all during the rebellion. Do any commentators explain why David changed his behavior and did not inquire from God during his flight and fight with Avshalom?

  • 2
    Maybe because David knew that this was a punishment for his sin with Uriyah, and therefore there was nothing to do about it but pray for forgiveness…
    – שלום
    Sep 26, 2023 at 5:28
  • I've not got a source for this, but I thought that the urim v'tummim were for national issues, whereas this was more of a personal one. I know that anything affecting the king is national to a degree, but I imagine that Dovid wouldn't have felt that they were appropriate to use for this. More generally, I don't think any nevi'im are supposed to keep asking Hashem everything (which they probably couldn't anyway), possibly because we're supposed to have free will and that means making most decisions ourselves. Dovid also wouldn't be a good role model for us if he did that as we can't. Sep 26, 2023 at 8:53

1 Answer 1


Refer to the Gemara in Brochos 7b:

״מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד בְּבָרְחוֹ מִפְּנֵי אַבְשָׁלוֹם בְּנוֹ״, ״מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד״?! ״קִינָה לְדָוִד״ מִיבְּעֵי לֵיהּאָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן אֲבִישָׁלוֹם: מָשָׁל לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה? — לְאָדָם שֶׁיָּצָא עָלָיו שְׁטַר חוֹב. קוֹדֶם שֶׁפְּרָעוֹ הָיָה עָצֵב, לְאַחַר שֶׁפְּרָעוֹ שָׂמַח. אַף כֵּן דָּוִד, כֵּיוָן שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא: ״הִנְנִי מֵקִים עָלֶיךָ רָעָה מִבֵּיתֶךָ״, הָיָה עָצֵב, אָמַר: שֶׁמָּא עֶבֶד אוֹ מַמְזֵר הוּא, דְּלָא חָיֵיס עֲלַי. כֵּיוָן דַּחֲזָא דְּאַבְשָׁלוֹם הוּא — שָׂמַח. מִשּׁוּם הָכִי אֲמַר ״מִזְמוֹר״

“A Psalm of Dovid, when fleeing his son, Avshalom.” A Psalm of Dovid? It should have said: A lament of Dovid? Rabbi Shimon ben Avishalom said a parable: To what is this similar? (It is similar) to a person about whom a promissory note was issued stating that he must repay a debt to the lender. Before he repaid it, he was despondent, worried how he will manage to repay the debt. After he repaid it, he was glad. So too was the case with Dovid. When the Holy One, Blessed be He, told him, (through Nosson the prophet, after the incident with BasSheva), “Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your house” (II Samuel 12:11), Dovid was despondent. He said: Perhaps it will be a slave or a mamzer (who will rise up in my house, a person of such lowly status,) who will have no pity on me. But once Dovid saw that it was Avshalom (i.e. that he was the one through whom the prophecy was to be fulfilled,) he rejoiced, (as he was certain that Absalom would show him mercy.) Therefore, it is called a psalm. (i.e. And not a lament, thanking G-d for punishing him in the least severe manner possible.)

  • I don't understand how this answers the question. Are you saying that since David saw the rebellion as his punishment for the sin with Batsheva, that he didn't inquire of God as to what to do? But how does he is correct? How does he know the correct response is to flee and not surrender "(as he was certain that Absalom would show him mercy.)"? Sep 26, 2023 at 14:48
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    You asked why Dovid did not inquire from G-d during his flight and fight with Avshalom, and I answered because he did not see it as a threat, because he saw that it was Avshalom his son who was responsible for the uprising and therefore, he reasoned that he was not a threat and would have mercy. In other words, he didn't need to speak to G-d because he didn't think it was an issue
    – Dov
    Sep 26, 2023 at 15:15
  • Got it. I'm not sure I can accept that premise however since he clearly expresses a feeling of being threatened (see 15:14) and therefore runs away. Sep 26, 2023 at 16:09

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