The story takes a depressing turn. The old testament is the story of false starts, failed messiahs, new leaves turned with no lasting difference.
It’s the history of god’s relationship with the race from which the Messiah will come, during which more and more of God is slowly revealed. His mighty plans ever so slowly unfold.
But, short term, everything goes bad and people always let him down.
God remains unshockable: our depths of cruelty, degradation & nastiness; our small, banal meaness, our flights of destructive passionate self indulgence; he’s seen it all a gazillion times before and his love never fails.
Last two chapters we had David’s sin. That ended with the promise of more strife by the prophet, and here it starts.
It’s a story set among David’s numerous children: brothers, half brothers and sisters. It involves lust, incestuous rape and revenge. At the end, David’s most gifted and promising son, Absalom, is in self imposed exile for the murder of his brother.
Throughout David is: angry, weeping bitterly, sad. He’s reaping the whirlwind for his own messy love life, I suppose.
There’s no mention at all of God in this chapter. I don’t think it’s necessarily a moral fable, and I don’t intend to come in like Aesop and say “so the moral is …”
It’s just messy ugly family history showing that, apart from the intervention of God in their lives these people are messed up humans just like us.