Saturday

"The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, 'O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!' ... So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the troops; the troops stole into the city that day as soldiers steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle." (v. 33)

2 Samuel 18:24-33 Saturday 23 July 2016

Psalm: Psalm 119:129-144


Background

The story of Absalom's rebellion against his father King Davidis a bloody one. Today's passage follows on from battle scenes todescribe Absalom's death and the conflict that followed. Chasedthrough the forest, he was caught by the neck in a forked branch ofa tree he rode under. His mule carrying on, he was left hanging anddefenceless.

His father's soldiers had argued: this was their enemy in battle,but it was also the son of the Lord's anointed, David. Finally,refusing to 'waste time', one close to the king came and stabbedAbsalom and his men closed in to finish the job.

This was against the instruction of the king. That notwithstanding,the king's prolonged mourning for his son would become anembarrassment to his supporters. He seemed to mourn his son out ofproportion to the grief that son had caused among the people andsoldiers, seeming to forget the many more dead because of Absalom'srebellion. The whole passage is part of the description of David'ssuccession - of how Solomon came to hold the throne.

The lesson for today might best be understood as a warning. Whenpersonal greed, family jealousy and pride become wrapped up in warbetween nations, they will cause untold harm. War deprives itsleaders of the luxury of private grief. As much as this, the lessonmight be that war makes monsters out of people, and there is notriumph in it. A final lesson might be that God will use the worstin our history to bring new life - Jesus was understood to be inDavid's line, "of the house of David", having "the throne of hisancestor David", (Luke 1:27, 32) and served to redeem all.
 

To Ponder

  • To what extent are all actions permissible in war?
  • Should parents continue to love children no matter what theydo?
  • Where do you see God in this passage?
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