Friday

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!’ (v.33)

2 Samuel 18:24-33 Friday 28 January 2022

Psalm 72

Background

The battle between the troops of David and the troops of Absalom, David’s son, (18:1-15) ends in the death of Absalom and defeat for this attempted coup. Two messengers are sent to David with the news; the messenger who reaches David first doesn’t give the whole news. Perhaps out of fear of David’s reaction he give the news of victory, but suggests that there was too much confusion to know the fate of Absalom.

The second messenger arrives, confirms the victory in battle, and, with carefully chosen words, confirms the death of Absalom. David is thrown into mourning and weeping. Despite his wishes (18:5) Absalom has been killed and although this might bring a clear resolution in a time of conflict, it has broken David’s heart.

The context of these events is very different from today. This was a royal household, perhaps 3000 years ago, in a society where ideas of human rights and rule of law or democracy, which hold British society together, were unknown. Not that British society acts or has acted any better! The stories of David’s household could be compared to stories of Henry VIII with parallels of political struggle, mixed with family pain, armed conflict and violence against women. Violence and pain were part of David’s family and political life, as spoken and foretold by the prophet Nathan (12:10). Set against this background, the final terrible verses of chapter 18 ring out with the pain of the moment – Absalom's death is a culmination of the cycle of violence that David was himself part of.

 

To Ponder:

  • How do you react to the violence in the story of David and his painful cry?
  • To what extent is the violence in this story of David happening in our world today?
  • How can you respond with the words and actions of Jesus to the violence and causes of violence, from war to cruelty within families?

Prayer

Lord, where we have survived violence please restore us, heal us, help us to use our strength to assist others and bring us peace and justice.

Lord, where I have brought violence on others by my action or inaction, please forgive me and show me how to restore the wrong I have done.

Lord we pray for the just and peaceful rule of your love in our world and in our hearts.  Amen.

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