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CHAPTER 18 (ESV)
31 And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” 33 And 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 I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
- Absalom is caught in the branches of a tree by his beautiful hair (v9). His hair was one of the features that confirmed Absalom’s suitability for the throne for all kings were described as handsome in the ancient world (14:25). Their appearance was understood to confirm the other qualities of leadership and skill that fitted individuals for kingship. Now in the story of his death, an aspect of Absalom’s beauty becomes the means of his downfall. Contrary to the clear instructions of David, Joab, one of his generals, wastes no time in having Absalom killed, taking the lead in stabbing him through the heart (vv10-17).
- Absalom’s attempt to take over David’s throne shows that disobedience to God’s covenant resulted in punishment. The enemies of the Lord’s Anointed will never succeed. David had to flee Jerusalem, and experienced much heartache because of his sin. Absalom died without honor because of his own sin. However, in spite of his sin God restored David to power because of God’s elective choice of him as His anointed and because of David’s heart for God.
- We can sadly draw a contrast of Absalom then, the promise and pride, and now, the humiliation and doom.
Read it slowly to allow time to reflect. Make it a personalized prayer as my request to God. Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life. (Prov. 16:18, 18:12, 22:4)