Don’t Leave Me Hangin’ (Samuel 18)

King David is fighting his son Absalom for control. When they finally do battle, David’s warriors kill twenty thousand of Absalom’s, which is a significant dent in his army. Actually, his warriors can’t take all the credit: “The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword” (Sam 18:8). A people-eating forest. That’s weird. Didn’t see that one coming but then again it is the Bible. David emerges triumphant from the battle… or does he?

On a side note, one of my responses to anything mundane is, “Yes. But at what cost?”.

Tragically, but more so comically, Absalom gets his head caught in the branches of an oak when he rides underneath it on his mule. Seriously. He’s hanging there for sometime (completely oblivious to the common applications of butter, margarine and, at a last resort, oleo). Enough time for David’s men to find him and argue about whether or not they should kill him. Joab takes charge and kills him hanging there by stabbing him in the heart with three tiny darts. He was probably already dead because I don’t see a dart getting through the pectoralis major muscle, let alone the ribcage and other viscera.

When David finds out that his son is dead he experiences what pop psychologists describe as “an emotional rollercoaster”. “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!” (Sam 18:33). Puh-lease. David could have stopped the war at any time by stepping down as king.

Only OK? What happened to great?

Published in: on June 14, 2011 at 2:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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