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My failure! My failure!

2 Samuel 18:28–33

So Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “All is well!” Then he bowed down with his face to the earth before the king, and said, “Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king!”

The king said, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about.”

And the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.

Just then the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “There is good news, my lord the king! For the LORD has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you.”

And the king said to the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

So the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you to do harm, be like that young man!”

Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: “O my son Absalom—my son, my son Absalom—if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!”

Ahimaaz has to know that Absalom is dead. Otherwise, why would Joab hesitate to send him to David?

Recall David’s reaction to hearing of Saul’s death. Bringing news like that to David has proved dangerous. That’s why Ahimaaz twice said (in verses 22 and 23) that he wanted to bring the news regardless of what may happen. That wouldn’t make sense unless the news includes Absalom’s death.

Ahimaaz’s response to David’s question about Absalom sounds contrived—like he’s trying to prepare David for the bad news.

That seems to be why he raced to get there first.

David’s reaction to Absalom’s death is puzzling. It wasn’t that long ago that David wouldn’t give him the time of day. Everything Absalom has done since then has been horrible—sure grounds for being disowned. So, why is David heartbroken now? What changed?

It must be David; any change in Absalom was for the worse. Since David’s grief over his own sin (and his resulting growth) is a recurring theme in this book, what specifically might be at play here?

The answer may come in the words, “my son, my son.

David is grieved, specifically, as Absalom’s father. His failures there are great, and he knows it.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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