Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When David Heard - 2 Samuel 18:33

The account of King David and his son Absalom is, to say the least, heartbreaking. Absalom was by most standards, a terrible son. He killed his brother Amnon, left the kingdom for three years, returned with a desire to dethrone his father, David, and then declared himself king in Hebron and began a civil war with his own father. Absalom succeeded and David was forced to run from Jerusalem while Absalom placed himself on the throne. Somehow, amidst all of this, David remained compassionate towards Absalom. He ordered his men not to harm him, but to deal gently with him if he was seen in battle. Shortly after, Absalom became trapped in a thicket and was killed by one of David's warriors, Joab. The following scripture relates how David handled the news of his son's death.
...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.” 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.” 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!
I can only imagine the pain and anguish that David must have experienced as he cried out over the death of his son, Absalom.

Last night I heard a choral piece by Eric Whitacre entitled, "When David Heard" that I believe displays the emotional response that David had to this news. It is 13 minutes long, but it is well worth your time. While listening, imagine that you are there with David. Listen as he goes from sadness to rage to peace. Close your eyes if you need to, and crank your speakers.

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