Be Gentle with the Young Man Absalom
2 Samuel 18
Absalom the son of David plotted treason; he took the city of David and was advised to strike down his father. Meanwhile, David sent his troops out to regain order. When David stood beside the gate while the men marched out, he gave orders to each of the commanders.
“Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.”
The battle in the forest of Ephraim was fierce. Followers of Absalom were greatly defeated by David’s troops and Absalom was killed by the javelin of Joab, one of David’s men. Hearing the news, the king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he cried, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”
Absalom was a traitor. He was a reprobate son who took his father’s throne and tried to stab a dagger into his father’s back at every opportunity. Nevertheless, David called him the young man Absalom and gave orders to the commanders to be gentle with him. David hoped that his son would repent his indiscreet deeds and come back into his father’s arms, but he ended up losing his life. Hearing the news, the father wailed, “If only I had died instead of you!” Absalom paid the price for his sin, but David mourned his son’s death for he could not die in his son’s place. In the world, there is one thing that goes against logic—it is the love of a father who loves his son, who attempted his life, more than himself.