Saturday, August 08, 2009

Oh, Absalom

I'm reflecting on Absalom this week.  His death is the lectionary text for this week, and I am pondering the complicated journey of his life.  His first real appearance is when he avenges the rape of his sister Tamar by his half-brother Amnon.  And I've been wondering, how does one go from being what we may legitimately call a hero to a usurper of the throne, killed ignominiously by his father's friend and general Joab as Absalom's head is caught in an oak tree?  

This story is about David, too - about his love of his firstborn son Amnon and his excusal of even the most hideous of crimes, about how his love of Amnon and the memory of this son (a crass and callous man)  blinds him notions of justice, and to the political intrigue brewing right under his nose.  David, too, bears some responsibility for how Absalom turns out, as any parent does.  And yet his grief for his traitorous son is no less than that of his first-born.  Curious, the relationship between parents and children.

Anyway, these are the thoughts rattling around in my head today.  I will probably be more coherent tomorrow at church, when I preach on parents and children.

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