Posted: February 7, 2016 in Uncategorized
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Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 53

Jonadab had slipped out with one of Amnon’s servants just after his master was murdered and they were already well on their way back to the king by the time that David’s sons had mounted their mules.

The servant was wide-eyed and fearful as they made their way back. As soon as they returned they were immediately brought to David. Breathless with fear and shock, Amnon’s servant fell to his knees and blurted out that Absalom had struck down all the king’s sons. He said, “Not one of them is left.”

An empty searing despair immediately penetrated David’s heart like a desert wind. What have I done? I agreed to let all my sons go! He tore his clothes and lay prostrate on the floor before God, numbed with grief. His servants stood by, clothes also torn, too stunned to seek to console him.

It was at this point that Jonadab spoke to David. He already felt responsible and David had been through enough pain. With respect for his king, he said, “Don’t believe this report, my lord. It isn’t true. Absalom would not have killed all your sons. Only Amnon is dead. This is what Absalom intended to do since the day that Amnon violated his sister Tamar. Please don’t believe this report. Not all your sons are dead.”

Before David could respond, the watchman had reported that many people were coming from the road by the side of the mountain. Jonadab said, “What I told you was true. Your sons are coming.”

The king’s sons were still shaken by the killing of their brother and as they came to their father they wept with him. The shock and horror of the night enveloped everyone with grief. Amnon’s mother, Ahinoam, was devastated.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

Absalom had planned his escape well. He fled with his servants to Talmai, his grandfather, the king of Geshur. He did not expect, however, that he would remain there for so long.

Having grieved the death of Amnon, David began to blame himself. Doubts began to surface concerning his son. Absalom, you tried to execute justice when I, as your father and king, abdicated from my responsibility to do so, … but murder? He could not help but think of Uriah the Hittite and his own forgiveness. He longed to go to Absalom and regretted his estrangement more each day.

“Why don’t you want him to return?” Maacah had said, also missing her son greatly.

“I want him to return. Of course, I do. I feel entirely responsible for what has happened, but I can’t condone the murder of Amnon simply because I long to see Absalom. His banishment must remain enforced.”

In Geshur, Absalom brooded and wanted to bring home to his father the injustice of what he was doing in keeping them apart. You think you are so high and mighty, so holy and just, teaching your son a lesson in humiliation. In his bitterness, he decided he would make a vow that would turn his father’s attempt at humiliation into something that would gain the people’s attention and approval.

Absalom decided he would make the Nazarite vow of separation. This involved doing a number of things, but essentially the outward sign was that he would not cut his hair until the end of each year that he remained separated from David.

I will make sure messages filter back to Jerusalem. The people will hear about this. The people would hear about his long hair and understand this to be a sign of holiness. I exercised justice and I have no regrets. They will associate me with someone who is sincerely consecrated to the Lord for a change. My hair will be my strength, like Samson. “When you allow me to return, father, I will cut my hair before everyone to symbolise my innocence,” he said to himself. Surely this would force David’s hand.

But Absalom was not finished. During the years of separation from David, Absalom’s wives bore him three sons and one daughter. To make his father even more ashamed of his banishment, he named his daughter Tamar, after his sister who had been raped by Amnon. She also would grow up to be a beautiful woman, and she would prove to be a constant reminder to the people and to David that Absalom was undeserving of such harsh treatment.

Pastor Ross


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