Friday, August 14, 2015

The King and The Father

"And the king said, Is the young man Absalom well?"—2 Samuel 18:29.
And the king said, Is the young man Absalom well?
So said he, after a brutal battle
wherein many fell  too many, yet, to tell 
at least 20,000 of his foe's  his Son's  men
were numbered with the fallen;
these perishing, not only in the field, by blade,
but also in the forest, where a fearful shade
concealed, like coffin, the death within.

When the route set in, Absalom's men
panicked, and flew, like frightened pigeons;
no more soldiers then, more children 
They plunged, in the fever of fright
— just before the peace, just before daylight 
into the forest in hope they might
escape the edge of the sword;
instead, they faced jaded cliffs, and bottomless caves,
that swallowed them, alive, like graves,
and barbed briers, and tangled thorns,
that tore their skin and stole their breath;
they ran from death to death.

But David thought not of them;
or, rather, he thought more of Absalom
than the destinies of all men and all Kingdoms.
His eyes rose, searched, and fell,
and he asked the question, like an argument,
"Is Absalom well?"
The father's anxious question
concerned his betraying, but still beloved, son;
He was a king, but in that moment,
he was a Father first,
and he feared the worst.

He did not ask, "Have we won the day?"
Nor, "How fare's Joab, the captain of my host?"
Nor even, "How fare I?"
He asked, "Is the young man safe?"
Had he been a more just King,
he never would have faced his son
on a field of slaughter.
Had he been a better Father,
he never would have faced his son
on a field of battle.

How strange: to be at war with one's own son:
the heart of one's own heart;
how strange to be more concerned with an enemy,
than your own men;
how strange that this enemy would be
your own son;
feelings conflicting: he chose his first love.

not unlike Absalom when
in his boyhood he mimicked his father,
and played at war
using sticks for swords
like death was just another toy.
How little do boys dream's true life touch;
how sadly do a father's dreams for his boy
sometimes turn to dust.

had  showed here more of the father than of the king—more of affection than of wisdom; and that is, doubtless, a correct criticism upon the old man's absorbing fondness. David was no doubt, in this case, weak in his excessive tenderness. But, brethren, it is much more easy for us to blame a father under such circumstances than for us quite to understand his feelings; I may add, it would be wiser to sympathize, as far as we can, than to sit in judgment upon a case which has never been our own. Perhaps if we were placed in the same position we should find it impossible to feel otherwise than he did. How many there are at this present moment who have, no doubt, other very weighty businesses, but whose one only thought just now is, "Is the young man safe?

No comments:

Post a Comment