Sometimes it is helpful to read beyond the appointed verses in order to understand the situation. In this case, Absalom, a son of King David, had led a rebellion against the kingdom. In sending out his army against the rebels, David had specifically asked that his son not be killed. However, in the young man’s attempt to escape on a mule, he caught his head in an oak tree and hung there, vulnerable to David’s soldiers, one of whom could not resist killing him.
In today’s verses, we find David waiting between the inner and outer walls of the city to receive the news. In many ways those walls are a metaphor of David trapped between a rock and a hard place. He wants the rebellion quelled, but loves his son, their leader, too much to want him dead.
The story is a reminder to us of how we, too, as God’s children, often rebel against our king. We want to be in charge, to take over, to be king ourselves, and have found many ways to attempt that. In all this we deserve to die for our rebellious nature. In spite of that, God cries out for us, too: “Would that I had died instead?”
Almighty and merciful God, we give thanks for the giving of your Son, and ask you would quell our rebellious nature. Amen. — LGR