Thursday, August 02, 2007

The death of Absalom (Christopher Ash)

The death of Absalom - a biblical theology briefing by Christopher Ash:
David spoke better than he knew, when in v33 he said, "Would I had died instead of you..." A thousand years later great David's greater Son did just that. He died instead. And as he died the demands of justice were satisfied forever. And the longings of love could be fulfilled at last. The story of Absalom's death ends at the Cross of Jesus Christ. There is a Saviour, who because he has dealt with sin can deal gently with sinners. A Saviour whose Father longs to be Father to you and to me. We shall never plumb the cosmic depths of what Jesus achieved at the Cross. But our lives should be shaped by gratitude for what he did there.


  1. I like this one, and I'd never thought of David's reaction in that light. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Absalom is also seen by some as a prefiguration of Christ in other ways:

    1:Like Jesus, he is a Nazirite Jew who does not cut his hair. Absalom's hair, which traps him in the boughs of an oak tree, is interpreted to be his faith in the true Word of God bringing about his physical death, in the same way as Jesus's.

    2: Absalom, who opposes David's wicked marriage to Bathsheba and the ascension of their son Solomon to the throne, is betrayed by a Judas-like figure (Hushai) into leading his army into a trap at Ephraim, near Gethsemane, where they are defeated by David. Hanging by his Nazirite hair from an oak tree, Absalom is murdered by Joab (Caiaphas) with a spear in the side after a faithful soldier refuses a bribe of a thousand shekels to the dirty work. As a result, the "false" Jews, the Pharisees and Sadduccees, eventually gain control of the Temple until Jesus, like Absalom, rebels against their evil rule and is similarly betrayed, hung from a tree, and stabbed in the side with a spear.

    3. Like Jesus, Absalom had no sons, and could only leave a stone monument to himself, similar to the monument of Jesus's cross.

    4. According to the Gospels, Jesus is not the blood son of Joseph, and therefore, not really a descendant of Solomon. Some interpret this to mean that Jesus is a "return" of Absalom, who, like Enoch and Elijah, appear, are rejected, and ascend, childless, to Heaven. Some interpret this to be the Christ appearing many times and who will return, as Jesus is believed to do in the future. For example, the title Son of Man may be a Greek translation of Son of Adam, since Adam can either mean man, or the first Man, who is the only one called Adam in English translations of the Old Testament. Enoch is called Son of Adam in many prophetic texts and some people at the time of Jesus believed that Jesus (or John the Baptist, or both) was the reincarnation of Enoch/Elijah. This tile is translated Son of Man, but might be translated Son of Adam, depending on how you interpret the prefigurations of Christ throughout the Old Testament. Luke, in his genealogy of Jesus, seems to do this.

    5. Some Christians have historically believed that Shephardic Jews, like Absalom, are not Pharasaic Jews, as the Askenazi are, and therefore, Shephardic Jews are not guilty of murdering Christ. According to this theory, Christianity is, through its rebellion against Pharisaic Judaism, the true inheritor of the Jewish tradition, the way "King" Absalom would have been.

    6. And of course, the traditional nostalgia for the never-was (yet, at least,) Kingdom of Absalom recalls the thwarted (so far) Kingdom of Jesus.