Monday, June 16, 2014

Absalom (part 19)

To this point, the portrayal of David as being similar to Pharoah, David’s removal as being similar to Pharaoh’s loss of power over Israel, and Absalom’s exodus from his own exile as akin to Israel’s exodus from Egypt under Moses, was effective, and perhaps, knowing what is known about David, even appropriate.  However, it is at this point that Absalom, for some unknown reason, though he was receiving advice to do this, departs from the epic narrative that he has been creating for himself. 

As one thinks back to the story of Israel’s exodus, one thing that is not be found in that story is Moses taking it upon himself to raise his hand against the one from whom Israel was being delivered.  Remember, Moses had attempted to start the revolution in Egypt on behalf of Israel, with his killing of the Egyptian taskmaster.  This failed to accomplish the goal that Moses had in mind, and he was sent into his own personal exile.  When he returned, he was gifted with the ability to lead an exodus that was peaceful, at least as it related to the actions of the people.  As has been seen, Absalom has effectively mirrored this.  Though he was not, as far as the story goes, attempting to start a revolution through his killing of Amnon, it was that killing that resulted in his own exile away from Jerusalem.  It was during that time, no doubt, that the seeds of a plan to take the throne began to germinate, perhaps primarily because he was treated unjustly due to his execution of justice. 

Returning to the exodus story then, it is clear that Israel conducted no demonstrations of violence against Egypt.  The Egyptians, on the other hand, experienced the violent power of Israel’s God, which serves as a reminder of the fact that Moses left it to the God of Israel to bring judgment and destruction in the way that He saw fit.  Then, after the death of the firstborn, which saw Pharaoh finally relent from his stubborn stance and practically demand that Israel depart from Egypt, the last thing Moses was going to do was turn around and attempt to kill Pharaoh. 

In that case, the Creator God had already judged Pharaoh, so what good would that do?  What would that prove?  Even after Pharaoh came out after Moses and Israel, Moses did not send men to confront Pharaoh and his army.  Rather, he continued to trust the God that delivers to fight on behalf of His people.  Had Moses and Israel raised their hands against Egypt in any way, things might have turned out quite differently, as it would have been an indication that they did not fully trust that their covenant God was able to rescue them from their foreign subjugation. 

Absalom would have been wise to heed this example.  Instead, because he was convinced to believe that it was incumbent upon him to go out after his father, he essentially forsook the power of the Creator God to solidify his kingship and to carry out His promises to David through Absalom.  Israel did not turn back and fight against Egypt, rather, they looked forward, preparing themselves to face the enemies to come.  Absalom should have done the same, looking forward as well, in a spirit of thankfulness, rather than allowing for the entrance of a spirit that has to be described as nothing more than vengeful.  Had he not been vindicated already?  Had he not been exalted?  Had Israel’s God not fought his battles for him?  Absalom should never have turned back so as to bring further suffering on his deposed father.  It is this that would ultimately bring David vindication through suffering (with his own story of exile to exodus), while bringing suffering to Absalom in the wake of what had been his own vindication, and sending Absalom from exodus to exile.   

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