In studying David’s life—especially his fall into sin—I shared with you what the people of my first church family used to note. Namely, that the fact that Scripture presents us with both the good and the bad of its key personages is a testament to the truth of its historical recounting of events. We continue to see the complexity of who David is in this morning’s passage. For we’re presented this week with a David who is difficult to understand, not so much because of any sin he committed but because of his deep and unfailing love for one of his sons, Absalom, who seems far from worthy of such love. As we mentioned in passing last week and we’ll see again shortly, Absalom ended up fulfilling some of the judgments that came upon David as a result of his taking Bathsheba and then having her husband, Uriah, killed in battle after learning she was pregnant. Now from the time that Nathan the prophet delivered God’s Word to David in 2 Samuel 12 last week to its fulfillment by Absalom in the intervening chapters and the final recording of his death in this morning’s passage, the picture we’re given of Absalom for the most part presents a young man who is hardly admirable. So before looking at his death and David’s great grief over it, I want to provide a brief overview of what Scripture tells us about Absalom’s life.
Aside from a mention of his birth in 2 Samuel 3, the grown-up Absalom is first mentioned in chapter 13 in the horrific account of his sister Tamar being raped by her half-brother Amnon. As stated there, “21 When King David heard all this, he was furious. 22 And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.” Such hatred is certainly understandable given Amnon’s violent act against Tamar. And we see that two years later Absalom arranged to have Amnon killed. Now though I confess that there’s a part of me that is sympathetic to and even appreciative of Absalom’s anger over the rape of his sister by Amnon, the problem with what he did was that the punishment he executed exceeded Amnon’s crime. Absalom violated the lex talionis, the law of retaliation requiring that the punishment resemble the offense in both kind and degree. As stated in the book of Exodus, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” Putting Amnon to death was a punishment far greater than the terrible crime he had committed. Now when David learned of Amnon’s death, he “mourned many days for his son” and “38 …Absalom fled and went to Geshur” where “he stayed for three years.” After this period of time had elapsed, “39 …King David longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon’s death.”
So later in chapter 14 of 2 Samuel, Joab, the commander of David’s army, arranged to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem, Zion, the City of David, though he lived there for a full two years “without seeing the king’s face.” And we learn concerning Absalom that “25 In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him.” Incidentally we’re also told that a daughter was born to Absalom whom he named Tamar. Then in due course, “the king summoned Absalom, and he came in and bowed down with his face to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom.” Now if the story of Absalom had ended here, we might better understand David’s great grief upon learning of his death.
But unfortunately Absalom’s misdeeds had only begun for despite this reconciliation with his father years after having killed Amnon, his son, chapter 15 of 2 Samuel records how Absalom later managed to overthrow his father. In sum, “whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.” So Absalom worked behind the scenes to win the favor of his father’s subjects. His plotting continued in his requesting permission from his father, the king, to go to Hebron. While there he “sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, ‘As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’” So when “A messenger came and told David, ‘The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom,’” David fled Jerusalem, leaving behind Hushai, one of his loyal subjects and confidants, as his spy.
Among other events, and as already alluded to, chapter 16 of 2 Samuel records the fulfillment of one of Nathan the prophet’s prophecies to David, namely when the LORD told David, “Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.” As also noted last week, Absalom was the “one who is close” to David who did this. As recorded in verses 21–22 of chapter 16, Ahithophel, Absalom’s closest counselor, advised him, “‘Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself obnoxious to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute.’ 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.” Thus were these words from the LORD by Nathan the prophet fulfilled.
Now the wisdom of David’s leaving Hushai behind becomes evident in chapter 17 for though he gave Absalom advice that favored David—and contradicted the advice given him by Ahithophel—we’re further told that “the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.” So the LORD continued to work in David’s life even when he found himself yet again in exile as he had when Saul was king. Hushai ended up sending word to David informing him about what Absalom planned to do. This heads-up allowed David time to escape and prepare for battle.
Now all of this is important background for what occurs in chapter 18. As the chapter opens, we see David as the warrior-king who “mustered the men who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.” And he told his troops, verse 2, “I myself will surely march out with you” although his men talked him out of this. Perhaps this was due to his advanced age or perhaps because they knew how difficult it would be for him to have to fight against his son. Whatever the reason David submitted to the will of his men. As recorded in verse 4, King David “stood beside the gate while all his men marched out in units of hundreds and of thousands.” But it’s important to note that David went out of his way to provide Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, the three commanders of his troops, with very specific instructions, namely, “‘Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.’ And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.” Therefore, despite the fact that Absalom had:
murdered Amnon, another son of David’s whose death he mourned;
wooed David’s subjects away from him;
publicly humiliated David by sleeping with his concubines for all the nation of Israel to see;
and taken David’s place as king in a coup,
David still loved his son and ordered that his commanders take care not to hurt him as they went out to battle against him. So despite all of Absalom’s betrayal, David nonetheless remained faithful to his faithless son.
Verses 6–8 provide a general description of the battle that “took place in the forest of Ephraim” (verse 6) where “David’s men” routed “Israel’s troop” with 20,000 casualties (verse 7). “The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword” (verse 8). Though we can’t be certain, one commentator suggests that this may be an indication that “[t]he armies apparently became dispersed, and many of the men got lost in the forest.”
Then in verse 9 we learn how something that had been viewed as an asset in Absalom’s appearance may have become the source of his downfall. Earlier in chapter 14, as his handsome appearance was praised, we’re told that part of this attraction had to do with his hair for “Whenever he cut the hair of his head—he used to cut his hair once a year because it became too heavy for him—he would weigh it, and its weight was two hundred shekels by the royal standard.” Now that’s a lot of hair—about five pounds worth that yearly grew. Returning to verse 9 in our chapter, knowing about Absalom’s rich mane of hair helps us better appreciate how it was that when he “happened to meet David’s men” as “he was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.” I should mention that the Hebrew literally translates that it was his “head” that was caught in the tree. So somehow his head got tangled in the branches and it’s reasonable to assume that his hair was part of the problem. Regardless Absalom was now in a dangerous predicament.
As it turns out, one of Joab’s men, verse 10, “saw what had happened” and reported to Joab, “I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree.” Surprisingly, given David’s clear orders that the men be “gentle with the young man Absalom for [his] sake” (verse 5), Joab demanded to know why this soldier hadn’t struck Absalom down, a deed for which he had offered a reward of “ten shekels”—or about four ounces—“of silver and a warrior’s belt” (verse 11). The soldier rightly replied, verse 12, “Even if a thousand shekels”—or about 25 pounds—”were weighed out into my hands, I would not lay a hand on the king’s son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.’ 13 And if I had put my life in jeopardy and nothing is hidden from the king—you would have kept your distance from me.” Apparently this soldier not only was loyal to David but also was familiar with his commander’s less than sterling reputation. Upon hearing this, Joab took matters into his own hands, verses 14–15: “he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. 15 And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.” It’s evident that in all of these actions, Joab had intentionally gone against David’s explicit command that Absalom not be harmed.
Well the end of the chapter records David’s response to the news of Absalom’s death. Two messengers had been sent to report to him. As recorded in verse 28, the first to arrive, Ahimaaz, had “called out to the king, ‘All is well!’ He bowed down before the king with his face to the ground and said, ‘Praise be to the Lord your God! He has delivered up those who lifted their hands against my lord the king.’” When David asked him if Absalom was safe, “Ahimaaz answered, ‘I saw great confusion just as Joab was about to send the king’s servant and me, your servant, but I don’t know what it was’” (verse 29). Now this wasn’t true for Joab had outright told him, “the king’s son is dead” as stated in verse 20. Still, we’ve all heard the phrase, “don’t shoot the messenger” and it’s possible that Ahimaaz feared what David might do to him should he be the one to bring him news of Absalom’s death after David had commanded that the men be gentle with him for his sake.
The second messenger, a Cushite, was more forthright. His initial pronouncement to David was similar to that of Ahimaaz. As recorded in verse 31, he said, “My lord the king, hear the good news! The Lord has vindicated you today by delivering you from the hand of all who rose up against you.” But David’s concern, once again, wasn’t about who had won in battle. He posed the same question to the Cushite as he had to Ahimaaz, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” And this time David received a clearer response as the “Cushite replied, ‘May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man’” (verse 32). In other words, Absalom was dead.
Now rather than sigh with relief that the son who had continuously deceived, humiliated, and turned against him was gone, David, verse 33, “was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: ‘O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!’” It’s incredible to think that David wished he had died in Absalom’s place. How is this possible? Notwithstanding the deep love that parents can have for a child, given that Absalom not only didn’t appear to love David in return but had dedicated his life to humiliating and overthrowing him, it can be difficult to understand the evident depth of David’s grief—a grief so deep that in the next chapter Joab felt the need to rebuke him lest his subjects conclude that he no longer cared for them.
Now again, Absalom wasn’t simply a misbehaving or rebellious son. He was a son rather who seemed to have done everything in his power to abase and displace his father. His behavior went way beyond disobedience and dishonoring his father. His actions weren’t a matter of a prodigal child seeking to sow his wild oats or be free from the reigns of his father. No, Absalom went out of his way not only to supplant his father but to disgrace him. So what was the source of the depth of David’s genuine grieving?
Well one study Bible I read suggested that the reason for David’s intense grief was because he had been a negative example as a parent and thus held himself responsible for Absalom’s death. But I think this interpretation reads too much into this passage since nowhere in Scripture are we told about David’s parenting skills or lack thereof. Too, neither in Scripture nor in life is it the case that good parenting automatically leads to good children or bad parenting automatically leads to bad children. There are times when this happens but bad parenting may result in good children and good parenting may result in bad children. As a pastor I sat under once observed, God our heavenly Father was the perfect Parent and yet all of his children rebelled—Christ Jesus excepting, of course.
Now it may be the case as this same source suggested that “[i]n Absalom’s violent death at the hands of Joab, David’s sinful abuse of royal power had finally produced its most bitter fruit.” Another commentator similarly observed, “It is possible that David is beginning to see how God’s punishment for his sin with Bathsheba (prophesied by Nathan in 12:10–11) has tragically come to pass.” But even if it is true that upon Absalom’s death David was brought back to the LORD’s chastisement for his sin, David’s grief over Absalom’s death nonetheless seems far greater than that which he felt over losing his first infant son to Bathsheba or that which he felt over Amnon’s death at the hands of Absalom. So, again, what was the source of the depth of David’s genuine grieving?
I’m going to suggest an admittedly different reason for David’s grieving. It’s one that’s tied into his being not only a type of Christ, as we noted early on in our consideration of David’s life, but as a representative of God’s love in general. For in David’s treatment of Absalom, in his unfailing love for Absalom, I believe we have an example of Jesus’ call for us to go beyond the law, beyond the lex talionis, found in his teaching in the sermon on the mount where he quotes the Exodus passage mentioned earlier. As Jesus taught: “38 You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” David didn’t resist Absalom. Instead he turned the other cheek to him after being slapped by him. When Absalom took his shirt, David handed over his coat as well. He went the extra mile for his son. He never turned away from him.
Therefore what I believe we see in David’s grief over his son, Absalom, is an expression not simply of someone who has a heart for God but of someone who is also expressing God’s heart for us. For what we see in Absalom’s callous treatment of David are examples of how we treat our loving and heavenly Father who nonetheless sent his Son, Christ Jesus, to die in the place of his image-bearers due to his deep and unfailing love for them.
For as Absalom murdered Amnon, so we murder others when we actively hate them or hate them by being indifferent to their suffering and pain;
And as Absalom wooed David’s subjects away from him, so we can be more interested in drawing others to ourselves than we are in pointing them to God in Christ;
And as Absalom publicly humiliated David by sleeping with his concubines for all the nation of Israel to see, so we publicly humiliate the name of Christ when we side with those values in our society that clearly and specifically go against Scripture’s revealed teaching;
And as Absalom took David’s place as king in a coup, so do we seek to take God’s place when we act in ways that serve and exalt ourselves and others over and above the service and worship that only he is worthy of.
And yet, as David’s love for Absalom was unfailing so is God’s love for us unfailing. As the apostle John so beautifully teaches us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
And as David wept for Absalom, so Jesus weeps for us, even as he did upon hearing of Lazarus’s death.
And as David grieved for Absalom, so Jesus grieved for Jerusalem, the city of David: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
But most poignant of all, as David wished he could have taken Absalom’s place, that he could have died instead of his son, we are fortunate and blessed that God in Christ did take our place. God in Christ did die in our stead that we might never have to experience separation from him. Not now. Not in the life to come. Not ever. As the apostle Paul teaches, “6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
My dear brothers and sisters, we are Absalom:
We are those who choose our ways over God;
We are those who prefer our values and ways even when they harm us over the ways and values God has laid out for us in his Word for our good;
We are those who put Christ on the cross;
Yet we are also those who though faithless as Absalom was, have a God who remains faithful to us.
But our gracious God in Christ not only grieves for us. He not only weeps for us. He not only died for us. But he came to save us from all sin and suffering and pain and darkness. As John goes on to proclaim,
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
Scripture also teaches that all who receive the light of Christ are joined to him by his Holy Spirit and are ushered in to the eternal Jerusalem. As John discloses in his revelation,
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
This is how deep God’s unfailing love for us is. So let us celebrate and share this morning and always the goodness and greatness and compassion and mercy of our gracious Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’s unfailing love.
Let us pray.
 The first six verses note the sons born to David while he ruled in Hebron. Absalom is mentioned in verse 3. 2 Samuel 3:1–6: 3 The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker. 2 Sons were born to David in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel; 3 his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; the third, Absalom the son of Maakah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; 4 the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 and the sixth, Ithream the son of David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.
 As noted in footnote #1, Amnon was David’s son by Ahinoam of Jezreel (2 Samuel 3:2) but Absalom’s mother was Maakah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur.
 2 Samuel 13:23, 28–29: 23 Two years later, when Absalom’s sheepshearers were at Baal Hazor near the border of Ephraim, he invited all the king’s sons to come there…. 28 Absalom ordered his men, “Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I given you this order? Be strong and brave.” 29 So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, mounted their mules and fled.
 Exodus 21:24.
 2 Samuel 13:37.
 2 Samuel 13:38–39.
 Verse 28.
 Verse 25.
 Verse 27.
 Verse 33.
 2 Samuel 15:5–6.
 Verse 13.
 2 Samuel 15:32–37: 32 When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go with me, you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘Your Majesty, I will be your servant; I was your father’s servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,’ then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel’s advice. 35 Won’t the priests Zadok and Abiathar be there with you? Tell them anything you hear in the king’s palace. 36 Their two sons, Ahimaaz son of Zadok and Jonathan son of Abiathar, are there with them. Send them to me with anything you hear.” 37 So Hushai, David’s confidant, arrived at Jerusalem as Absalom was entering the city.
 2 Samuel 12:11–12.
 Hushai’s advised Absalom in 2 Samuel 17:11–13: 11 “So I advise you: Let all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba—as numerous as the sand on the seashore—be gathered to you, with you yourself leading them into battle. 12 Then we will attack him wherever he may be found, and we will fall on him as dew settles on the ground. Neither he nor any of his men will be left alive. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it down to the valley until not so much as a pebble is left.”
 Ahithophel advised Absalom in 2 Samuel 17:1–3: “I would choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David. 2 I would attack him while he is weary and weak. I would strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I would strike down only the king 3 and bring all the people back to you. The death of the man you seek will mean the return of all; all the people will be unharmed.” Ahithophel later hung himself, verse 23: When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.
 Verse 14b.
 Verses 15–16: 15 Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, “Ahithophel has advised Absalom and the elders of Israel to do such and such, but I have advised them to do so and so. 16 Now send a message at once and tell David, ‘Do not spend the night at the fords in the wilderness; cross over without fail, or the king and all the people with him will be swallowed up.’”
 Although this plan was almost thwarted, see verses 17ff.
 Verses 3–4: 3 But the men said, “You must not go out; if we are forced to flee, they won’t care about us. Even if half of us die, they won’t care; but you are worth ten thousand of us. It would be better now for you to give us support from the city.” 4 The king answered, “I will do whatever seems best to you.”
 2 Samuel 2:18 states: “And the three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel.” According to 1 Chronicles 2:16, Zeruiah was one of David’s two sisters, which would make her sons—including Joab and Abishai—his nephews.
 2 Samuel 15:18–22: 18 All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king. 19 The king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. 20 You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your people with you. May the Lord show you kindness and faithfulness.” 21 But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.” 22 David said to Ittai, “Go ahead, march on.” So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.
 Verse 2: David sent out his troops, a third under the command of Joab, a third under Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under Ittai the Gittite
 Zondervan NIV Study Bible note.
 2 Samuel 14:26.
 Zondervan NIV study Bible note on 1 Samuel 13:29 suggests this was “Apparently the normal mount for royalty in David’s kingdom.” That verse states: 28 Absalom ordered his men, “‘Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I given you this order? Be strong and brave.’ 29 So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, mounted their mules and fled.” The Reformation Study Bible agrees that “Mules were the royal mount of choice” and also references 1 Kings 1:33: 32 King David said, “Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came before the king, 33 he said to them: “Take your lord’s servants with you and have Solomon my son mount my own mule and take him down to Gihon. 34 There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah.”
 2 Samuel 19:1–8: 1 Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” 2 And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said, “The king is grieving for his son.” 3 The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle. 4 The king covered his face and cried aloud, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!” 5 Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. 6 You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. 7 Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you from your youth till now.” 8 So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, “The king is sitting in the gateway,” they all came before him.
 Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on 2 Samuel 18:33.
 Crossway ESV Study Bible note on verse 33.
 2 Samuel 12:19–23: 19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” 20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. 21 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” 22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
 See sermon preached on July 8, 2018, Zion’s Once King Prefigures Its Future King, on 2 Samuel 5:1–5, 9–10.
 Matthew 5:38–42.
 John 3:16.
 John 11:34.
 Matthew 23:37 and parallel in Luke 13:34.
 Romans 5:6–8.
 2 Timothy 2:11–13: 11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
 Isaiah 65:17: “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.
 Isaiah 25:8: he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.
 Revelation 21:1–4.