Today we reach the end of Absolam. He has committed treason. David's soldiers see the opportunity to kill him and they do. They then send a messenger to inform David.
If he is alone, he has good news to report.
We tend to stereotype the Old Testament as harsh, violent and all about law. What we see today is a father who no matter what his son has done, he still loves his son. Even the fact that his son might have killed him if he could, David still falls into deep mourning. In fact David says:
My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom!
If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!
Joab and the soldiers thought the death penalty was the appropriate penalty and following the letter of the law it was. This was not self-defense (Absolam was stuck in the tree), this was an execution. No sane parent would want it imposed on their child.
Now we need ask ourselves only one question. Who does God not consider to be his child? Which of us would want stand before God and admit that we executed one of God's children even that we encouraged the execution of one of his children?
The soldiers could have cut Absolam down, taken him prisoner, and returned to him to his Father. Imagine how differently this scene would have worked out.
God wills the salvation of all.
God never gives up on us and we cannot give up on one another. No one is beyond the power of God's grace, the power of redemption.
The soldiers who executed Absolam thought of David only as king, and forgot that he was firstly a father. The didn't stop to think about the suffering they would inflict on him. What parent ever recovers from the death of a child?
When we take it upon ourselves to execute someone, who suffers more the person or the family, most profoundly the mothers and fathers.