Bishop Hall on David’s grief

“The king said to the Cushite, ‘Is it well with the young man Absalom?” (2 Samuel 18:32).

One more from Bishop Hall who in his reflection upon the death of Absalom connects David’s response to the death of Christ.

“As our care is won’t to be where our love is, David’s first word is not, ‘How fares the host?’ but ‘How fares the young man Absalom?‘ Like a wise and faithful messenger, Cushi answers by an honest insinuation; The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is; implying, both what was done, and why David should approve it being done. How is the good king thunder-struck, with that word of his blackamoor! Who, as if he were at once bereaved of all comfort, and cared not to live but in the name of Absalom, goes and weeps and cries out, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee; O Absalom, my son, my son!

What is this we hear? That he, whose life Israel valued at ten thousand of theirs, should be exchanged with a traitor’s? That a good king, whose life was sought, should wish to lay it down for the preservation of his murderer? The best men have not won’t to be the least passionate. But what shall we say to that love of thine, O Saviour, who hast said of us wretched traitors, not, Would God I had died for you; but ‘I will die; I do die; I have died for you?’

Oh love, like thyself, infinite, incomprehensible; whereat the angels of Heaven stand yet amazed; wherewith thy saints are ravished. Turn away thine eyes from me; for they overcome me. O thou that dwells in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause us to hear it; that we may, in our measure, answer thy love, and enjoy it for ever.

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