Absalom and Christ
Malcolm Horlock, Cardiff, Wales
One of the key historical events associated with Easter time is that of our Lord's "triumphal entry" into Jerusalem.
The present article aims to identify several points of contrast between "the Son of David" who then rode on an ass and another son of David who, some thousand years previously, rode on a mule. This other son of David was Absalom and the relevant incident is recorded in 2 Samuel 18. 6-17.
1. Absalom "rode on a mule" in a "wood", after which the mule was left to wander "away", 2 Sam. 18. 7-9.
The Lord Jesus was "sitting upon an ass" as He approached and entered a 'W, Matt. 21, 5, 10. The ass would be returned immediately the Lord had no further need for it, Mark 11.3 R.v.
2. When Absalom left Jerusalem, he left as a "king", 2 Sam. 15. 19. But he
occupied David's throne only as a user per. He "reigned", v. 10, only in consequence of his recent deceit and empty promises of "justice", vv. 1-6. When the Lord Jesus entered Jerusalem, He entered as its true "King", Matt. 21. 5. He was destined to occupy David's throne and to reign in accordance with ancient prophecy, which included the specific promise that He should be "just", Zech. 9. 9.
3. Absalom was the rebellious son of an indulgent father. This father, for his own "sake", wanted Absalom spared from the consequences of his sinful actions, 2 Sam. 18. 5.
The Lord Jesus was the ever-obedient Son of a holy and loving Father. Yet this Father, for our sake, "spared not his own Son", Rom. 8. 32, from the consequences of our sinful actions.
4. Absalom rode the mule when fleeing from his foes. He had faced three distinct forces, namely, those under the leadership of Joab, Abishai and Ittai, 2 Sam. 18. 2.
The Lord Jesus rode the young ass when going to face His foes. He too faced three distinct foes, namely, the hatred of men, the power of darkness, Luke 22. 53, and the sins of His people (see Isaiah 53. 6, where "laid on" denotes a hostile and violent attack).
5. There was one man who knew where to find Absalom among the trees of the wood, 2 Sam. I9. 10. He would not have harmed the son of David even for "a thousand pieces of silver", v. 12 R.V.
There was a man who knew where to find the Lord Jesus among the trees of the garden, John 18. 2. He betrayed Him for only "thirty pieces of silver", Matt. 26. 15.
6. Following his ride in the wood, Absalom was found "hanged in" a tree, 2 Sam. 18. 10.
In less than a week after His ride into Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus was "hanged on a tree". Acts 5. 30; 10. 39.
7. "While he was yet alive", Absalom's body was pierced by "darts" from the hand of one of the commanders of the army of Israel, 2 Sam. 18. 2, 14.
When the Lord Jesus "was dead already", His body was pierced by a spear in the hand of one of the soldiers of the army of Rome, John 19. 33-34.
8. Both Absalom and the Lord Jesus were "slam" by their foes, 2 Sam. 18. 15; Acts 2. 23. Even at the moment of death, however, there was one notable difference between the two.
When Absalom died, he was altogether helpless and unable to save his life.
But the Lord Jesus "delivered up his spirit", John 19. 30 lit., having earlier said, "/ lay down my life ... No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself, 10. 17-18.
9. Absalom's corpse was taken down from the tree by his enemies and ignominiously "cast into a great pit", 2 Sam. 18. 17. It was the body of a man of violence, 17. 12-14, and of guile, 15. 7-12.
The foes of the Lord Jesus doubtless intended that His body should be cast with shame into a common grave for criminals. Their wishes were frustrated, however, by the timely intervention of "a rich man of Ari-mathea, named Joseph", Matt. 27. 57.
As a result of Joseph's action, the body of the Lord Jesus was taken down from the tree by loving hands, John 19. 38-40. His enemies "appointed his grave with the wicked, but he was with the rich in his death, because he had done no violence, neither was there guile in his mouth", Isa. 53. 9 j.n.d.
10. Absalom's body remained where it had been thrown-the "great heap of stones" piled over his burying place guaranteed that, 2 Sam. 18. 17.
Blessed be God, the body of the Lord Jesus did not remain where it had been laid-in spite of "the great stone" which secured His burying place, Matt. 27. 60.
11. "In his lifetime", Absalom had taken steps to ensure that, after his death, his name would be kept "in remembrance", 2 Sam. 18. 18.
The Lord Jesus, "the same night in which he was betrayed", gave instructions to His followers concerning those things which were to be done after His death "in remembrance" of Him, 1 Cor. 11. 24-25.
12. Absalom had been praised for his "beauty", 2 Sam. 14. 25. But this beauty had been that merely of body, superficial and physical: "From the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him''.
To the believer, the beauty of the Lord Jesus is that of character, moral and spiritual. In every way He is "without blemish", 1 Pet. 1. 19. "He is altogether lovely", Song 5. 16.
13. There was somebody who loved the man on the mule so much that he would gladly have died in his place, 2 Sam. 19. 33.
It is breathtaking to realise that the Man on the ass loved us so much that He actually died in ours.
The death of Absalom moved David to tears of grief. Ought not the death of the Lord Jesus move us to tears of gratitude? May God forgive our cold and unfeeling hearts! Now, even as you finish reading this article, take the time to praise God for the Son of David so very much greater than Absalom.