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On the Character of Absalom.

On the Character of Absalom.

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2 Samuel, xvi. 15.

And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to
Jerusalem, and Athithophel with him.

2 Samuel, xvi. 15.

And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to
Jerusalem, and Athithophel with him.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 16, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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O THE CHARACTER OF ABSALOM. BY REV. THEODORE DEHO, D. D.2 Samuel, xvi. 15. And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Athithophel with him. The events of scenes which are laid in the sacred and tender relations of life, are always interesting, and generally instructive. It is this, which gives the Scripture narratives their unrivalled excellence. Unfolding the fortunes and fate of a father, a son, or a brother; a ruler or subject, a neighbour or friend, they hold our attention by their applicability to our own condition. We follow the intricate, and ad- mire the surprising events ; we exult in the joyous and weep at the tragic ; we gaze at the monstrous, and recoil indignant from the base, because of men like ourselves the story is related. The history of the person, whom the text intrO' duces to your view, is among the finest pieces of the Old Testament. It abounds with incidents, which touch the tenderest feelings of nature, and occur in the dearest relations of life ; and is full of useful and impressive instructions to every serious observer. All may contemplate with improvement this inspired story of the beautiful, accomplished, and brave, yet base and unhappy Absalom. O THE CHARACTER OF ABSALOM. 243 This renowned person was the third son of David, by Maacha, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur.
He appears to have been remarkable for the graces and beauty of his body, as well as for his illustrious descent. " In all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty : from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him\" He is first introduced to us by the sacred his- torian, as avenging his sister's wrongs, by the mur- der of his eldest brother. He was prompted to this deed by a criminality on the part of Amnon, paral- leled rarely, for horrible blackness, in the whole records of vice. But for resentment even of the greatest wrongs, to trample upon the sacred com- mands of God, in his anger to slay a man, yea with premeditated and deceptive malice to slay a brother, discovers thus early that inconsiderate, unprincipled spirit, which strengthened with his age, and was the cause of his ruin. If, however, no other effects of this spirit were known, his youth, the precious nature of a sister's fame, a something irresistible in every bosom, would plead the extenuation of his rashness ; and with blushing silence, we should drop our tears over the dismal tale. But it is seldom that a life, which is uncontrolled by religious fear, is marked with only one criminal act. There is an infatuating power in vice. One step beyond the line of virtue renders another less difficult. There is no trusting to self-command, when the barriers of duty are down. He who is destitute of those hallowed principles, which would restrain him from the commission of every crime, has no certainty that he will refrain from the com- * 2 Sam. xiv. 25. r2
244 O THE CHARACTER OF ABSALOM. mission of any crime. Vice is rarely single in the human heart. The man, who can be hurried by anger to murder a brother, will easily be induced by ambition to dethrone a father. Amnon's blood on Absalom's robes was white in comparison with the spots which afterwards defiled them. Having fled because of his guilt to Geshur in Syria, he abode there three years, with the royal relations of his mother. Time had now soothed the wound in David's bosom ; and forgetting the dead, he longed to embrace his living, his favourite child. His servants perceiving the tender anxiety which filled his heart, contrived by an ingenious stratagem, to obtain permission to bring the beloved fugitive back to Jerusalem. And " Absalom returned to his own house ^" Awful was the sentence of the law, which, as the minister of justice and of heaven, the king was, perhaps, obliged to have executed upon the offender. It was important, too, to the virtue of his people, and to the reputation of his government, that he should not be supposed capable of conniving at crimes, even in his own offspring. Therefore, though his son was not punished accord- ing to the severity of the law, he was not permitted, for two years after his return, to behold the face of his father. This was vexatious to the pride of the young prince. Through Joab he remonstrated to the king, who then received him into his presence, and bestowed on him the kisses of affection and for- giveness. ' One would suppose, that henceforth we should see nothing but filial reverence and a virtuous life, in this hitherto careless character. Surely, Absa- lom, it will now be thy chief concern to cheer the ^ 2 Sam. xiv. 24.

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