The Man With The Dangerously Big Head

Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. For Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. And his head caught fast in the oak, so he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going (2 Samuel 18:9 NASB)

I had a friend ask me where I come up with these titles.  I’m not sure.  I suppose when I imagine a guy riding a mule going under a tree, getting his head stuck in the tree, and the mule continuing on, leaving the man hanging from the tree; I’m likely to suspect his head was too big.  The irony of the term applied to Absalom also makes it very attractive, almost as attractive as he thought he was.  See, it just works so well on too many levels.

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A Warrior-King Runs Barefoot From A Fight?

Then a messenger came to David, saying, ” The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.”  David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, ” Arise and let us flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go in haste, or he will overtake us quickly and bring down calamity on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” (2 Samuel 15:13-14 NASB)

David is known for decisive victories against impossible odds.  He’s known for leading a small band of six hundred against thousands, fighting ridiculously long battles, and winning.  So, why, when he has a famously defensible city, and more than six hundred to fight with, does he decide to leave?  Why is this king leaving a fight?  In Scripture so far, running from a fight is not his normal ‘modus oparandi’.  Well, that is true with one glaring obvious exception: Saul.

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The Barefoot Exodus

And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and his head was covered and he walked barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went. (2 Samuel 15:30 NASB)

In contrast to a chariot and fifty men running before him, this king walks barefoot, head covered, and weeping.  Absalom sought to steal the hearts of people at the gate, but these people who knew the king best wept as he left the city of his name.  There is a very evident contrast between the two ‘royal’ figures.  And yet, there are similarities as well.

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