Presidents carefully consider what they want their legacy to be. Often one of the first things a former president does upon leaving office is publish a memoir. They want to be remembered for the good, not the bad, things they’ve done.
Absalom craved to be remembered and celebrated for generations. He knew he would not have children to carry on his legacy or memory (v. 18). It seems that his three sons had died in childhood (2 Sam. 14:27). So, he erected a monument to himself in Jerusalem (18:18). He thought future generations could come to the monument and remember his greatness.
Absalom’s decision to delay pursuing David until he had mustered a large army was exactly what David needed. David took this time to organize his army under his top three commanders (18:1–2). He took the advice of his generals and stayed home. He was beyond the age of fighting with the army (vv. 2–4). Yet, he left his army with one piece of advice, “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake” (v. 5). His compassion to Absalom stands in contrast to Saul who was enraged when Jonathan supported David (1 Sam. 20:30–34).
Absalom’s army was quickly routed. As Absalom fled on his mule, his hair was caught in the branches of a tree (v. 9). His hair, a symbol of his pride and vanity, became his undoing. In this helpless situation, Joab pierced him three times with javelins. Then ten of Joab’s men finished him off (v. 15). They cast his body in the forest and piled stones on top of it. There was no state funeral for Absalom. No burial in a family tomb. Absalom would leave a legacy, but it was not how he wanted to be remembered.
>> What legacy will you leave? What life story are you writing today that others will read and remember? Each day your choice to serve and follow God will shape that legacy.
Lord, we don’t know when You will come today or in a thousand years. Teach us to live with our descendants in mind. Help us establish godly patterns in our lives which will lead to godly patterns in our families.