"And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away." (2 Samuel 18: 9)
Absalom was the charged and rebellious son of David, who had first killed the man who had raped his sister Tamar, then in exile formed a rebellion to take down his father, King David.
The same King David charged his men to capture his son Absalom, but not to kill him.
Verse nine presents a type and shadow of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The son of a king riding on a mule, Absalom's hair gets caught in the trees.
Jesus is the Son of God, and He rode on a mule into Jerusalem, and His entry was hailed by many of the inhabitants, yet the same would turn on Him within the week and crucify Him.
Absalom had long hair, which speaks of sin and the flesh. Jesus had long hair because He was a Nazarite, and his long hair speaks of the sin which He became, that we would be made the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5: 21)
The most telling detail in 2 Samuel 18: 9 alludes to Jesus' Crucifixion:
"He was taken up between the heaven and the earth."
In the same manner, Jesus hanged on a Cross, between heaven and earth.
Later, one of David's captains, Joab, slays Absalom:
"14Then said Joab, I
may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust
them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of
the oak. 15And ten young men
that bare Joab's armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him." (2 Samuel 18:14-15)
The news of Absalom's death devastated David:
"33And the king was
much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went,
thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for
thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (2 Samuel 18: 33)
Just as Father David mourned for his son's death, so too was God the Father grieved for the death of His Son, Jesus, but unlike David, God's love was greatest for His Son and for all of us:
"Yet it pleased the
LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his
soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong
his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
"He shall see of the
travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my
righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53: 10-11)
In a terrible moment in Biblical History, God still glorified His Son through the types and shadows of one son's rebellion against his own father.
In the same manner, let us rest assured that God's grace is superabounding in every area of our lives (Romans 5: 20), especially when we fail, fall, or fool ourselves.
In our worst moments, Jesus is glorified as we rest in His righteousness.