And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son. – 2 Samuel 19:2

*   *   *

Eli’s not the only one with troublesome sons. He’s not the only father to grieve over such sons, either.

King David suffered likewise in aces. His first son born to Bathsheba dies in infancy as a consequence of David’s adultry. His son Amnon rapes his half-sister, which the father grieves, and then is killed two years later. Son Absalom, responsible for Amnon’s murder, stirs a rebellion against his father and even has sex with David’s concubines in the interim.

Even so, the father weeps over the death of Absalom in battle. The kingdom is restored, but the king does not celebrate.

*   *   *

So shall you feel your Souls redeemed out of the Earth, and out of the earthly Nature, after which you will witness the Peace of God to be extended towards you, like a River; but if you rebel against him, you shall dwell in a dry Land, and shall not see when Good comes. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

 

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