Lectionary Year B
August 10, 2003
II Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33

Step II: Disposition

A. Genre

(JFC) This pericope has more emotion in it than most of the rest of the history books in Scripture. It grows from caution to a climax of grievous mourning. Early on and again later in these verses we get some almost personal conversation that becomes public domain. There seems to be some tenderness among family relationships regardless of strange and estranging coalitions. A remote report from the field of battle interrupts and begs to be noted. Then an accident is described rather graphically and the results, too. The news channels reveal the cause of the emotions expressed.

B. Personal Interaction

(JFC) First, of course, we wonder why these particular verses are selected and those deleted are so. Then, too, why did the forest cause such damage? Was Absalom's usual mode of transportation in battle a mule? Would he be so unskilled at riding to get his head caught in tree branches? Is the Cushite's/Ethiopean's message quoted an idiom? Is it expected or not? What precisely does it convey to the recipients of it?

C. Organization

(JFC) The verses omitted are 1-4, 10-14 and 16-30. The forest's danger is described in the 8th verse. Absalom's riding on a mule and his catching his head in tree branches are mentioned in verse 9. The Cushite's/Ethiopean's message is recorded in verses 31f.

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