First Reading for the Tuesday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle 2

2 Samuel 18:9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30–19:3

Summary: Absalom, caught by his hair in a terebinth tree while fleeing, was killed by Joab. Informed of his son's death, King David was deeply grieved, expressing a wish to have died instead of Absalom. This news turned the army's victory into sorrow, reflecting David's profound lament.

Absalom's Downfall and David's Grief

Absalom unexpectedly came up against David’s servants. He was mounted on a mule, and, as the mule passed under the branches of a large terebinth, his hair caught fast in the tree. He hung between heaven and earth while the mule he had been riding ran off.

Someone saw this and reported to Joab that he had seen Absalom hanging from a terebinth. And taking three pikes in hand, he thrust for the heart of Absalom, still hanging from the tree alive.

Now David was sitting between the two gates, and a lookout went up to the roof of the gate above the city wall, where he looked about and saw a man running all alone. The lookout shouted to inform the king, who said, “If he is alone, he has good news to report.”

The king said, “Step aside and remain in attendance here.”

So he stepped aside and remained there.When the Cushite messenger came in, he said, “Let my lord the king receive the good news that this day the LORD has taken your part, freeing you from the grasp of all who rebelled against you.”

But the king asked the Cushite, “Is young Absalom safe?”

The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rebel against you with evil intent be as that young man!”

The king was shaken, and went up to the room over the city gate to weep. He said as he wept, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!”

Joab was told that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom; and that day’s victory was turned into mourning for the whole army when they heard that the king was grieving for his son.

See more resources for the Tuesday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle 2