“And for the whole army the victory that
day was turned into mourning…”
2 Sam 19:2
There was no reason for the troops to celebrate, even though they had scored a great victory
against their enemies. How could they celebrate their brothers’ death?
They were not fighting against the Philistines this time; they were fighting against their
fellow Israelites. Instead of gloating over their countrymen’s death, they
should have mourned for them.
Victory in war is not worth celebrating. Death is always tragic, including our enemy’s
death. Our enemy’s loss does not necessarily mean our gain. As God’s children,
any individual loss is also a collective loss.
The war was just so personal for David since he was fighting against his beloved son and he
was put in a lose-lose situation.
Perhaps we should take all wars personally.
When the missiles were flying over the desert of Iraq in the night sky the day after the
Gulf war broke out, some of us Americans might have enjoyed watching the
spectacular scene as if we were looking at July fourth fireworks, not realizing
some parents were losing their children and some women their husbands when the
deadly weapons landed on houses and streets.
Death was brought closer to home when the coffins of American dead arrived on our soil
and we mourned for our countrymen and women who sacrificed their lives for our
country. As far as the death of Iraqis was concerned, we seemed to feel no
remorse or sadness for them, as if their death was not a loss, or not tragic at
Would David have wept openly had his son Absalom remained alive after the war? Probably
not. War becomes much more personal if we are at risk of suffering personal
Being the father of all men, God must take all wars personally. It must sadden his heart
a great deal to see his creatures slaughtering one another for various reasons,
mostly superfluous and unjustifiable.
David might have started viewing all wars in a different light after the war he had to fight
against his own son. Being a seasoned warrior himself, David must have killed
hundreds of people with his own sword. Yet never was there a single incident
when he mourned for his enemies.
Goliath’s mother must have mourned for her son’s death just as much as David mourned for the
tragic loss of his son Absalom.
My dad wept when he came to visit me when I was going through boot camp. His heart must
have been laden with anxiety and care for his son, not knowing what would
happen to me the rest of my days during my military career. I am sure his greatest
fear at the time was that war might break out and I would be shipped to the
frontlines. Had he had the power at all, he would have tried his best to
prevent war of any sort from breaking out.
We may consider otherwise, but all wars are personal and all deaths are equally