When David heard
Eric Whitacre Lyrics


When David heard that Absalom was slain,
he went up into his chamber over the gate and wept,
and thus he said;

My son, my son,
O Absalom my son,
would God I had died for thee!

Writer(s): Eric Whitacre Copyright: Walton Music Corporation

Contributed by Sophia C. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

Sean White

It's even crazier when you realize that all of this drama is a result of a "cosmic karma" of sorts. David must lose his son to atone for his previous acts of greed and lust (murdering a friend to have sex with his wife) that were described as "evil in the eyes of the Lord."

Though technically David's immediate punishment is the death of the unnamed baby, I don't think David actually "gets it" until he loses Absalom. After the unnamed baby dies, we see David move on with a pretty apathetic attitude (even though he admits his wrongs, does he truly change? I don't think so. He fasts for a week but then gives up), and suddenly the story shifts over to Amnon and Absalom.

By the time we next see David, he's already running from Absalom as Nathan's prophecy unfolds: "Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house." Recall also that the prophecy foretells that David's son will die. We originally thought they meant the unnamed first baby to Bathsheba, but it turns out the prophecy meant MULTIPLE SONS. Precisely the son that David holds most dear.

I think upon hearing the news of Absalom's death, David understands that this was no accident (and even if it were an accident, there's no doubt that David was in that moment forced to introspect nonetheless - the synchronicity is unmissable) and so here we have an additional layer of pain that David must deal with. Absalom's death means more than just the death of a son, it marks the moment that David must square up to himself in the mirror and accept that the evil lies within himself.

When David weeps, "would God I had died for thee!" He really means it. He sees that he is (indirectly) responsible for his Son's death, and in this moment he finally "gets it." He finally accepts and surrenders.



All comments from YouTube:

nighty

as a listener, this is beautiful

as a vocalist, this is terrifying

Alex'smindrunswild

Yes terrifying to be a soprano @11:56 with the high c...not a lot of choral pieces go above an A but once in awhile sopranos hit a Bb or a B

• The Dimple on Hye Sung’s Right Cheek •

Me: This is beautiful; I’d love to sing this 🥺
sees that it splits into maximum 18 parts
😰😰😰😰😰😰

Bernadeta Marsela

exactly....

Scott Aaron

Being a bass 2, would love to sing it!

Bryan McDonald

You can fully understand the depth of the piece when you understand the text that is being set. When you look at the Biblical account of Absalom and David, you can tell that David dearly loves his son. Nevertheless, when Absalom rises up against his father, David is forced to go to war with him. David tells his generals not to kill Absalom, but they don't listen. Instead, when they find Absalom hanging by his hair in a tree, they murder him. This text comes from when David learns about Absalom's death. It so perfectly captures the realization, grief, sorry, anger, and other emotions that David surely felt at learning this news. Then, David is forced to set aside his sorrow and lead the people of Israel in a joyous celebration of the defeat of his son. The piece truly highlights this scripture and story.

Caitlyn OBrien

@M.H. Bales Beautifully put! I couldn't have said it better. Hopefully, it can explain some of what we believe to @SarSaraneth

M.H. Bales

@SarSaraneth God forbids and condemns us to perform human sacrifice, but as Creator, He naturally has the right to offer His own Son in sacrifice. We have a fallen nature due to rising up against our creator and giver of everything good that we have and will ever have. Many people are too proud to admit to themselves that they owe everything to God, therefore they say they they don't believe in God or even label Him as a villain who ''kills'' everyone and causes suffering. In reality, God never gave us anything but unspeakable love, beauty, endless gifts, and the opportunity for eternal happiness. Humans turned towards the path of suffering when they decided to rebel against a Father who gave them everything. God's sorrow at our hatred, Pride and rebellion is mirrored in this text about David and Absolom. Since God is the source and giver of everything good and anything that makes us happy, we can only only ultimately find happiness in Him. If we turn away from God and deny Him, we are the ones walking away from good, only to find misery, grief and hatred. The world wants us to believe that God is some kind of controlling sadistic villain who just wants all the power and glory for Himself. Look at His son Jesus: Could such a son come from a Father like that? He sent His son because He loves us so much, and wanted us to learn to be like His Son: Meek, loving, forgiving, humble, obedient always to the good will of God, who wants nothing other than that we be happy with Him forever. Many people have given up because of this world or stubbornly try to make it some kind of earthly Utopia. What they don't realize is that we weren't made for this world! It became a necessary detour, but our ultimate place is in paradise, to live in perfect joy with One who loves us more than we can ever imagine.

SarSaraneth

@Sean White And there's yet another example of Christianity holding up human sacrifice as moral.

Sean White

It's even crazier when you realize that all of this drama is a result of a "cosmic karma" of sorts. David must lose his son to atone for his previous acts of greed and lust (murdering a friend to have sex with his wife) that were described as "evil in the eyes of the Lord."

Though technically David's immediate punishment is the death of the unnamed baby, I don't think David actually "gets it" until he loses Absalom. After the unnamed baby dies, we see David move on with a pretty apathetic attitude (even though he admits his wrongs, does he truly change? I don't think so. He fasts for a week but then gives up), and suddenly the story shifts over to Amnon and Absalom.

By the time we next see David, he's already running from Absalom as Nathan's prophecy unfolds: "Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house." Recall also that the prophecy foretells that David's son will die. We originally thought they meant the unnamed first baby to Bathsheba, but it turns out the prophecy meant MULTIPLE SONS. Precisely the son that David holds most dear.

I think upon hearing the news of Absalom's death, David understands that this was no accident (and even if it were an accident, there's no doubt that David was in that moment forced to introspect nonetheless - the synchronicity is unmissable) and so here we have an additional layer of pain that David must deal with. Absalom's death means more than just the death of a son, it marks the moment that David must square up to himself in the mirror and accept that the evil lies within himself.

When David weeps, "would God I had died for thee!" He really means it. He sees that he is (indirectly) responsible for his Son's death, and in this moment he finally "gets it." He finally accepts and surrenders.

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