When David heard that Absalom had been slain, he went up to his chamber over the gate and wept. “O my son Absalom, my son, my son, Absalom, my son! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son!”
The story of David and Absalom is almost cinematic in its drama. Rape, murder, revenge, exile, revolt, banishment, and war make up this story of King David and his son and usurper Absalom. Yet even after all of this strife, when Absalom is slain on the battlefield, David is wracked with guilt and sorrow; he goes up to his chamber and weeps, crying out the name of his son in anguish and despair. When David Heard depicts this raw emotional response, the grieving of a father for his son, the love which has outlived past acrimony.
The text for the piece was adapted from 2 Samuel 18:33.