It was a sad day for the children of Israel. The king's son, Absalom, had rebelled against his father and tried to take over the throne. King David's armies had fought against Absalom and his rebels, defeating them and chasing them away. David loved his son and had told his army not to hurt Absalom. Joab, the king's general, disobeyed David and killed Absalom anyway. Now someone had to go tell David that his son was dead.

Joab buried Absalom in the woods while everyone wondered how to break the news to the king. A young man walked up to Joab and asked if he could go and deliver the message to the king. When Joab saw that it was Ahimaaz, he said, "No, you are not the one to go and carry the news today because the king's son is dead." This made Ahimaaz feel bad. To him it seemed like no one ever took him seriously. People were always making fun of him and whispering behind his back. When Joab sent another boy to run to the king, Ahimaaz felt worse. He told Joab that he wanted to run no matter what happened. Joab was in a very grouchy mood and told him to go ahead and run if he wanted to.

For Ahimaaz, this was his chance to show everybody that he was not as foolish as they thought he was. He knew a shortcut and before long he was far ahead of the first messenger. Ahimaaz was very proud of himself. He wasn't thinking about how sad the king would be when he heard the news. All he could think about was being the first runner to arrive at the gate. He was sure this would cause people to stop making fun of him. The guards above the gate could tell it was Ahimaaz by the way he ran. Possibly they had made fun of the way he had run on other days.

When Ahimaaz got to the gate he suddenly realized that he'd forgotten what he was supposed to tell the king. The king was kind to Ahimaaz and told him to wait until the other messenger arrived, but Ahimaaz was very embarrassed. No one laughed at Ahimaaz that day, but when the king had received the message and began to cry, Ahimaaz was very ashamed that he had been thinking of his own feelings and had been a foolish messenger.

Taken from II Samuel 18:19-23

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