A Pyrrhic Victory

“Pyrrhic victory" is an english phrase from Roman culture which is defined as "a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is basically the same as defeat. “Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way, though the heavy toll negates a true sense of achievement or profit. It is named after king Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at the Battle of Heraclea in 280 BC and the Battle of Asculum in 279 BC, during the Pyrrhic War.”

After the latter battle, Plutarch relates in a report by Dionysius:

The armies separated; and, it is said, Pyrrhus replied to one that gave him joy of his victory that one other such victory would utterly undo him. For he had lost a great part of the forces he brought with him, and almost all his particular friends and principal commanders.
— Plutarch, Life of Pyrrhus

Have you ever had a Pyrrhic victory? We will observe a Pyrrhic victory in our text today and find some incredible truths there...

Here we read of Absolom's rebellion against King avid being crushed. This symbolizes all who who oppose God and what their end will be.  ut avid weeps as he experiences a Pyrrhic victory as his own rebel son is killed.

Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him. Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops stopped pursuing Israel, for Joab halted them. They took Absalom, threw him into a big pit in the forest and piled up a large heap of rocks over him. Meanwhile, all the Israelites fled to their homes.
— 2 Samuel 18:14-17

Joab in many ways is a foil to David’s character, he is an opposite, in that he is a man of justice at best and a man of blood at worst, embodying the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  And it is very important for you to understand why Joab puts three javelins through Absalom's heart, the young man that he helped bring back and is now caught by his own beautiful hair in a tree: what he does represents the brutality of vengeance for Absalom's ungratefulness. Whereas David represents something else as we will see. In this world when people are divided they are at warfare with one another until a sacrifice reconciles them.

After Romeo and Juliets death (Shakespear's tragedy about two warring families) the resolution has them saying “O brother Montague, give me thy hand" (5.3.309). Lord Montague:  But I can give thee more; / For I will raise her a statue in pure gold, / That whiles Verona by that name is known, / There shall no figure at such rate be set / As that of true and faithful Juliet. Lord Capulet:  As rich shall Romeo's by his lady's lie--/Poor sacrifices of our enmity.” (5.3.312-318)  Their love caused the warring and their deaths caused reconciliation.

Christ’s death and resurrection has secured two things: victory over unrepentant evil, and mercy and salvation for the penitent.  God’s greatest glory lies in his mercy...not just beauty or justice but in mercy. And he does not delight in the death of the wicked, nor should we.

In Prayer Today:

Praise God for His justice.