In 2 Samuel 18:24–33. both runners, Ahimaaz, David’s courier and an unnamed Cushite, were seen from a distance. David assumed that the nearer runner was Ahimaaz. He assumed that the message Ahimaaz was conveying was good because of his trust and fondness of Ahimaaz.
The assumption was unfounded, however, for when Ahimaaz finally was able to deliver his message all he could do was speak in general terms of the victory over Absalom. The details were left to the Cushite who finally arrived and shared with the king the grisly news that Absalom and his confederates were dead.
Overwhelmed, King David retired to an upper room where he privately poured out his heart before God in unremitting grief. The depths of his love for his rebel son are couched in his lament, “If only I had died instead of you.” Two of David’s sons, Amnon (2 Samuel 13:28–29) and Absalom (2 Samuel 18:15), died violent deaths as a consequence of David’s sin (2 Samuel 12:10).