In the movie Gladiator, Maximus, the main character speaks a truth rarely applied in current day ethos. He says, “What we do in this life echoes in eternity.” Maximus, being a student of Marcus Aurelius seems to have absorbed his teacher’s sentiment. I often wonder if Roman Emperor Aurelius’ thoughts were influenced by the actions of great kings, regardless of their nationality. Fine Kings, such as those found in the Old Testament of the Hebrew Bible.
It is common knowledge that Emperor Aurelius was a scholarly man and in his readings he may have wandered upon the biblical books of 2 Samuel and 2 Kings. Each of these books contains an opportunity for each King to return evil for evil. King David and King Evil-Marodach could have dealt ruthlessly with two men, who, due to familial persecution and opposed nationality were perceived to be enemies of their throne. The two men who could have been royally judged and condemned were Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan (2 Samuel) and the disposed King of Judah Jehoiachin (2 Kings 25). However, they were not judged harshly nor condemned. They were shown Grace instead. But why, why not destroy the lives of Mephibosheth and Jehoiachin? I believe it was because of Truth, Friendship, Kindness, and Tenderness; but most important because “What we do now echoes in eternity.” (Marcus Aurelius) We are our choices!
I urge you to read the story surrounding these two graceful kings. You will see how truth, friendship, kindness, and tenderness make way for the choice of Grace. King David swore and oath of friendship to Mephibosheth’s Father Jonathan. In Grace David honored that oath. King Evil-Marodach was more than likely shown kindness and cared for by Jehoiachin, while they were imprisoned together. Jehoiachin’s kindness begot kindness, and kindness was the agent of Grace. Therefore, “in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month, Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, showed favor to Jehoiachin king of Judah and released him from prison.” (2 Kings 25:27) AND THOSE SET FREE BY GRACE ARE FREE INDEED!