2 Samuel 18 – “David is Victorious; Absalom is Killed”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
David’s army routs Absalom’s forces. Absalom gets tangled in a tree and is killed by Joab. Messengers tell David about the battle and the death of his son.

II. Photo
The battlefield is fierce: “The battle spread out over that whole region, and the forest devoured more troops that day than the sword.” (v. 8 )

III. Important Verses
2b-4a: And David said to the troops, “I myself will march out with you.” But the troops replied, “No! For if some of us flee, the rest will not be concerned about us; even if half of us should die, the others will not be concerned about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore, it is better for you to support us from the town.” And the king said to them, “I will do whatever you think best.”
5: The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “Deal gently with my boy Absalom, for my sake.” All the troops heard the king give the order about Absalom to all the officers.
8: The battle spread out over that whole region, and the forest devoured more troops that day than the sword.
9: Absalom encountered some of David’s followers. Absalom was riding on a mule, and as the mule passed under the tangled branches of a great terebinth, his hair got caught in the terebinth; he was held between heaven and earth as the mule under him kept going.
14-17: Joab replied, “Then I will not wait for you.” He took three darts in his hand and drove them into Absalom’s chest. [Absalom] was still alive in the thick growth of the terebinth, when ten of Joab’s young arms-bearers closed in and struck at Absalom until he died. Then Joab sounded the horn, and the troops gave up their pursuit of the Israelites; for Joab held the troops in check. They took Absalom and flung him into a large pit in the forest, and they piled up a very great heap of stones over it. Then all the Israelites fled to their homes.
18: Now Absalom, in his lifetime, had taken the pillar which is in the Valley of the King and set it up for himself; for he said, “I have no son to keep my name alive.” He had named the pillar after himself, and it has been called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

IV. Outline
1-5. David’s troops march out in three divisions; David stays behind
6-8. David’s forces rout the Israelites
9. Absalom is entangled in a tree
10-15. Joab and his men kill Absalom
16. The battle ends
17. Absalom is buried beneath a heap of stones
18. Absalom’s monument
19-23. Messengers are sent to David
24-32. Ahimaaz tells David about the battle, a Cushite tells him about Absalom

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Anderson, A. A. “2 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 11 (Waco Texas: Wordbooks, 1989).
Campbell, Antony F. “2 Samuel” The Forms of the Old Testament Literature, vol 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eedrdmans, 2005).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://www.cumbavac.org/images/forest.jpg