So David gathered his forces and re-supplied, and now these experienced warriors were ready to go on the offensive. David divided the troops into three – command by Joab, Abishai, and Ittai the Gittite. he sent them on their way with the admonition to “deal gently” with Absalom (verse 5). The battle took place in the forest of Ephraim and spread over the face of the country – and twenty thousand were killed (verse 7-8). In a freak accident, Absalom got stuck in the limbs of an oak (verse 9), and a man saw and told Joab.
Despite David’s instructions, Joab wasted no time in killing Absalom. Probably he feared that if left alive, Absalom would have the chance to rise up again. Verse 17-18 contrast the monument that Absalom in vanity had set up for himself with the anonymous pit covered with a pile of rocks that Joab and his men threw him into.
David’s immense grief in verses 31-33 serve as an exclamation point for us in the punishment predicted in 2 Samuel 12:10.
The monument known as “Absalom’s Tomb” we see today in the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem is a structure that was built in a later period – possibly during the Roman rule.
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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