Absalom in the Bible, King David’s third son by his wife Maacah, seemed to have it all for him, but like other tragic figures in the Bible, he tried to take what was not for him. Absalom’s story is about the pride and greed of a man who wanted to overthrow God’s plan. Instead, his life ended in a violent fall.
Who was Absalom in the Bible?
The Bible says that Absalom was praised as the most handsome man in all of Israel: ‘He was faultless from head to toe.’ (2 Samuel 14:25, NLT ) When he cut his hair once a year, it weighed five pounds because it became too heavy. Everyone seemed to love it.
Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar, who was a virgin. Another of David’s sons, Amnon, was their half-brother. Amnon fell in love with Tamar, raped her, then rejected her in disgrace.
For two years, Absalom kept silent, sheltering Tamar in his home. He had expected his father, David, to punish Amnon for his act. When David did nothing, Absalom’s anger and wrath boiled over into a vengeful plot.
Continue the reading to learn more about Absalom.
One day Absalom invited all the king’s sons to a shearing feast. When Amnon was at the dinner, Absalom ordered his soldiers to kill him.
After the murder, Absalom fled to Geshur, northeast of the Sea of Galilee, to his grandfather’s house. He hid there for three years. David deeply missed his son. The Bible says in 2 Samuel 13:37 that David’ mourned his son day after day.’ Eventually, David allowed him to return to Jerusalem.
Gradually, Absalom began to undermine King David, usurping his authority and speaking against him to the people. Under the guise of honoring a vow, Absalom went to Hebron and began to raise an army. He sent messengers throughout the land, proclaiming his kingship.
When King David learned of the rebellion, he and his followers fled Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Absalom received advice from his advisers on the best way to defeat his father. Before the battle, David ordered his troops not to harm Absalom. The two armies clashed at Ephraim in a great oak forest. Twenty thousand men fell that day. David’s army prevailed.
As Absalom rode his mule under a tree, his hair caught in the branches. The mule ran away, leaving Absalom suspended in the air, helpless. Joab, one of David’s generals, took three spears and drove them into Absalom’s heart. Then ten of Joab’s squires surrounded Absalon and killed him.
The end of Absalom in the Bible, the rebellious son of King David
King David grieves after learning of the death of his rebellious son Absalom at the hands of his army, casting aside his crown, which lies on the floor.
To the surprise of his generals, David was heartbroken over the death of his son, the man who had tried to kill him and steal his throne. He tenderly loved Absalom. David’s grief showed the depth of a father’s love for the loss of a son and regret for his failures that led to many family and national tragedies.
These episodes raise disturbing questions. Did Absalom kill Amnon because David had not punished him? The Bible does not give specific answers, but when David was old, his son Adonijah rebelled in the same way as Absalom. Solomon had Adonijah killed and executed other traitors to secure his kingdom.
The pain of the father
When king David found out about what happened to his son Absalom in the Bible, who was still an exile beyond the Jordan, oblivious to the hatred that their son had reserved for him, began to weep and shout, “My son, Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Had I died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!”
This repeated cry echoed through the halls of the palace where he resided and nipped in the bud the desire for the celebration of his loyal subjects, who had returned victorious from that clash with the rebels. But his General could not allow those who had risked their lives for the king to be humiliated by that mourning.
And, so, letting reason of state prevail over feelings, he forced David to attend the military parade to celebrate the victory.
Features of Absalom in the Bible
Absalom means ‘father of peace,’ but this father did not live up to his name. He had a daughter and three sons, all of whom died in infancy.
Absalom was charismatic and quickly attracted other people to him. He possessed certain leadership qualities. He took justice into his own hands by killing his half-brother Amnon. Then he followed unwise advice, rebelled against his father, and tried to steal David’s kingdom.
Absalom imitated his father’s weaknesses instead of his strengths. He allowed selfishness to rule him instead of God’s law. When he tried to oppose God’s plan and oust the rightful king, destruction came upon him.
As in the Bible is written: 2 Samuel 15:10 Then Absalom secretly sent messengers to all the tribes of Israel to say, “As soon as you hear the sound of trumpets, say, Absalom is king in Hebron.” ( VIN )
The conclusion of this story
This is a painful story about Absalom in the Bible that again attests to the “embodiment” of God’s word in the concreteness of human affairs, where family dramas are revealed.
Generational clashes give rise to misunderstandings, tensions, and rebellions, creating furrows not infrequently streaked with blood. It has been said that the old repeat themselves, the young have nothing to say, and the boredom is mutual.
In reality, sometimes relationships flare up, and the young person becomes rebellious. At the same time, the parents are obstinate, so that — as a seventeenth-century English poet, Matthew Arnold, wrote — “only one thing is in common between young and old, to be dissatisfied.”
This dissatisfaction becomes mutual nausea, ready to result in rejection. Weaving the patient web of dialogue, confrontation, and even forgiveness is the constant hard work of children and parents.
Thank you for your time. I hope you found the information you needed. Have a good day! You can read more about some other Biblical Emperors right here!