The Death of Absalom

The Son of David

Christianity Oasis provides the Death of Absalom the Son of David study on the death of David's son Absalom. We'll look into that and all aspects of the Bible seeking truth and understanding.

Daily Bread Devotional Bible Study
The Second Book of Samuel
Chapter 18

The Death of Absalom the Son of David

The Death of David's Son Absalom

Welcome to our Christianity Oasis Daily Bread study program. This is the Death of Absalom the Son of David Bible study taking a look into the thought provoking story of the death of David's son Absalom and how the tear jerking story about the Death of Absalom the Son of David message affects your be-YOU-tiful Christian walk.

The Death of Absalom the Son of David Lesson
The Death of David's Son Absalom Hurt David

So glad to have your company again here at Daily Bread! Yesterday, we read about Ahithophel and Hushai both giving Absalom different advice about what to do about David. Hushai's advice was given to help David escape, since he is David's friend and his purpose in pretending to be Absalom's counselor was to confuse the advice of Ahithophel.

Absalom, not knowing Hushai's intention, ignored the advice of Ahithophel and took the advice of Hushai. David's plan was working, let's take a look at what transpired after that.

David counted how many people were with him and appointed captains and leaders over the soldiers. David made Joab leader over one third of them, Abishai was leader over one third, and Ittai was leader over one third, dividing his army into three parts.

The Death of Absalom the Son of David Truth
The Death of David's Son Absalom Brings Tears

(Remember, Ittai was a Gittite who had recently become a follower of David, and when David tried to persuade him to stay in Jerusalem when he fled from Absalom, Ittai wouldn't hear of it, because he was so committed to David.) David also affirmed to them that he would be going to fight with them as well.

But the people disagreed saying, "You can't go with us. If we have to flee, Absalom's army won't care if they capture us. If half of us die, they won't care. They're after you. You're worth ten thousand of us. It's better if you stay in the city."

David went along with what they said, so he waited by the city gates and his troops left. The king commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, "Deal gently with Absalom, for my sake, please." All the troops heard David give this command. In essence, David was requesting that they spare Absalom's life.

The Death of Absalom the Son of David Teaching
The Death of David's Son Absalom Message

So David's people went out to battle against Israel in the forest of Ephraim, and it was a huge victory for David's troops. They killed about 20,000 men from Israel's army in one day. More men died because of the terrain in the forest than those that died by the sword ... As we've seen so many times before, the amazing and peculiar hand of God working with David and his men.

Well, it came to pass that Absalom encountered the servants of David. He was riding on a mule, and when the mule went under a huge oak tree's branches, Absalom's hair got caught in the branches and he was left just hanging there while the mule kept on going. Remember that Absalom had tremendously thick hair. Who would have thought that this would be his demise?

A man saw what had happened and went to tell Joab that he saw Absalom hanging from the branches. Joab asked, "If you saw him hanging there, why didn't you kill him? I would have given you 10 shekels and a belt." The man replied, "Even if I would have received 10 shekels, I would not lay a hand on the king's son.

The Death of Absalom the Son of David Study
The Death of David's Son Absalom Warning

Everyone heard when the king gave the orders not to harm Absalom. I would be putting my own life in jeopardy. The king finds out about everything. He would have known it was I that killed his son, and you would have gone against me as well."

Smart boy.

Joab said, "I'm not staying here with you any longer." He then took three spears and thrust them though Absalom while he was still alive hanging from the oak.

Remember that Joab defended Absalom by getting the woman from Tekoah to soften David's heart toward his son and bring him out of banishment. Then when Absalom was brought home, David didn't speak to him for two years and it was Joab who convinced David to speak to him again. Well, we have our answer to whether Joab was sincere in steering David toward forgiveness of Absalom back in Chapter 14.

It must have troubled Joab greatly that Absalom conspired against David so. Even at David's pleading to spare Absalom's life, Joab felt justice would be done if Absalom died for his treason. Does this remind you of what he did to Abner?

The Death of Absalom the Son of David Facts
The Death of David's Son Absalom Was it Wrong

Then ten of Joab's men surrounded Absalom and killed him. Joab sounded the trumpet indicating to cease fighting and his men retreated from attacking Israel's army. They took Absalom's body and threw it in a big pit in the forest and laid huge stones on top of him. And all of Israel returned to their tents.

Then Ahimaaz (Zadok the priest's son) said, "Let me go and tell the king the good news of the victory. The Lord has delivered him again from his enemies!" But Joab said, "Don't tell David today of the victory, because today ... His son has died." So Joab sent Cushi to go tell the king what he observed. Cushi bowed to Joab, then ran to go report to the king.

Now why would Joab send Cushi instead of Ahimaaz? Perhaps because Ahimaaz was usually the bearer of good news, so maybe Joab thought it more appropriate to send someone else so as not to get the king's hopes up that this was going to be a "happily ever after" kind of ending to this awful disaster.

The Death of Absalom the Son of David Discussion
The Death of David's Son Absalom Questions

Ahimaaz pleaded again with Joab, "Please, let me go with Cushi!" Joab asked him, "Why do you want to go with him since you don't know what to say?" But Ahimaaz kept pleading, "Come what may ... Please let me go!" So Joab said, "Go ahead." So Ahimaaz caught up with Cushi and then outran him.

David sat waiting at the city gates. The watchman on the roof saw a man running by himself and told the king. The king said, "If he's alone, there must be news." But then the watchman saw another man running and announced, "Another man is running behind him now." And the king said, "He must be bringing news too."

The watchman told the king that from the way the first messenger ran, it looked like the way Ahimaaz runs. David said, "He's a good man. He's bringing me good news." Ahimaaz called out to the king, "All is well." He bowed to the ground before the king and said, "Blessed be the Lord thy God which has delivered you from your enemies that tried to kill you."

The Death of Absalom the Son of David Tragedy
The Death of David's Son Absalom Event

The king asked, "Is Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent me, I saw a lot of commotion going on, but I'm not sure exactly what was happening."

"Wait here", David told him, and he waited. Cushi then approached and said, "Good news for my king. The Lord has delivered you from the enemies that turned against you." "Is Absalom safe?" David asked. "May all your enemies end up as that young man is," Cushi answered.

The king was overwhelmed with emotion and went up to a room over the gate and cried. As he left he said, "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! I wish I had died for you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"

The Death of Absalom the Son of David Summary
The Death of David's Son Absalom Conclusion

As we know from how David reacted to Saul's death, he was very compassionate at heart, so one can imagine that his natural affection for his own son was even stronger and the news of his death, an unbearable thing to hear. Even though Absalom was trying to overthrow the kingdom, David didn't want any harm to befall his child.

Perhaps also, David may have hoped that had Absalom lived, he would have come to repentance and he would sacrifice his own life for that hope.

Come on back soon to see what happens next ... We'll share it together right here at Daily Bread!

There is a force out there that is attempting to overtake us all; it is Satan. There is another force that is protecting us from him; it is the Holy Spirit. It is a battle for souls. This battle is called Spiritual Warfare, and like it or not, you are right in the middle of it.

How to Prepare for Spiritual Warfare