Joab Kills Abasalom

Love is the key. Joy is love singing. Peace is love resting. Long-suffering is love enduring. Kindness is love’s touch. Goodness is love’s character. Faithfulness is love’s habit. Gentleness is love’s self-forgetfulness. Self-control is love holding the re … More


David has lots of military strength at his disposal. He divides his army into three divisions and sends them out under the command of Joab (the commander over all), his brother Abishai and Ittai, the Gittite (vv. 1-5). David announces his intention to march out into battle with them, but the men point out that he will just be a target for Absalom’s soldiers. They say that his soldiers won’t care about “us,” but “you” will be more valuable than all the rest of us put together. They tell him that he will be more help if he remains behind in Mahanaim. David stands beside the city gate as the troops march off to battle. His final order to his three commanders is to be gentle with Absalom. This indicates his paternal affection in spite of Absalom’s destructive ambition, arrogance, and treachery.

The “battle field” included the “forested hill country” of Ephraim and Manasseh, west of the Jordan river (vv. 6-8). It seems that in (v. 6) “army” refers to David’s troops and in (v. 7) it signifies Absalom’s men. Absalom’s army experienced heavy defeats and casualties but the Lord played a key role in their overthrow. The forest claimed more lives than the sword which reminds us that natural things are often more deadly than human enemies (Jos. 10:11).

This passage provides an example of how a forest can claim victims (vv. 9-18). Riding his mule, Absalom gets his head caught in the branches of a tree and the mule leaves the owner behind. One of David’s men is the first to see Absalom hanging in the tree and reports it to Joab. Joab cannot understand why the man did not kill Absalom on the spot as he would have awarded him ten shekels of silver as well as a warrior’s belt ( I Kings 2:5). The man explains that  even a hundred times that much silver could not tempt him to kill Absalom because of King David’s orders to be gentile with him. Joab decided to take matters into his own hands and plunged three sharp pointed weapons into Absalom, which mortally wounded him. Ten of Joab’s men finished the task of killing Absalom.


Because children grow up in a Godly family does not mean they will automatically turn out to be Godly or even good citizens. It takes lot of love, discipline and training.

II Samuel 18:1-18 (English Standard Version)

Then David mustered the men who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. And David sent out the army, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the men, "I myself will also go out with you." But the men said, "You shall not go out. For if we flee, they will not care about us. If half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore it is better that you send us help from the city." The king said to them, "Whatever seems best to you I will do." So the king stood at the side of the gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands. And the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders about Absalom. So the army went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. And the men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the loss there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the face of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword. And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. And a certain man saw it and told Joab, "Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak." Joab said to the man who told him, "What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt." But the man said to Joab, "Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not reach out my hand against the king's son, for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, 'For my sake protect the young man Absalom.' On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof." Joab said, "I will not waste time like this with you." And he took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak. And ten young men, Joab's armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him and killed him. Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained them. And they took Absalom and threw him into a great pit in the forest and raised over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled every one to his own home. Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar that is in the King's Valley, for he said, "I have no son to keep my name in remembrance." He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom's monument to this day.

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