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)

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