The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, ‘Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.’ And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.

David’s army marched out of the city to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. There Israel’s troops were routed by David’s men, and the casualties that day were great – twenty thousand men. The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword.

Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in mid-air, while the mule he was riding kept on going.

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15 And ten of Joab’s armour-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.

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31 Then the Cushite arrived and said, ‘My lord the king, hear the good news! The Lord has vindicated you today by delivering you from the hand of all who rose up against you.’

32 The king asked the Cushite, ‘Is the young man Absalom safe?’

The Cushite replied, ‘May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man.’

33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: ‘O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you – O Absalom, my son, my son!’[a]

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Footnotes

  1. 2 Samuel 18:33 In Hebrew texts this verse (18:33) is numbered 19:1.

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