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Joab Kills Absalom

Absalom happened to run into David’s soldiers. While Absalom was trying to get away on his mule, it ran under the thick branches of a giant oak tree, and Absalom’s head got caught in the tree! As his mule ran out from under him, Absalom was left hanging above the ground. 10 When one of the soldiers saw what had happened, he told Joab, “I saw Absalom stuck in an oak tree!”

11 Joab asked the man who was reporting to him, “What! You saw him? Why didn’t you kill him right then and there? I would’ve given you ten pieces[a] of silver and a warrior’s sash!”[b]

12 But the soldier replied to Joab, “I wouldn’t have touched the king’s son even if you dropped 1,000 pieces[c] of silver right into my hands, because we heard the king command you, Abishai, and Ittai, ‘Watch how you treat the young man Absalom!’ 13 If I had taken his life,[d] the king would have uncovered everything about it, and you would never have protected me!”

14 “There’s no reason to wait for you!” Joab retorted. Then he took three spears[e] in his hand and stabbed Absalom in the heart while he was still alive, dangling from the branches of[f] the oak tree. 15 Ten young men who served as Joab’s personal assistants then surrounded Absalom, striking him repeatedly and killing him. 16 At this, Joab sounded his battle trumpet and his troops stopped pursuing the other[g] Israelis. 17 Meanwhile, Joab’s army grabbed Absalom’s body, tossed it into a large pit in the forest, and filled it up with a huge pile of rocks. Then the Israelis ran away back to their homes.

18 While Absalom had been living, he had erected a pillar as a monument[h] to himself in King’s Valley because he had been telling himself, “I don’t have a son to carry on my family name.”[i] So he named the pillar after himself—it’s called Absalom’s Monument even today.

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  1. 2 Samuel 18:11 The Heb. lacks pieces; the unit of payment is unspecified
  2. 2 Samuel 18:11 Lit. belt; i.e., a commemorative battle decoration
  3. 2 Samuel 18:12 The Heb. lacks pieces; the unit of payment is unspecified
  4. 2 Samuel 18:13 Or If I had put my life in jeopardy; i.e. by disobeying David’s order
  5. 2 Samuel 18:14 Or sticks
  6. 2 Samuel 18:14 The Heb. lacks the branches of
  7. 2 Samuel 18:16 The Heb. lacks other
  8. 2 Samuel 18:18 The Heb. lacks as a monument
  9. 2 Samuel 18:18 Lit. on memory of my name