Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 18

Absalom hangs, alive, in a tree

2 Samuel 18:9

One of the many men who were in serious difficulty in the forest that day, was Absalom.

Like all the king’s sons (13:29), Absalom rode a mule (a fast animal like a horse). When the battle moved into the forest, Absalom continued to ride on his mule. He thought that he would be able to escape quickly from any danger. David’s men could only run after him on foot, and the mule could move much more quickly. However, Absalom had no experience of the real dangers in a battle.

Absalom was a handsome man, and he was especially proud of his long hair (14:25-26). Long hair may be impressive for a young prince in a palace – but it was very unsuitable for Absalom as he fought this battle.

Some of David’s soldiers saw Absalom so, of course, they chased after him. The mule carried him away quickly, as Absalom intended. However, it was moving through the forest too quickly for Absalom to control it. It went under the low branch of a large tree. The mule escaped but Absalom did not. His head – or perhaps his hair – caught in the tree, and he was unable to free himself from it. In this extraordinary situation, Absalom struggled – still alive, but in great danger.

David’s soldiers were still chasing after Absalom, and one of them saw him in the tree. It was not clear to him how to deal with this matter – so, he went at once to report it to his commander Joab.

Next part: An opportunity to catch Absalom alive (2 Samuel 18:10)


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