Home >> Encyclopedia-britannica-volume-01-a-anno >> Abhidhamma to Acanthocephala >> Absalom



ABSALOM, the third son of David, and his father's fa vourite. The picture presented in II. Sam. xiii.—xix. (which deals mainly with his life) suggests that he was the Alcibiades of the Old Testament, alike in his personal attractiveness, his lawless in solence and his tragic fate. He is first mentioned as murdering his half-brother Amnon, David's eldest son, in revenge for the rape of his full sister Tamar. This deed drove him into banish ment, but he was eventually restored to favour through the good offices of Joab. Later, when, some uncertainty seems to have arisen as to the succession, Absalom organized a revolt. For a time he seemed to be completely successful; David with a few followers and his personal guard fled across the Jordan, leaving to Absalom Jerusalem and the main portion of the kingdom. The usurper pursued the fugitives with his forces but was completely defeated in "the wood of Ephraim" (apparently west of Jordan, if the text be right), and killed by Joab, who found him caught by the hair in an oak-tree. To the affectionate chivalrous heart of David, the loss of his son, worthless and treacherous as he was, brought grief which more than outweighed his own safety and restoration.

david and jordan