AB'SALOM (Heb., father of peace). The third son of Ring David (II. Samuel iii: 3; I. Chronicles iii: 2), whose romantic career makes him a prominent figure in Old Testament history. Encountering the ill will of David through slaying Amnon, another son of the King, in re venge for an outrage committed by Amnon upon his sister Tamar (11. Samuel xiii), Absalom was banished from his father's court, and more than five years elapsed befo're he was again admitted into the presence of his father (II. Samuel xiv). A complete reconciliation. however. appeared out of the question, and Absalom shrewdly laid his plans to ingratiate himself in the hearts of the people (II. Samuel xv: 1-6). When the moment appeared ripe he organized a rebellion against David. which soon assumed such dimensions as to force the King and his court to leave Jeru salem and tly for refuge to the east of the Jordan. Absalom entered Jerusalem, and the rebellion would probably have been successful but for the crafty intrigues of Hushai, who, While pretend ing to espouse the cause of Absalom, gave coun sel which enabled David and his adherents to obtain time for gathering a following (II. Sam
uel xv: 17). A decisive battle was then fought "in the wood of Ephraim" (IL Samuel xviii : 6). in which Absalom lost his life. According, to the narrative, Josh, chief counselor of David. sent three darts into Absalom's heart while he was hanging from an oak, in the branches of which his flowing locks, while he was riding. be came entangled. With Absalom's death the re bellion came to an end (II. Samuel xviii: 7-17). David is represented as having been profoundly grieved at the death of his son, and this grief is a reflection of the impression made upon the people by the romantic career of Absalom. In stead of denouncing him, the writer tells the story in a manner calculated to arouse at least partial sympathy for Absalom, who is described as a youth of extraordinary beauty and attrac tiveness (II. Samuel xiv: 25-27). Absalom was buried near the spot where he died, and the grave was marked by a great heap of stones (11. Samuel xviii: 17). The date of Absalom's death may be fixed approximately at n.c. 980.