There the army of Israel was defeated 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 claimed more lives 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 head1 got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.
When one of the men saw this, he told Joab, "I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree."
Joab said to the man who had told him this, "What! You saw him? Why didn't you strike2 him to the ground right there? Then I would have had to give you ten shekelsa of silver and a warrior's belt.3"
But the man replied, "Even if a thousand shekelsb were weighed out into my hands, I would not lift my hand against the king's son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, 'Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.c '
And if I had put my life in jeopardyd--and nothing is hidden from the king4--you would have kept your distance from me."
Joab5 said, "I'm not going to wait like this for you." So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom's heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree.
And ten of Joab's armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.616
Then Joab7 sounded the trumpet, and the troops stopped pursuing Israel, for Joab halted them.
They took Absalom, threw him into a big pit in the forest and piled up8 a large heap of rocks9 over him. Meanwhile, all the Israelites fled to their homes.