2 Samuel 18:1-18

Absalom’s death

1 Then David gathered the troops who were with him and appointed unit commanders over thousands and hundreds.
2 David sent out the army—a third under Joab's command, a third under the command of Abishai, Zeruiah's son, and a third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. The king told the troops, "I will march out with you myself."
3 But the troops replied, "No! You must not march out! If we flee, they won't care about us. Even if half of us die, they won't care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. It is much better if you support us from the city."
4 The king said to them, "I will do whatever you think is best." So the king stood beside the gate as all the troops marched out by hundreds and thousands.
5 The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: "For my sake, protect my boy Absalom." All the troops heard what the king ordered regarding Absalom to all the commanders.
6 So the troops marched into the field to meet the Israelites. The battle was fought in the Ephraim forest.
7 The army of Israel was defeated there by David's soldiers. A great slaughter of twenty thousand men took place that day.
8 The battle spread out over the entire countryside, and the forest devoured more soldiers than the sword that day.
9 Absalom came upon some of David's men. Absalom was riding on a mule, and the mule went under the tangled branches of a large oak tree. Absalom's head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair while the mule under him kept on going.
10 One of the men saw this and reported to Joab, "I just saw Absalom hanging from an oak tree."
11 Joab said to the man who told him, "You saw this? Why didn't you kill him on the spot? I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt."
12 But the man said to Joab, "Even if I had a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I wouldn't touch the king's son! We heard what the king commanded you, Abishai, and Ittai—‘For my sake, take care of my boy Absalom.'
13 If I had taken Absalom's life behind the king's back then—though nothing is hidden from the king—you would have kept your distance from me."
14 Joab said, "I won't waste time like this with you!" He took three sticks in his hand and drove them into Absalom's chest while he was still alive in the oak.
15 Then ten young armor-bearers of Joab surrounded Absalom, struck him, and killed him.
16 Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops stopped chasing the Israelites, because Joab held them back.
17 They took Absalom and threw him into a big pit in the forest. They piled over him a huge heap of stones. Meanwhile, all the Israelites fled to their homes.
18 When he was alive, Absalom had raised a large pillar for himself in the King's Valley because he said, "I have no son to carry on the memory of my name." He named the pillar after himself. It is called Absalom's Monument to this day.