Absalom was the son of King David by Maacah. He killed Amnon his haft-brother for raping his sister Tamar. This gets him banished by David. Later he returned to Jerusalem where he is received by David. He then rebels against David. Joab kills him against David's orders.

Absalom is portrayed as something as a pretty boy, and a spoiled favorite of David's. There is a certain irony in him getting his hair, which he was vainly proud of, caught, and this leading to his capture and death. (2 Samuel 14:25 has a discription of him cuting his hair and having it weighed every year)

(ab' suh luhm) HEBREW: AVSHALOM
"father is peace"

By leading a rebellion against his father, King David, Absalom seems to have lived to contradict the meaning of his name. The king's third son, Absalom was born during David's early reign over Judah at Hebron. His mother was Maacah, daughter of the king of Geshur, a nation northeast of the Sea of Galilee. David's second son, Chileab, evidently died young, leaving the handsome, ambitious Absalom second in line of succession after his half brother Amnon.

The inevitable tensions between these royal sons of different mothers exploded into a mortal hatred while Absalom was still a youth. Amnon lured Tamar, Absalom's full sister, into his house and raped the girl. Devestated, Tamar went to Absalom for protection, while her father, David - though angry - did nothing to punish Amnon for his transgression. Absalom was filled with loathing for Amnon but patiently waited two years before exacting revenge. He invited Amnon with David's other sons to a sheep-shearing festival and, when Amnon was "merry with wine" (2 Sam. 13:28), had him murdered.

Fearing blood vengeance, Absalom fled north to his grandfather's court in Geshur. There he remained three years before Joab, commander of the army, was able to persuade David to allow the refugee a safe return. Yet two more years passed before David was willing to meet with his son, and by that time Absalom's resentment had hardened into a determination to overthrow his father. Absalom used his winning personality and remarkable good looks in a methodical campaign to build a loyal following for himself and to stir resentment against David - in the process, as the biblical text states, "Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel" (2 Sam. 15:6).

Absalom sounded the trumpet of rebellion in Hebron, his own birthplace and David's original capital. The popular response was overwhelming. People with any sort of grievance against David flocked to his son's cause - even Ahithophel, one of David's most trusted advisors. But David was not without resources. Though he fled Jerusalem, seemingly helpless before the revolt, he left behind loyal followers, such as Hushai the Archite, who insinuated themselves into Absalom's confidence. When Ahithophel urged Absalom to send soldiers quickly to assassinate the king, Hushai was able to divert Absalom to a more cautious course in which he would personally lead an army against his father. Hushai's advice allowed David time to muster his battle-tested troops to meet the attack of his rebel son.

The battle took place east of the Jordan River in the dense forest of Ephraim. As the contest turned against him, Absalom fled. His mule ran beneath a spreading oak tree, and Absalom's head with its thick flowing hair became wedged between the branches. Joab again intervened, but this time to dispatch the dangling rebel with three darts through the chest. David, who in spite of everything still loved his son, could not celebrate his victory, but wept openly upon hearing the news: "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you" (2 Sam. 18:33).

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}

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