"Death of Absalom"
by William Brassey Hole
TO CHEW ON: "And they took Absalom and cast him into a large pit in the woods, and laid a very large heap of stones over him .... Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a pillar for himself which is in the King's Valley." 2 Samuel 18:17-18
Absalom's story has several ironies in it.
His hair was a thing of wonder. The account goes that he was very handsome, praised for his good looks perhaps in large measure because of his thick head of hair which he cut annually to lighten its weight. Weighed, those shorn locks tipped the scale at 200 shekels—5 lbs. (2 Samuel 14:24-26).
How ironic, then, that it was his gorgeous hair that got caught in tree branches, putting him in the very undignified posture of "...hanging between heaven and earth..." and vulnerable to his father's soldiers.
After his death, Joab and the other soldiers heap over his body an inglorious pile of stones. The Bible account contrasts it with the monument he had made to himself:
"And they took Absalom and cast him into a large pit in the woods, and laid a very large heap of stones over him .... Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a pillar for himself which is in the King's Valley." 2 Samuel 18:17-18
Absalom's story speaks to me of the trap of pride and God's way of bringing back to bite us the very things we're most proud of. They remind me of the words of Absalom's little brother Solomon:
"Pride goes before destruction
And a haughty spirit before a fall" - Proverbs 16:18.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to see my life as You see it. Point out to me where I am proud and ripening for a fall. Amen.
MORE: Terebinth tree
Check out these images of Terebinth trees to understand the hazard such a tree would have been to someone riding too close to its dense, low-growing branches.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.