Study Guide

2 Samuel Absalom in the Oak Tree

Absalom in the Oak Tree

Absalom's revolt against David ends pretty embarrassingly. Absalom doesn't like to cut his hair—he prefers more of a Fabio look, evidently.

But this mild act of impracticality proves to be his undoing. Absalom's hair gets stuck in a tree as he rides through the forest in the midst of the battle. He's left hanging in the air, still alive, while his horse kept riding.

Although David orders his soldiers not to kill Absalom, Joab thinks that caution's for wimps. He takes three spears and stabs them all at once into Absalom's heart before letting his armor-bearers hack his body up. And that's the end of that for Absalom.

The story bears an eerie reverse resemblance to the events of Jesus' crucifixion, according to Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye. Absalom gets caught in a tree, and stabbed to death by the super-intense warrior, Joab (who had actually helped Absalom reconcile with David earlier in the story). Jesus is nailed to a tree (cross) and gets stabbed in the side by a Roman centurion. That might seem a little thin… but it's still worth considering.

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