No One Knows my Name

As for Absalom, they threw his body into a deep pit, there in the forest, and piled a great heap of stones over him. Meanwhile, the men of Israel fled away to their tents. (The monument which stands in the King’s Vale is one which Absalom erected for himself in his own life-time, thinking thus to perpetuate his name, since he had no son to follow him. And as he gave this monument his own name, it has been called Absalom’s Mark ever since.)

2 Kings 18:17-18

Continuing on this little excursion into the life and times of the tragic Absalom, we see that his name means “father of peace”, or “peaceful”. In his quest for a legacy, he became a shyster who caused a civil war about as casually as anyone ever might. He never had a claim to be the father of peace.

In our world of celebrity culture, where we admire the rich and beautiful and often consider them as more wise, more in touch with reality, more alive than anyone else – we’re wont to follow the the smooth and charming as easily as the people of his day followed Absalom. Then we more often than not realize the leaders we follow are shallow, agenda driven and vainglorious as was Absalom.

So the challenge is – all the more – to be the spiritual influence which the Lord wants you to be. One doesn’t need celebrity to be a fully developed person, one only needs the Lord God almighty, putting into practice what we learn.

Ironically, Absalom is remembered very well despite the fact that he considered he would be forgotten as he had no sons to carry his name. Absalom’s three sons ( 2 Samuel 14:27 ; comp  18:18 ) had all died before him, so that he left only his daughter Tamar. She became the grandmother of Abijah, who would be a King of Judah.

But he’s remembered as an example of pridefulness. The tomb which is said to be “Absalom’s Mark“, doesn’t even carry his remains. The inscriptions actually refer to Zechariah and Simeon, recalled fondly from the Gospel of Luke.


A Brief Synopsis of the fall of Absalom

Third son of King David, born in Hebron in the early years of that king’s reign. His mother, Maachah, was the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur (II Sam. iii. 3; II Sam. xiii. 37; I Chron. iii. 2).
Absalom appears as the avenger of his sister Tamar, who had been entrapped, outraged, and shamefully cast aside by her half-brother Amnon, David’s eldest son. Having heard of the crime, the king was greatly irritated, but he had not the courage to punish Amnon, on account of his love for his first-born. The victim sought refuge in the house of Absalom, who advised her to bear the insult in silence. Absalom himself did not at first resent it otherwise than by systematically ignoring Amnon (II Sam. xiii. 1-22), but on the occasion of a banquet two years later, at which all David’s sons were present, Absalom’s servants, at the command of their master, fell upon Amnon and slew him (II Sam. xiii. 23-33). The other sons of David hurried back to Jerusalem, where a rumor had already spread that Absalom had killed all his brothers; and the king deeply mourned over the death of Amnon. As for Absalom, he fled to Talmai, his grandfather, in Geshur, and remained there three years (II Sam. xiii. 33-38).
But soon David longed to see Absalom, and Joab, David’s nephew, moved by sympathy for the murderer, availed himself of this opportunity to persuade the king to recall Absalom. David consented, and Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem, where he was restored to his house and family, but was granted no privileges of rank at court. Through the influence of Joab a reconciliation between father and son was brought about (II Sam. xiv. 1-24). At this time Absalom is represented as a handsome and full-grown man. His beauty, in combination with an amiable disposition, rendered him popular among the people, and he took advantage of this popularity to strengthen his own position and to arouse dissatisfaction with David (ibid. 25-35). Absalom asked his father’s leave to go to Hebron, and he used the opportunity to encourage a rebellion against David (II Sam. xv. 1-9). Ahithophel, David’s counselor, joined Absalom, while Joab remained faithful to David. The rebellion assumed such large proportions as to oblige David to leave Jerusalem and seek refuge beyond the Jordan. Absalom entered Jerusalem, and, on the advice of Ahithophel, appropriated the harem of David as a symbol of having entered upon royal control (II Sam. xv. 10-xvi. 23).

Ahithophel proposed to pursue David with 12,000 picked soldiers and to bring back to Absalom all the people that had fled with David. This plan was frustrated by Hushai, who counseled that all Israel be gathered from Dan to Beer-sheba, unto Absalom, and that the latter should then go to battle in his own person (II Sam. xvii. 7-13). It is very likely that, during this interval, Absalom was anointed king (II Sam. xix. 11). But the delay gave David time to reach the Jordan unmolested and also to strengthen his army. While the king himself remained in Mahanaim he sent forth his warriors divided into three columns (II Sam. xviii. 1-4). The encounter took place in the forest of Ephraim. Absalom was defeated, and while he was fleeing through the forest his long hair was caught in the branches of a tree. One of Joab’s men found him suspended from the tree and reported the factto Joab, who thrust three darts through the heart of the rebellious prince. The death of Absalom put an end to the rebellion. According to II Sam. xviii. 33, xix. 1-5, David’s mourning was greater for Absalom than for Amnon. See Absalom’s Tomb.


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