The Wise Woman of Tekoa / The Death of Absalom


In Samuel II, we read of Absalom, Amnon and Tamar , children of King David.

Tamar was very beautiful and Amnon, her step-brother, lusted for her. When they were alone, Amnon raped Tamar. Afterwards, Amnon despised her and sent her away.   Absalom  revenged his sister’s violation by having Amnon killed, and fled the country.

King David longed for a reconciliation with Absalom, but felt powerless to command his return, believing it would signal his acceptance of the fratricide.

Joab, David’s general, understood  David’s longing for his son and he contrived   a plan.   He called for a wise woman from Tekoa, telling her to  pretend to be a mourner  and to go to the king asking help with her predicament.

The wise woman came before King David and told him that she was a widow with  two sons;  one killed the other and fled and now her family demanded his return so he could be put to death  for his crime. His destruction, she cried, would obliterate his heirs and her family’s name on earth would  be extinguished.

King David pledged to protect the guilty son if he returned. The wise woman then confessed  her story was really a parable for Absalom and Amnon, and moreover, she suggested  that if he would not return his banished son, he would regret it forever ...  “For we shall all die, like water flowing along the ground that cannot be collected, God spares no one.”  

The king deduced that Joab had set this up, and commanded Joab to bring back Absalom. They were reconciled with a kiss.

 Four years later, Absalom  led  a rebellion  against his father, King David.  All Israel and Judah joined him and David fled.  In the eventual  battle between Absalom and David , Absalom’s army was routed. Renowned for his great beauty, Absalom let his hair grow to great length. Fleeing from David’s forces, he was caught by his hair in the branches of a tree and Joab then killed him.

Despite his son’s treachery, David was overwhelmed with grief when he heard of Absalom’s death. He trembled and wept and...

 “ thus he said ......My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom!  If only I could have died in your place!”

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