18:9 Then Absalom happened to come across David’s men. Now as Absalom was riding on his 1 mule, it 2 went under the branches of a large oak tree. His head got caught in the oak and he was suspended in midair, 3 while the mule he had been riding kept going.
2 Samuel 18:14Context
1 tn Heb “the.”
2 tn Heb “the donkey.”
3 tn Heb “between the sky and the ground.”
4 tn There is a play on the word “heart” here that is difficult to reproduce in English. Literally the Hebrew text says “he took three spears in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the heart of the oak tree.” This figure of speech involves the use of the same word in different senses and is known as antanaclasis. It is illustrated in the familiar saying from the time of the American Revolution: “If we don’t hang together, we will all hang separately.” The present translation understands “heart” to be used somewhat figuratively for “chest” (cf. TEV, CEV), which explains why Joab’s armor bearers could still “kill” Absalom after he had been stabbed with three spears through the “heart.” Since trees do not have “chests” either, the translation uses “middle.”