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 18:14-17Context
18:14 Joab replied, “I will not wait around like this for you!” He took three spears in his hand and thrust them into the middle of Absalom while he was still alive in the middle of the oak tree. 5 18:15 Then ten soldiers who were Joab’s armor bearers struck Absalom and finished him off.
18:16 Then Joab blew the trumpet 6 and the army turned back from chasing Israel, for Joab had called for the army to halt. 18:17 They took Absalom, threw him into a large pit in the forest, and stacked a huge pile of stones over him. In the meantime all the Israelite soldiers fled to their homes. 7
1 tn Heb “the.”
2 tn Heb “the donkey.”
3 tn Heb “between the sky and the ground.”
4 tc 4QSama lacks the word “one.”
5 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.”
6 tn Heb “the shophar” (the ram’s horn trumpet).