A Humanist perspective on what we can learn about what is morality from the Bible.
2 Samuel 18: The Death of Absalom
David is getting ready to battle Absalom. He divides his army into 3 units. However, the people want him at the city in case the city is overrun. So David tells his commanders (Joab, Abishai and Ittai, to deal gently with Absalom. All the people heard him. 20,000 people died in this battle. Abasalom was riding a mule and got his head caught up in an oak and he hung there by his head. Joab saw it and went to see and found that Absalom was not yet dead. So he took 3 darts and thrust them through the heart of Absalom and killed him. They took Absalom’s body down, threw him into a pit and covered it with stones and went back to their tents. Then Ahimaaz, son of the priest Zadok wanted to tell David that he had won, but Joab told him not to because the King’s son, Absalom was dead. Ahimaaz went anyway. Ahimaaz found David at the gate and told him he had won. David asked him if Absalom was safe. Ahimaaz said he didn’t know. Cushi came afterwards and told David that his son was dead. David weaps.
In other words:
David and Absalom’s army battle in a field and Absalom accidently hangs himself in an oak tree.
2 Samuel 18:9 And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away. (It’s an insanely stupid way to die.)
2nd Favorite bit:
2 Samuel 18:10-13 – a man sees this happens and tells Joab. Joab is mad and asks him why he didn’t kill Absalom. The man replies “Yet would I put forth my hand against the king’s son: for in our hearing the king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware that none tough the young man Absalom.” This guy at least is being true to the king.
Least favorite bit but totally understandable:
2 Samuel 18:14 Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of an oak. (Yet again Joab disobeys David, but yet again, he does so to ensure David’s rule and in a way that absolves David of any guilt in the matter. The question is – did David know about this and approve of it? Hard to say.)
2 Samuel 18:33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamger over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Woudl God I had died for thee O Absalom, my son, my son. (Sure, it may be an act, but I don’t think so)