Absalom’s Monument

Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a pillar for himself, which is in the King’s Valley. For he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name. And to this day it is called Absalom’s Monument – 2 Samuel 18:18

Tomb of Absalom – Photo by Ricardo Tulio Gandelman from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

My wife, Mia and I are in the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem. We standing in front of the Tomb of Absalom also known as Absalom’s Monument. “Absalom certainly got his wish,” I said. “He lives on in this monument.”

“He didn’t do it out of vanity,” Mia said. “He did it because he didn’t have any sons to carry on his name.”

“But it said in 2 Samuel 14:27, that he had three sons and a daughter named Tamar like his sister.”

“I know it sounds like a contradiction but we know that the Word of God never contradicts itself. So, there must be a logical explanation and it is that Absalom’s sons died before he did. He had no heirs which explains why he felt compelled to build an monument for himself.”

“In all of Israel no one was as handsome as Absalom or so highly praised and from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there wasn’t a single blemish. He’s what we would call a hunk.”

“Easy, girl. He had his brother murdered and he rebelled against his father, King David.”

“He loved his sister and was justifiably angry that their half-brother, Amnon raped her. I guess he wanted him to pay for what he did.”

“There were laws in place for such things but he took revenge instead.”

“He hated Amnon because of what he had done to poor Tamar. His reaction is no different from that of Simeon and Levi who were enraged when their sister, Dinah was raped by Shechem, the Hivite prince.”

“Shechem wanted to marry her.”

“Why should a woman marry the man who raped her? So, that he would feel better about what he had done to her?”

“It said that he loved her and spoke kindly to her.”

“I’m sorry but that kind of love a woman can do without. As far as her brothers were concerned, he treated their sister like a harlot.”

“I can understand their rage but did they have to kill all the men in the city?”

“I don’t condone what they did, of course. Perhaps, they should have dealt only with the guilty party. The rest of the men shouldn’t have had to pay for what he did. That wasn’t justice.”

“According to the law with regard to rape, if a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.”

“Shechem was a Hivite and the people of Israel weren’t permitted to intermarry with the people of other nations. And maybe Simeon and Levi killed Shechem and all the men because they wanted the Israelites to give their daughters to them, and in turn they would take their daughters and the two nations would dwell together and become one people. The Hivites were among the nations whom the Lord later drove out of the Promised Land.”

“I still think that what Simeon and Levi did was evil. The punishment did not fit the crime. They deceived the men into believing that they could only intermarry with them if they were circumcised and it was while they were in pain from the circumcision that Simeon and Levi went into the city and killed them all. I wonder how Dinah felt when she heard what they had done. They took her out of Shechem’s house after killing him and his father. They took their possessions, wealth and their wives and children captive. Again, I reiterate that they acted out of revenge, not justice. Jacob called them instruments of cruelty and their wrath cruel. Dinah was his daughter and undoubtedly, he was outraged by what had been done to her but his sons’ had committed an atrocity against defenseless men.”

“How did we get from talking to Absalom to Dinah and her family?”

“You compared Absalom’s anger over what happened to his sister to Simeon’s and Levi’s over Dinah.”

“Right. Sorry. Absalom’s body isn’t buried here, is it?”

“No. After Joab thrust three spears through Absalom’s heart while he was still alive and hanging in a terebinth tree and the other men surrounded him and  And ten young men who bore Joab’s armor surrounded Absalom, and struck and killed him and struck and killed him, they took him down and cast him into a large pit in the woods. They laid a very large heap of stones over him.”

“Do you know where this incident happened?”

“It was in the Wood of Ephraim where the Absalom and his rebel forces fought against his father’s royal forces.”

“Where was this Wood situated?”

“On the east of Jordan River in the region also known as Gilead.”

“Could we visit it tomorrow?”

“Sure, Honey.”

“Great! Let’s go and take a closer look at Absalom’s Monument.”

As they walked towards the structure, I said, “I read on Wikipedia, that for centuries, it was the custom among passersby—Jews, Christians and Muslims—to throw stones at the monument. Residents of Jerusalem would bring their unruly children to the site to teach them what became of a rebellious son.”

“How interesting. I bet no one has ever named their son Absalom.”

“I bet you’re right, although the name Absalom means, ‘my father is peace‘.”

Image by Unsplash

Sources: Wikipedia; Open Bible; Crossroads Bible Church

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