2 Samuel 18

Talks for Growing Christians

Absalom’s Defeat and Death; David’s Grief Over the Loss

2 Samuel 18

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Lesson Number 18

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God has ordained nature to serve His purposes.
  2. God has ordained sorrow to serve His purposes.

Practical Application

  1. Watch that your strength does not become your weakness.


  1. What did David command his generals right before they left for battle?
  2. How did God use nature to give David’s outnumbered forces the victory?
  3. How did God use nature to end Absalom’s short-lived revolution?
  4. Who killed Absalom?
  5. How did David respond to the news of Absalom’s death?


  1. To deal gently with his son, Absalom
  2. God ordained for this battle to take place in the dense forest of Ephraim. Absalom’s men probably got separated, lost, and fell into pits and over rocks, so that they were no longer an effective fighting unit.
  3. God ordained a great oak tree in the forest, and when Absalom rode underneath it, his head got caught in the branches.
  4. Joab and his armor bearers struck him while he was hanging in the tree, despite David’s specific instructions.
  5. David was overwhelmed with grief when he heard the sad news. He wept and cried out, “O my son Absalom -- my son, my son Absalom” (verse 33).


  1. It was probably Absalom’s beautiful hair, which brought him much pride, that got caught in the branches of that tree. Absalom’s proud strength became his weakness. What strength has God blessed you with? Watch out for pride in this area.


  1. Do you believe that God uses nature to serve His purposes? Read the accounts of the flood and Sodom and Gomorrah if you need convincing.

Key Verses

  • “The people of Israel were overthrown there before the servants of David, and a great slaughter of twenty thousand took place there that day… and the woods devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.” 2 Samuel 18:7-8
  • “O my son Absalom – my son, my son Absalom – if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!” 2 Samuel 18:33

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