2 Samuel 18:17
And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones on him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Every one to his tent.—An expression derived from the life in the wilderness, and meaning every one to his home. (Comp. Deuteronomy 16:7; Joshua 22:4-8; 1Samuel 13:2; 2Samuel 19:8; 2Samuel 20:1; 2Samuel 20:22.)

2 Samuel 18:17. They took Absalom and cast him into a great pit — They would not bring his body to be disposed of by his father’s order, lest it should excite his grief to excess. And laid a very great heap of stones upon him — As a lasting monument of his sin and shame, and of the righteous judgment of God upon him. Thus the Israelites treated the dead body of Achan, and those of the king of Ai, and the five kings of the Amorites. See Joshua 7:26; Joshua 8:29; Joshua 10:27. Absalom was, in a sort, first hanged, which was an accursed death, and then thrust through with darts and swords; and, after all, in a manner stoned, which was a proper punishment of a rebellious son, Deuteronomy 21:21-23. Adricomius, in his description of the Holy Land, according to Bishop Patrick, says, that this heap remained to his days, and that all travellers, as they went by it, were wont to throw a stone to add to the heap, in detestation of his rebellion against his father. And all Israel fled every one to his tent — To their houses and dwellings, to avoid the shame and punishment of their rebellion.18:9-18 Let young people look upon Absalom, hanging on a tree, accursed, forsaken of heaven and earth; there let them read the Lord's abhorrence of rebellion against parents. Nothing can preserve men from misery and contempt, but heavenly wisdom and the grace of God.A great heap of stones - See the marginal reference. This kind of monument is common to almost all early nations. 17. they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit … and laid a very great heap of stones upon him—The people of the East indicate their detestation of the memory of an infamous person by throwing stones at the place where he is buried. The heap is increased by the gradual accumulation of stones which passers-by add to it. Laid a very great heap of stones upon him, as a lasting monument of Absalom’s sin and shame, and of the righteous judgment of God upon him. Compare Joshua 7:26 8:29 10:27. He was first hanged, after a sort, which was an accursed death, Deu 21:23; and then thrust through with darts and swords; and, after all, in a manner stoned, which was the proper punishment of a rebellious son, Deu 21:21.

Every one to his tent; to their houses and dwellings, to avoid the shame and punishment of their rebellion. And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood,.... In the wood of Ephraim, near to which the battle was fought, and into which Absalom fled, and where he was slain:

and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: his punishment was very exemplary; he was first hanged on an oak, and then thrust through with darts, and swords, and then covered with stones, 2 Samuel 18:9, pointing to the death that a rebellious son, according to the law, ought to die, Deuteronomy 21:21; though this might be done in honour of him as a king's son; for such "tumuli", or heaps of stones or earth, were used by the ancients as sepulchral monuments, and the larger the more honourable (n); See Gill on Joshua 7:26 and See Gill on Joshua 8:29,

and all Israel fled everyone to his tent; or to his city, as the Targum; everyone returned to their own house, and to their own business, and so the rebellion ceased.

(n) Homer. Iliad. 23. ver. 245, 257.

And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great {e} pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.

(e) Thus God turned his vain glory to shame.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. a very great heap of stones] A monument of shame over the rebel’s grave, as over that of Achan (Joshua 7:26), and the king of Ai (Joshua 8:29). Some think it was symbolic of the stoning which was the penalty of a rebel son (Deuteronomy 21:20-21). It is still a custom in the East for passers by to cast stones on the grave of a malefactor. See The Land and the Book, p. 490.

fled every one to his tent] To his home. The use of the word tent is a relic of primitive nomad life. Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 20:1; 2 Samuel 20:22.Verse 17. - A great pit; Hebrew, the great pit; as though there was some great hollow or well known depression in the wood, into which they cast Absalom's dead body, and raised a cairn over it. Such cairns were used as memorials of any event deemed worthy of lasting remembrance, but the similar cairn piled over the dead body of Achan (Joshua 7:26) makes it probable that the act was also intended as a sign of condemnation of Absalom's conduct. All Israel fled every one to his tent. The Israelites were still a pastoral people, with tents for their abodes, though houses were gradually taking their place. The cry, "To your tents, O Israel!" (1 Kings 12:16), meant, "Go away to your homes!" and not "Gather for war!" It is remarkable how constantly Absalom's followers are described as "Israel" while the loyal men are "David's servants." Absalom's was evidently the popular cause, and, besides Uriah's murder, there must have been political reasons for discontent at work to make David's government so distasteful. A man (one of David's men) saw him in this situation, and told Joab, Joab replied (2 Samuel 18:11), "Behold, thou hast seen it, and wherefore has thou not smitten him there to the ground? and it was for me to give thee ten silverlings and a girdle;" i.e., if thou hadst slain him, it would have been my duty to reward thee.
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