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From Eternity Past

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    The Battle That Defeated the Rebellion

    From the walls of Mahanaim, the long lines of the rebel army were in full view. The usurper was accompanied by a vast host, in comparison with which David's force seemed but a handful. As the army filed out from the city gates, David encouraged his faithful soldiers, bidding them go forth trusting that the God of Israel would give them victory. But as Joab, leading the column, passed his king, the conqueror of a hundred battlefields stooped his proud head to hear the monarch's last message, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.” And Abishai and Ittai received the same charge. But the king's solicitude, seeming to declare Absalom dearer to him than the subjects faithful to his throne, only increased the indignation of the soldiers against the unnatural son.EP 539.3

    The place of battle was a wood near the Jordan. Among the thickets and marshes of the forest, the great numbers of undisciplined troops of Absalom's army became confused and unmanageable. And “the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men.”EP 539.4

    Absalom, seeing that the day was lost, had turned to flee when his head was caught between the branches of a widespreading tree, and, his mule going out from under him, was left hopelessly suspended, a prey to his enemies. He was found by a soldier, who spared Absalom but reported to Joab what he had seen.EP 539.5

    Joab was restrained by no scruples. He had befriended Absalom, having twice secured his reconciliation with David, and the trust had been shamelessly betrayed. But for the advantages gained by Absalom through Joab, this rebellion could never have occurred. “And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom... . And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him.”EP 539.6

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