Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 18:17

They took Absalom and cast him into a deep pit in the forest and erected over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled, each to his tent.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Absalom;   Ephraim;   Thompson Chain Reference - Retribution;   Reward-Punishment;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ahimaaz;   Joab;   Sepulchre;   Stone;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Burial;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Achan;   Fox;   Punishments;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Grave;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abishai;   Joab;   Pit;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Sepulchre;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Forest;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Absalom;   David;   Fox;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Punishments;   Stones;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Absalom (1);   Burial;   Forest;   Heap;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Tombs;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And laid a very great heap of stones - This was the method of burying heroes, and even traitors, the heap of stones being designed to perpetuate the memory of the event, whether good or bad. The ancient cairns or heaps of stones, in different parts of the world, are of this kind. The various tumuli or barrows in England are the same as the cairns in different parts of Ireland and Scotland. In the former, stones were not plenty; hence they heaped up great mounds of earth.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-18.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

A great heap of stones - See the marginal reference. This kind of monument is common to almost all early nations.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-18.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

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 honourableF14Homer. Iliad. 23. ver. 245, 257. ; 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.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-18.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-samuel-18.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

But Absalom they cast into a great pit in the wood, and threw up over him a very large heap of stones, as an ignominious monument, like those thrown up over Achan (Joshua 7:26) and the king of Air (Joshua 8:29). This was the end of Absalom and his rebellion. “All Israel (that had crowded round him) had fled, every one to his tent” (i.e., home: see at Deuteronomy 16:7).

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/2-samuel-18.html. 1854-1889.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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 upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.

Ver. 17. And laid a very great heap of stones upon him.] Other disobedient sons were by the law to be stoned alive; so was Absalom when dead: and still, as Adrichomius reporteth, every one that goeth by throweth a stone to add to the rest; in detestation of that horrid sin, saying, Cursed be the parricide Absalom.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-18.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 18:17. They took Absalom—and laid a very great heap of stones upon him Bishop Patrick here observes, that thus he was, after a sort, stoned, as the law ordered a rebellious son should be. Adricomius, in his description of the Holy Land, 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. Thus this eastern custom seems commonly understood: but if that be true which Egmont and Heyman tell us, that all the Mohammedans who go in pilgrimage to Mount Sinai, never fail to visit the place where there is the print of a camel's foot on the rock, supposed to be that of Mohammed's, on which account they, by way of respect, bring with them a stone, which has occasioned a great heap of stones near that spot, it is evident that these heaps are considered by the eastern people merely as monuments to keep up the memory of certain events, whether good or bad; and that the adding a stone to them by every one who approaches them, is in truth only intended to prevent the dissipation of these uncemented materials. The first raising of this heap of stones over Absalom was, in like manner, intended merely as a memorial of this battle, and of the place in which he lay buried; and by no means as a kind of executing the law relating to rebellious sons upon him, like the hanging of people in effigy; as we may conclude from their being wont then, as well as now, to have heaps of stones for the preserving of agreeable things in remembrance, as well as facts that deserved detestation; which plainly appears from Genesis 46:34 and Joshua 3:6. See the Observations, p. 443.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-samuel-18.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

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, Deuteronomy 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, Deuteronomy 21:21.

Every one to his tent; to their houses and dwellings, to avoid the shame and punishment of their rebellion.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-18.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17.Heap of stones upon him — As in the case of Achan and the king of Ai. Joshua 7:26; Joshua 8:29.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-18.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

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.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-18.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Him. Thus was the law executed upon Absalom, Deuteronomy xxi. 18. (St. Jerome) (Menochius) -- History scarcely affords a more detestable character; and his punishment was no less terrible than instructive. He was a figure of the Jews persecuting Jesus Christ, while he gave his blood for the redemption of these his enemies, and prayed for them. As they continued obdurate, they were held up as objects of horror both to heaven and to all nations, like Absalom suspended on the tree, and rejected by heaven and earth. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-18.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

heap of stones. Not a memorial to honour but to warn (Joshua 7:26; Joshua 8:29). See note on 2 Samuel 18:18.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-18.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

They took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit ... and laid a very great heap of stones. 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. Absalom would, of course, be stripped of his armour, although nothing is said of it in the sacred narrative. The following appeared a few years ago in all the continental journals, from which it was transferred to the pages of the English newspapers; and it is here submitted to the reader to be received for what it is worth:-`A strange discovery has just been made by Major Pappazolu, of Bucharest-the sword which belonged to Absalom: the blade has on one side the following words traced in Hebrew characters: "Present from Gessur to Absalom, son of David; Jeho, Jeho." On the same side is engraved the image of the hexagonal seal of David, and on the other some characters, the meaning of which has not been explained. On the corresponding place to those of the Hebrew characters, and on the opposite side of the blade, are those words engraved in gold - "Titus excepit ex Hierosolyma." This sword had a handle in gold, representing at the upper part a warrior's head, covered, with a helmet, and joined by a chain to a dragon's head, which formed the hilt. The old monk, possessor of this weapon, procured it from a Janissary, into whose hands it fell during the disturbances at Constantinople in 1807. In a moment of distress he sold the handle and the scabbard, which was, he says, made of serpent's skin, and mounted in gold. The ancient origin of the blade is proved by a manufacturer's mark in Semitic characters.'

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-18.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(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; 1 Samuel 13:2; 2 Samuel 19:8; 2 Samuel 20:1; 2 Samuel 20:22.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-18.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.
laid
This was the ancient method of burying, whether heroes or traitors; the heap of stones being designed to perpetuate the memory of the event, whether good or bad. The Arabs in general make use of no other monument than a heap of stones over a grave. Thus, in an Arabic poem, it is related, that Hatim the father, and Adi the grandfather of Kais, having been murdered, at a time before Kais was capable of reflection, his mother kept it a profound secret; and in order to guard him against having any suspicion, she collected a parcel of stone on two hillocks in the neighbourhood, and told her son that the one was the grave of his father, and the other of his grandfather. The ancient cairns in Ireland and Scotland, and the tumuli in England, are of this kind.
Joshua 7:26; 8:29; 10:27; Proverbs 10:7; Jeremiah 22:18,19
Reciprocal: Genesis 31:46 - Gather;  Genesis 35:20 - the pillar;  2 Kings 14:12 - they fled;  Psalm 119:96 - I have seen;  Ecclesiastes 3:5 - to cast;  Acts 5:6 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-18.html.