Not without some justification did Absalom arrange the murder of his half-brother Amnon. Amnon had raped Absalom’s sister Tamar. Nonetheless, fratricide among King David’s sons was not to be countenanced. After Amnon’s murder, Absalom fled—to the land of Geshur (2 Samuel 13:20–38), where he knew he would be safe. His mother Maacah was a Geshurite princess (2 Samuel 3:3); Absalom found refuge with Talmai, king of Geshur, his maternal grandfather. There he remained for three years.
David then recalled Absalom from exile. Once again, Absalom took up residence in Jerusalem, where he encouraged discontent and prepared a coupd’etat in order to seize his father’s throne. The rebellion ended with Absalom’s death, after which David uttered his famous lament, “O, my son! Absalom my son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33).