Though his name bears the Hebrew word for peace, Absalom was anything but peaceful. He murdered his half brother and led a coup against his father King David.

Absalom was David’s third son, born to one of his many wives: Maach, daughter of the king of Geshur, a region along the Sea of Galilee’s eastern bank. As David’s wives competed for his attention, so did their children. Rivalries churned into hatred, especially among sons who wanted to become the next king.

Absalom, originally third in succession, worked up to first. Kileab, second in succession, apparently died young, Amnon, the oldest, made a fatal decision. He raped Absalom’s full sister. Tamar. Amnon lured Tamar into his bedroom by saying he was sick and needed to be fed. By law, Amnon should have married Tamar. Instead, he ordered her out.

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