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THE STORY OF ABSALOM.
THERE was once a young man, named Absalom. He was the son of David, the king of the Jewish nation. He was a very handsome man. He was perfectly beautiful: from head to foot there was no fault to be found in his appearance. His story is told in the Bible, and his great beauty is there spoken of. But he was not very good; and perhaps the story of his life is told to warn those persons on whom God has bestowed the gift of beauty, that they must not be vain of it, nor think that people will care for them because they are handsome, unless they are also good.
Absalom had a quarrel with one of his brothers. His brother had injured him, but Absalom ought to have forgiven him, and to have tried to forget what his brother had done. This he did not do, but for two whole years he allowed himself to feel angry against his brother. At last he found an occasion to revenge the injury. He invited all his brothers to come to a feast. His father, who, perhaps, knew how violent and wicked he was, told him, he was afraid that it would be troublesome to him to have so large a party, and that he had better not ask them all to come.
Absalom insisted, and the brothers all went to his feast. He watched for a moment, when his brother Amnon, the one who had done him an injury, was not thinking of evil, and killed him. The other brothers, in alarm, hastened away. King David was much grieved at this, for he loved all his children, and he loved Absalom very tenderly. Absalom fled away from Jerusalem, where his father lived, and was absent a great while, because he did not dare to see his father, after having committed so great a sin. At last, his father gave him leave to return to Jerusalem, but would not permit him to see him, and he lived two years near his father without seeing his face.
At last he became very impatient to see his father, and he sent for Joab, who was a friend to the king, that he might beg him to intercede with David to forgive him. But Joab, who was himself a violent man, and probably knew that if Absalom should again see his father, he would be restored to his favor, and have power put into his hands, which he might not make a good use of, paid no attention to his request. Absalom was determined to make him listen to him, and for this purpose, he set fire to a field of corn which belonged to Joab. Of course, Joab went to ask him why he had done such a thing. Thus Absalom gained his desire, which was to speak to Joab; but it was by violent and wicked means, and Joab did not forget it. Absalom asked Joab why he did not beg his father to see him, and urged Joab so much, that he finally spoke to David about his son, and he consented to see him, and was reconciled to him, and kissed him.
But, after all this, Absalom was not contented to sit down quietly, and enjoy all the pleasures which the son of a powerful king had within his reach; but he collected about him men and horses, and showed himself often to the people, and told them, if he were king, he would be more kind to them than his father was; and as he was so handsome and spoke so fairly, the people, who were many of them ignorant, were led away froin their obedience to their king. Absalom raised a large army, and his poor old father was compelled to fly from Jerusalem. But Ahsalom behaved very badly, and the people soon became tired of him. The generals of David brought his army together, and they fought against the army of Absalom. David still loved his son so much, that he could not bear the thought of his being killed, and he gave strict orders to his captains to take the young man alive, and not to hurt him. Absalom was riding on a mule, and he passed under the branches of an oak-tree, and his hair, which was very thick and long, became entangled in the branches of the tree. the mule on which he was riding went away, and left him hanging there. He was discovered by a soldier of the army of David, who came and told Joab. Joab asked the soldier why he did not kill Absalom, while he was hanging there; but the soldier said he had heard King David charge his captains on no account to kill the young man. Joab, however, probably thought, that the best way to put an end to the war was to destroy this wicked man, who had caused all the trouble. He also, probably, remembered the unkind act of Absalom, in destroying his corn. what his master David sometimes called him, a man of blood. He was not kept back by any tenderness of feeling, but he took three