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Joab himself is reluctant to press the matter, until Absalom, by setting fire to the crops of his kinsman, forces Joab to come to him with a view of seeking redress for the injury.
Absalom turns the opportunity of this altercation with Joab to good account by pleading his own neglected and humiliated condition : I would rather die ignominiously, he argues, than have this rancour of the King against me all the days of my life. Restored to his former princely dignity and the apparent confidence of his father, Absalom now enters upon that course of secret plotting to which his ambition and his opportunity seemed to urge him, and which has stamped his name as a synonym of unnatural revolt.
So skilfully does he play his role as adherent of the rebel party that his suggestion, pretending the uselessness of pursuing David, prevails against the urgent counsel of Achitophel, who urges Absalom to attack the King, lest he gain time to organize his bodyguard, lately strengthened by the accession of six hundred Gethaean soldiers.
The event proves the accuracy of Achitophel's foresight.
David's eldest son, Amnon, born of a Jezrahelite mother, and prospective heir to the throne by reason of his seniority, had conceived a violent passion for Thamar, Absalom's beautiful sister.
Unable to control his affection, yet prevented from gaining access to her by the conventionalities of the royal court, which separated the King's wives and kept Thamar in her mother's household, Amnon, on the advice of his cousin Jonadab, feigns illness, and upon being visited by the King, his father, requests that Thamar be permitted to nurse him.
The significance of this latter note becomes apparent when we remember the important part which the culture of the hair played in the devotions of the Eastern people (note even at this day the ceremonial prayers of the Dervishes).
For two years Absalom thus carried his resentment in silence, when at length he found occasion to act openly.It was thus that Amnon found opportunity to wrong the innocence of his stepsister.Having injured the object of his passion, he forthwith begins to hate her, and sends from him the aggrieved maiden, who must be to him a constant reminder of his wrongdoing.Under such circumstances it is not strange that Absalom, idolized by those around him, whilst his natural sense of gratitude and filial duty became gradually dulled, was led to cultivate that species of egotism which grows cruel in proportion as it counts upon the blind affection of its friends.There were other causes which alienated Absalom from his father.