Question:

Hi, I am just wondering why there's a discrepancy in what II Samuel says about Absalom. In II Samuel 14:27 it says that Absalom has three sons and a daughter, but in II Samuel 18:18 it says that Absalom erected a monument for himself because he thought he has no son to carry on the memory of his name. Does he have an heir or not?


Answer:

"To Absalom were born three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a woman of beautiful appearance" (II Samuel 14:27).

"Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a pillar for himself, which is in the King's Valley. For he said, "I have no son to keep my name in remembrance." He called the pillar after his own name. And to this day it is called Absalom's Monument" (II Samuel 18:18).

There are several possibilities:

  1. II Samuel 18:18 doesn't say when the monument was erected, only that Absalom had done it during his lifetime. One possibility is that he erected it before he married.
  2. It is possible that between II Samuel 14 and II Samuel 18 that Absalom's sons had died.
  3. It is possible that Absalom's living sons were handicapped and not capable of being his heir.

Most scholars lean toward the second possibility.