The contents of 2 Sam 13:23 until the end of chapter 14 present the reader with crucial plot movement alongside development of Absalom’s characterization, with events spanning from the execution of Amnon at the sheep-shearing festival to Absalom’s return and eventual meeting with his father in Jerusalem. When David is invited to the sheep-shearing festivities, it is a mere pretext since Amnon is the principal target, revealing that Absalom is capable of serious violence even against his own family, notwithstanding the nature of Amnon’s crime. Due to some unsubstantiated rumors, David momentarily believes all his sons are dead, until his nephew Jonadab-a slippery and ultimately elusive fi gure in the story-declares otherwise, and talks in very specifi c terms about Absalom’s interest in revenge. No mention is made by Jonadab about the advantage for Absalom to have the fi rstborn Amnon removed from the line of succession, nor does the text ever clarify this ambiguity at the heart of the story. After Absalom fl ees to his foreign grandfather, Joab fears mutinous motives, and contrives-much like Nathan the prophet in chapter 12-to procure an oath from David using a clever hoax with assistance from the wise woman of Tekoa. The king swears an oath that not a hair of the (fi ctional) son will fall to the ground, and this oath takes on another dimension in chapter 18. In the immediate context, the oath forms a segue to a striking description of Absalom’s gravity-defying hair, but for all his beauty the prince may suffer from a lethal case of excessive self-interest. Absalom certainly has an interest in combustion, and burning Joab’s fi eld is a dangerous way of securing an invitation to the king’s presence. David was recently told by the prophet that evil will arise from within his house. Although there has been a copious amount of disaster so far, when he kisses Absalom at the end of the chapter he hardly can be thinking that the worst is yet to come.