Erich Lessing

Trapped by his beautiful hair, the rebel Absalom is killed by Joab in this painting by the early 17th-century artist Giovanni Battista Viola from the Louvre. Just as Joab feared, David’s charismatic son has usurped the throne and sent his father into exile. David orders his military commanders not to harm his son, but when the low branches of a tree snag Absalom’s locks and yank him from his horse, Joab disobeys David and shows no mercy to the rebel.

Even though Joab has quelled the rebellion, David fires him and replaces him with Absalom’s general Amasa. Eventually, Joab gets his job back, but David never forgives Joab’s ruthlessness. On his deathbed, he counsels his son and successor Solomon not to let Joab go peacefully to the grave.