- ABSALOM (1) Judah Maccabaeus' ambassador in 164 B.C.E. (II Macc. 11:17). (2) The father of Mattathias and Jonathan, who both held high commands during the Maccabean wars (I Macc. 11:70 and 13:11; Jos., Ant., 13:161, 202). (3) The younger son of John Hyrcanus I. Upon the death of his father, Absalom was imprisoned by his brother Aristobulus I and released when Alexander Yannai ascended the throne. He played a prominent part in the defense of Jerusalem against Pompey, but was captured by him (Jos., Ant., 14:71; cf. Wars, 1:154). (4) Jewish partisan leader at the beginning of the Roman War. He was associated with the Sicarii leader menahem b. judah , and called by Josephus "his most eminent supporter in his tyranny." When eleazar son of Ananias, the captain of the Temple, turned against Menahem and assassinated him, Absalom shared his fate (Jos., Wars, 2:448). Because of his views regarding the Zealots and Qumran, cecil roth identified him with the Absalom mentioned in the Pesher ("Commentary") on Habakkuk found at Qumran (1 QpHab), but few scholars would accept this. (5) The name Absalom appears on an ossuary from Givat ha-Mivtar and in a tomb inscription from Silwan, both dated to before 70 C.E. The name "abshi," perhaps an abbreviation of Absalom, appears in a deed on papyrus of 131 C.E. from Wadi Muraba'at. (6) A Late Hellenistic tomb monument named after Absalom, David's rebellious son (II Sam. 3:3), is situated in the Kidron Valley, west of the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem. The style of the tomb, which shows Orientalizing architectural influences, suggests a first century B.C.E. date for the time it was hewn. Recent work on this monument by J. Zias and E. Puech has brought to light a Byzantine inscription in Greek next to the entrance to the tomb which refers not to Absalom but to the father of John the Baptist. It reads: "This is the tomb of Zachariah, martyr, very pious priest, father of John." -BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. Roth, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Historical Approach (19652), 13–14, 74 ff. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: T. Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity. Part I: Palestine 330 B.C.E–200 C.E. (2002). (Abraham Schalit and Cecil Roth / Shimon Gibson (2nd ed.)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.