How do trees kill people? 2 Samuel 18:8 In other words, how did the forest claim more men than the sword? (2 Samuel 18:8) 6 David’s army marched out of the city to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 7 There Israel’s troops were routed by David’s men, and the casualties that day were great—twenty thousand men. 8 The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword. 2 Samuel 18 King James Version (KJV) 8 For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
2 Samuel 18:8
ESV - 8 The battle spread over the face of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword.
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In my opinion, what the verse is expressing is that, due to the thickness, geographical hazards (both apparent and concealed), and tangled nature of the terrain in the forest (which would have presented impediments to the type of free movement or flight that would have been possible on clear ground), combatants were killed in the forest who might otherwise have been able to escape (as illustrated by what happened to Absalom, as described in 2 Samuel 18:9-15). The forest itself did not mortally wound them, but contained the environment that made their deaths possible, to the extent that more men died in the forest than were killed in the open battlefield.
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