David's military commander who killed Absalom

Joab was a nephew of David who rose to prominence in the civil war that broke out after King Saul’s death.  David’s followers, who were based in southern Palestine, struggled against the followers of Saul’s son Ishbosheth, who were based in the north.  Joab assassinated the commander of the northern army and led a daring assault on Jebus (Jerusalem) through a water shaft, enabling the city to become David’s capital.  After David committed adultery with Bathsheba, Joab had Bathsheba’s husband sent into battle and killed.  When David’s son Absalom usurped the throne, Joab remained loyal to David.  Nevertheless, Joab defied David’s orders to spare Absalom’s life by killing Absalom in battle.  In response, David replaced Joab with another general, but Joab assassinated the man.  As David lay dying, he asked that Joab be killed.  When Solomon became king he carried out David’s wish and had Joab slain as he sought refuge at the altar.

Death of Absalom woodcut by von Karolsfeld