Head to Israel to See the Tomb of Absalom

There is some disagreement about the purpose of the Tomb of Absalom, but it’s beauty and historical value are worth the visit!

Head to Israel to See the Tomb of Absalom

The Tomb of Absalom bears a few different names – Yad Avshalom, Absalom’s Pillar, Absalom’s Shrine – but they all mean the same thing. These are the names of an ancient monument carved into the rock of a cliff-face which opens to a cave – a burial place. While the tomb is only one of many in the area, it is said to be the most beautiful and ornate of all. The fine detailing and the rooftop depicting a lotus flower make this 47-foot tomb a diamond in the rough.


As the story goes, the tomb holds the body of Absalom – the rebellious third son of King David – who was killed in the battle of Ephraim. Throughout history, the monument was often used as a display for parents to show their naughty children what might happen if they don’t obey. It wasn’t uncommon for people to throw rocks at the structure.

The controversy surrounding the shrine is that the dates don’t seem to line up. As Absalom’s death was marked circa 1000 BC and the monument, itself, is believed by scholars to date the first century AD. There is also an inscription on the walls inside the tomb that reads “This is the tomb of Zachariah, the martyr, the holy priest, the father of John”, which shows the burial place as belonging to Zecharia – the father of John the Baptist.


During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King’s Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, “I have no son to carry on the memory of my name.” He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

~ 2 Samuel 18:18

The Tomb of Absalom can be found at Derekh ha-Shilo’akh St., Jerusalem, Mount of Olives.


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