Is Absalom considered a ben sorrer umoreh (devarim 21:18, bal haturim) for his rebellion? I thought there where never any cases of ben sorrer umoreh.

4 Answers 4


The Gemara in Sanhedrin 71a cites a baraisa which contains the opinion that there never was and never will be an actual case of a ben sorrer umoreh and analyzes whose opinion it agrees with. Neverhteless R. Yonasan is quoted as saying he in fact witnessed such a case.

At any rate, Absalom died via divine punishment, he was not executed by a Beis Din (nor was he a minor) so he while the term may be an accurate description, he did not fit the legal definition of the term nor is he a counterexample to the [disputed] claim that no case of ben sorrer umoreh had ever transpired.

  • I think it's even suggested that the case R' Yonasan saw may have been in the spirit of ben sorer umoreh, but not technically bona-fide ben sorer umoreh.
    – Shalom
    Apr 29, 2010 at 7:38
  • I'm not familiar enough with the issue, but then why would he argue?
    – Yirmeyahu
    Apr 29, 2010 at 15:18
  • @Yirmeyahu Many times in Talmud when Amoraim are disputing about some non-halachik issues they just show "different sides of the same medal" and not actually contradict each other. See נתיבות עולם of Mahara"l where he explains lot of disputes that way.
    – jutky
    Sep 18, 2011 at 20:41

Avshalom is in fact called a Ben Sorrer Umoreh already by the Gemora (Sanhedrin 107a):

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב בקש דוד לעבוד ע"ז שנאמר ויהי דוד בא עד הראש אשר ישתחוה שם לאלהים ואין ראש אלא ע"ז שנאמר והוא צלמא רישיה די דהב טב והנה לקראתו חושי הארכי קרוע כתנתו ואדמה על ראשו אמר לו לדוד יאמרו מלך שכמותך יעבוד ע"ז אמר לו מלך שכמותי יהרגנו בנו מוטב יעבוד ע"ז ואל יתחלל שם שמים בפרהסיא אמר מאי טעמא קנסיבת יפת תואר א"ל יפת תואר רחמנא שרייה א"ל לא דרשת סמוכין דסמיך ליה כי יהיה לאיש בן סורר ומורה כל הנושא יפת תואר יש לו בן סורר ומורה

Rab Judah also said in Rab's name: David wished to worship idols, as it is written, And it came to pass, that when David was come to the head, where he worshipped God. Now rosh ['head'] can only refer to idols, as it is written, This image's head was of fine gold. [But] Behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head. He demonstrated with David, 'Shall people say, A king like thee has worshipped idols!' He replied, 'And shall a king like myself be slain by his son! Let me worship idols rather than that the Divine Name be publicly profaned!' He retorted, 'Why then didst thou marry a beautiful woman [captured in battle]?' He replied, 'The Merciful One permitted a beautiful woman. He rejoined, 'Dost thou not interpret the proximity of verses? For in proximity thereto is written, If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, [this teaches:] Whoever marries a beautiful woman [taken in battle] will have a stubborn and rebellious son.'

Rabbeynu Bechaya (Devorim 21:22) quotes the statement in Sanhedrin 71a that the laws of Ben Sorrer Umoreh never occurred, and will never happen. He then continues:

ומה שנמצא שם: אמר ר' יוחן אני ישבתי על קברו של בן סורר ומורה ועל תלה של עיר הנדחת, אפשר לומר דפליג אברייתא, או שמא הא דר' יוחנן לא היה בן סורר ומרה גמור אלא כעין אבשלום, אבל לא היה בן סורר ומורה גמור כדין תורה שנגמר לסקילה.

This that is stated there: R’ Yochonan said: “I sat on the grave of a Ben Sorrer Umorreh, and on the ruins of a Ir Nidachas” – it is possible that he argues against the Braisa, or perhaps the case of R’ Yochonan did not involve a complete Ben Sorrer Umorreh but rather alike Abshalom. However, it was not a complete Ben Sorrer Umorreh that the Torah rules is liable to be stoned.


Ben sorer umoreh is only during a 3 month period before becoming bar mitzva. Avshalom was far older than that.


I remember studying about Ben Sorer Umore, in that both the parents are required to produce the son to justice in one voice, (they have to have the same voice and other same qualities).

  • This is true, but I'm having trouble seeing how it answers the question. Could you connect the dots to Avshalom? Apr 27, 2014 at 2:37

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