18:8 The wood - More people died in the wood, either through hunger, and thirst, and weariness: or, by the wild beasts, whereof great numbers were there, which, though they were driven away from the place of the main battle, yet might easily meet with them when they fled several ways: or, by falling into ditches and pits, which were in that place, ver.17, and probably were covered with grass or wood, so that they could not see them till they fell into them: and especially by David's men, who pursued them, and killed them in the wood: and the wood is rightly said to have devoured them, because it gave the occasion to their destruction, inasmuch as the trees, and ditches, and pits, entangled them, and stopped their flight, and made them an easy prey to David's men, who followed them, and slew them in the pursuit. The sword - In the main battle: the sword being put for the battle, by a common figure.
18:1-8 How does David render good for evil! Absalom would have only David smitten; David would have only Absalom spared. This seems to be a resemblance of man's wickedness towards God, and God's mercy to man, of which it is hard to say which is most amazing. Now the Israelites see what it is to take counsel against the Lord and his anointed.