There was a great slaughter that day, and 20,000 men laid down their lives. The battle raged all across the countryside, and more men died because of the forest than were killed by the sword. ~2 Sam 18:7b-8
By my calculation, that means the forest killed at least 10,000 men. How in the world did THAT happen? In the following verses, we get a bit of a clue:
During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David’s men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great three, his hair got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air. ~2 Sam 18:9
For me, I can’t help but wonder if JRR Tolkien didn’t read this passage and wonder what it would look like if the forest rose up and killed a bunch of men. I have to say, the Ents and the battle of the Ents is one of my favorite LOTR passages.
In real life, it wasn’t really the forest that did the killing. There weren’t Ents in David’s day. This is a nod to God. One of the ways he fought for David. No one could read about the forest killing over 10,000 men and think it was an accident. Supernatural intervention on that scale can only point to God.