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Absalom Leads a Rebellion

15 It happened afterward that Absalom made himself a chariot with horses and fifty men running before him. Absalom used to rise early in the morning, and he stood beside[a] the road at the gate; anyone[b] who had a legal dispute to bring to the king for judgment Absalom would call to him and say, “Where are you from?[c] And he would say, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your case is good and right, but for you there is no hearing with the king.” Then Absalom would say, “Oh, that someone would[d] appoint me as judge in the land, that anyone[e] might come to me who had a legal dispute or a case, and I would give him justice.” It happened whenever anyone drew near to do obeisance to him, that he would stretch his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom did like this to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole the hearts[f] of the people of Israel.

It happened at the end of four[g] years that Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow which I have made to Yahweh in Hebron, for your servant made a vow while I was staying in Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If Yahweh will indeed let me return[h] to Jerusalem, then I will worship Yahweh.’” Then the king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he got up and went to Hebron. 10 Then Absalom sent scouts throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “When you hear the sound of the trumpet, you shall shout ‘Absalom has become king in Hebron!’” 11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem went with Absalom as invited guests, going in their innocence as they did not know anything. 12 Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, the advisor of David, from his city Giloh, while he offered the sacrifices. The conspiracy grew in strength,[i] and the people were going and increasing[j] with Absalom.

David Flees from Jerusalem

13 Then the messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts[k] of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” 14 Then David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem, “Get up and let us flee, for there will be no escape for us from Absalom! Hurry to go, otherwise he will come quickly and overtake us! And he will bring disaster on us and evil! He will attack the city with the edge of the sword!” 15 Then the servants of the king said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king chooses, your servants are ready to act!”[l] 16 The king went out with[m] all his household following him,[n] but the king left behind ten concubines to look after the house. 17 So the king went out with[o] all the people following him,[p] and they stopped at the last house.[q] 18 All his servants were passing by him:[r] all of the Kerethites and all of the Pelethites and all of the Gittites—six hundred men who had followed him[s] from Gath—passing before the king.[t] 19 The king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why are you also coming with us? Return and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner; moreover, you are an exile. You are far from your place.[u] 20 Yesterday when you came and today,[v] I have caused you to wander by going with us. Now I am going to where I am going; return and let your brothers return. May loyal love and faithfulness be with you.” 21 But Ittai answered the king and said, “As Yahweh lives[w] and my lord the king lives,[x] surely in the place wherever my lord the king shall be, if for death or if for life, surely there your servant will be.” 22 Then David said to Ittai, “Go and pass over.” So Ittai the Gittite passed over and all his men and all of the little children who were with him. 23 All of the land was weeping with a loud voice as all the people were passing by and the king was crossing through the Wadi Kidron, and all the people were passing on the road to the wilderness.[y]

The Priests Offer Sacrifices for David

24 Suddenly Zadok was there, and all of the Levites with him, carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set the ark of God down, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people passed out of the city. 25 The king said to Zadok, “Let the ark of God return to the city. If I find favor in the eyes of Yawheh, he will let me return and let me see him in his dwelling place. 26 But if he says, ‘I take no pleasure in you,’ then I am ready.[z] Let him do to me that which is good in his eyes. 27 Then the king said to Zadok the priest, “Are you a seer? Return to the city in peace, with Ahimaaz your son and Jonathan the son of Abiathar, your two sons with you. 28 See, I am waiting at the fords of the wilderness until a word comes from you all to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem and they remained there.

Hushai Offers to Serve King David

30 Now David was going up on the Ascent of the Olives, weeping as he went,[aa] with his head covered and going barefoot. All the people who were with him each covered their head and wept as they went.[ab] 31 Now David was told, “Ahithophel was among the conspirators with Absalom.” Then David said, “Please frustrate the counsel of Ahithophel, O Yahweh.” 32 It happened that as David was coming up to the summit where he used to worship God, suddenly Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him. His coat was torn and dirt was on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you move on with me, you will be a burden to me, 34 but if you want to return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I am your servant, O king. I used to be a servant of your father, but from then and now I will be your servant,’ then you can frustrate the counsel of Ahithophel for me. 35 Will not Zadok and Abiathar the priests be with you there? It shall be that all the words you hear from the house of the king you shall tell Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Look, there with them are their two sons, Ahimaaz of Zadok and Jonathan of Abiathar. You shall send to me by means of them[ac] all the words that you hear.” 37 So Hushai the friend of David came to the city as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.


  1. 2 Samuel 15:2 Literally “on hand of”
  2. 2 Samuel 15:2 Literally “every man”
  3. 2 Samuel 15:2 Literally “Where from this city are you?”
  4. 2 Samuel 15:4 Literally “Who will …?”
  5. 2 Samuel 15:4 Literally “every man”
  6. 2 Samuel 15:6 Hebrew “heart”
  7. 2 Samuel 15:7 So LXX, followed by Syriac and Vulgate; MT has “forty”
  8. 2 Samuel 15:8 Literally (following Qere) “If returning Yahweh will return me”
  9. 2 Samuel 15:12 Literally “became strong”
  10. 2 Samuel 15:12 Literally “many”
  11. 2 Samuel 15:13 Hebrew “heart”
  12. 2 Samuel 15:15 Literally “here are your servants”
  13. 2 Samuel 15:16 Hebrew “and”
  14. 2 Samuel 15:16 Literally “at his feet”
  15. 2 Samuel 15:17 Hebrew “and”
  16. 2 Samuel 15:17 Literally “at his feet”
  17. 2 Samuel 15:17 Literally “at the house of the distance”
  18. 2 Samuel 15:18 Literally “on his hand”
  19. 2 Samuel 15:18 Literally “who had come at his feet”
  20. 2 Samuel 15:18 Literally “on the face of the king”
  21. 2 Samuel 15:19 Literally “You as far as your place”
  22. 2 Samuel 15:20 Literally “the day”
  23. 2 Samuel 15:21 Literally “The life of Yahweh”
  24. 2 Samuel 15:21 Literally “the life of my lord the king”
  25. 2 Samuel 15:23 Literally “on the face of the road with the wilderness”
  26. 2 Samuel 15:26 Literally “here I am
  27. 2 Samuel 15:30 Literally “going up and weeping”
  28. 2 Samuel 15:30 Literally “going up and weeping”
  29. 2 Samuel 15:36 Literally “by their hand”