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Absalom’s Conspiracy

15 Now it happened afterwards, that (A)Absalom prepared for himself a chariot and horses and fifty men as runners before him. And Absalom used to rise early and (B)stand beside the way to the gate; and when any man had a case to come to the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And he would say, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “See, (C)your words are good and right, but no man listens to you on the part of the king.” Then Absalom would say, “(D)Oh that one would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has any case or judgment could come to me and I would justify him.” And when a man came near to prostrate himself before him, he would send forth his hand and take hold of him and (E)kiss him. In this manner Absalom dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; (F)so Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel.

Now it happened at the end of [a]forty years that Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow which I have vowed to Yahweh, in (G)Hebron. For your servant (H)vowed a vow while I was living at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘(I)If Yahweh shall indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve Yahweh.’” And the king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron. 10 Then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘(J)Absalom is king in Hebron.’” 11 Now two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem, (K)who were invited and (L)went [b]innocently, and they did not know anything. 12 And Absalom sent for (M)Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city (N)Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong, for (O)the people increased continually with Absalom.

David Flees Jerusalem

13 Then an informant came to David, saying, “(P)The hearts of the men of Israel [c]have followed Absalom.” 14 So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “(Q)Arise and let us flee, for otherwise there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go in haste, lest he overtake us hastily and drive calamity on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” 15 Then the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses.” 16 So the king went out and all his household [d]with him. But (R)the king left ten concubines to keep the house. 17 And the king went out and all the people [e]with him, and they stopped at the last house. 18 Now all his servants passed on beside him, (S)all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, (T)six hundred men who had come [f]with him from Gath, passed on before the king.

19 Then the king said to (U)Ittai the Gittite, “Why will you also go with us? Return and remain with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile; return to your own place. 20 You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander with us, going about, while (V)I go where I go? Return and cause your brothers to return; (W)lovingkindness and [g]truth be with you.” 21 But Ittai answered the king and said, “As Yahweh lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely (X)wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.” 22 So David said to Ittai, “Go and pass over.” So Ittai the Gittite passed over with all his men and all the little ones who were with him. 23 While all the country was weeping with a loud voice, all the people passed over. The king also passed over (Y)the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over toward (Z)the way of the wilderness.

24 Now behold, (AA)Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him (AB)carrying the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and (AC)Abiathar came up until all the people had finished passing from the city. 25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of Yahweh, then (AD)He will cause me to return and show me both it and (AE)His habitation. 26 But if He should say thus, ‘(AF)I have no delight in you,’ behold, here I am, (AG)let Him do to me as seems good in His sight.” 27 The king said also to Zadok the priest, “Are you not (AH)a seer? Return to the city in peace and your (AI)two sons with you, your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 See, I am going to wait (AJ)at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem and remained there.

30 But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and (AK)his head was covered and he was walking (AL)barefoot. And all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went. 31 Now David informed them, saying, “(AM)Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Yahweh, I pray, (AN)make the counsel of Ahithophel foolishness.”

32 Then it happened that as David was coming to the summit, where he used to worship God, that behold, Hushai the (AO)Archite met him with his [h]coat torn and [i]dust on his head. 33 And David said to him, “If you pass over with me, then you will be (AP)a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city, and (AQ)say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so I will now be your servant,’ then you can thwart the counsel of Ahithophel for me. 35 Are not Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? So it shall be that (AR)whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall inform Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Behold, (AS)their two sons are with them there, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and (AT)by their hand you shall send me everything that you hear.” 37 So Hushai, (AU)David’s friend, came into the city, and (AV)Absalom came into Jerusalem.


  1. 2 Samuel 15:7 Some ancient versions four
  2. 2 Samuel 15:11 Lit in their integrity
  3. 2 Samuel 15:13 Lit are after
  4. 2 Samuel 15:16 Lit at his feet
  5. 2 Samuel 15:17 Lit at his feet
  6. 2 Samuel 15:18 Lit at his feet
  7. 2 Samuel 15:20 Or faithfulness
  8. 2 Samuel 15:32 Or tunic
  9. 2 Samuel 15:32 Lit ground