Absalom’s Treason

15 After this (A)it happened that Absalom (B)provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a (C)lawsuit[a] came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, “What city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your [b]case is good and right; but there is no [c]deputy of the king to hear you.” Moreover Absalom would say, (D)“Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.” And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and (E)kiss him. In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. (F)So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Now it came to pass (G)after [d]forty years that Absalom said to the king, “Please, let me go to (H)Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the Lord. (I)For your servant (J)took a vow (K)while I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, saying, ‘If the Lord indeed brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.’ ”

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, ‘Absalom (L)reigns in Hebron!’ ” 11 And with Absalom went two hundred men (M)invited from Jerusalem, and they (N)went along innocently and did not know anything. 12 Then Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, (O)David’s counselor, from his city—from (P)Giloh—while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom (Q)continually increased in number.

David Escapes from Jerusalem

13 Now a messenger came to David, saying, (R)“The hearts of the men of Israel are [e]with Absalom.”

14 So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us (S)flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”

15 And the king’s servants said to the king, “We are your servants, ready to do whatever my lord the king commands.” 16 Then (T)the king went out with all his household after him. But the king left (U)ten women, concubines, to keep the house. 17 And the king went out with all the people after him, and stopped at the outskirts. 18 Then all his servants passed [f]before him; (V)and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, (W)six hundred men who had followed him from Gath, passed before the king.

19 Then the king said to (X)Ittai the Gittite, “Why are you also going with us? Return and remain with the king. For you are a foreigner and also an exile from your own place. 20 In fact, you came only yesterday. Should I make you wander up and down with us today, since I go (Y)I know not where? Return, and take your brethren back. Mercy and truth be with you.”

21 But Ittai answered the king and said, (Z)As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be.”

22 So David said to Ittai, “Go, and cross over.” Then Ittai the Gittite and all his men and all the little ones who were with him crossed over. 23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people crossed over. The king himself also crossed over the Brook Kidron, and all the people crossed over toward the way of the (AA)wilderness.

24 There was (AB)Zadok also, and all the Levites with him, bearing the (AC)ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and (AD)Abiathar went up until all the people had finished crossing over from the city. 25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He (AE)will bring me back and show me both it and (AF)His dwelling place. 26 But if He says thus: ‘I have no (AG)delight in you,’ here I am, (AH)let Him do to me as seems good to Him.” 27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a (AI)seer?[g] Return to the city in peace, and (AJ)your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 See, (AK)I will wait in the plains of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 Therefore Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem. And they remained there.

30 So David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he (AL)had his head covered and went (AM)barefoot. And all the people who were with him (AN)covered their heads and went up, (AO)weeping as they went up. 31 Then someone told David, saying, (AP)“Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, I pray, (AQ)turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!”

32 Now it happened when David had come to the top of the mountain, where he worshiped God—there was Hushai the (AR)Archite coming to meet him (AS)with his robe torn and dust on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go on with me, then you will become (AT)a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, (AU)‘I will be your servant, O king; as I was your father’s servant previously, so I will now also be your servant,’ then you may defeat the counsel of Ahithophel for me. 35 And do you not have Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? Therefore it will be that whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall tell to (AV)Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Indeed they have there (AW)with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send me everything you hear.”

37 So Hushai, (AX)David’s friend, went into the city. (AY)And Absalom came into Jerusalem.

Mephibosheth’s Servant

16 When(AZ) David was a little past the top of the mountain, there was (BA)Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth, who met him with a couple of saddled donkeys, and on them two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred clusters of raisins, one hundred summer fruits, and a skin of wine. And the king said to Ziba, “What do you mean to do with these?”

So Ziba said, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for (BB)those who are faint in the wilderness to drink.”

Then the king said, “And where is your (BC)master’s son?”

(BD)And Ziba said to the king, “Indeed he is staying in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me.’ ”

So the king said to Ziba, “Here, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.”

And Ziba said, “I humbly bow before you, that I may find favor in your sight, my lord, O king!”

Shimei Curses David

Now when King David came to (BE)Bahurim, there was a man from the family of the house of Saul, whose name was (BF)Shimei the son of Gera, coming from there. He came out, cursing continuously as he came. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You [h]bloodthirsty man, (BG)you [i]rogue! The Lord has (BH)brought upon you all (BI)the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a [j]bloodthirsty man!”

Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this (BJ)dead dog (BK)curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!”

10 But the king said, (BL)“What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse, because (BM)the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ (BN)Who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ ”

11 And David said to Abishai and all his servants, “See how (BO)my son who (BP)came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him. 12 It may be that the Lord will look on [k]my affliction, and that the Lord will (BQ)repay me with (BR)good for his cursing this day.” 13 And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and [l]kicked up dust. 14 Now the king and all the people who were with him became weary; so they refreshed themselves there.

The Advice of Ahithophel

15 Meanwhile (BS)Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem; and Ahithophel was with him. 16 And so it was, when Hushai the Archite, (BT)David’s friend, came to Absalom, that (BU)Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”

17 So Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? (BV)Why did you not go with your friend?”

18 And Hushai said to Absalom, “No, but whom the Lord and this people and all the men of Israel choose, his I will be, and with him I will remain. 19 Furthermore, (BW)whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so will I be in your presence.”

20 Then Absalom said to (BX)Ahithophel, “Give advice as to what we should do.”

21 And Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s (BY)concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; and all Israel will hear that you (BZ)are abhorred by your father. Then (CA)the hands of all who are with you will be strong.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines (CB)in the sight of all Israel.

23 Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. So was all the advice of Ahithophel (CC)both with David and with Absalom.


  1. 2 Samuel 15:2 Lit. controversy
  2. 2 Samuel 15:3 Lit. words
  3. 2 Samuel 15:3 Lit. listener
  4. 2 Samuel 15:7 LXX mss., Syr., Josephus four
  5. 2 Samuel 15:13 Lit. after
  6. 2 Samuel 15:18 Lit. by his hand
  7. 2 Samuel 15:27 prophet
  8. 2 Samuel 16:7 Lit. man of bloodshed
  9. 2 Samuel 16:7 worthless man
  10. 2 Samuel 16:8 Lit. man of bloodshed
  11. 2 Samuel 16:12 So with Kt., LXX, Syr., Vg.; Qr. my eyes; Tg. tears of my eyes
  12. 2 Samuel 16:13 Lit. dusted him with dust