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16 After David and his people passed over the crest of the Mount of Olives, the exiles met Ziba, who served Saul’s son Mephibosheth. Ziba led a couple of donkeys carrying goods: 200 loaves of bread, 100 clumps of raisins, 100 summer fruits, and a wineskin.

David (to Ziba, seeing that Mephibosheth wasn’t with him): Why have you brought these things?

Ziba: The donkeys are for members of the king’s family to ride. The bread and summer fruit are for your young men, and the wine is for those who grow weak in the wilderness.

David: Where is your master’s descendant?

Ziba: He is still in Jerusalem. He says, “Now the people of Israel will give me back my grandfather’s kingdom.”

David: Then all that belonged to Mephibosheth is yours now.

Ziba (bowing): I am your servant. May my lord and king look kindly on me.

They traveled on. When David reached Bahurim, one of Saul’s family, Shimei, the son of Gera, came out of his house and cursed David constantly there in the road, throwing stones at him and at his servants even though David’s soldiers were all around, supporting him.

Shimei (shouting abuse): Go on! Get out, you man of blood! You worthless man! The Eternal One has finally punished you for taking the kingdom from Saul, for shedding the blood of his family and subjects and reigning in his place. That’s why the Eternal One has taken the kingdom from your bloody hands and given it into the hands of your son Absalom.

Abishai, Zeruiah’s son, was offended and amazed.

Abishai: Why should you let this worthless dog curse you, my king? Say the word, and I’ll chop his head off.

David (to Abishai): 10 Why should this matter to you? What do we, sons of Zeruiah, have in common? If he insults me because the Eternal has told him to, who are we to ask him why he does it?

11 (turning to the rest) Listen, Abishai—and all of you! My own son seeks to kill me today, so why shouldn’t this man of Benjamin? Leave him alone and let him curse me, as the Eternal One wills it. 12 Maybe the Eternal will look at everything done against me and render something good in its place today.

13 So they traveled on their way; and Shimei followed, too, along the hill opposite them, shouting curses and throwing stones and flinging dust. 14 David and his men were weary when they at last arrived at the Jordan River, and there they stopped to rest.

15 Meanwhile Absalom and all his people, the men of Israel, came into Jerusalem; and Ahithophel was with him. 16 When Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, he saluted Absalom.

Hushai: Long live the king! Long live the king!

Absalom: 17 Is this how you repay my father’s friendship? Wouldn’t it be better for you to have followed him?

Hushai: 18 No. I will serve the one whom the Eternal One, these people, and the people of Israel have chosen. I’ll serve him and remain with him. 19 And why shouldn’t I serve the son of my lord? Just as I served him, I will serve you.

Absalom (to Ahithophel): 20 Advise me. What should I do now?

Ahithophel: 21 Make the break with your father complete. Sleep with each woman in your father’s harem whom he left behind to mind the palace. All of Israel will hear how you’ve insulted your father, and they’ll know there’s no turning back now. They will have to be committed to this rebellion.

22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof of the palace, and all Israel saw that Absalom had slept with his father’s concubines. 23 In those days, both with David and then with Absalom, Ahithophel’s counsel was deemed so wise that it could have come from God Himself, so his advice was highly prized.

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