2 Samuel 18International Children’s Bible (ICB)
18 David counted his men. He chose commanders over groups of 1,000 and commanders over groups of 100. 2 He sent the troops out in three groups. Joab commanded one-third of the men. Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah commanded another third. And Ittai from Gath commanded the last third. King David said to them, “I will also go with you.”
3 But the men said, “No! You must not go with us! If we run away in the battle, Absalom’s men won’t care. Even if half of us are killed, Absalom’s men won’t care. But you’re worth 10,000 of us! It is better for you to stay in the city. Then, if we need help, you can send it.”
4 The king said to his people, “I will do what you think is best.” So the king stood at the side of the gate as the army went out. They went out in groups of 100 and 1,000.
5 The king gave a command to Joab, Abishai and Ittai. He said, “Be gentle with young Absalom for my sake.” Everyone heard the king’s orders about Absalom to the commanders.
6 David’s army went out into the field against Absalom’s Israelites. They fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7 There David’s army defeated the Israelites. Many died that day—20,000 men. 8 The battle spread through all the country. But that day more men died in the forest than in the fighting.
9 Then Absalom happened to meet David’s troops. As Absalom was riding his mule, it went under a large oak tree. The branches were thick, and Absalom’s head got caught in the tree. His mule ran out from under him. So Absalom was left hanging above the ground.
10 When one of the men saw it happen, he told Joab. He said, “I saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree!”
11 Joab said to him, “You saw him? Why didn’t you kill him and let him fall to the ground? I would have given you a belt and four ounces of silver!”
12 The man answered, “I wouldn’t try to hurt the king’s son. I wouldn’t even if you gave me 25 pounds of silver. We heard the king’s command to you, Abishai and Ittai. The king said, ‘Be careful not to hurt young Absalom.’ 13 If I had killed him, the king would have found out. And you would not have protected me!”
14 Joab said, “I won’t waste time here with you!” Now Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. So Joab took three spears and stabbed him in the heart. 15 Ten young men who carried Joab’s armor also gathered around Absalom. They struck him and killed him.
16 Then Joab blew the trumpet. So the troops stopped chasing Absalom’s Israelites. 17 Then Joab’s men took Absalom’s body. They threw it into a large pit in the forest. Then they filled the pit with many stones. All the Israelites who followed Absalom ran away and went home.
18 When Absalom was alive, he had put up a pillar in the King’s Valley. It was a monument to himself. He said, “I have no son to keep my name alive.” So he named the pillar after himself. That pillar is called Absalom’s Monument even today.
19 Ahimaaz son of Zadok spoke to Joab. He said, “Let me run and take the news to King David. I’ll tell him the Lord has destroyed the enemy for him.”
20 Joab answered Ahimaaz, “No, you are not the one to take the news today. You may do it another time. But do not take it today, because the king’s son is dead.”
21 Then Joab said to a man from Cush, “Go. Tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed to Joab and ran to tell David.
22 But Ahimaaz son of Zadok begged Joab again. He said, “No matter what happens, please let me go, along with the Cushite!”
Joab said, “Son, why do you want to carry the news? You won’t get any reward for the news you bring!”
23 Ahimaaz answered, “No matter what happens, I will run.”
So Joab said to Ahimaaz, “Run!” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the Jordan Valley and passed the Cushite.
24 Now David was sitting between the inner and outer gates of the city. The watchman went up to the roof by the gate walls. As he looked up, he saw a man running alone. 25 He shouted to tell King David.
The king said, “If he is alone, he is bringing good news!”
The man came nearer and nearer to the city. 26 Then the watchman saw another man running. The watchman called to the gatekeeper, “Look! Another man is running alone!”
The king said, “He is also bringing good news!”
27 The watchman said, “I think the first man runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok.”
The king said, “Ahimaaz is a good man. He must be bringing good news!”
28 Then Ahimaaz called a greeting to the king. He bowed facedown on the ground to the king. He said, “Praise the Lord your God! The Lord has defeated the men who were against you, my king.”
29 The king asked, “Is young Absalom all right?”
Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent me, I saw some great excitement. But I don’t know what it was.”
30 Then the king said, “Step over here and wait.” So Ahimaaz stepped aside and stood there.
31 Then the Cushite arrived. He said, “Master and king, hear the good news! Today the Lord has punished the people who were against you!”
32 The king asked the Cushite, “Is young Absalom all right?”
The Cushite answered, “May your enemies be like that young man. May all who come to hurt you be like that young man!”
33 Then the king knew Absalom was dead. He was very upset. He went to the room over the city gate and cried. As he went, he cried out, “My son Absalom, my son Absalom! I wish I had died for you. Absalom, my son, my son!”
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