2 Samuel 15:13-17:22 Good News Translation (GNT)
David Flees from Jerusalem
13 A messenger reported to David, “The Israelites are pledging their loyalty to Absalom.”
14 So David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “We must get away at once if we want to escape from Absalom! Hurry! Or else he will soon be here and defeat us and kill everyone in the city!”
15 “Yes, Your Majesty,” they answered. “We are ready to do whatever you say.” 16 So the king left, accompanied by all his family and officials, except for ten concubines, whom he left behind to take care of the palace.
17 As the king and all his men were leaving the city, they stopped at the last house. 18 All his officials stood[a] next to him as the royal bodyguards passed by in front of him. The six hundred soldiers who had followed him from Gath also passed by, 19 and the king said to Ittai, their leader, “Why are you going with us? Go back and stay with the new king. You are a foreigner, a refugee away from your own country. 20 You have lived here only a short time, so why should I make you wander around with me? I don't even know where I'm going. Go back and take all your people with you—and may the Lord be kind and faithful to you.”[b]
21 But Ittai answered, “Your Majesty, I swear to you in the Lord's name that I will always go with you wherever you go, even if it means death.”
22 “Fine!” David answered. “March on!” So Ittai went on with all his men and their dependents. 23 The people cried loudly as David's followers left. The king crossed Kidron Brook, followed by his men, and together they went out toward the wilderness.
24 Zadok the priest was there, and with him were the Levites, carrying the sacred Covenant Box. They set it down[c] and didn't pick it up again until all the people had left the city. The priest Abiathar was there too.[d] 25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the Covenant Box back to the city. If the Lord is pleased with me, some day he will let me come back to see it and the place where it stays. 26 But if he isn't pleased with me—well, then, let him do to me what he wishes.” 27 And he went on to say to Zadok, “Look,[e] take your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan and go back to the city in peace. 28 Meanwhile, I will wait at the river crossings in the wilderness until I receive news from you.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the Covenant Box back into Jerusalem and stayed there.
30 David went on up the Mount of Olives crying; he was barefoot and had his head covered as a sign of grief. All who followed him covered their heads and cried also. 31 When David was told[f] that Ahithophel had joined Absalom's rebellion, he prayed, “Please, Lord, turn Ahithophel's advice into nonsense!”
32 When David reached the top of the hill, where there was a place of worship, his trusted friend Hushai the Archite met him with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. 33 David said to him, “You will be of no help to me if you come with me, 34 but you can help me by returning to the city and telling Absalom that you will now serve him as faithfully as you served his father. And do all you can to oppose any advice that Ahithophel gives. 35 The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be there; tell them everything you hear in the king's palace. 36 They have their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan with them, and you can send them to me with all the information you gather.”
37 So Hushai, David's friend, returned to the city just as Absalom was arriving.
David and Ziba
16 When David had gone a little beyond the top of the hill, he was suddenly met by Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, who had with him a couple of donkeys loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred bunches of fresh fruit, and a leather bag full of wine. 2 King David asked him, “What are you going to do with all that?”
Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for Your Majesty's family to ride, the bread and the fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is for them to drink when they get tired in the wilderness.”
3 “Where is Mephibosheth, the grandson of your master Saul?” the king asked him.
“He is staying in Jerusalem,” Ziba answered, “because he is convinced that the Israelites will now restore to him the kingdom of his grandfather Saul.”
4 The king said to Ziba, “Everything that belonged to Mephibosheth is yours.”
“I am your servant,” Ziba replied. “May I always please Your Majesty!”
David and Shimei
5 When King David arrived at Bahurim, one of Saul's relatives, Shimei son of Gera, came out to meet him, cursing him as he came. 6 Shimei started throwing stones at David and his officials, even though David was surrounded by his men and his bodyguards. 7 Shimei cursed him and said, “Get out! Get out! Murderer! Criminal! 8 You took Saul's kingdom, and now the Lord is punishing you for murdering so many of Saul's family. The Lord has given the kingdom to your son Absalom, and you are ruined, you murderer!”
9 Abishai, whose mother was Zeruiah, said to the king, “Your Majesty, why do you let this dog curse you? Let me go over there and cut off his head!”
10 “This is none of your business,” the king said to Abishai and his brother Joab. “If he curses me because the Lord told him to, who has the right to ask why he does it?” 11 And David said to Abishai and to all his officials, “My own son is trying to kill me; so why should you be surprised at this Benjaminite? The Lord told him to curse; so leave him alone and let him do it. 12 Perhaps the Lord will notice my misery[g] and give me some blessings to take the place of his curse.” 13 So David and his men continued along the road. Shimei kept up with them, walking on the hillside; he was cursing and throwing stones and dirt at them as he went. 14 The king and all his men were worn out when they reached the Jordan,[h] and there they rested.
Absalom in Jerusalem
15 Absalom and all the Israelites with him entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with them. 16 When Hushai, David's trusted friend, met Absalom, he shouted, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
17 “What has happened to your loyalty to your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why didn't you go with him?”
18 Hushai answered, “How could I? I am for the one chosen by the Lord, by these people, and by all the Israelites. I will stay with you. 19 After all, whom should I serve, if not my master's son? As I served your father, so now I will serve you.”
20 Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and said, “Now that we are here, what do you advise us to do?”
21 Ahithophel answered, “Go and have intercourse with your father's concubines whom he left behind to take care of the palace. Then everyone in Israel will know that your father regards you as his enemy, and your followers will be greatly encouraged.” 22 So they set up a tent for Absalom on the palace roof, and in the sight of everyone Absalom went in and had intercourse with his father's concubines.
23 Any advice that Ahithophel gave in those days was accepted as though it were the very word of God; both David and Absalom followed it.
Hushai Misleads Absalom
17 Not long after that, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men, and tonight I will set out after David. 2 I will attack him while he is tired and discouraged. He will be frightened, and all his men will run away. I will kill only the king 3 and then bring back all his men to you, like a bride returning to her husband. You want to kill only one man;[i] the rest of the people will be safe.” 4 This seemed like good advice to Absalom and all the Israelite leaders.
5 Absalom said, “Now call Hushai, and let us hear what he has to say.” 6 When Hushai arrived, Absalom said to him, “This is the advice that Ahithophel has given us; shall we follow it? If not, you tell us what to do.”
7 Hushai answered, “The advice Ahithophel gave you this time is no good. 8 You know that your father David and his men are hard fighters and that they are as fierce as a mother bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is an experienced soldier and does not stay with his men at night. 9 Right now he is probably hiding in a cave or some other place. As soon as David attacks your men, whoever hears about it will say that your men have been defeated. 10 Then even the bravest men, as fearless as lions, will be afraid because everyone in Israel knows that your father is a great soldier and that his men are hard fighters. 11 My advice is that you bring all the Israelites together from one end of the country to the other, as many as the grains of sand on the seashore, and that you lead them personally in battle. 12 We will find David wherever he is, and attack him before he knows what's happening. Neither he nor any of his men will survive. 13 If he retreats into a city, our people will all bring ropes and just pull the city[j] into the valley below. Not a single stone will be left there on top of the hill.”
14 Absalom and all the Israelites said, “Hushai's advice is better than Ahithophel's.” The Lord had decided that Ahithophel's good advice would not be followed, so that disaster would come on Absalom.
David Is Warned and Escapes
15 Then Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar what advice he had given to Absalom and the Israelite leaders and what advice Ahithophel had given. 16 Hushai added, “Quick, now! Send a message to David not to spend the night at the river crossings in the wilderness, but to cross the Jordan at once, so that he and his men won't all be caught and killed.”
17 Abiathar's son Jonathan and Zadok's son Ahimaaz were waiting at the spring of Enrogel, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, because they did not dare be seen entering the city. A servant woman would regularly go and tell them what was happening, and then they would go and tell King David. 18 But one day a boy happened to see them, and he told Absalom; so they hurried off to hide in the house of a certain man in Bahurim. He had a well near his house, and they got down in it. 19 The man's wife took a covering, spread it over the opening of the well and scattered grain over it, so that no one would notice anything. 20 Absalom's officials came to the house and asked the woman, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
“They crossed the river,” she answered.
The men looked for them but could not find them, and so they returned to Jerusalem. 21 After they left, Ahimaaz and Jonathan came up out of the well and went and reported to King David. They told him what Ahithophel had planned against him and said, “Hurry up and cross the river.” 22 So David and his men started crossing the Jordan, and by daybreak they had all gone across.
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