Ziba, a False Servant

16 Now when David had gone on (A)a little beyond the summit, behold, (B)Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him (C)with a team of saddled donkeys, and on them were two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred summer fruits, and a jug of wine. And the king said to Ziba, “Why do you have these?” And Ziba said, “(D)The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride, the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat, and the wine, (E)for whoever is weary in the wilderness to drink.” Then the king said, “And where is (F)your master’s son?” And (G)Ziba said to the king, “Behold, 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, “Behold, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” And Ziba said, “I prostrate myself; may I find favor in your sight, my lord, the king!”

David Is Cursed

When King David came to (H)Bahurim, behold, a man was coming out from there from the family of the house of Saul, and (I)his name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he was coming out, (J)cursing as he came. He also threw stones at David and all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the warriors were on his right and on his left. This is what Shimei said when he cursed: “Go away, go away, (K)you man of bloodshed and worthless man! (L)The Lord has brought back upon you all (M)the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have become king; and the Lord has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. And behold, you are caught in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!”

Then (N)Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should (O)this dead dog (P)curse my lord the king? Now let me go over and [a]cut off his head.” 10 But the king said, “[b](Q)What business of mine is yours, you sons of Zeruiah? (R)If he curses, and if the Lord has told him, ‘Curse David,’ (S)then who should say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, (T)my son who came out of my own body seeks my life; how much more now this Benjaminite? Leave him alone and let him curse, (U)for the Lord has told him. 12 Perhaps the Lord will look on my [c]misery and [d](V)return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” 13 So David and his men went on the road; and Shimei kept going on the hillside close beside him, and as he went he cursed and threw stones and dirt at him. 14 And the king and all the people who were with him arrived exhausted, and he refreshed himself there.

Absalom Enters Jerusalem

15 (W)Then Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. 16 Now it came about, when (X)Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, that (Y)Hushai said to Absalom, “(Z)Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17 But Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your [e]loyalty to your friend? (AA)Why did you not go with your friend?” 18 So Hushai said to Absalom, “No! For whomever the Lord, this people, and all the men of Israel have chosen, his I shall be, and with him I shall remain. 19 Besides, (AB)whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? Just as I have served in your father’s presence, so I shall be in your presence.”

20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your advice. What should we do?” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “(AC)Have relations with your father’s concubines, whom he has left behind to take care of the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself repulsive to your father. The hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, (AD)and Absalom had relations with his father’s concubines (AE)in the sight of all Israel. 23 Now (AF)the advice of Ahithophel, which he [f]gave in those days, was taken as though one inquired of the word of God; (AG)so was all the advice of Ahithophel regarded by both David and Absalom.


  1. 2 Samuel 16:9 Lit take off
  2. 2 Samuel 16:10 Lit What to me and to you, an ancient idiom
  3. 2 Samuel 16:12 As in ancient versions; MT wrongdoing
  4. 2 Samuel 16:12 Lit the Lord will return
  5. 2 Samuel 16:17 Or faithfulness
  6. 2 Samuel 16:23 Lit advised

Hushai’s Counsel

17 Furthermore, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Please let me choose twelve thousand men and let me set out and pursue David tonight. (A)And I will [a]attack him while he is weary and [b]exhausted and startle him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then (B)I will strike and kill the king when he is alone, and I will bring all the people back to you. [c]The return of everyone depends on the man whom you are seeking; then all the people will be at (C)peace.” And the [d]plan pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

Nevertheless, Absalom said, “Now call (D)Hushai the Archite also, and let’s hear what [e]he has to say.” When Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom said to [f]him, “Ahithophel has [g]proposed this plan. Should we [h]carry out his plan? If not, say so yourself.” So Hushai said to Absalom, “(E)This time the advice that Ahithophel has [i]given is not good.” Then Hushai said, “You yourself know your father and his men, that they are warriors and they are [j]fierce, (F)like a bear deprived of her cubs in the field. And your father is an [k]expert in warfare, and he will not spend the night with the people. Behold, he has now hidden himself in one of the ravines, or in another place; and it will be that when he falls on them at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom!’ 10 And even the one who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, (G)will completely despair; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and those who are with him are valiant men. 11 But I advise that all Israel be fully gathered to you, (H)from Dan even to Beersheba, (I)like the sand that is by the sea in abundance; and that [l]you personally go into battle. 12 Then we will come to him in one of the places where he can be found, and we will [m]fall on him (J)just as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and of all the men who are with him, not even one will be left. 13 And if he withdraws into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city, and we will (K)drag it into the [n]valley until not even a pebble is found there.” 14 Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel.” For (L)the Lord had ordained to foil the good advice of Ahithophel, in order for the Lord to bring disaster on Absalom.

Hushai’s Warning Saves David

15 Then (M)Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, “[o]This is what Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel to do, and [p]this is what I have advised. 16 Now then, send a messenger quickly and tell David, saying, ‘(N)Do not spend the night at the river crossing places of the wilderness, but by all means cross over, or else the king and all the people who are with him will be [q]destroyed.’” 17 (O)Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at (P)En-rogel, and a female servant would go and inform them, and they would go and inform King David, for they could not allow themselves to be seen entering the city. 18 But a boy did see them, and he told Absalom; so the two of them left quickly and came to the house of a man (Q)in Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard, and they went down [r]into it. 19 And (R)the woman [s]took a cover and spread it over the well’s mouth and scattered barley meal on it, so that nothing was known. 20 Then Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” And (S)the woman said to them, “They have crossed the brook of water.” And when they searched and did not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.

21 It came about after they had departed, that they came up out of the well and went and reported to King David; and they said to David, “(T)Set out and cross over the water quickly, because this is what Ahithophel has advised against you.” 22 Then David and all the people who were with him set out and crossed the Jordan; by [t]dawn not even one remained who had not crossed the Jordan.

23 Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been [u]followed, he saddled his donkey and set out and went to his home, to (U)his city, and [v](V)set his house in order, and (W)hanged himself; so he died and was buried in his father’s grave.

24 Then David came to (X)Mahanaim. And Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. 25 Absalom put (Y)Amasa [w]in command of the army in place of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man whose name was [x]Ithra the Israelite, who [y]had relations with Abigail the daughter of (Z)Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26 And Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.

27 Now when David had come to Mahanaim, Shobi (AA)the son of Nahash from (AB)Rabbah of the sons of Ammon, (AC)Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and (AD)Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 28 brought (AE)beds, basins, pottery, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, roasted seeds, 29 honey, curds, sheep, and cheese of the herd, for David and the people who were with him, (AF)to eat. For they said, “The people are hungry and exhausted and thirsty in the wilderness.”


  1. 2 Samuel 17:2 Lit come upon
  2. 2 Samuel 17:2 Lit slack of hands
  3. 2 Samuel 17:3 Lit As the return of the whole is the man whom you seek
  4. 2 Samuel 17:4 Lit word was pleasing in the sight of
  5. 2 Samuel 17:5 Lit is in his mouth—even he
  6. 2 Samuel 17:6 Lit him, saying
  7. 2 Samuel 17:6 Lit spoken according to this word
  8. 2 Samuel 17:6 Lit do his word
  9. 2 Samuel 17:7 Lit advised
  10. 2 Samuel 17:8 Lit bitter of soul
  11. 2 Samuel 17:8 Lit man of war
  12. 2 Samuel 17:11 Lit your face goes
  13. 2 Samuel 17:12 Lit settle down
  14. 2 Samuel 17:13 Or wadi; i.e., a dry stream bed
  15. 2 Samuel 17:15 Lit According to this and this
  16. 2 Samuel 17:15 Lit According to this and this
  17. 2 Samuel 17:16 Lit swallowed up
  18. 2 Samuel 17:18 Lit there
  19. 2 Samuel 17:19 Lit took and spread the covering
  20. 2 Samuel 17:22 Lit the light of the morning
  21. 2 Samuel 17:23 Lit done
  22. 2 Samuel 17:23 Lit ordered in regard to
  23. 2 Samuel 17:25 Lit over the army
  24. 2 Samuel 17:25 In 1 Chr 2:17, Jether the Ishmaelite
  25. 2 Samuel 17:25 Lit came in to

Absalom Killed

18 Then David [a]took a count of the people who were with him and (A)appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. And David sent the people out, (B)a third [b]under the command of Joab, a third [c]under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and a third [d]under the command of (C)Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I myself will certainly go out with you also.” But the people said, “(D)You should not go out; for if in fact we flee, they will not care about us; and if half of us die, they will not care about us. But [e]you are [f]worth ten thousand of us; so now it is better that you will be ready to help us from the city.” Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So (E)the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and thousands. But the king commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And (F)all the people heard when the king commanded all the commanders regarding Absalom.

Then the people went out to the field against Israel, and the battle took place in (G)the forest of Ephraim. The people of Israel were [g]defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, twenty thousand men. For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

Now Absalom encountered the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the branches of a massive oak. Then (H)his head caught firmly in the oak, and he was [h]left hanging between the sky and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going. 10 When a certain man saw him, he informed Joab and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Then Joab said to the man who had informed him, “So behold, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? And it would have been [i]my duty to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 But the man said to Joab, “Even if I were to [j]receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put out my hand against the king’s son; for (I)in our hearing the king commanded you, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, ‘[k]Protect the young man Absalom for me!’ 13 Otherwise, if I had dealt treacherously against [l]his life (and (J)there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have [m]avoided me.” 14 Then Joab said, “I will not [n]waste time here with you.” (K)So he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the [o]midst of the oak. 15 And ten young men who carried Joab’s armor gathered around and struck Absalom and killed him.

16 Then (L)Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the people. 17 And they took Absalom and threw him into [p]a deep pit in the forest, and (M)erected over him a very large pile of stones. And (N)all Israel fled, each to his own tent. 18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and (O)set up for himself a memorial stone, which is in (P)the King’s Valley, for he said, “(Q)I have no son to [q]continue my name.” So he named the memorial stone after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

David Is Grief-stricken

19 Then (R)Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Please let me run and bring the king news (S)that the Lord has [r]freed him from the hand of his enemies!” 20 But Joab said to him, “You are not the man to bring news this day, but you shall bring news another day; however, you shall bring no news this day, because the king’s son is dead.” 21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed to Joab and ran. 22 However, Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said once more to Joab, “But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why would you run, my son, since (T)you will have no messenger’s reward for going?” 23 “But whatever happens,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and passed by the Cushite.

24 Now (U)David was sitting between the two gates; and (V)the watchman went to the roof of the gate by the wall, and raised his eyes and looked; and behold, a man was running by himself. 25 So the watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is by himself there is good news in his mouth.” And he came nearer and nearer. 26 Then the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “Behold, another man is running by himself.” And the king said, “This one also is bringing good news.” 27 The watchman said, “I [s]think the running form of the first one (W)is like the running form of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “(X)This is a good man, and he is coming with good news.”

28 Then Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “[t]All is well.” And (Y)he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, “(Z)Blessed is the Lord your God, who has turned over the men who raised their hands against my lord the king.” 29 But the king said, “(AA)Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, and your servant, I saw a great commotion, but (AB)I did not know what it was.” 30 Then the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.

31 Then behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, “Let my lord the king receive good news, for (AC)the Lord has [u]freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you.” 32 Then the king said to the Cushite, “(AD)Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “(AE)May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be like that young man!”

33 [v]Then the king trembled and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And this is what he said as he walked: “(AF)My son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! (AG)If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!”


  1. 2 Samuel 18:1 Lit mustered
  2. 2 Samuel 18:2 Lit by the hand of
  3. 2 Samuel 18:2 Lit by the hand of
  4. 2 Samuel 18:2 Lit by the hand of
  5. 2 Samuel 18:3 As in some ancient versions; MT for now there are 10,000 like us
  6. 2 Samuel 18:3 Lit like us by 10,000
  7. 2 Samuel 18:7 Lit struck
  8. 2 Samuel 18:9 Lit placed
  9. 2 Samuel 18:11 Lit And upon me
  10. 2 Samuel 18:12 Lit weigh
  11. 2 Samuel 18:12 As in some mss and ancient versions; MT Protect, whoever you are, the
  12. 2 Samuel 18:13 Another reading is my life; i.e., at the risk of my own life
  13. 2 Samuel 18:13 Lit stood aloof
  14. 2 Samuel 18:14 Lit wait so with
  15. 2 Samuel 18:14 Lit heart
  16. 2 Samuel 18:17 Lit the great
  17. 2 Samuel 18:18 Lit bring to remembrance
  18. 2 Samuel 18:19 Lit vindicated
  19. 2 Samuel 18:27 Lit see
  20. 2 Samuel 18:28 Lit Peace; Heb Shalom
  21. 2 Samuel 18:31 Lit vindicated
  22. 2 Samuel 18:33 Ch 19:1 in Heb

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