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Then Absalom met the servants of David. Absalom rode on a mule. The mule went under the thick boughs of a great terebinth tree, and (A)his head caught in the terebinth; so he was left hanging between heaven and earth. And the mule which was under him went on. 10 Now a certain man saw it and told Joab, and said, “I just saw Absalom hanging in a terebinth tree!”

11 So Joab said to the man who told him, “You just saw him! And why did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have given you ten shekels of silver and a belt.”

12 But the man said to Joab, “Though I were to receive a thousand shekels of silver in my hand, I would not raise my hand against the king’s son. (B)For in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, [a]‘Beware lest anyone touch the young man Absalom!’ 13 Otherwise I would have dealt falsely against my own life. For there is nothing hidden from the king, and you yourself would have set yourself against me.

14 Then Joab said, “I cannot linger with you.” And he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through Absalom’s heart, while he was still alive in the midst of the terebinth tree. 15 And ten young men who bore Joab’s armor surrounded Absalom, and struck and killed him.

16 So Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel. For Joab held back the people. 17 And they took Absalom and cast him into a large pit in the woods, and (C)laid a very large heap of stones over him. Then all Israel (D)fled, everyone to his tent.

18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a [b]pillar for himself, which is in (E)the King’s Valley. For he said, (F)“I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name. And to this day it is called Absalom’s Monument.

David Hears of Absalom’s Death

19 Then (G)Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run now and take the news to the king, how the Lord has [c]avenged him of his enemies.”

20 And Joab said to him, “You shall not take the news this day, for you shall take the news another day. But today you shall take no news, 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 himself to Joab and ran.

22 And Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “But [d]whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.”

So Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, since you have no news ready?”

23 “But whatever happens,” he said, “let me run.”

So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.

24 Now David was sitting between the (H)two gates. And the watchman went up to the roof over the gate, to the wall, lifted his eyes and looked, and there was a man, running alone. 25 Then the watchman cried out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he came rapidly and drew near.

26 Then the watchman saw another man running, and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “There is another man, running alone!”

And the king said, “He also brings news.”

27 So the watchman said, [e]“I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.”

And the king said, “He is a good man, and comes with (I)good news.”

28 So Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, [f]“All is well!” Then he bowed down with his face to the earth before the king, and said, (J)“Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king!”

29 The king said, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about.

30 And the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.

31 Just then the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “There is good news, my lord the king! For the Lord has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you.”

32 And the king said to the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

So the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you to do harm, be like that young man!”

David’s Mourning for Absalom

33 Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: (K)“O my son Absalom—my son, my son Absalom—if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, (L)my son!”

David Returns to Jerusalem

19 And Joab was told, “Behold, the king is weeping and (M)mourning for Absalom.” So the victory that day was turned into (N)mourning for all the people. For the people heard it said that day, “The king is grieved for his son.” And the people [g]stole back (O)into the city that day, as people who are ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. But the king (P)covered his face, and the king cried out with a loud voice, (Q)“O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Then (R)Joab came into the house to the king, and said, “Today you have disgraced all your servants who today have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines, in that you love your enemies and hate your friends. For you have declared today that you [h]regard neither princes nor servants; for today I perceive that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died today, then it would have pleased you well. Now therefore, arise, go out and speak [i]comfort to your servants. For I swear by the Lord, if you do not go out, not one will stay with you this night. And that will be worse for you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now.” Then the king arose and sat in the (S)gate. And they told all the people, saying, “There is the king, sitting in the gate.” So all the people came before the king.

For everyone of Israel had (T)fled to his tent.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Samuel 18:12 Vss. ‘Protect the young man Absalom for me!’
  2. 2 Samuel 18:18 monument
  3. 2 Samuel 18:19 vindicated
  4. 2 Samuel 18:22 Lit. be what may
  5. 2 Samuel 18:27 Lit. I see the running
  6. 2 Samuel 18:28 Peace be to you
  7. 2 Samuel 19:3 went by stealth
  8. 2 Samuel 19:6 have no respect for
  9. 2 Samuel 19:7 Lit. to the heart of

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