2 Samuel 11-15
English Standard Version
David and Bathsheba
11 (A)(B)In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged (C)Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on (D)the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3 And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this (E)Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of (F)Uriah the Hittite?” 4 So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. ((G)Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
6 So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing and how the people were doing and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and (H)wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king's house, and there followed him a present from the king. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10 When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11 Uriah said to David, (I)“The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and (J)the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and (K)as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” 12 Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, (L)so that he made him drunk. And in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with (M)the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
14 In the morning David (N)wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, (O)that he may be struck down, and die.” 16 And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite also died. 18 Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting. 19 And he instructed the messenger, “When you have finished telling all the news about the fighting to the king, 20 then, if the king's anger rises, and if he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 (P)Who killed Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’ then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’”
22 So the messenger went and came and told David all that Joab had sent him to tell. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men gained an advantage over us and came out against us in the field, but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate. 24 Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall. Some of the king's servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.” 25 David said to the messenger, “Thus shall you say to Joab, ‘Do not let this matter displease you, for the sword devours now one and now another. Strengthen your attack against the city and overthrow it.’ And encourage him.”
26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. 27 And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and (Q)she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.
Nathan Rebukes David
12 And the Lord sent (R)Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, (S)“There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms,[a] and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, (T)“As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb (U)fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, (V)‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9 (W)Why have you despised the word of the Lord, (X)to do what is evil in his sight? (Y)You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and (Z)have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, (AA)but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’” 13 (AB)David said to Nathan, (AC)“I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, (AD)“The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly (AE)scorned the Lord,[b] the child who is born to you shall die.” 15 Then Nathan went to his house.
David's Child Dies
And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he became sick. 16 David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David (AF)fasted and went in (AG)and lay all night on the ground. 17 And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” 20 Then David arose from the earth (AH)and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord (AI)and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, (AJ)‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, (AK)but he will not return to me.”
24 Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and (AL)she bore a son, and he called his name (AM)Solomon. And the Lord loved him 25 and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah,[c] because of the Lord.
Rabbah Is Captured
26 (AN)Now Joab (AO)fought against (AP)Rabbah of the Ammonites and took the royal city. 27 And Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I have fought against Rabbah; moreover, I have taken the city of waters. 28 Now then gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called by my name.” 29 So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah and fought against it and took it. 30 And he took the crown of their king from his head. The weight of it was a talent[d] of gold, and in it was a precious stone, and it was placed on David's head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount. 31 And he brought out the people who were in it and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and iron axes and made them toil at[e] the brick kilns. And thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
Amnon and Tamar
13 Now (AQ)Absalom, David's son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was (AR)Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David's son, loved her. 2 And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. 3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of (AS)Shimeah, David's brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man. 4 And he said to him, “O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister.” 5 Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.’” 6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. And when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and (AT)make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.”
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon's house and prepare food for him.” 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, where he was lying down. And she took dough and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes. 9 And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, (AU)“Send out everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. 11 But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” 12 She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate[f] me, for (AV)such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this (AW)outrageous thing. 13 As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of (AX)the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” 14 But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.
15 Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!” 16 But she said to him, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.”[g] But he would not listen to her. 17 He called the young man who served him and said, “Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her.” 18 Now she was wearing (AY)a long robe with sleeves,[h] for thus were the virgin daughters of the king dressed. So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. 19 And Tamar (AZ)put ashes on her head and (BA)tore the long robe that she wore. And (BB)she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.
20 And her brother Absalom said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? Now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this to heart.” So Tamar lived, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom's house. 21 When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry.[i] 22 But Absalom spoke to Amnon (BC)neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had violated his sister Tamar.
Absalom Murders Amnon
23 After two full years Absalom had (BD)sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons. 24 And Absalom came to the king and said, “Behold, your servant has sheepshearers. Please let the king and his servants go with your servant.” 25 But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son, let us not all go, lest we be burdensome to you.” He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing. 26 Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.” And the king said to him, “Why should he go with you?” 27 But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. 28 Then Absalom commanded his servants, “Mark when Amnon's (BE)heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then kill him. Do not fear; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant.” 29 So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose, and each mounted his mule and fled.
30 While they were on the way, news came to David, “Absalom has struck down all the king's sons, and not one of them is left.” 31 Then the king arose and (BF)tore his garments and (BG)lay on the earth. And all his servants who were standing by tore their garments. 32 But (BH)Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David's brother, said, “Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men, the king's sons, for Amnon alone is dead. For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day he violated his sister Tamar. 33 Now therefore let not my lord the king so (BI)take it to heart as to suppose that all the king's sons are dead, for Amnon alone is dead.”
Absalom Flees to Geshur
34 (BJ)But Absalom fled. And the young man who kept the watch lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, many people were coming from the road behind him[j] by the side of the mountain. 35 And Jonadab said to the king, “Behold, the king's sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about.” 36 And as soon as he had finished speaking, behold, the king's sons came and lifted up their voice and wept. And the king also and all his servants wept very bitterly.
37 (BK)But Absalom fled and went to (BL)Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of (BM)Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day. 38 (BN)So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. 39 And the spirit of the king[k] longed to go out[l] to Absalom, because (BO)he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.
Absalom Returns to Jerusalem
14 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah knew (BP)that the king's heart went out to Absalom. 2 And Joab sent to (BQ)Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman and said to her, “Pretend to be a mourner and put on mourning garments. (BR)Do not anoint yourself with oil, but behave like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead. 3 Go to the king and speak thus to him.” So Joab (BS)put the words in her mouth.
4 When the woman of Tekoa came to the king, (BT)she fell on her face to the ground and paid homage and said, (BU)“Save me, O king.” 5 And the king said to her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, (BV)“Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead. 6 And your servant had two sons, and they quarreled with one another in the field. There was no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him. 7 And now the whole clan has risen against your servant, and they say, ‘Give up the man who struck his brother, that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed.’ And so they would (BW)destroy the heir also. Thus they would quench my coal that is left and leave to my husband neither name nor (BX)remnant on the face of the earth.”
8 Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.” 9 And the woman of Tekoa said to the king, (BY)“On me be the guilt, my lord the king, and on my father's house; let the king and his throne be guiltless.” 10 The king said, “If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall never touch you again.” 11 Then she said, “Please let the king invoke the Lord your God, that (BZ)the avenger of blood kill no more, and my son be not destroyed.” He said, (CA)“As the Lord lives, (CB)not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”
12 Then the woman said, “Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king.” He said, “Speak.” 13 And the woman said, “Why then have you planned such a thing against (CC)the people of God? For in giving this decision the king convicts himself, inasmuch as the king does not bring (CD)his banished one home again. 14 We must all die; we are (CE)like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means (CF)so that the banished one will not remain an outcast. 15 Now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid, and your servant thought, ‘I will speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant. 16 For the king will hear and deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together from (CG)the heritage of God.’ 17 And your servant thought, ‘The word of my lord the king will set me at rest,’ for my lord the king is (CH)like the angel of God to discern good and evil. The Lord your God be with you!”
18 Then the king answered the woman, “Do not hide from me anything I ask you.” And the woman said, “Let my lord the king speak.” 19 The king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” The woman answered and said, (CI)“As surely as you live, my lord the king, one cannot turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has said. It was your servant Joab who commanded me; (CJ)it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your servant. 20 In order to change the course of things your servant Joab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of (CK)the angel of God to know all things that are on the earth.”
21 Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Absalom.” 22 And Joab fell on his face to the ground and paid homage (CL)and blessed the king. And Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has granted the request of his servant.” 23 So Joab arose and went to (CM)Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 And the king said, “Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence.” So Absalom lived apart in his own house and did not come into the king's presence.
25 Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. (CN)From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 And when he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he (CO)cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels[m] by the king's weight. 27 There were born (CP)to Absalom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a beautiful woman.
28 So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king's presence. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but Joab would not come to him. And he sent a second time, but Joab would not come. 30 Then he said to his servants, “See, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom's servants set the field on fire.[n] 31 Then Joab arose and went to Absalom at his house and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” 32 Absalom answered Joab, “Behold, I sent word to you, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king, to ask, “Why have I come from (CQ)Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.” Now therefore let me go into the presence of the king, (CR)and if there is guilt in me, let him put me to death.’” 33 Then Joab went to the king and told him, and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.
15 After this Absalom (CS)got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside (CT)the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” 3 Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” 4 Then Absalom would say, (CU)“Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” 5 And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
7 And at the end of four[o] years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the Lord, in Hebron. 8 For your servant (CV)vowed a vow (CW)while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to[p] the Lord.’” 9 The king said to him, (CX)“Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom is king at Hebron!’” 11 With Absalom went two hundred men from Jerusalem (CY)who were invited guests, and they went in their innocence and knew nothing. 12 And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for[q] (CZ)Ahithophel the Gilonite, (DA)David's counselor, from his city (DB)Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom (DC)kept increasing.
David Flees Jerusalem
13 And a messenger came to David, saying, (DD)“The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” 14 Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us (DE)flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” 15 And the king's servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king decides.” 16 So the king went out, and all his household after him. And the king left (DF)ten concubines to keep the house. 17 And the king went out, and all the people after him. And they halted at the last house.
18 And (DG)all his servants passed by him, and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the six hundred Gittites who had followed him from (DH)Gath, passed on before the king. 19 Then the king said to (DI)Ittai the Gittite, “Why do you also go with us? Go back and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile from your home. 20 You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, since I go (DJ)I know not where? Go back and take your brothers with you, and may the Lord show[r] steadfast love and faithfulness to you.” 21 But Ittai answered the king, (DK)“As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, (DL)wherever my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, there also will your servant be.” 22 And David said to Ittai, “Go then, pass on.” So Ittai the Gittite passed on with all his men and all the little ones who were with him. 23 And all the land wept aloud as all the people passed by, and the king crossed (DM)the brook (DN)Kidron, and all the people passed on toward (DO)the wilderness.
24 And (DP)Abiathar came up, and behold, (DQ)Zadok came also with all the Levites, (DR)bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God until the people had all passed out of the city. 25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will (DS)bring me back and let me see both it and his (DT)dwelling place. 26 But if he says, ‘I have no (DU)pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, (DV)let him do to me what seems good to him.” 27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a (DW)seer? Go back[s] to the city in peace, with (DX)your two sons, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 See, I will wait at (DY)the fords of (DZ)the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem, and they remained there.
30 But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, (EA)barefoot and (EB)with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, (EC)weeping as they went. 31 And it was told David, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, please (ED)turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”
32 While David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai (EE)the Archite came to meet him (EF)with his coat torn and (EG)dirt on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go on with me, you will be (EH)a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, (EI)‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father's servant in time past, so now I will be your servant,’ then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel. 35 Are not Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? So whatever you hear from the king's house, (EJ)tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Behold, (EK)their two sons are with them there, Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, and Jonathan, Abiathar's son, (EL)and by them you shall send to me everything you hear.” 37 So Hushai, (EM)David's friend, came into the city, (EN)just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.
- 2 Samuel 12:3 Hebrew bosom; also verse 8
- 2 Samuel 12:14 Masoretic Text the enemies of the Lord; Dead Sea Scroll the word of the Lord
- 2 Samuel 12:25 Jedidiah means beloved of the Lord
- 2 Samuel 12:30 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
- 2 Samuel 12:31 Hebrew pass through
- 2 Samuel 13:12 Or humiliate; also verses 14, 22, 32
- 2 Samuel 13:16 Compare Septuagint, Vulgate; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
- 2 Samuel 13:18 Or a robe of many colors (compare Genesis 37:3); compare long robe, verse 19
- 2 Samuel 13:21 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint add But he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, since he was his firstborn
- 2 Samuel 13:34 Septuagint the Horonaim Road
- 2 Samuel 13:39 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Hebrew David
- 2 Samuel 13:39 Compare Vulgate ceased to go out
- 2 Samuel 14:26 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams
- 2 Samuel 14:30 Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll add So Joab's servants came to him with their clothes torn, and they said to him, “The servants of Absalom have set your field on fire.”
- 2 Samuel 15:7 Septuagint, Syriac; Hebrew forty
- 2 Samuel 15:8 Or will serve
- 2 Samuel 15:12 Or sent
- 2 Samuel 15:20 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks may the Lord show
- 2 Samuel 15:27 Septuagint The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Look, go back