David and Ziba

16 When David had passed a little beyond (A)the summit, (B)Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, bearing two hundred loaves of bread, (C)a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred of summer fruits, and a skin of wine. And the king said to Ziba, “Why have you brought these?” Ziba answered, (D)“The donkeys are for the king's household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who (E)faint in the wilderness to drink.” And the king said, “And where is your master's son?” (F)Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he remains in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back the kingdom of my father.’” Then the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.” And Ziba said, “I pay homage; let me ever find favor in your sight, my lord the king.”

Shimei Curses David

When King David came to (G)Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was (H)Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came (I)he cursed continually. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And Shimei said as he (J)cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The Lord (K)has avenged on you all (L)the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.”

Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this (M)dead dog (N)curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” 10 But the king said, (O)“What have I to do with you, (P)you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11 And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, (Q)my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12 It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me,[a] and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.” 13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and (R)cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. 14 And the king, and all the people who were with him, (S)arrived weary at the Jordan.[b] And there he refreshed himself.

Absalom Enters Jerusalem

15 (T)Now Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. 16 And when Hushai the Archite, (U)David's friend, came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, (V)“Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17 And Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? (W)Why did you not go with your friend?” 18 And Hushai said to Absalom, “No, for whom the Lord and this people and all the men of Israel have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain. 19 And again, (X)whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? As I have served your father, so I will serve you.”

20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your counsel. What shall we do?” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to (Y)your father's concubines, whom he has left to keep the house, and all Israel will hear that you have made yourself a stench to your father, and (Z)the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom (AA)on the roof. And Absalom went in to his father's concubines (AB)in the sight of all Israel. 23 Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the word of God; so was all the counsel of Ahithophel esteemed, (AC)both by David and by Absalom.

Hushai Saves David

17 Moreover, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is (AD)weary and discouraged and throw him into a panic, and all the people who are with him will flee. (AE)I will strike down only the king, and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride comes home to her husband. You seek the life of only one man,[c] and all the people will be at peace.” And the advice seemed right in the eyes of Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

Then Absalom said, “Call (AF)Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say.” And when Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “Thus has Ahithophel spoken; shall we do as he says? If not, you speak.” Then Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good.” Hushai said, “You know that your father and his men are mighty men, and that they are enraged,[d] (AG)like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. Besides, your father is expert in war; he will not spend the night with the people. Behold, even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits or in some other place. And as soon as some of the people fall[e] at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’ 10 Then even the valiant man, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly (AH)melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and that those who are with him are valiant men. 11 But my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, (AI)from Dan to Beersheba, (AJ)as the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. 12 So we shall come upon him in some place where he is to be found, and we shall light upon him as the dew falls on the ground, and of him and all the men with him not one will be left. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we shall drag it into the valley, until not even a pebble is to be found there.” 14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” (AK)For the Lord had ordained[f] to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom.

15 (AL)Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, “Thus and so did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel, and thus and so have I counseled. 16 Now therefore send quickly and tell David, ‘Do not stay tonight at (AM)the fords of the wilderness, but by all means pass over, lest the king and all the people who are with him be (AN)swallowed up.’” 17 Now (AO)Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at (AP)En-rogel. A female servant was to go and tell them, and they were to go and tell King David, for they were not to be seen entering the city. 18 But a young man saw them and told Absalom. So both of them went away quickly and came to the house of a man at (AQ)Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard. And they went down into it. 19 (AR)And the woman took and spread a covering over the well's mouth and scattered grain on it, and nothing was known of it. 20 When Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house, they said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” And the woman said to them, “They have gone over the brook[g] of water.” And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.

21 After they had gone, the men came up out of the well, and went and told King David. They said to David, (AS)“Arise, and go quickly over the water, for thus and so has Ahithophel counseled against you.” 22 Then David arose, and all the people who were with him, and they crossed the Jordan. By daybreak not one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.

23 When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and went off home to (AT)his own city. He (AU)set his house in order and (AV)hanged himself, and he died and was buried in the tomb of his father.

24 Then David came to (AW)Mahanaim. And Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel. 25 Now Absalom had set (AX)Amasa over the army instead of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Ishmaelite,[h] who had married Abigal the daughter of (AY)Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab's mother. 26 And Israel and Absalom encamped in the land of Gilead.

27 When David came to Mahanaim, (AZ)Shobi the son of Nahash from (BA)Rabbah of the Ammonites, and (BB)Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and (BC)Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 28 brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans and lentils,[i] 29 honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat, for they said, “The people are hungry and (BD)weary and thirsty (BE)in the wilderness.”

Absalom Killed

18 Then David mustered the men who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. And David sent out the army, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one third under the command of (BF)Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the men, “I myself will also go out with you.” (BG)But the men said, “You shall not go out. For if we flee, they will not care about us. If half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore it is better that you send us help from the city.” The king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood at the side of the gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands. And the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” (BH)And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders about Absalom.

So the army went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was fought in the (BI)forest of Ephraim. And the men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the loss there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the face of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword.

And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak,[j] (BJ)and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10 And a certain man saw it and told Joab, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Joab said to the man who told him, “What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 But the man said to Joab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not reach out my hand against the king's son, for (BK)in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake protect the young man Absalom.’ 13 On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life[k] (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.” 14 Joab said, “I will not waste time like this with you.” And he took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak. 15 And ten young men, Joab's armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him and killed him.

16 Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained them. 17 And they took Absalom and threw him into a great pit in the forest and raised over him (BL)a very great heap of stones. And all Israel (BM)fled every one to his own home. 18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself (BN)the pillar that is in (BO)the King's Valley, for he said, (BP)“I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom's monument[l] to this day.

David Hears of Absalom's Death

19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, (BQ)“Let me run and carry news to the king that (BR)the Lord has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.” 20 And Joab said to him, “You are not to carry news today. You may carry news another day, but today you shall carry no news, because the king's son is dead.” 21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. 22 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?” 23 “Come what may,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of (BS)the plain, and outran the Cushite.

24 Now David (BT)was sitting between the two gates, and (BU)the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he lifted up his eyes and looked, he saw a man running alone. 25 The watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he drew nearer and nearer. 26 The watchman saw another man running. And the watchman called to the gate and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also brings news.” 27 The watchman said, “I think the running of the first is (BV)like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, (BW)“He is a good man and comes with good news.”

28 Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “All is well.” And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth and said, (BX)“Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.” 29 And the king said, (BY)“Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king's servant, your servant, I saw a great commotion, but I do not know what it was.” 30 And the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.

David's Grief

31 And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For (BZ)the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, (CA)“Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, (CB)“May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” 33 [m] And the king was deeply moved and went up (CC)to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, (CD)“O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Joab Rebukes David

19 It was told Joab, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people, for the people heard that day, “The king is grieving for his son.” And the people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. The king (CE)covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, (CF)“O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “You have today covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who have this day saved your life and the lives of your sons and your daughters and the lives of your wives and your concubines, because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you, for today I know that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. Now therefore arise, go out and speak (CG)kindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now.” Then the king arose and took his (CH)seat in the gate. And the people were all told, “Behold, the king is sitting in the gate.” And all the people came before the king.

David Returns to Jerusalem

Now Israel had (CI)fled every man to his own home. And all the people were arguing throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, (CJ)“The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies and (CK)saved us from the hand of the Philistines, and now (CL)he has fled out of the land from Absalom. 10 But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”

11 And King David sent this message to (CM)Zadok and Abiathar the priests: “Say to the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house, when the word of all Israel has come to the king?[n] 12 You are my brothers; (CN)you are my bone and my flesh. Why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13 And say to Amasa, (CO)‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? (CP)God do so to me and more also, if you are not (CQ)commander of my army from now on in place of Joab.’” 14 And he swayed the heart of all the men of Judah (CR)as one man, so that they sent word to the king, “Return, both you and all your servants.” 15 So the king came back to the Jordan, and Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and to bring the king over the Jordan.

David Pardons His Enemies

16 And (CS)Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, from Bahurim, hurried to come down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 And with him were a thousand men from Benjamin. And (CT)Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants, rushed down to the Jordan before the king, 18 and they crossed the ford to bring over the king's household and to do his pleasure. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan, 19 and said to the king, (CU)“Let not my lord hold me guilty or remember how your servant (CV)did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. Do not let the king take it to heart. 20 For your servant knows that I have sinned. Therefore, behold, I have come this day, the first (CW)of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.” 21 Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered, “Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because (CX)he cursed the Lord's anointed?” 22 But David said, (CY)“What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be as an adversary to me? (CZ)Shall anyone be put to death in Israel this day? For do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?” 23 (DA)And the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king gave him his oath.

24 And (DB)Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king. He had neither taken care of his feet nor trimmed his beard nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came back in safety. 25 And when he came to Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, (DC)“Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?” 26 He answered, “My lord, O king, my servant deceived me, for your servant said to him, ‘I will saddle a donkey for myself,[o] that I may ride on it and go with the king.’ For (DD)your servant is lame. 27 (DE)He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is (DF)like the angel of God; do therefore what seems good to you. 28 For all my father's house were but men doomed to death before my lord the king, but (DG)you set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right have I, then, to cry to the king?” 29 And the king said to him, “Why speak any more of your affairs? I have decided: you and Ziba shall divide the land.” 30 And Mephibosheth said to the king, “Oh, let him take it all, since my lord the king has come safely home.”

31 Now (DH)Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim, and he went on with the king to the Jordan, to escort him over the Jordan. 32 Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old. (DI)He had provided the king with food while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 33 And the king said to Barzillai, “Come over with me, and I will provide for you with me in Jerusalem.” 34 But Barzillai said to the king, (DJ)“How many years have I still to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35 I am this day (DK)eighty years old. Can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be (DL)an added burden to my lord the king? 36 Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king repay me with such a reward? 37 Please let your servant return, that I may die in my own city near the grave of my father and my mother. But here is your servant (DM)Chimham. Let him go over with my lord the king, and do for him whatever seems good to you.” 38 And the king answered, “Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you, and all that you desire of me I will do for you.” 39 Then all the people went over the Jordan, and the king went over. And (DN)the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home. 40 The king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him. All the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, brought the king on his way.

41 Then all the men of Israel came to the king and said to the king, “Why have our brothers the men of Judah stolen you away and (DO)brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David's men with him?” 42 All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is (DP)our close relative. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king's expense? Or has he given us any gift?” 43 And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, “We have (DQ)ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?” (DR)But the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Samuel 16:12 Septuagint, Vulgate will look upon my affliction
  2. 2 Samuel 16:14 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks at the Jordan
  3. 2 Samuel 17:3 Septuagint; Hebrew back to you. Like the return of the whole is the man whom you seek
  4. 2 Samuel 17:8 Hebrew bitter of soul
  5. 2 Samuel 17:9 Or And as he falls on them
  6. 2 Samuel 17:14 Hebrew commanded
  7. 2 Samuel 17:20 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
  8. 2 Samuel 17:25 Compare 1 Chronicles 2:17; Hebrew Israelite
  9. 2 Samuel 17:28 Hebrew adds and parched grain
  10. 2 Samuel 18:9 Or terebinth; also verses 10, 14
  11. 2 Samuel 18:13 Or at the risk of my life
  12. 2 Samuel 18:18 Or Absalom's hand
  13. 2 Samuel 18:33 Ch 19:1 in Hebrew
  14. 2 Samuel 19:11 Septuagint; Hebrew to the king, to his house
  15. 2 Samuel 19:26 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate Saddle a donkey for me

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