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2 Samuel 2:12-17 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

The Battle of Gibeon

12 Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bo′sheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahana′im to Gibeon. 13 And Jo′ab the son of Zeru′iah, and the servants of David, went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon; and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. 14 And Abner said to Jo′ab, “Let the young men arise and play before us.” And Jo′ab said, “Let them arise.” 15 Then they arose and passed over by number, twelve for Benjamin and Ish-bo′sheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16 And each caught his opponent by the head, and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Hel′kath-hazzu′rim,[a] which is at Gibeon. 17 And the battle was very fierce that day; and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.

18 And the three sons of Zeru′iah were there, Jo′ab, Abi′shai, and As′ahel. Now As′ahel was as swift of foot as a wild gazelle; 19 and As′ahel pursued Abner, and as he went he turned neither to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Is it you, As′ahel?” And he answered, “It is I.” 21 Abner said to him, “Turn aside to your right hand or to your left, and seize one of the young men, and take his spoil.” But As′ahel would not turn aside from following him. 22 And Abner said again to As′ahel, “Turn aside from following me; why should I smite you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother Jo′ab?” 23 But he refused to turn aside; therefore Abner smote him in the belly with the butt of his spear, so that the spear came out at his back; and he fell there, and died where he was. And all who came to the place where As′ahel had fallen and died, stood still.

24 But Jo′ab and Abi′shai pursued Abner; and as the sun was going down they came to the hill of Ammah, which lies before Gi′ah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 And the Benjaminites gathered themselves together behind Abner, and became one band, and took their stand on the top of a hill. 26 Then Abner called to Jo′ab, “Shall the sword devour for ever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter? How long will it be before you bid your people turn from the pursuit of their brethren?” 27 And Jo′ab said, “As God lives, if you had not spoken, surely the men would have given up the pursuit of their brethren in the morning.” 28 So Jo′ab blew the trumpet; and all the men stopped, and pursued Israel no more, nor did they fight any more.

29 And Abner and his men went all that night through the Arabah; they crossed the Jordan, and marching the whole forenoon they came to Mahana′im. 30 Jo′ab returned from the pursuit of Abner; and when he had gathered all the people together, there were missing of David’s servants nineteen men besides As′ahel. 31 But the servants of David had slain of Benjamin three hundred and sixty of Abner’s men. 32 And they took up As′ahel, and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was at Bethlehem. And Jo′ab and his men marched all night, and the day broke upon them at Hebron.

Abner Defects to David

There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.

And sons were born to David at Hebron: his first-born was Amnon, of Ahin′o-am of Jezreel; and his second, Chil′e-ab, of Ab′igail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; and the third, Ab′salom the son of Ma′acah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; and the fourth, Adoni′jah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephati′ah the son of Abi′tal; and the sixth, Ith′re-am, of Eglah, David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

While there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul. Now Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Ai′ah; and Ish-bo′sheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?” Then Abner was very angry over the words of Ish-bo′sheth, and said, “Am I a dog’s head of Judah? This day I keep showing loyalty to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not given you into the hand of David; and yet you charge me today with a fault concerning a woman. God do so to Abner and more also, if I do not accomplish for David what the Lord has sworn to him, 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul, and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beer-sheba.” 11 And Ish-bo′sheth could not answer Abner another word, because he feared him.

12 And Abner sent messengers to David at Hebron,[b] saying, “To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring over all Israel to you.” 13 And he said, “Good; I will make a covenant with you; but one thing I require of you; that is, you shall not see my face, unless you first bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see my face.” 14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-bo′sheth Saul’s son, saying, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed at the price of a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.” 15 And Ish-bo′sheth sent, and took her from her husband Pal′ti-el the son of La′ish. 16 But her husband went with her, weeping after her all the way to Bahu′rim. Then Abner said to him, “Go, return”; and he returned.

17 And Abner conferred with the elders of Israel, saying, “For some time past you have been seeking David as king over you. 18 Now then bring it about; for the Lord has promised David, saying, ‘By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines, and from the hand of all their enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke to Benjamin; and then Abner went to tell David at Hebron all that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin thought good to do.

20 When Abner came with twenty men to David at Hebron, David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21 And Abner said to David, “I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel to my lord the king, that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.

Abner Is Killed by Joab

22 Just then the servants of David arrived with Jo′ab from a raid, bringing much spoil with them. But Abner was not with David at Hebron, for he had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Jo′ab and all the army that was with him came, it was told Jo′ab, “Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he has let him go, and he has gone in peace.” 24 Then Jo′ab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you; why is it that you have sent him away, so that he is gone? 25 You know that Abner the son of Ner came to deceive you, and to know your going out and your coming in, and to know all that you are doing.”

26 When Jo′ab came out from David’s presence, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern of Sirah; but David did not know about it. 27 And when Abner returned to Hebron, Jo′ab took him aside into the midst of the gate to speak with him privately, and there he smote him in the belly, so that he died, for the blood of As′ahel his brother. 28 Afterward, when David heard of it, he said, “I and my kingdom are for ever guiltless before the Lord for the blood of Abner the son of Ner. 29 May it fall upon the head of Jo′ab, and upon all his father’s house; and may the house of Jo′ab never be without one who has a discharge, or who is leprous, or who holds a spindle, or who is slain by the sword, or who lacks bread!” 30 So Jo′ab and Abi′shai his brother slew Abner, because he had killed their brother As′ahel in the battle at Gibeon.

31 Then David said to Jo′ab and to all the people who were with him, “Rend your clothes, and gird on sackcloth, and mourn before Abner.” And King David followed the bier. 32 They buried Abner at Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept. 33 And the king lamented for Abner, saying,

“Should Abner die as a fool dies?
34 Your hands were not bound,
    your feet were not fettered;
as one falls before the wicked
    you have fallen.”

And all the people wept again over him. 35 Then all the people came to persuade David to eat bread while it was yet day; but David swore, saying, “God do so to me and more also, if I taste bread or anything else till the sun goes down!” 36 And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them; as everything that the king did pleased all the people. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king’s will to slay Abner the son of Ner. 38 And the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 And I am this day weak, though anointed king; these men the sons of Zeru′iah are too hard for me. The Lord requite the evildoer according to his wickedness!”

Ishbaal Assassinated

When Ish-bo′sheth, Saul’s son, heard that Abner had died at Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed. Now Saul’s son had two men who were captains of raiding bands; the name of the one was Ba′anah, and the name of the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon a man of Benjamin from Be-er′oth (for Be-er′oth also is reckoned to Benjamin; the Be-er′othites fled to Git′taim, and have been sojourners there to this day).

Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up, and fled; and, as she fled in her haste, he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephib′osheth.

Now the sons of Rimmon the Be-er′othite, Rechab and Ba′anah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ish-bo′sheth, as he was taking his noonday rest. And behold, the doorkeeper of the house had been cleaning wheat, but she grew drowsy and slept; so Rechab and Ba′anah his brother slipped in.[c] When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him. They took his head, and went by the way of the Arabah all night, and brought the head of Ish-bo′sheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-bo′sheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.” But David answered Rechab and Ba′anah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Be-er′othite, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity, 10 when one told me, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and slew him at Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous man in his own house upon his bed, shall I not now require his blood at your hand, and destroy you from the earth?” 12 And David commanded his young men, and they killed them, and cut off their hands and feet, and hanged them beside the pool at Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bo′sheth, and buried it in the tomb of Abner at Hebron.

David Anointed King of All Israel

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you that led out and brought in Israel; and the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

Jerusalem Made Capital of the United Kingdom

And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jeb′usites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off”—thinking, “David cannot come in here.” Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. And David said on that day, “Whoever would smite the Jeb′usites, let him get up the water shaft to attack the lame and the blind, who are hated by David’s soul.” Therefore it is said, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.” And David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. And David built the city round about from the Millo inward. 10 And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.

11 And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, also carpenters and masons who built David a house. 12 And David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

13 And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron; and more sons and daughters were born to David. 14 And these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Sham′mu-a, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Eli′shu-a, Nepheg, Japhi′a, 16 Elish′ama, Eli′ada, and Eliph′elet.

Philistine Attack Repulsed

17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, all the Philistines went up in search of David; but David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the valley of Reph′aim. 19 And David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Wilt thou give them into my hand?” And the Lord said to David, “Go up; for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” 20 And David came to Ba′al-pera′zim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through[d] my enemies before me, like a bursting flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Ba′al-pera′zim.[e] 21 And the Philistines left their idols there, and David and his men carried them away.

22 And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread out in the valley of Reph′aim. 23 And when David inquired of the Lord, he said, “You shall not go up; go around to their rear, and come upon them opposite the balsam trees. 24 And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then bestir yourself; for then the Lord has gone out before you to smite the army of the Philistines.” 25 And David did as the Lord commanded him, and smote the Philistines from Geba to Gezer.

David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem

David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Ba′ale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. And they carried the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abin′adab which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahi′o,[f] the sons of Abin′adab, were driving the new cart[g] with the ark of God; and Ahi′o[h] went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the Lord with all their might, with songs[i] and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.

And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there because he put forth his hand to the ark;[j] and he died there beside the ark of God. And David was angry because the Lord had broken forth upon Uzzah; and that place is called Pe′rez-uz′zah,[k] to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” 10 So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David; but David took it aside to the house of O′bed-e′dom the Gittite. 11 And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of O′bed-e′dom the Gittite three months; and the Lord blessed O′bed-e′dom and all his household.

12 And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of O′bed-e′dom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of O′bed-e′dom to the city of David with rejoicing; 13 and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the horn.

16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. 17 And they brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent which David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 18 And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, 19 and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat,[l] and a cake of raisins. Then all the people departed, each to his house.

20 And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ maids, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21 And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father, and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will make merry before the Lord. 22 I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your[m] eyes; but by the maids of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” 23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

God’s Covenant with David

Now when the king dwelt in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies round about, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart; for the Lord is with you.”

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges[n] of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. When he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men; 15 but I will not take[o] my steadfast love from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.’” 17 In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

David’s Prayer

18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me thus far? 19 And yet this was a small thing in thy eyes, O Lord God; thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast shown me future generations,[p] O Lord God! 20 And what more can David say to thee? For thou knowest thy servant, O Lord God! 21 Because of thy promise, and according to thy own heart, thou hast wrought all this greatness, to make thy servant know it. 22 Therefore thou art great, O Lord God; for there is none like thee, and there is no God besides thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 23 What other[q] nation on earth is like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name, and doing for them[r] great and terrible things, by driving out[s] before his people a nation and its gods?[t] 24 And thou didst establish for thyself thy people Israel to be thy people for ever; and thou, O Lord, didst become their God. 25 And now, O Lord God, confirm for ever the word which thou hast spoken concerning thy servant and concerning his house, and do as thou hast spoken; 26 and thy name will be magnified for ever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of thy servant David will be established before thee. 27 For thou, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, hast made this revelation to thy servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’; therefore thy servant has found courage to pray this prayer to thee. 28 And now, O Lord God, thou art God, and thy words are true, and thou hast promised this good thing to thy servant; 29 now therefore may it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee; for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken, and with thy blessing shall the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.”

David’s Wars

After this David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and David took Meth′eg-am′mah out of the hand of the Philistines.

And he defeated Moab, and measured them with a line, making them lie down on the ground; two lines he measured to be put to death, and one full line to be spared. And the Moabites became servants to David and brought tribute.

David also defeated Hadade′zer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to restore his power at the river Euphra′tes. And David took from him a thousand and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand foot soldiers; and David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left enough for a hundred chariots. And when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadade′zer king of Zobah, David slew twenty-two thousand men of the Syrians. Then David put garrisons in Aram of Damascus; and the Syrians became servants to David and brought tribute. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went. And David took the shields of gold which were carried by the servants of Hadade′zer, and brought them to Jerusalem. And from Betah and from Bero′thai, cities of Hadade′zer, King David took very much bronze.

When To′i king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the whole army of Hadade′zer, 10 To′i sent his son Joram to King David, to greet him, and to congratulate him because he had fought against Hadade′zer and defeated him; for Hadade′zer had often been at war with To′i. And Joram brought with him articles of silver, of gold, and of bronze; 11 these also King David dedicated to the Lord, together with the silver and gold which he dedicated from all the nations he subdued, 12 from Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, Am′alek, and from the spoil of Hadade′zer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah.

13 And David won a name for himself. When he returned, he slew eighteen thousand E′domites[u] in the Valley of Salt. 14 And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the E′domites became David’s servants. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.

David’s Officers

15 So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and equity to all his people. 16 And Jo′ab the son of Zeru′iah was over the army; and Jehosh′aphat the son of Ahi′lud was recorder; 17 and Zadok the son of Ahi′tub and Ahim′elech the son of Abi′athar were priests; and Serai′ah was secretary; 18 and Benai′ah the son of Jehoi′ada was over[v] the Cher′ethites and the Pel′ethites; and David’s sons were priests.

David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth

And David said, “Is there still any one left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David; and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “Your servant is he.” And the king said, “Is there not still some one of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Am′miel, at Lo-debar.” Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Am′miel, at Lo-debar. And Mephib′osheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David, and fell on his face and did obeisance. And David said, “Mephib′osheth!” And he answered, “Behold, your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear; for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father; and you shall eat at my table always.” And he did obeisance, and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon a dead dog such as I?”

Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s son. 10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him, and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s son may have bread to eat; but Mephib′osheth your master’s son shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephib′osheth ate at David’s[w] table, like one of the king’s sons. 12 And Mephib′osheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who dwelt in Ziba’s house became Mephib′osheth’s servants. 13 So Mephib′osheth dwelt in Jerusalem; for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.

The Ammonites and Arameans Are Defeated

10 After this the king of the Ammonites died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. And David said, “I will deal loyally with Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father dealt loyally with me.” So David sent by his servants to console him concerning his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the Ammonites. But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Has not David sent his servants to you to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?” So Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off half the beard of each, and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away. When it was told David, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.”

When the Ammonites saw that they had become odious to David, the Ammonites sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-re′hob, and the Syrians of Zobah, twenty thousand foot soldiers, and the king of Ma′acah with a thousand men, and the men of Tob, twelve thousand men. And when David heard of it, he sent Jo′ab and all the host of the mighty men. And the Ammonites came out and drew up in battle array at the entrance of the gate; and the Syrians of Zobah and of Rehob, and the men of Tob and Ma′acah, were by themselves in the open country.

When Jo′ab saw that the battle was set against him both in front and in the rear, he chose some of the picked men of Israel, and arrayed them against the Syrians; 10 the rest of his men he put in the charge of Abi′shai his brother, and he arrayed them against the Ammonites. 11 And he said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. 12 Be of good courage, and let us play the man for our people, and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” 13 So Jo′ab and the people who were with him drew near to battle against the Syrians; and they fled before him. 14 And when the Ammonites saw that the Syrians fled, they likewise fled before Abi′shai, and entered the city. Then Jo′ab returned from fighting against the Ammonites, and came to Jerusalem.

15 But when the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered themselves together. 16 And Hadade′zer sent, and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the Euphra′tes;[x] and they came to Helam, with Shobach the commander of the army of Hadade′zer at their head. 17 And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and crossed the Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians arrayed themselves against David, and fought with him. 18 And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians the men of seven hundred chariots, and forty thousand horsemen, and wounded Shobach the commander of their army, so that he died there. 19 And when all the kings who were servants of Hadade′zer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel, and became subject to them. So the Syrians feared to help the Ammonites any more.

David Commits Adultery with Bathsheba

11 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, David sent Jo′ab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking upon the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathshe′ba, the daughter of Eli′am, the wife of Uri′ah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am with child.”

So David sent word to Jo′ab, “Send me Uri′ah the Hittite.” And Jo′ab sent Uri′ah to David. When Uri′ah came to him, David asked how Jo′ab was doing, and how the people fared, and how the war prospered. Then David said to Uri′ah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” And Uri′ah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uri′ah 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, “Uri′ah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uri′ah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11 Uri′ah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths; and my lord Jo′ab and 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 as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” 12 Then David said to Uri′ah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.” So Uri′ah remained in Jerusalem that day, and the next. 13 And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.

David Has Uriah Killed

14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Jo′ab, and sent it by the hand of Uri′ah. 15 In the letter he wrote, “Set Uri′ah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.” 16 And as Jo′ab was besieging the city, he assigned Uri′ah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 And the men of the city came out and fought with Jo′ab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uri′ah the Hittite was slain also. 18 Then Jo′ab 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 Who killed Abim′elech the son of Jerub′besheth? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone upon him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’ then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uri′ah the Hittite is dead also.’”

22 So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Jo′ab 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 Uri′ah the Hittite is dead also.” 25 David said to the messenger, “Thus shall you say to Jo′ab, ‘Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another; strengthen your attack upon the city, and overthrow it.’ And encourage him.”

26 When the wife of Uri′ah heard that Uri′ah her husband was dead, she made lamentation for her husband. 27 And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

Nathan Condemns David

12 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; 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 bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. 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 wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

Nathan said to David, “You are the man. Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul; and I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have smitten Uri′ah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain 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 Uri′ah 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; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.’” 13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord,[y] the child that is born to you shall die.” 15 Then Nathan went to his house.

Bathsheba’s Child Dies

And the Lord struck the child that Uri′ah’s wife bore to David, and it became sick. 16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in and lay all night upon 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 feared 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 perceived 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, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord, 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 it 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, ‘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, but he will not return to me.”

Solomon Is Born

24 Then David comforted his wife, Bathshe′ba, and went in to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him, 25 and sent a message by Nathan the prophet; so he called his name Jedidi′ah,[z] because of the Lord.

The Ammonites Crushed

26 Now Jo′ab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites, and took the royal city. 27 And Jo′ab 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[aa] from his head; the weight of it was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone; and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city, a very great amount. 31 And he brought forth the people who were in it, and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and iron axes, and made them toil at[ab] the brickkilns; 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 Ab′salom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar; and after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her. 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. But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jon′adab, the son of Shim′e-ah, David’s brother; and Jon′adab was a very crafty man. 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 Ab′salom’s sister.” Jon′adab 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.’” So Amnon lay down, and pretended to be ill; and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Pray let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.”

Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house, and prepare food for him.” 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. And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “Send out every one from me.” So every one 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 force me; for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this wanton folly. 13 As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the wanton fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray you, 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 forced 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, “Arise, be gone.” 16 But she said to him, “No, my brother; for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other which you did to me.”[ac] 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 a long robe with sleeves; for thus were the virgin daughters of the king clad of old.[ad] So his servant put her out, and bolted the door after her. 19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent the long robe which she wore; and she laid her hand on her head, and went away, crying aloud as she went.

20 And her brother Ab′salom 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 dwelt, a desolate woman, in her brother Ab′salom’s house. 21 When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. 22 But Ab′salom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Ab′salom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.

Absalom Avenges the Violation of His Sister

23 After two full years Ab′salom had sheepshearers at Ba′al-ha′zor, which is near E′phraim, and Ab′salom invited all the king’s sons. 24 And Ab′salom came to the king, and said, “Behold, your servant has sheepshearers; pray let the king and his servants go with your servant.” 25 But the king said to Ab′salom, “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 Ab′salom said, “If not, pray let my brother Amnon go with us.” And the king said to him, “Why should he go with you?” 27 But Ab′salom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him. 28 Then Ab′salom commanded his servants, “Mark when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then kill him. Fear not; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant.” 29 So the servants of Ab′salom did to Amnon as Ab′salom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and each mounted his mule and fled.

30 While they were on the way, tidings came to David, “Ab′salom has slain all the king’s sons, and not one of them is left.” 31 Then the king arose, and rent his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants who were standing by rent their garments. 32 But Jon′adab the son of Shim′e-ah, 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 Ab′salom this has been determined from the day he forced his sister Tamar. 33 Now therefore let not my lord the king so take it to heart as to suppose that all the king’s sons are dead; for Amnon alone is dead.”

34 But Ab′salom fled. And the young man who kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, many people were coming from the Horona′im road[ae] by the side of the mountain. 35 And Jon′adab 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 But Ab′salom fled, and went to Talmai the son of Ammi′hud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day. 38 So Ab′salom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years. 39 And the spirit[af] of the king longed to go forth to Ab′salom; for he was comforted about Amnon, seeing he was dead.

Absalom Returns to Jerusalem

14 Now Jo′ab the son of Zeru′iah perceived that the king’s heart went out to Ab′salom. And Jo′ab sent to Teko′a, and fetched from there a wise woman, and said to her, “Pretend to be a mourner, and put on mourning garments; do not anoint yourself with oil, but behave like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead; and go to the king, and speak thus to him.” So Jo′ab put the words in her mouth.

When the woman of Teko′a came to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and said, “Help, O king.” And the king said to her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead. And your handmaid had two sons, and they quarreled with one another in the field; there was no one to part them, and one struck the other and killed him. And now the whole family has risen against your handmaid, and they say, ‘Give up the man who struck his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he slew’; and so they would destroy the heir also. Thus they would quench my coal which is left, and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant upon the face of the earth.”

Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.” And the woman of Teko′a said to the king, “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 any one says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall never touch you again.” 11 Then she said, “Pray let the king invoke the Lord your God, that the avenger of blood slay no more, and my son be not destroyed.” He said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”

12 Then the woman said, “Pray let your handmaid 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 the people of God? For in giving this decision the king convicts himself, inasmuch as the king does not bring his banished one home again. 14 We must all die, we are like water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; but God will not take away the life of him who devises[ag] means not to keep his banished one an outcast. 15 Now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid; and your handmaid 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 the heritage of God.’ 17 And your handmaid thought, ‘The word of my lord the king will set me at rest’; for my lord the king is 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 Jo′ab with you in all this?” The woman answered and said, “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 Jo′ab who bade me; it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid. 20 In order to change the course of affairs your servant Jo′ab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God to know all things that are on the earth.”

21 Then the king said to Jo′ab, “Behold now, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Ab′salom.” 22 And Jo′ab fell on his face to the ground, and did obeisance, and blessed the king; and Jo′ab 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 Jo′ab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Ab′salom to Jerusalem. 24 And the king said, “Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence.” So Ab′salom dwelt apart in his own house, and did not come into the king’s presence.

David Forgives Absalom

25 Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his beauty as Ab′salom; 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 cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by the king’s weight. 27 There were born to Ab′salom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a beautiful woman.

28 So Ab′salom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king’s presence. 29 Then Ab′salom sent for Jo′ab, to send him to the king; but Jo′ab would not come to him. And he sent a second time, but Jo′ab would not come. 30 Then he said to his servants, “See, Jo′ab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Ab′salom’s servants set the field on fire. 31 Then Jo′ab arose and went to Ab′salom at his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” 32 Ab′salom answered Jo′ab, “Behold, I sent word to you, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king, to ask, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.” Now therefore let me go into the presence of the king; and if there is guilt in me, let him kill me.’” 33 Then Jo′ab went to the king, and told him; and he summoned Ab′salom. So he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king; and the king kissed Ab′salom.

Absalom Usurps the Throne

15 After this Ab′salom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Ab′salom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate; and when any man had a suit to come before the king for judgment, Ab′salom 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,” Ab′salom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right; but there is no man deputed by the king to hear you.” Ab′salom said moreover, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a suit or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” And whenever a man came near to do obeisance to him, he would put out his hand, and take hold of him, and kiss him. Thus Ab′salom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Ab′salom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

And at the end of four[ah] years Ab′salom said to the king, “Pray let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the Lord, in Hebron. For your servant vowed a vow while I dwelt at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the Lord.’” The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose, and went to Hebron. 10 But Ab′salom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Ab′salom is king at Hebron!’” 11 With Ab′salom went two hundred men from Jerusalem who were invited guests, and they went in their simplicity, and knew nothing. 12 And while Ab′salom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for[ai] Ahith′ophel the Gi′lonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Ab′salom kept increasing.

David Flees from Jerusalem

13 And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Ab′salom.” 14 Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee; or else there will be no escape for us from Ab′salom; go in haste, lest he overtake us quickly, and bring down evil upon us, and smite 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 forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten concubines to keep the house. 17 And the king went forth, and all the people after him; and they halted at the last house. 18 And all his servants passed by him; and all the Cher′ethites, and all the Pel′ethites, and all the six hundred Gittites who had followed him from Gath, passed on before the king.

19 Then the king said to It′tai 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[aj] your home. 20 You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, seeing I go I know not where? Go back, and take your brethren with you; and may the Lord show[ak] steadfast love and faithfulness to you.” 21 But It′tai answered the king, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, there also will your servant be.” 22 And David said to It′tai, “Go then, pass on.” So It′tai the Gittite passed on, with all his men and all the little ones who were with him. 23 And all the country wept aloud as all the people passed by, and the king crossed the brook Kidron, and all the people passed on toward the wilderness.

24 And Abi′athar came up, and lo, Zadok came also, with all the Levites, 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 bring me back and let me see both it and his habitation; 26 but if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.” 27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Look,[al] go back to the city in peace, you and Abi′athar,[am] with your two sons, Ahim′a-az your son, and Jonathan the son of Abi′athar. 28 See, I will wait at the fords of the wilderness, until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abi′athar 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, barefoot and with his head covered; and all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. 31 And it was told David, “Ahith′ophel is among the conspirators with Ab′salom.” And David said, “O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahith′ophel into foolishness.”

Hushai Becomes David’s Spy

32 When David came to the summit, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent and earth upon his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city, and say to Ab′salom, ‘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 Ahith′ophel. 35 Are not Zadok and Abi′athar the priests with you there? So whatever you hear from the king’s house, tell it to Zadok and Abi′athar the priests. 36 Behold, their two sons are with them there, Ahim′a-az, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abi′athar’s son; and by them you shall send to me everything you hear.” 37 So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city, just as Ab′salom was entering Jerusalem.

David’s Adversaries

16 When David had passed a little beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephib′osheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, bearing two hundred loaves of bread, 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, “The asses 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 faint in the wilderness to drink.” And the king said, “And where is your master’s son?” 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 Mephib′osheth is now yours.” And Ziba said, “I do obeisance; let me ever find favor in your sight, my lord the king.”

Shimei Curses David

When King David came to Bahu′rim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shim′e-i, the son of Gera; and as he came 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 Shim′e-i said as he cursed, “Begone, begone, you man of blood, you worthless fellow! The Lord has avenged upon you all 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 Ab′salom. See, your ruin is on you; for you are a man of blood.”

Then Abi′shai the son of Zeru′iah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” 10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeru′iah? 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 Abi′shai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord has bidden him. 12 It may be that the Lord will look upon my affliction,[an] and that the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing of me today.” 13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shim′e-i went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him and flung dust. 14 And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan;[ao] and there he refreshed himself.

The Counsel of Ahithophel

15 Now Ab′salom and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahith′ophel with him. 16 And when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Ab′salom, Hushai said to Ab′salom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17 And Ab′salom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?” 18 And Hushai said to Ab′salom, “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, whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? As I have served your father, so I will serve you.”

20 Then Ab′salom said to Ahith′ophel, “Give your counsel; what shall we do?” 21 Ahith′ophel said to Ab′salom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; and all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father, and the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Ab′salom upon the roof; and Ab′salom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23 Now in those days the counsel which Ahith′ophel gave was as if one consulted the oracle[ap] of God; so was all the counsel of Ahith′ophel esteemed, both by David and by Ab′salom.

17 Moreover Ahith′ophel said to Ab′salom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will set out and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and discouraged, and throw him into a panic; and all the people who are with him will flee. I will strike down the king only, 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,[aq] and all the people will be at peace.” And the advice pleased Ab′salom and all the elders of Israel.

The Counsel of Hushai

Then Ab′salom said, “Call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say.” And when Hushai came to Ab′salom, Ab′salom said to him, “Thus has Ahith′ophel spoken; shall we do as he advises? If not, you speak.” Then Hushai said to Ab′salom, “This time the counsel which Ahith′ophel has given is not good.” Hushai said moreover, “You know that your father and his men are mighty men, and that they are enraged, 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 when some of the people fall[ar] at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Ab′salom.’ 10 Then even the valiant man, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly 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, from Dan to Beer-sheba, 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.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Samuel 2:16 That is the field of sword-edges
  2. 2 Samuel 3:12 Gk: Heb where he was
  3. 2 Samuel 4:6 Gk: Heb And hither they came into the midst of the house fetching wheat; and they smote him in the belly; and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped
  4. 2 Samuel 5:20 Heb paraz
  5. 2 Samuel 5:20 That is Lord of breaking through
  6. 2 Samuel 6:3 Or and his brother
  7. 2 Samuel 6:3 Compare Gk: Heb the new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was on the hill
  8. 2 Samuel 6:4 Or and his brother
  9. 2 Samuel 6:5 Gk 1 Chr 13.8: Heb fir-trees
  10. 2 Samuel 6:7 1 Chr 13.10: Heb uncertain
  11. 2 Samuel 6:8 That is The breaking forth upon Uzzah
  12. 2 Samuel 6:19 Vg: Heb uncertain
  13. 2 Samuel 6:22 Gk: Heb my
  14. 2 Samuel 7:7 1 Chr 17.6: Heb tribes
  15. 2 Samuel 7:15 Gk Syr Vg 1 Chr 17.13: Heb shall not depart
  16. 2 Samuel 7:19 Cn: Heb this is the law for man
  17. 2 Samuel 7:23 Gk: Heb one
  18. 2 Samuel 7:23 Heb you
  19. 2 Samuel 7:23 Gk 1 Chr 17.21: Heb for your land
  20. 2 Samuel 7:23 Heb before thy people, whom thou didst redeem for thyself from Egypt, nations and its gods
  21. 2 Samuel 8:13 Gk: Heb returned from smiting eighteen thousand Syrians
  22. 2 Samuel 8:18 Syr Tg Vg 20.23; 1 Chr 18.17: Heb lacks was over
  23. 2 Samuel 9:11 Gk: Heb my
  24. 2 Samuel 10:16 Heb river
  25. 2 Samuel 12:14 Heb the enemies of the Lord
  26. 2 Samuel 12:25 That is beloved of the Lord
  27. 2 Samuel 12:30 Or Milcom See Zeph 1.5
  28. 2 Samuel 12:31 Cn: Heb pass through
  29. 2 Samuel 13:16 Cn Compare Gk Vg: Heb No, for this great wrong in sending me away is (worse) than the other which you did to me
  30. 2 Samuel 13:18 Cn: Heb clad in robes
  31. 2 Samuel 13:34 Cn Compare Gk: Heb the road behind him
  32. 2 Samuel 13:39 Gk: Heb David
  33. 2 Samuel 14:14 Cn: Heb and he devises
  34. 2 Samuel 15:7 Gk Syr: Heb forty
  35. 2 Samuel 15:12 Or sent
  36. 2 Samuel 15:19 Gk Syr Vg: Heb to
  37. 2 Samuel 15:20 Gk: Heb lacks may the Lord show
  38. 2 Samuel 15:27 Gk: Heb Are you a seer? or Do you see?
  39. 2 Samuel 15:27 Cn: Heb lacks and Abiathar
  40. 2 Samuel 16:12 Gk Vg: Heb iniquity
  41. 2 Samuel 16:14 Gk: Heb lacks at the Jordan
  42. 2 Samuel 16:23 Heb word
  43. 2 Samuel 17:3 Gk: Heb like the return of the whole (is) the man whom you seek
  44. 2 Samuel 17:9 Or when he falls upon them
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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