2 Samuel 15:13-17:14
New International Version
13 A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”
14 Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We must flee,(A) or none of us will escape from Absalom.(B) We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.”
15 The king’s officials answered him, “Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king chooses.”
16 The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines(C) to take care of the palace. 17 So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at the edge of the city. 18 All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites(D) and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.
19 The king said to Ittai(E) the Gittite, “Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner,(F) an exile from your homeland. 20 You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander(G) about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your people with you. May the Lord show you kindness and faithfulness.”[a](H)
21 But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.”(I)
22 David said to Ittai, “Go ahead, march on.” So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.
24 Zadok(L) was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark(M) of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar(N) offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving the city.
25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place(O) again. 26 But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.(P)”
27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Do you understand?(Q) Go back to the city with my blessing. Take your son Ahimaaz with you, and also Abiathar’s son Jonathan.(R) You and Abiathar return with your two sons. 28 I will wait at the fords(S) in the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
30 But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping(T) as he went; his head(U) was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up. 31 Now David had been told, “Ahithophel(V) is among the conspirators with Absalom.” So David prayed, “Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.”
32 When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God, Hushai(W) the Arkite(X) was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust(Y) on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go with me, you will be a burden(Z) to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘Your Majesty, I will be your servant; I was your father’s servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,’(AA) then you can help me by frustrating(AB) Ahithophel’s advice. 35 Won’t the priests Zadok and Abiathar be there with you? Tell them anything you hear in the king’s palace.(AC) 36 Their two sons, Ahimaaz(AD) son of Zadok and Jonathan(AE) son of Abiathar, are there with them. Send them to me with anything you hear.”
David and Ziba
16 When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba,(AH) the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine.(AI)
2 The king asked Ziba, “Why have you brought these?”
Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh(AJ) those who become exhausted in the wilderness.”
3 The king then asked, “Where is your master’s grandson?”(AK)
Ziba(AL) said to him, “He is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, ‘Today the Israelites will restore to me my grandfather’s kingdom.’”
4 Then the king said to Ziba, “All that belonged to Mephibosheth(AM) is now yours.”
“I humbly bow,” Ziba said. “May I find favor in your eyes, my lord the king.”
Shimei Curses David
5 As King David approached Bahurim,(AN) a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei(AO) son of Gera, and he cursed(AP) as he came out. 6 He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. 7 As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! 8 The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned.(AQ) The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”(AR)
11 David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son,(AX) my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to.(AY) 12 It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery(AZ) and restore to me his covenant blessing(BA) instead of his curse today.(BB)”
13 So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. 14 The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted.(BC) And there he refreshed himself.
The Advice of Ahithophel and Hushai
15 Meanwhile, Absalom(BD) and all the men of Israel came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel(BE) was with him. 16 Then Hushai(BF) the Arkite, David’s confidant, went to Absalom and said to him, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
17 Absalom said to Hushai, “So this is the love you show your friend? If he’s your friend, why didn’t you go with him?”(BG)
18 Hushai said to Absalom, “No, the one chosen by the Lord, by these people, and by all the men of Israel—his I will be, and I will remain with him. 19 Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve the son? Just as I served your father, so I will serve you.”(BH)
20 Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give us your advice. What should we do?”
21 Ahithophel answered, “Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself obnoxious to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.(BI)
17 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “I would[b] choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David. 2 I would attack him while he is weary and weak.(BL) I would strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I would strike down only the king(BM) 3 and bring all the people back to you. The death of the man you seek will mean the return of all; all the people will be unharmed.” 4 This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel.
5 But Absalom said, “Summon also Hushai(BN) the Arkite, so we can hear what he has to say as well.” 6 When Hushai came to him, Absalom said, “Ahithophel has given this advice. Should we do what he says? If not, give us your opinion.”
7 Hushai replied to Absalom, “The advice Ahithophel has given is not good this time. 8 You know your father and his men; they are fighters, and as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs.(BO) Besides, your father is an experienced fighter;(BP) he will not spend the night with the troops. 9 Even now, he is hidden in a cave or some other place.(BQ) If he should attack your troops first,[c] whoever hears about it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.’ 10 Then even the bravest soldier, whose heart is like the heart of a lion,(BR) will melt(BS) with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a fighter and that those with him are brave.(BT)
11 “So I advise you: Let all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba(BU)—as numerous as the sand(BV) on the seashore—be gathered to you, with you yourself leading them into battle. 12 Then we will attack him wherever he may be found, and we will fall on him as dew settles on the ground. Neither he nor any of his men will be left alive. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it down to the valley(BW) until not so much as a pebble is left.”
14 Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice(BX) of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel.”(BY) For the Lord had determined to frustrate(BZ) the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster(CA) on Absalom.(CB)