2 Samuel 17:15-19:8
New International Version
15 Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, “Ahithophel has advised Absalom and the elders of Israel to do such and such, but I have advised them to do so and so. 16 Now send a message at once and tell David, ‘Do not spend the night at the fords in the wilderness;(A) cross over without fail, or the king and all the people with him will be swallowed up.(B)’”
17 Jonathan(C) and Ahimaaz were staying at En Rogel.(D) A female servant was to go and inform them, and they were to go and tell King David, for they could not risk being seen entering the city. 18 But a young man saw them and told Absalom. So the two of them left at once and went to the house of a man in Bahurim.(E) He had a well in his courtyard, and they climbed down into it. 19 His wife took a covering and spread it out over the opening of the well and scattered grain over it. No one knew anything about it.(F)
20 When Absalom’s men came to the woman(G) at the house, they asked, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
The woman answered them, “They crossed over the brook.”[a] The men searched but found no one, so they returned to Jerusalem.
21 After they had gone, the two climbed out of the well and went to inform King David. They said to him, “Set out and cross the river at once; Ahithophel has advised such and such against you.” 22 So David and all the people with him set out and crossed the Jordan. By daybreak, no one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.
23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice(H) had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order(I) and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.
24 David went to Mahanaim,(J) and Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel. 25 Absalom had appointed Amasa(K) over the army in place of Joab. Amasa was the son of Jether,[b](L) an Ishmaelite[c] who had married Abigail,[d] the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah the mother of Joab. 26 The Israelites and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.
27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash(M) from Rabbah(N) of the Ammonites, and Makir(O) son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai(P) the Gileadite(Q) from Rogelim 28 brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils,[e] 29 honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows’ milk for David and his people to eat.(R) For they said, “The people have become exhausted and hungry and thirsty in the wilderness.(S)”
18 David mustered the men who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 David sent out his troops,(T) a third under the command of Joab, a third under Joab’s brother Abishai(U) son of Zeruiah, and a third under Ittai(V) the Gittite. The king told the troops, “I myself will surely march out with you.”
3 But the men said, “You must not go out; if we are forced to flee, they won’t care about us. Even if half of us die, they won’t care; but you are worth ten(W) thousand of us.[f] It would be better now for you to give us support from the city.”(X)
4 The king answered, “I will do whatever seems best to you.”
So the king stood beside the gate while all his men marched out in units of hundreds and of thousands. 5 The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.
6 David’s army marched out of the city to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest(Y) of Ephraim. 7 There Israel’s troops were routed by David’s men, and the casualties that day were great—twenty thousand men. 8 The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword.
9 Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s hair(Z) got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.
10 When one of the men saw what had happened, he told Joab, “I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree.”
11 Joab said to the man who had told him this, “What! You saw him? Why didn’t you strike(AA) him to the ground right there? Then I would have had to give you ten shekels[g] of silver and a warrior’s belt.(AB)”
12 But the man replied, “Even if a thousand shekels[h] were weighed out into my hands, I would not lay a hand on the king’s son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.[i]’ 13 And if I had put my life in jeopardy[j]—and nothing is hidden from the king(AC)—you would have kept your distance from me.”
14 Joab(AD) said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. 15 And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.(AE)
16 Then Joab(AF) sounded the trumpet, and the troops stopped pursuing Israel, for Joab halted them. 17 They took Absalom, threw him into a big pit in the forest and piled up(AG) a large heap of rocks(AH) over him. Meanwhile, all the Israelites fled to their homes.
18 During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King’s Valley(AI) as a monument(AJ) to himself, for he thought, “I have no son(AK) to carry on the memory of my name.” He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.
20 “You are not the one to take the news today,” Joab told him. “You may take the news another time, but you must not do so today, because the king’s son is dead.”
21 Then Joab said to a Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed down before Joab and ran off.
22 Ahimaaz son of Zadok again said to Joab, “Come what may, please let me run behind the Cushite.”
But Joab replied, “My son, why do you want to go? You don’t have any news that will bring you a reward.”
23 He said, “Come what may, I want to run.”
So Joab said, “Run!” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain[k] and outran the Cushite.
24 While David was sitting between the inner and outer gates, the watchman(AN) went up to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked out, he saw a man running alone. 25 The watchman called out to the king and reported it.
The king said, “If he is alone, he must have good news.” And the runner came closer and closer.
26 Then the watchman saw another runner, and he called down to the gatekeeper, “Look, another man running alone!”
The king said, “He must be bringing good news,(AO) too.”
27 The watchman said, “It seems to me that the first one runs like(AP) Ahimaaz son of Zadok.”
“He’s a good man,” the king said. “He comes with good news.”
28 Then Ahimaaz called out to the king, “All is well!” He bowed down before the king with his face to the ground and said, “Praise be to the Lord your God! He has delivered up those who lifted their hands against my lord the king.”
29 The king asked, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”
Ahimaaz answered, “I saw great confusion just as Joab was about to send the king’s servant and me, your servant, but I don’t know what it was.”
30 The king said, “Stand aside and wait here.” So he stepped aside and stood there.
31 Then the Cushite arrived and said, “My lord the king, hear the good news! The Lord has vindicated you today by delivering you from the hand of all who rose up against you.”
32 The king asked the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”
The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man.”(AQ)
33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died(AR) instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”[l](AS)
19 [m]Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” 2 And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said, “The king is grieving for his son.” 3 The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle. 4 The king covered his face and cried aloud, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”
5 Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. 6 You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. 7 Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you from your youth till now.”(AT)
8 So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, “The king is sitting in the gateway,(AU)” they all came before him.
Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled to their homes.
- 2 Samuel 17:20 Or “They passed by the sheep pen toward the water.”
- 2 Samuel 17:25 Hebrew Ithra, a variant of Jether
- 2 Samuel 17:25 Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 1 Chron. 2:17); Hebrew and other Septuagint manuscripts Israelite
- 2 Samuel 17:25 Hebrew Abigal, a variant of Abigail
- 2 Samuel 17:28 Most Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac; Hebrew lentils, and roasted grain
- 2 Samuel 18:3 Two Hebrew manuscripts, some Septuagint manuscripts and Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts care; for now there are ten thousand like us
- 2 Samuel 18:11 That is, about 4 ounces or about 115 grams
- 2 Samuel 18:12 That is, about 25 pounds or about 12 kilograms
- 2 Samuel 18:12 A few Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts may be translated Absalom, whoever you may be.
- 2 Samuel 18:13 Or Otherwise, if I had acted treacherously toward him
- 2 Samuel 18:23 That is, the plain of the Jordan
- 2 Samuel 18:33 In Hebrew texts this verse (18:33) is numbered 19:1.
- 2 Samuel 19:1 In Hebrew texts 19:1-43 is numbered 19:2-44.