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15 And it came to pass after this, that Avshalom prepared him merkavah and susim, and fifty ish to run before him.

And Avshalom rose up early, and stood beside the derech hasha’ar; and it was so, that when any ish that had a riv (lawsuit, complaint) came to HaMelech for mishpat, then Avshalom called unto him, and said, Of what town art thou? And he said, Thy eved is of one of the Shivtei Yisroel.

And Avshalom said unto him, See, thy case is tovim and right; but there is no man deputy of HaMelech to hear thee.

Avshalom said moreover, Oh that I were made Shofet in the land, that every ish which hath any riv or mishpat might come unto me, and I would bring him justice!

And it was so, that when any ish came near to him to prostrate himself before him, he put forth his yad, and took him, and kissed him.

And on this manner did Avshalom to kol Yisroel that came to HaMelech for mishpat; so Avshalom stole the lev anshei Yisroel.

And it came to pass after arba’im shanah, that Avshalom said unto HaMelech, Now let me go and fulfill my neder, which I have vowed unto Hashem, in Chevron.

For thy eved vowed a neder (vow) while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If Hashem shall bring me again indeed to Yerushalayim, then I will serve Hashem.

And HaMelech said unto him, Go in shalom. So he arose, and went to Chevron.

10 But Avshalom sent secret messengers throughout kol Shivtei Yisroel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the shofar, then ye shall say, Avshalom reigneth in Chevron.

11 And with Avshalom went two hundred ish out of Yerushalayim, that were invited; and they went innocently, and they had da’as of not anything.

12 And Avshalom sent for Achitophel the Giloni, Dovid’s yo’etz (counsellor), from his town, even from Giloh, while he offered zivakhim. And the kesher (conspiracy) was strong; for the people increased continually with Avshalom.

13 And there came a maggid to Dovid, saying, Lev Ish Yisroel are with Avshalom.

14 And Dovid said unto all his avadim that were with him at Yerushalayim, Arise, and let us flee; or else we shall not escape from Avshalom; make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring ra’ah (disaster) upon us, and strike the Ir with the edge of the cherev.

15 And the avadim of HaMelech said unto HaMelech, Hinei, thy avadim are ready to do whatsoever adoni HaMelech commands.

16 And HaMelech went forth, and all his Bais after him. And HaMelech left ten nashim, which were pilagshim (concubines), to be shomer over the Bais (palace).

17 And HaMelech went forth, and kol haAm after him, and tarried in a place that was far off.

18 And all his avadim passed on by his yad; and all the Kereti, and all the Peleti, and all the Gittim, six hundred men which came after him from Gat, passed on before HaMelech.

19 Then said HaMelech to Ittai the Gitti, Why goest thou also with us? Return to thy place, and abide with HaMelech; for thou art a nokhri (foreigner), and also an exile.

20 Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee wander about with us? Seeing I go to where I may, shuv (return thou), and take back thy brethren; chesed and emes be with thee.

21 And Ittai answered HaMelech, and said, As Hashem liveth, and as adoni HaMelech liveth, surely in what makom adoni HaMelech shall be, whether in mavet or chayyim, even there also will thy eved be [Ruth 1:17].

22 And Dovid said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gitti passed over, and all his anashim, and all the little ones that were with him.

23 And kol ha’aretz wept with a kol gadol (loud voice), and kol haAm crossed over; HaMelech also himself crossed over the brook Kidron, and kol haAm crossed over, toward the derech of the midbar.

24 And hinei Tzadok also, and all the Levi’im were with him, bearing the Aron Brit HaElohim; and they set down the Aron HaElohim; and Evyatar (Abiathar) went up, until kol HaAm had done passing out of the Ir.

25 And HaMelech said unto Tzadok, Carry back the Aron HaElohim into the Ir; if I shall find chen (grace) in the eyes of Hashem, He will bring me again, and show me both Him, and His habitation;

26 But if He thus say, I have no delight in thee; hinei, here am I, let Him do to me as seemeth tov unto Him.

27 HaMelech said also unto Tzadok HaKohen, Art not thou the Ro’eh (seer)? Return into the Ir in shalom, and your two banim with you, Achima’atz binecha, and Yonatan Ben Evyatar (Abiathar).

28 See, I will tarry in the fords of the wilderness, until there come davar from you to inform me.

29 Tzadok therefore and Evyatar (Abiathar) carried the Aron HaElohim back to Yerushalayim; and they tarried there.

30 And Dovid went up by the ascent of Ma’aleh HaZeitim (Mount of Olives), and wept as he went up, and had his rosh covered, and he went barefoot; and kol haAm with him covered every ish his rosh, and they went up, weeping as they went up.

31 And one told Dovid, saying, Achitophel is among the conspirators with Avshalom. And Dovid said, Hashem, turn now the etza (counsel) of Achitophel into foolishness.

32 And it came to pass, that when Dovid was come to the top of the mount, where he worshiped Elohim, hinei, Chushai the Arki came to meet him with his kesones torn, and adamah upon his rosh;

33 Unto whom Dovid said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a massa (burden) unto me;

34 But if thou return to the Ir, and say unto Avshalom, I will be thy eved, O melech; as I have been eved avicha hitherto, so will I now also be thy eved; then mayest thou for me bring to nought the etza (counsel) of Achitophel.

35 And hast thou not there with thee Tzadok and Evyatar (Abiathar) the kohanim? Therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the Bais HaMelech, thou shalt tell it to Tzadok and Evyatar (Abiathar) the kohanim.

36 Hinei, they have there with them their two banim, Achima’atz son of Tzadok, and Yonatan of Evyatar; by them ye shall send unto me everything that ye can hear.

37 So Chushai the re’eh Dovid came into the Ir, and Avshalom came into Yerushalayim.

Absalom’s Conspiracy

15 In the course of time,(A) Absalom provided himself with a chariot(B) and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate.(C) Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?” He would answer, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.”(D) And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land!(E) Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.”

Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts(F) of the people of Israel.

At the end of four[a] years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the Lord. While your servant was living at Geshur(G) in Aram, I made this vow:(H) ‘If the Lord takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the Lord in Hebron.[b]’”

The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he went to Hebron.

10 Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets,(I) then say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’” 11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter. 12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel(J) the Gilonite, David’s counselor,(K) to come from Giloh,(L) his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing.(M)

David Flees

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,(N) or none of us will escape from Absalom.(O) 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(P) 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(Q) and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.

19 The king said to Ittai(R) the Gittite, “Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner,(S) an exile from your homeland. 20 You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander(T) 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.”[c](U)

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.”(V)

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.

23 The whole countryside wept aloud(W) as all the people passed by. The king also crossed the Kidron Valley,(X) and all the people moved on toward the wilderness.

24 Zadok(Y) was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark(Z) of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar(AA) 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(AB) 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.(AC)

27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Do you understand?(AD) Go back to the city with my blessing. Take your son Ahimaaz with you, and also Abiathar’s son Jonathan.(AE) You and Abiathar return with your two sons. 28 I will wait at the fords(AF) 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(AG) as he went; his head(AH) 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(AI) 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(AJ) the Arkite(AK) was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust(AL) on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go with me, you will be a burden(AM) 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,’(AN) then you can help me by frustrating(AO) 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.(AP) 36 Their two sons, Ahimaaz(AQ) son of Zadok and Jonathan(AR) son of Abiathar, are there with them. Send them to me with anything you hear.”

37 So Hushai,(AS) David’s confidant, arrived at Jerusalem as Absalom(AT) was entering the city.


  1. 2 Samuel 15:7 Some Septuagint manuscripts, Syriac and Josephus; Hebrew forty
  2. 2 Samuel 15:8 Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew does not have in Hebron.
  3. 2 Samuel 15:20 Septuagint; Hebrew May kindness and faithfulness be with you

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