2 Samuel 18:1-8 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
18 David reviewed his troops and appointed commanders of thousands and of hundreds over them. 2 He then sent out the troops, a third under Joab, a third under Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under Ittai of Gath. The king said to the troops, “I must also march out with you.”
3 “You must not go!” the people pleaded. “If we have to flee, they will not pay any attention to us. Even if half of us die, they will not pay any attention to us because you are worth[a] ten thousand of us. Therefore, it is better if you support us from the city.”
4 “I will do whatever you think is best,” the king replied to them. So he stood beside the city gate while all the troops marched out by hundreds and thousands. 5 The king commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, “Treat the young man Absalom gently for my sake.” All the people heard the king’s orders to all the commanders about Absalom.
6 Then David’s forces marched into the field to engage Israel in battle, which took place in the forest of Ephraim. 7 Israel’s army was defeated by David’s soldiers, and the slaughter there was vast that day—twenty thousand dead. 8 The battle spread over the entire area, and that day the forest claimed more people than the sword.
2 Samuel 18:1-8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Defeat and Death of Absalom
18 Then David mustered the men who were with him, and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 And David divided the army into three groups:[a] one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the men, “I myself will also go out with you.” 3 But the men said, “You shall not go out. For if we flee, they will not care about us. If half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us;[b] therefore it is better that you send us help from the city.” 4 The king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood at the side of the gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands. 5 The king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders concerning Absalom.
6 So the army went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7 The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. 8 The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest claimed more victims that day than the sword.