Psalm 3 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Trust in God under Adversity
A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
3 O Lord, how many are my foes!
3 But thou, O Lord, art a shield about me,
5 I lie down and sleep;
7 Arise, O Lord!
8 Deliverance belongs to the Lord;
2 Samuel 15-19 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Absalom Usurps the Throne
15 After this Ab′salom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 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,” 3 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.” 4 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.” 5 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. 6 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.
7 And at the end of four[a] years Ab′salom said to the king, “Pray let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the Lord, in Hebron. 8 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.’” 9 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[b] 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[c] 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[d] 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,[e] go back to the city in peace, you and Abi′athar,[f] 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.
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. 2 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.” 3 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.’” 4 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
5 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. 6 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. 7 And Shim′e-i said as he cursed, “Begone, begone, you man of blood, you worthless fellow! 8 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.”
9 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,[g] 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;[h] 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[i] 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. 2 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, 3 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,[j] and all the people will be at peace.” 4 And the advice pleased Ab′salom and all the elders of Israel.
The Counsel of Hushai
5 Then Ab′salom said, “Call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say.” 6 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.” 7 Then Hushai said to Ab′salom, “This time the counsel which Ahith′ophel has given is not good.” 8 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. 9 Behold, even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits, or in some other place. And when some of the people fall[k] 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. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we shall drag it into the valley, until not even a pebble is to be found there.” 14 And Ab′salom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahith′ophel.” For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahith′ophel, so that the Lord might bring evil upon Ab′salom.
Hushai Warns David to Escape
15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abi′athar the priests, “Thus and so did Ahith′ophel counsel Ab′salom and the elders of Israel; and thus and so have I counseled. 16 Now therefore send quickly and tell David, ‘Do not lodge tonight at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means pass over; lest the king and all the people who are with him be swallowed up.’” 17 Now Jonathan and Ahim′a-az were waiting at En-ro′gel; a maidservant used to go and tell them, and they would go and tell King David; for they must not be seen entering the city. 18 But a lad saw them, and told Ab′salom; so both of them went away quickly, and came to the house of a man at Bahu′rim, who had a well in his courtyard; and they went down into it. 19 And the woman took and spread a covering over the well’s mouth, and scattered grain upon it; and nothing was known of it. 20 When Ab′salom’s servants came to the woman at the house, they said, “Where are Ahim′a-az and Jonathan?” And the woman said to them, “They have gone over the brook[l] of water.” And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
21 After they had gone, the men came up out of the well, and went and told King David. They said to David, “Arise, and go quickly over the water; for thus and so has Ahith′ophel counseled against you.” 22 Then David arose, and all the people who were with him, and they crossed the Jordan; by daybreak not one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.
23 When Ahith′ophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and went off home to his own city. And he set his house in order, and hanged himself; and he died, and was buried in the tomb of his father.
24 Then David came to Mahana′im. And Ab′salom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel. 25 Now Ab′salom had set Ama′sa over the army instead of Jo′ab. Ama′sa was the son of a man named Ithra the Ish′maelite,[m] who had married Ab′igal the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeru′iah, Jo′ab’s mother. 26 And Israel and Ab′salom encamped in the land of Gilead.
27 When David came to Mahana′im, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir the son of Am′miel from Lo-debar, and Barzil′lai the Gileadite from Ro′gelim, 28 brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, meal, parched grain, beans and lentils,[n] 29 honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat; for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”
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 sent forth the army, one third under the command of Jo′ab, one third under the command of Abi′shai the son of Zeru′iah, Jo′ab’s brother, and one third under the command of It′tai the Gittite. And 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;[o] 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 And the king ordered Jo′ab and Abi′shai and It′tai, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Ab′salom.” And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders about Ab′salom.
6 So the army went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was fought in the forest of E′phraim. 7 And 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 devoured more people that day than the sword.
9 And Ab′salom chanced to meet the servants of David. Ab′salom was riding upon his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging[p] between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10 And a certain man saw it, and told Jo′ab, “Behold, I saw Ab′salom hanging in an oak.” 11 Jo′ab said to the man who told him, “What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a girdle.” 12 But the man said to Jo′ab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not put forth my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abi′shai and It′tai, ‘For my sake protect the young man Ab′salom.’ 13 On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life[q] (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.” 14 Jo′ab said, “I will not waste time like this with you.” And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Ab′salom, while he was still alive in the oak. 15 And ten young men, Jo′ab’s armor-bearers, surrounded Ab′salom and struck him, and killed him.
16 Then Jo′ab blew the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel; for Jo′ab restrained them. 17 And they took Ab′salom, and threw him into a great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones; and all Israel fled every one to his own home. 18 Now Ab′salom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar which is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance”; he called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Ab′salom’s monument to this day.
David Hears of Absalom’s Death
19 Then said Ahi′ma-az the son of Zadok, “Let me run, and carry tidings to the king that the Lord has delivered him from the power of his enemies.” 20 And Jo′ab said to him, “You are not to carry tidings today; you may carry tidings another day, but today you shall carry no tidings, because the king’s son is dead.” 21 Then Jo′ab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Jo′ab, and ran. 22 Then Ahi′ma-az the son of Zadok said again to Jo′ab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Jo′ab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the tidings?” 23 “Come what may,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahi′ma-az ran by the way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.
24 Now David was sitting between the two gates; and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he lifted up his eyes and looked, he saw a man running alone. 25 And the watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.” And he came apace, and drew near. 26 And the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gate and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also brings tidings.” 27 And the watchman said, “I think the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahi′ma-az the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man, and comes with good tidings.”
28 Then Ahi′ma-az cried out to the king, “All is well.” And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth, and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.” 29 And the king said, “Is it well with the young man Ab′salom?” Ahi′ma-az answered, “When Jo′ab sent your servant,[r] I saw a great tumult, but I do not know what it was.” 30 And the king said, “Turn aside, and stand here.” So he turned aside, and stood still.
David Mourns for Absalom
31 And behold, the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, “Good tidings for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the power of all who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Ab′salom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be like that young man.” 33 [s] And the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son Ab′salom, my son, my son Ab′salom! Would I had died instead of you, O Ab′salom, my son, my son!”
19 It was told Jo′ab, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Ab′salom.” 2 So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people; for the people heard that day, “The king is grieving for his son.” 3 And the people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. 4 The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, “O my son Ab′salom, O Ab′salom, my son, my son!” 5 Then Jo′ab came into the house to the king, and said, “You have today covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who have this day saved your life, and the lives of your sons and your daughters, and the lives of your wives and your concubines, 6 because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you; for today I perceive that if Ab′salom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. 7 Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants; for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night; and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now.” 8 Then the king arose, and took his seat in the gate. And the people were all told, “Behold, the king is sitting in the gate”; and all the people came before the king.
David Recalled to Jerusalem
Now Israel had fled every man to his own home. 9 And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies, and saved us from the hand of the Philistines; and now he has fled out of the land from Ab′salom. 10 But Ab′salom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”
11 And King David sent this message to Zadok and Abi′athar the priests, “Say to the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house, when the word of all Israel has come to the king?[t] 12 You are my kinsmen, you are my bone and my flesh; why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13 And say to Ama′sa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? God do so to me and more also, if you are not commander of my army henceforth in place of Jo′ab.’” 14 And he swayed the heart of all the men of Judah as one man; so that they sent word to the king, “Return, both you and all your servants.” 15 So the king came back to the Jordan; and Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and to bring the king over the Jordan.
David’s Mercy to Shimei
16 And Shim′e-i the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, from Bahu′rim, made haste to come down with the men of Judah to meet King David; 17 and with him were a thousand men from Benjamin. And Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants, rushed down to the Jordan before the king, 18 and they crossed the ford[u] to bring over the king’s household, and to do his pleasure. And Shim′e-i the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan, 19 and said to the king, “Let not my lord hold me guilty or remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem; let not the king bear it in mind. 20 For your servant knows that I have sinned; therefore, behold, I have come this day, the first of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.” 21 Abi′shai the son of Zeru′iah answered, “Shall not Shim′e-i be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed?” 22 But David said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeru′iah, that you should this day be as an adversary to me? Shall any one be put to death in Israel this day? For do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?” 23 And the king said to Shim′e-i, “You shall not die.” And the king gave him his oath.
David and Mephibosheth Meet
24 And Mephib′osheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king; he had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came back in safety. 25 And when he came from[v] Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, “Why did you not go with me, Mephib′osheth?” 26 He answered, “My lord, O king, my servant deceived me; for your servant said to him, ‘Saddle an ass for me,[w] that I may ride upon it and go with the king.’ For your servant is lame. 27 He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like the angel of God; do therefore what seems good to you. 28 For all my father’s house were but men doomed to death before my lord the king; but you set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right have I, then, to cry to the king?” 29 And the king said to him, “Why speak any more of your affairs? I have decided: you and Ziba shall divide the land.” 30 And Mephib′osheth said to the king, “Oh, let him take it all, since my lord the king has come safely home.”
David’s Kindness to Barzillai
31 Now Barzil′lai the Gileadite had come down from Ro′gelim; and he went on with the king to the Jordan, to escort him over the Jordan. 32 Barzil′lai was a very aged man, eighty years old; and he had provided the king with food while he stayed at Mahana′im; for he was a very wealthy man. 33 And the king said to Barzil′lai, “Come over with me, and I will provide for you with me in Jerusalem.” 34 But Barzil′lai said to the king, “How many years have I still to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35 I am this day eighty years old; can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? 36 Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king recompense me with such a reward? 37 Pray let your servant return, that I may die in my own city, near the grave of my father and my mother. But here is your servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do for him whatever seems good to you.” 38 And the king answered, “Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you; and all that you desire of me I will do for you.” 39 Then all the people went over the Jordan, and the king went over; and the king kissed Barzil′lai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home. 40 The king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him; all the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, brought the king on his way.
41 Then all the men of Israel came to the king, and said to the king, “Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen you away, and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David’s men with him?” 42 All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is near of kin to us. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king’s expense? Or has he given us any gift?” 43 And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, “We have ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?” But the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.