16 1 And when David had gone a little way past the top of the slope, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, came to him, with two asses on which were two hundred cakes of bread and a hundred stems of dry grapes and a hundred summer fruits and a skin of wine. 2 And David said to Ziba, What is your reason for this? And Ziba said, The asses are for the use of the king's people, and the bread and the fruit are food for the young men; and the wine is for drink for those who are overcome by weariness in the waste land. 3 And the king said, And where is your master's son? And Ziba said, He is still at Jerusalem: for he said, Today Israel will give back to me the kingdom of my father. 4 Then the king said to Ziba, Truly everything which was Mephibosheth's is yours. And Ziba said, I give honour to my lord, may I have grace in your eyes, my lord, O king!
5 And when King David came to Bahurim, a man of Saul's family named Shimei, the son of Gera, came out from there, calling curses after him. 6 And he sent stones at David and at all the king's servants and at all the people and at all the men of war by his side, on the right hand and on the left. 7 And Shimei said, with curses, Be gone, be gone, you man of blood, you good-for-nothing: 8 The Lord has sent punishment on you for all the blood of the family of Saul, whose kingdom you have taken; and the Lord has given the kingdom to Absalom, your son: now you yourself are taken in your evil, because you are a man of blood. 9 Then Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, said to the king, Is this dead dog to go on cursing my lord the king? let me go over and take off his head. 10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? Let him go on cursing, for the Lord has said, Put a curse on David, and who then may say, Why have you done so? 11 And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, You see how my son, the offspring of my body, has made designs against my life: how much more then may this Benjamite do so? Let him be, and let him go on cursing; for the Lord has given him orders. 12 It may be that the Lord will take note of my wrongs, and give me back good in answer to his cursing of me today. 13 So David and his men went on their way: and Shimei went by the hillside parallel with them, cursing and sending stones and dust at him. 14 And the king and his people came tired to Jordan, and took their rest there.
15 And Absalom and the men of Israel came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him. 16 Then Hushai the Archite, David's friend, came to Absalom and said, Long life to the king, long life to the king! 17 And Absalom said, Is this your love for your friend? why did you not go with your friend? 18 And Hushai said to Absalom, Not so; I am for that man whom the Lord and this people and all the men of Israel have taken as king, and I will take my place with him. 19 And more than this! where is my place as a servant? is it not before his son? as I have been your father's servant, so will I be yours. 20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, Give your opinion now, what are we to do? 21 And Ahithophel said to Absalom, Go in to your father's women who are here looking after his house; then all Israel will have the news that you are hated by your father, and the hands of your supporters will be strong. 22 So they put up the tent for Absalom on the top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father's women before the eyes of all Israel. 23 In those days the opinions of Ahithophel were valued as highly as if through him a man might get direction from God; so were they valued by David as much as by Absalom.
The Counsel of Ahithophel and Hushai
17 1 Then Ahithophel said to Absalom, Let me take out twelve thousand men and this very night I will go after David: 2 And I will come up with him when he is tired and feeble, and make him full of fear: and all the people with him will go in flight; and I will make an attack on the king only: 3 And I will make all the people come back to you as a bride comes back to her husband: it is the life of only one man you are going after; so all the people will be at peace. 4 And the saying was pleasing to Absalom and to the responsible men of Israel. 5 Then Absalom said, Now send for Hushai the Archite, and let us give ear to what he has to say. 6 And when Hushai came, Absalom said to him, This is what Ahithophel has said: are we to do as he says? if not, what is your suggestion? 7 And Hushai said to Absalom, Ahithophel's idea is not a good one at this time. 8 Hushai said further, You have knowledge of your father and his men, that they are men of war, and that their feelings are bitter, like those of a bear in the field whose young ones have been taken from her: and your father is a man of war, and will not take his night's rest with the people; 9 But he will certainly have taken cover now in some hole or secret place; and if some of our people, at the first attack, are overcome, then any hearing of it will say, There is destruction among the people who are on Absalom's side. 10 Then even the strongest, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will become like water; for all Israel is conscious that your father is a man of war, and those who are with him are strong and without fear. 11 But my suggestion is that all Israel, from Dan as far as Beer-sheba, comes together to you, a great army like the sands of the sea in number; and that you yourself go out among them. 12 Then we will come on him in some place, wherever he may be, falling on him as the dew comes on the earth: and of him and all the men who are with him not one will get away with his life. 13 And if he has gone into some town, then let all Israel take strong cords to that town, and we will have it pulled into the valley, till not one small stone is to be seen there. 14 Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, Hushai's suggestion is better than that of Ahithophel. For it was the purpose of the Lord to make the wise designs of Ahithophel without effect, so that the Lord might send evil on Absalom.
15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, This is the suggestion made by Ahithophel to Absalom and the responsible men of Israel, and this is what I said to them. 16 So now send the news quickly to David, and say, Do not take your night's rest by the way across the river to the waste land, but be certain to go over; or the king and all the people with him will come to destruction. 17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting by En-rogel; and a servant-girl went from time to time and gave them news and they went with the news to King David, for it was not wise for them to let themselves be seen coming into the town. 18 But a boy saw them, and gave word of it to Absalom: so the two of them went away quickly, and came to the house of a man in Bahurim who had a water-hole in his garden, and they went down into it. 19 And a woman put a cover over the hole, and put crushed grain on top of it, and no one had any knowledge of it. 20 And Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house and said, Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan? And the woman said to them, They have gone from here to the stream. And after searching for them, and seeing nothing of them, they went back to Jerusalem. 21 Then after the servants had gone away, they came up out of the water-hole and went to give King David the news; and they said, Get up and go quickly over the water, for such and such are Ahithophel's designs against you.
22 So David and all the people who were with him went up over Jordan: when dawn came, every one of them had gone over Jordan. 23 Now when Ahithophel saw that his suggestion was not acted on, he got his ass ready, and went back to his house, to the town where he came from, and having put his house in order, he put himself to death by hanging; so he came to his end and was put in the resting-place of his father. 24 And David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom, with all the men of Israel, went over Jordan. 25 And Absalom put Amasa at the head of the army in place of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Ishmaelite, who had been the lover of Abigail, the daughter of Jesse, sister of Zeruiah, Joab's mother. 26 And Israel and Absalom put up their tents in the land of Gilead. 27 Now when David had come to Mahanaim, Shobi, the son of Nahash of Rabbah, the Ammonite, and Machir, the son of Ammiel of Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim, 28 Came with beds and basins and pots, and grain and meal, and all sorts of dry foods, 29 And honey and butter and sheep and milk-cheeses, for David and his people: for they said, This people is in the waste land, needing food and drink and rest.
The Death of Absalom
18 1 And David had the people who were with him numbered, and he put over them captains of thousands and captains of hundreds. 2 And David sent the people out, a third of them under the orders of Joab, and a third under the orders of Abishai, son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, And I myself will certainly go out with you. 3 But the people said, It is better for you not to go out: for if we are put to flight, they will not give a thought to us, and if death overtakes half of us, it will be nothing to them: but you are of more value than ten thousand of us: so it is better for you to be ready to come to our help from this town. 4 And the king said to them, I will do whatever seems best to you. So the king took his place by the door of the town, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands. 5 And the king gave orders to Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Because of me, be gentle to the young man Absalom. And this order about Absalom was given in the hearing of all the people. 6 So the people went out into the field against Israel, and the fight took place in the woods of Ephraim. 7 And the people of Israel were overcome there by the servants of David, and there was a great destruction that day, and twenty thousand men were put to the sword. 8 And the fighting went on over all the face of the country: and the woods were responsible for more deaths than the sword.
9 And Absalom came across some of David's men. And Absalom was seated on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great tree, and his head became fixed in the tree and he was lifted up between earth and heaven, and the beast under him went on. 10 And a certain man saw it and said to Joab, I saw Absalom hanging in a tree. 11 And Joab said to the man who had given him the news, If you saw this, why did you not put your sword through him, and I would have given you ten bits of silver and a band for your robe? 12 And the man said to Joab, Even if you gave me a thousand bits of silver, I would not put out my hand against the king's son: for in our hearing the king gave orders to you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Take care that the young man Absalom is not touched. 13 And if I had falsely put him to death (and nothing may be kept secret from the king), you would have had nothing to do with me. 14 Then Joab said, I would have made it safe for you. And he took three spears in his hand, and put them through Absalom's heart, while he was still living, in the branches of the tree. 15 And ten young men, servants of Joab, came round Absalom and put an end to him. 16 And Joab had the horn sounded, and the people came back from going after Israel, for Joab kept them back. 17 And they took Absalom's body and put it into a great hole in the wood, and put a great mass of stones over it: and every man of Israel went in flight to his tent. 18 Now Absalom, before his death, had put up for himself a pillar in the king's valley, naming it after himself; for he said, I have no son to keep my name in memory: and to this day it is named Absalom's pillar.
19 Then Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok, said, Let me go and give the king news of how the Lord has done right in his cause against those who took up arms against him. 20 And Joab said, You will take no news today; another day you may give him the news, but you will take no news today, because the king's son is dead. 21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, Go and give the king word of what you have seen. And the Cushite, making a sign of respect to Joab, went off running. 22 Then Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok, said to Joab again, Whatever may come of it, let me go after the Cushite. And Joab said, Why have you a desire to go, my son, seeing that you will get no reward for your news? 23 Whatever may come of it, he said, I will go. Then he said to him, Go. So Ahimaaz went running by the lowland road and overtook the Cushite. 24 Now David was seated between the two town doors; and the watchman went up to the roof of the doorways, on the wall, and, lifting up his eyes, saw a man running by himself. 25 And the watchman gave news of it to the king. And the king said, If he is coming by himself, then he has news. And the man was travelling quickly, and came near. 26 Then the watchman saw another man running: and crying out in the direction of the door he said, Here is another man running by himself. And the king said, He, like the other, comes with news. 27 And the watchman said, It seems to me that the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok. And the king said, He is a good man, and his news will be good. 28 And Ahimaaz, crying out to the king, said, It is well. And falling down before the king, with his face to the earth, he said, May the Lord your God be praised, who has given up the men who took up arms against my lord the king! 29 And the king said, Is it well with the young man Absalom? And Ahimaaz said in answer, When Joab sent me, your servant, I saw a great outcry going on, but I had no knowledge of what it was. 30 And the king said, Get back and take your place here. So turning to one side, he took his place there. 31 And then the Cushite came and said, I have news for my lord the king: today the Lord has done right in your cause against all those who took up arms against you. 32 And the king said to the Cushite, Is the young man Absalom safe? And the Cushite said in answer, May all the king's haters and those who do evil against the king, be as that young man is! 33 Then the king was much moved, and went up into the room over the door, weeping, and saying, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! if only my life might have been given for yours, O Absalom, my son, my son!