2 Samuel 19-21 Bible in Basic English

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David Returns to Jerusalem

19 1  And word was given to Joab that the king was weeping and sorrowing for Absalom. 2  And the salvation of that day was changed to sorrow for all the people: for it was said to the people, The king is in bitter grief for his son. 3  And the people made their way back to the town quietly and secretly, as those who are shamed go secretly when they go in flight from the war. 4  But the king, covering his face, gave a great cry, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son! 5  And Joab came into the house to the king and said, Today you have put to shame the faces of all your servants who even now have kept you and your sons and your daughters and your wives and all your women safe from death; 6  For your haters, it seems, are dear to you, and your friends are hated. For you have made it clear that captains and servants are nothing to you: and now I see that if Absalom was living and we had all been dead today, it would have been right in your eyes. 7  So get up now, and go out and say some kind words to your servants; for, by the Lord, I give you my oath, that if you do not go out, not one of them will keep with you tonight; and that will be worse for you than all the evil which has overtaken you from your earliest years. 8  Then the king got up and took his seat near the town-door. And word was given to all the people that the king was in the public place: and all the people came before the king. Now all the men of Israel had gone back in flight to their tents.

9  And through all the tribes of Israel the people were having arguments, saying, The king made us safe from the hands of those who were against us and made us free from the hands of the Philistines; and now he has gone in flight from the land, because of Absalom. 10  And Absalom, whom we made a ruler over us, is dead in the fight. So now why do you say nothing about getting the king back? And word of what all Israel was saying came to the king. 11  And King David sent word to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, Say to the responsible men of Judah, Why are you the last to take steps to get the king back to his house? 12  You are my brothers, my bone and my flesh; why are you the last to get the king back again? 13  And say to Amasa, Are you not my bone and my flesh? May God's punishment be on me, if I do not make you chief of the army before me at all times in place of Joab! 14  And the hearts of the men of Judah were moved like one man; so that they sent to the king, saying, Come back, with all your servants. 15  So the king came back, and came as far as Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, meeting the king there, to take him back with them over Jordan.

16  And Shimei, the son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, got up quickly and went down with the men of Judah for the purpose of meeting King David; 17  And with him a thousand men of Benjamin, and Ziba, the servant of Saul, with his fifteen sons and twenty servants, came rushing to Jordan before the king, 18  And kept going across the river to take the people of the king's house over, and to do whatever was desired by the king. And Shimei, the son of Gera, went down on his face in the dust before the king, when he was about to go over Jordan, 19  And said to him, Let me not be judged as a sinner in your eyes, O my lord, and do not keep in mind the wrong I did on the day when my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, or take it to heart. 20  For your servant is conscious of his sin: and so, as you see, I have come today, the first of all the sons of Joseph, for the purpose of meeting my lord the king. 21  But Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, said, Is not death the right fate for Shimei, because he has been cursing the one marked by the holy oil? 22  And David said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you put yourselves against me today? is it right for any man in Israel to be put to death today? for I am certain today that I am king in Israel. 23  So the king said to Shimei, You will not be put to death. And the king gave him his oath.

24  And Mephibosheth, the son of Saul's son, came down for the purpose of meeting the king; his feet had not been cared for or his hair cut or his clothing washed from the day when the king went away till the day when he came back in peace. 25  Now when he had come from Jerusalem to see the king, the king said to him, Why did you not come with me, Mephibosheth? 26  And he said in answer, Because of the deceit of my servant, my lord king: for I, your servant, said to him, You are to make ready an ass and on it I will go with the king, for your servant has not the use of his feet. 27  He has given you a false account of me: but my lord the king is like the angel of God: do then whatever seems good to you. 28  For all my father's family were only dead men before my lord the king: and still you put your servant among those whose place is at the king's table. What right then have I to say anything more to the king? 29  And the king said, Say nothing more about these things. I say, Let there be a division of the land between Ziba and you. 30  And Mephibosheth said, Let him take it all, now that my lord the king has come back to his house in peace!

31  And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim; and he went on as far as Jordan with the king to take him across Jordan. 32  Now Barzillai was a very old man, as much as eighty years old: and he had given the king everything he had need of, while he was at Mahanaim, for he was a very great man. 33  And the king said to Barzillai, Come over with me, and I will take care of you in Jerusalem. 34  And Barzillai said to the king, How much of my life is still before me, for me to go up to Jerusalem with the king? 35  I am now eighty years old: good and bad are the same to me; have meat and drink any taste for me now? am I able to take pleasure in the voices of men or women in song? why then am I to be a trouble to my lord the king? 36  Your servant's desire was only to take the king over Jordan; why is the king to give me such a reward? 37  Let your servant now go back again, so that when death comes to me, it may be in my town and by the resting-place of my father and mother. But here is your servant Chimham: let him go with my lord the king, and do for him what seems good to you. 38  And the king said in answer, Let Chimham go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you: and whatever your desire is, I will do it for you. 39  Then all the people went over Jordan, and the king went over: and the king gave Barzillai a kiss, with his blessing; and he went back to his place.

40  So the king went over to Gilgal, and Chimham went with him: and all the people of Judah, as well as half the people of Israel, took the king on his way. 41  Then the men of Israel came to the king and said, Why have our countrymen of Judah taken you away in secret and come over Jordan with the king and all his family, because all his people are David's men? 42  And all the men of Judah gave this answer to the men of Israel, Because the king is our near relation: why then are you angry about this? have we taken any of the king's food, or has he given us any offering? 43  And in answer to the men of Judah, the men of Israel said, We have ten parts in the king, and we are the first in order of birth: why did you make nothing of us? and were we not the first to make suggestions for getting the king back? And the words of the men of Judah were more violent than the words of the men of Israel.

The Revolt of Sheba

20 1  Now by chance there was present a good-for-nothing person named Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he, sounding the horn, said, We have no part in David, or any interest in the son of Jesse: let every man go to his tent, O Israel. 2  So all the men of Israel, turning away from David, went after Sheba, the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah were true to their king, going with him from Jordan as far as Jerusalem. 3  And David came to his house at Jerusalem: and the king took the ten women to whom he had given the care of the house, and had them shut up, and gave them the necessaries of life, but did not go near them. So they were shut up till the day of their death, living as widows.

4  Then the king said to Amasa, Get all the men of Judah together, and in three days be here yourself. 5  So Amasa went to get all the men of Judah together, but he took longer than the time David had given him. 6  And David said to Abishai, Sheba, the son of Bichri, will do us more damage than Absalom did; so take some of your lord's servants and go after him, before he makes himself safe in the walled towns, and gets away before our eyes. 7  So there went after Abishai, Joab and the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the fighting-men; they went out of Jerusalem to overtake Sheba, the son of Bichri. 8  When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came face to face with them. Now Joab had on his war-dress, and round him a band from which his sword was hanging in its cover; and while he was walking, it came out, falling to the earth. 9  And Joab said to Amasa, Is it well, my brother? And with his right hand he took him by the hair of his chin to give him a kiss. 10  But Amasa did not see danger from the sword which was now in Joab's left hand, and Joab put it through his stomach so that his inside came out on to the earth, and he did not give him another blow. So Joab and his brother Abishai went on after Sheba, the son of Bichri. 11  And one of Joab's young men, taking his place at Amasa's side, said, Whoever is for Joab and for David, let him go after Joab! 12  And Amasa was stretched out in a pool of blood in the middle of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people were stopping, he took Amasa out of the highway and put him in a field, with a cloth over him, when he saw that everyone who went by came to a stop. 13  When he had been taken off the road, all the people went on after Joab in search of Sheba, the son of Bichri.

14  And Sheba went through all the tribes of Israel, to Abel of Beth-maacah; and all the Bichrites came together and went in after him. 15  And Joab and his men got him shut up in Abel of Beth-maacah, and put up an earthwork against the town: and all Joab's men did their best to get the wall broken down. 16  Then a wise woman got up on the wall, and crying out from the town, said, Give ear, give ear; say now to Joab, Come near, so that I may have talk with you. 17  And he came near, and the woman said, Are you Joab? And he said in answer, I am. Then she said, Give ear to your servant's words. And he said, I am giving ear. 18  Then she said, In the old days, there was a saying, Let them put the question in Abel and in Dan, saying, Has what was ordered by men of good faith in Israel ever come to an end? 19  Your purpose is the destruction of a mother-town in Israel: why would you put an end to the heritage of the Lord? 20  And Joab, answering her, said, Far, far be it from me to be a cause of death or destruction; 21  Not so: but a man of the hill-country of Ephraim, Sheba, son of Bichri, by name, has taken up arms against the king, against David: give up this man only, and I will go away from the town. And the woman said to Joab, His head will be dropped over the wall to you. 22  Then the woman in her wisdom had talk with all the town. And they had Sheba's head cut off and sent out to Joab. And he had the horn sounded, and sent them all away from the town, every man to his tent. And Joab went back to Jerusalem to the king.

David's Officers

23  Now Joab was over all the army; and Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, was at the head of the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24  And Adoram was overseer of the forced work; and Jehoshaphat, the son of Ahilud, was the recorder; 25  And Sheva was the scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26  And in addition, Ira the Jairite was a priest to David.

The Avenging of the Gibeonites

21 1  In the days of David they were short of food for three years, year after year; and David went before the Lord for directions. And the Lord said, On Saul and on his family there is blood, because he put the Gibeonites to death. 2  Then the king sent for the Gibeonites; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but were the last of the Amorites, to whom the children of Israel had given an oath; but Saul, in his passion for the children of Israel and Judah, had made an attempt on their lives:) 3  So David said to the Gibeonites, What may I do for you? how am I to make up to you for your wrongs, so that you may give a blessing to the heritage of the Lord? 4  And the Gibeonites said to him, It is not a question of silver and gold between us and Saul or his family; and it is not in our power to put to death any man in Israel. And he said, Say, then, what am I to do for you? 5  And they said to the king, As for the man by whom we were wasted, and who made designs against us to have us completely cut off from the land of Israel, 6  Let seven men of his family be given up to us and we will put an end to them by hanging them before the Lord in Gibeon, on the hill of the Lord. And the king said, I will give them. 7  But the king did not give up Mephibosheth, the son of Saul's son Jonathan, because of the Lord's oath made between David and Jonathan, the son of Saul. 8  But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Saul to whom Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, had given birth; and the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab, whose father was Adriel, the son of Barzillai the Meholathite: 9  And he gave them up to the Gibeonites, and they put them to death, hanging them on the mountain before the Lord; all seven came to their end together in the first days of the grain-cutting, at the start of the cutting of the barley.

10  And Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, took haircloth, placing it on the rock as a bed for herself, from the start of the grain-cutting till rain came down on them from heaven; and she did not let the birds of the air come near them by day, or the beasts of the field by night. 11  And news was given to David of what Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, one of Saul's wives, had done. 12  And David went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had taken them away secretly from the public place of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had put them, hanging up the bodies there on the day when they put Saul to death in Gilboa: 13  And he took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from that place; and they got together the bones of those who had been put to death by hanging. 14  And they put them with the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the resting-place of Kish, his father, in Zela in the country of Benjamin; they did all the king had given them orders to do. And after that, God gave ear to their prayers for the land.

Abishai Rescues David from the Giant

15  And the Philistines went to war again with Israel; and David went down with his people, and while they were at Gob they had a fight with the Philistines: 16  And there came against David one of the offspring of the Rephaim, whose spear was three hundred shekels of brass in weight, and having a new sword, he made an attempt to put David to death. 17  But Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, came to his help, and, turning on the Philistine, gave him his death-blow. Then David's men took an oath, and said, Never again are you to go out with us to the fight, so that you may not put out the light of Israel.

The Giants Slain by David's Men

18  Now after this there was war with the Philistines again at Gob, and Sibbecai the Hushathite put to death Saph, one of the offspring of the Rephaim. 19  And again there was war with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan, the son of Jair the Beth-lehemite, put to death Goliath the Gittite, the stem of whose spear was like a cloth-worker's rod. 20  And again there was war at Gath, where there was a very tall man, who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six fingers on his hands and six toes on his feet; he was one of the offspring of the Rephaim. 21  And when he was purposing to put shame on Israel, Jonathan, the son of Shimei, David's brother, put him to death. 22  These four were of the offspring of the Rephaim in Gath; and they came to their end by the hands of David and his servants.

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