Amnon and Tamar
13 1 Now Ab'salom, David's son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar; and after a time Amnon, David's son, loved her. 2 And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. 3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jon'adab, the son of Shim'e-ah, David's brother; and Jon'adab was a very crafty man. 4 And he said to him, "O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?" Amnon said to him, "I love Tamar, my brother Ab'salom's sister." 5 Jon'adab said to him, "Lie down on your bed, and pretend to be ill; and when your father comes to see you, say to him, 'Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it from her hand.'" 6 So Amnon lay down, and pretended to be ill; and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, "Pray let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand." 7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, "Go to your brother Amnon's house, and prepare food for him." 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, where he was lying down. And she took dough, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes. 9 And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, "Send out every one from me." So every one went out from him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand." And Tamar took the cakes she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. 11 But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her, and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister." 12 She answered him, "No, my brother, do not force me; for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this wanton folly. 13 As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the wanton fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray you, speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you." 14 But he would not listen to her; and being stronger than she, he forced her, and lay with her. 15 Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred; so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Arise, be gone." 16 But she said to him, "No, my brother; for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other which you did to me." But he would not listen to her. 17 He called the young man who served him and said, "Put this woman out of my presence, and bolt the door after her." 18 Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves; for thus were the virgin daughters of the king clad of old. So his servant put her out, and bolted the door after her. 19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent the long robe which she wore; and she laid her hand on her head, and went away, crying aloud as she went.
Absalom's Revenge and Flight
20 And her brother Ab'salom said to her, "Has Amnon your brother been with you? Now hold your peace, my sister; he is your brother; do not take this to heart." So Tamar dwelt, a desolate woman, in her brother Ab'salom's house.
21 When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. 22 But Ab'salom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Ab'salom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar. 23 After two full years Ab'salom had sheepshearers at Ba'al-ha'zor, which is near E'phraim, and Ab'salom invited all the king's sons. 24 And Ab'salom came to the king, and said, "Behold, your servant has sheepshearers; pray let the king and his servants go with your servant." 25 But the king said to Ab'salom, "No, my son, let us not all go, lest we be burdensome to you." He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing. 26 Then Ab'salom said, "If not, pray let my brother Amnon go with us." And the king said to him, "Why should he go with you?" 27 But Ab'salom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. 28 Then Ab'salom commanded his servants, "Mark when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, 'Strike Amnon,' then kill him. Fear not; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant." 29 So the servants of Ab'salom did to Amnon as Ab'salom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose, and each mounted his mule and fled.
30 While they were on the way, tidings came to David, "Ab'salom has slain all the king's sons, and not one of them is left." 31 Then the king arose, and rent his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants who were standing by rent their garments. 32 But Jon'adab the son of Shim'e-ah, David's brother, said, "Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men the king's sons, for Amnon alone is dead, for by the command of Ab'salom this has been determined from the day he forced his sister Tamar. 33 Now therefore let not my lord the king so take it to heart as to suppose that all the king's sons are dead; for Amnon alone is dead." 34 But Ab'salom fled. And the young man who kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, many people were coming from the Horona'im road by the side of the mountain. 35 And Jon'adab said to the king, "Behold, the king's sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about." 36 And as soon as he had finished speaking, behold, the king's sons came, and lifted up their voice and wept; and the king also and all his servants wept very bitterly. 37 But Ab'salom fled, and went to Talmai the son of Ammi'hud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day. 38 So Ab'salom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years. 39 And the spirit of the king longed to go forth to Ab'salom; for he was comforted about Amnon, seeing he was dead.
Joab's Scheme for Absalom's Return
14 1 Now Jo'ab the son of Zeru'iah perceived that the king's heart went out to Ab'salom. 2 And Jo'ab sent to Teko'a, and fetched from there a wise woman, and said to her, "Pretend to be a mourner, and put on mourning garments; do not anoint yourself with oil, but behave like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead; 3 and go to the king, and speak thus to him." So Jo'ab put the words in her mouth. 4 When the woman of Teko'a came to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and said, "Help, O king." 5 And the king said to her, "What is your trouble?" She answered, "Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead. 6 And your handmaid had two sons, and they quarreled with one another in the field; there was no one to part them, and one struck the other and killed him. 7 And now the whole family has risen against your handmaid, and they say, 'Give up the man who struck his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he slew'; and so they would destroy the heir also. Thus they would quench my coal which is left, and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant upon the face of the earth." 8 Then the king said to the woman, "Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you." 9 And the woman of Teko'a said to the king, "On me be the guilt, my lord the king, and on my father's house; let the king and his throne be guiltless." 10 The king said, "If any one says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall never touch you again." 11 Then she said, "Pray let the king invoke the Lord your God, that the avenger of blood slay no more, and my son be not destroyed." He said, "As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground." 12 Then the woman said, "Pray let your handmaid speak a word to my lord the king." He said, "Speak." 13 And the woman said, "Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in giving this decision the king convicts himself, inasmuch as the king does not bring his banished one home again. 14 We must all die, we are like water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; but God will not take away the life of him who devises means not to keep his banished one an outcast. 15 Now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid; and your handmaid thought, 'I will speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant. 16 For the king will hear, and deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together from the heritage of God.' 17 And your handmaid thought, 'The word of my lord the king will set me at rest'; for my lord the king is like the angel of God to discern good and evil. The Lord your God be with you!" 18 Then the king answered the woman, "Do not hide from me anything I ask you." And the woman said, "Let my lord the king speak." 19 The king said, "Is the hand of Jo'ab with you in all this?" The woman answered and said, "As surely as you live, my lord the king, one cannot turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has said. It was your servant Jo'ab who bade me; it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid. 20 In order to change the course of affairs your servant Jo'ab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God to know all things that are on the earth."
21 Then the king said to Jo'ab, "Behold now, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Ab'salom." 22 And Jo'ab fell on his face to the ground, and did obeisance, and blessed the king; and Jo'ab said, "Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has granted the request of his servant." 23 So Jo'ab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Ab'salom to Jerusalem. 24 And the king said, "Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence." So Ab'salom dwelt apart in his own house, and did not come into the king's presence. 25 Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his beauty as Ab'salom; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 And when he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by the king's weight. 27 There were born to Ab'salom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a beautiful woman.
28 So Ab'salom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king's presence. 29 Then Ab'salom sent for Jo'ab, to send him to the king; but Jo'ab would not come to him. And he sent a second time, but Jo'ab would not come. 30 Then he said to his servants, "See, Jo'ab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire." So Ab'salom's servants set the field on fire. 31 Then Jo'ab arose and went to Ab'salom at his house, and said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?" 32 Ab'salom answered Jo'ab, "Behold, I sent word to you, 'Come here, that I may send you to the king, to ask, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still." Now therefore let me go into the presence of the king; and if there is guilt in me, let him kill me.'" 33 Then Jo'ab went to the king, and told him; and he summoned Ab'salom. So he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king; and the king kissed Ab'salom.
Absalom Revolts against David
15 1 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 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 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.
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 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 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, go back to the city in peace, you and Abi'athar, 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." 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.