2 Samuel 16-18 Revised Standard Version

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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."

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, 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; and there he refreshed himself.

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 of God; so was all the counsel of Ahith'ophel esteemed, both by David and by Ab'salom.

The Counsel of Ahithophel and Hushai

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, and all the people will be at peace." 4  And the advice pleased Ab'salom and all the elders of Israel. 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 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.

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 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, 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, 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 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; 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 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 (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.

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, 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. 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  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!"

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