16 1 When David was a little past the top of the ascent, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, and on them two hundred loaves of bread, and one hundred clusters of raisins, and one hundred summer fruits, and a bottle of wine. 2 The king said to Ziba, What do you mean by these? Ziba said, The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as are faint in the wilderness may drink. 3 The king said, “Where is your master’s son?”
Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he is staying in Jerusalem; for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will restore me the kingdom of my father.’” 4 Then the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that pertains to Mephibosheth is yours.”
Ziba said, “I do obeisance. Let me find favor in your sight, my lord, O king.”
5 When king David came to Bahurim, behold, a man of the family of the house of Saul came out, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera. He came out, and cursed still as he came. 6 He cast 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 Shimei said when he cursed, “Be gone, be gone, you man of blood, and base fellow! 8 Yahweh has returned on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned! Yahweh has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son! Behold, you are caught by your own mischief, because you are a man of blood!” 9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please let me go over and take off his head.” 10 The king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? Because he curses, and because Yahweh has said to him, ‘Curse David;’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11 David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, “Behold, my son, who came forth from my bowels, seeks my life. How much more this Benjamite, now? Leave him alone, and let him curse; for Yahweh has invited him. 12 It may be that Yahweh will look on the wrong done to me, and that Yahweh will repay me good for the cursing of me today.” 13 So David and his men went by the way; and Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him, and cursed as he went, threw stones at him, and threw dust. 14 The king, and all the people who were with him, came weary; and he refreshed himself there.
15 Absalom, and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. 16 It happened, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, had come to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17 Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your kindness to your friend? Why didn’t you go with your friend?” 18 Hushai said to Absalom, “No; but whoever Yahweh, and this people, and all the men of Israel have chosen, his will I be, and with him I will stay. 19 Again, whom should I serve? Shouldn’t I serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so will I be in your presence.” 20 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, “Give your counsel what we shall do.” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, that he has left to keep the house. Then all Israel will hear that you are abhorred by your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strong.” 22 So they spread Absalom a tent on the top of the house; and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23 The counsel of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if a man inquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.
The Counsel of Ahithophel and Hushai
17 1 Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me now choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David tonight. 2 I will come on him while he is weary and exhausted, and will make him afraid. All the people who are with him shall flee. I will strike the king only; 3 and I will bring back all the people to you. The man whom you seek is as if all returned. All the people shall be in peace.” 4 The saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel. 5 Then said Absalom, “Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he says.” 6 When Hushai was come to Absalom, Absalom spoke to him, saying, “Ahithophel has spoken like this. Shall we do what he says? If not, speak up.” 7 Hushai said to Absalom, “The counsel that Ahithophel has given this time is not good.” 8 Hushai said moreover, “You know your father and his men, that they are mighty men, and they are fierce in their minds, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. Your father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people. 9 Behold, he is now hidden in some pit, or in some other place. It will happen, when some of them have fallen at the first, that whoever hears it will say, ‘There is a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom!’ 10 Even he who is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, will utterly melt; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and those who are with him are valiant men. 11 But I counsel that all Israel be gathered together to you, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that you go to battle in your own person. 12 So shall we come on him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light on him as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and of all the men who are with him we will not leave so much as one. 13 Moreover, if he be gone into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there isn’t one small stone found there.” 14 Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For Yahweh had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that Yahweh might bring evil on Absalom.
15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, “Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel that way; and I have counseled this way. 16 Now therefore send quickly, and tell David, saying, ‘Don’t lodge this night at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people who are with him.’” 17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying by En Rogel; and a female servant used to go and tell them; and they went and told king David. For they might not be seen to come into the city. 18 But a boy saw them, and told Absalom. Then they both went away quickly, and came to the house of a man in Bahurim, who had a well in his court; and they went down there. 19 The woman took and spread the covering over the well’s mouth, and spread out bruised grain on it; and nothing was known. 20 Absalom’s servants came to the woman to the house; and they said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
The woman said to them, “They have gone over the brook of water.”
When they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem. 21 It happened, after they had departed, that they came up out of the well, and went and told king David; and they said to David, “Arise and pass quickly over the water; for thus has Ahithophel counseled against you.”
22 Then David arose, and all the people who were with him, and they passed over the Jordan. By the morning light there lacked not one of them who had not gone over the Jordan. 23 When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey, and arose, and got him home, to his city, and 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 Mahanaim. Absalom passed over the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. 25 Absalom set Amasa over the army instead of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man, whose name was Ithra the Israelite, who went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26 Israel and Absalom encamped in the land of Gilead. 27 It happened, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim, 28 brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and meal, and parched grain, and beans, and lentils, and parched pulse, 29 and honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of the herd, for David, and for the people who were with him, to eat: for they said, “The people are hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.”
The Death of Absalom
18 1 David numbered the people who were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. 2 David sent forth the people, a third part under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the people, “I will surely go forth with you myself also.” 3 But the people said, “You shall not go forth; for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore now it is better that you are ready to help us out of the city.” 4 The king said to them, “I will do what seems best to you.”
The king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands. 5 The king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.” All the people heard when the king commanded all the captains concerning Absalom. 6 So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the forest of Ephraim. 7 The people of Israel were struck there before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter there that day of twenty thousand men. 8 For the battle was there spread over the surface of all the country; and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
9 Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the sky and earth; and the mule that was under him went on. 10 A certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Joab said to the man who told him, “Behold, you saw it, and why didn’t you strike him there to the ground? I would have given you ten pieces of silver, and a sash.” 12 The man said to Joab, “Though I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I still wouldn’t put forth my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Beware that none touch the young man Absalom.’ 13 Otherwise if I had dealt falsely against his life (and there is no matter hidden from the king), then you yourself would have set yourself against me.” 14 Then Joab said, “I’n not going to wait like this with you.” He took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. 15 Ten young men who bore Joab’s armor surrounded and struck Absalom, and killed him. 16 Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel; for Joab held back the people. 17 They took Absalom, and cast him into the great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones. Then all Israel fled everyone to his tent. 18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself the pillar, which is in the king’s dale; for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in memory.” He called the pillar after his own name; and it is called Absalom’s monument, to this day.
19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me now run, and bear the king news, how that Yahweh has avenged him of his enemies.” 20 Joab said to him, “You shall not be the bearer of news this day, but you shall bear news another day. But today you shall bear no news, because the king’s son is dead.” 21 Then said Joab to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen!” The Cushite bowed himself to Joab, and ran. 22 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, “But come what may, please let me also run after the Cushite.”
Joab said, “Why do you want to run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?” 23 “But come what may,” he said, “I will run.”
He said to him, “Run!” Then Ahimaaz 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 to the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, a man running alone. 25 The watchman cried, and told the king. The king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” He came closer and closer. 26 The watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the porter, and said, “Behold, a man running alone!”
The king said, “He also brings news.” 27 The watchman said, “I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.”
The king said, “He is a good man, and comes with good news.” 28 Ahimaaz called, and said to the king, “All is well.” He bowed himself before the king with his face to the earth, and said, “Blessed is Yahweh your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted up their hand against my lord the king!” 29 The king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?”
Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, even me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I don’t know what it was.” 30 The king said, “Turn aside, and stand here.” He turned aside, and stood still. 31 Behold, the Cushite came. The Cushite said, “News for my lord the king; for Yahweh has avenged you this day of all those who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?”
The Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you to do you harm, be as that young man is.” 33 The king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. As he went, he said, "My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! I wish I had died for you, Absalom, my son, my son!”