Amnon and Tamar
1Some time passed. David's son Absalom had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar; and David's son Amnon fell in love with her.2Amnon 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.3But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah; and Jonadab was a very crafty man.4He 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 Absalom's sister.”5Jonadab 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 something to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, so that I may see it and eat it from her hand.’ ”6So Amnon lay down, and pretended to be ill; and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, so that I may eat from her hand.”7Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon's house, and prepare food for him.”8So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, where he was lying down. She took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes.9Then she took the pan and set them out before him, but he refused to eat. Amnon said, “Send out everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him.10Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, so that I may eat from your hand.” So Tamar took the cakes she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.11But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her, and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.”12She answered him, “No, my brother, do not force me; for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do anything so vile!13As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the scoundrels in Israel. Now therefore, I beg you, speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you.”14But he would not listen to her; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her.15Then Amnon was seized with a very great loathing for her; indeed, his loathing was even greater than the lust he had felt for her. Amnon said to her, “Get out!”16But she said to him, “No, my brother; for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.” But he would not listen to her.17He 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 this is how the virgin daughters of the king were clothed in earlier times.) So his servant put her out, and bolted the door after her.19But Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore the long robe that she was wearing; she put her hand on her head, and went away, crying aloud as she went.20Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother; do not take this to heart.” So Tamar remained, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom's house.21When King David heard of all these things, he became very angry, but he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, for he was his firstborn.22But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had raped his sister Tamar.Absalom Avenges the Violation of His Sister
23After two full years Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons.24Absalom came to the king, and said, “Your servant has sheepshearers; will the king and his servants please go with your servant?”25But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son, let us not all go, or else we will be burdensome to you.” He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing.26Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.” The king said to him, “Why should he go with you?”27But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. Absalom made a feast like a king's feast.28Then Absalom commanded his servants, “Watch when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then kill him. Do not be afraid; have I not myself commanded you? Be courageous and valiant.”29So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons rose, and each mounted his mule and fled.30While they were on the way, the report came to David that Absalom had killed all the king's sons, and not one of them was left.31The king rose, tore his garments, and lay on the ground; and all his servants who were standing by tore their garments.32But Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah, said, “Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men the king's sons; Amnon alone is dead. This has been determined by Absalom from the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar.33Now therefore, do not let my lord the king take it to heart, as if all the king's sons were dead; for Amnon alone is dead.”34But Absalom fled. When the young man who kept watch looked up, he saw many people coming from the Horonaim road by the side of the mountain.35Jonadab said to the king, “See, the king's sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about.”36As soon as he had finished speaking, the king's sons arrived, and raised their voices and wept; and the king and all his servants also wept very bitterly.37But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. David mourned for his son day after day.38Absalom, having fled to Geshur, stayed there three years.39And the heart of the king went out, yearning for Absalom; for he was now consoled over the death of Amnon.Chapter 14Absalom Returns to Jerusalem
1Now Joab son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's mind was on Absalom.2Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman. He said to her, “Pretend to be a mourner; put on mourning garments, do not anoint yourself with oil, but behave like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead.3Go to the king and speak to him as follows.” And Joab put the words into her mouth.4When the woman of Tekoa came to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and did obeisance, and said, “Help, O king!”5The king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead.6Your servant had two sons, and they fought with one another in the field; there was no one to part them, and one struck the other and killed him.7Now the whole family has risen against your servant. They say, ‘Give up the man who struck his brother, so that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he murdered, even if we destroy the heir as well.’ Thus they would quench my one remaining ember, and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.”8Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.”9The woman of Tekoa 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.”10The king said, “If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall never touch you again.”11Then she said, “Please, may the king keep the Lord your God in mind, so that the avenger of blood may kill no more, and my son not be destroyed.” He said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”12Then the woman said, “Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king.” He said, “Speak.”13The 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.14We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. But God will not take away a life; he will devise plans so as not to keep an outcast banished forever from his presence.15Now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid; your servant thought, ‘I will speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant.16For the king will hear, and deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would cut both me and my son off from the heritage of God.’17Your servant thought, ‘The word of my lord the king will set me at rest’; for my lord the king is like the angel of God, discerning good and evil. The Lord your God be with you!”18Then the king answered the woman, “Do not withhold from me anything I ask you.” The woman said, “Let my lord the king speak.”19The king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” The woman answered and said, “As surely as you live, my lord the king, one cannot turn right or left from anything that my lord the king has said. For it was your servant Joab who commanded me; it was he who put all these words into the mouth of your servant.20In order to change the course of affairs your servant Joab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God to know all things that are on the earth.”21Then the king said to Joab, “Very well, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Absalom.”22Joab prostrated himself with his face to the ground and did obeisance, and blessed the king; and Joab 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.”23So Joab set off, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.24The king said, “Let him go to his own house; he is not to come into my presence.” So Absalom went to his own house, and did not come into the king's presence.David Forgives Absalom
25Now in all Israel there was no one to be praised so much for his beauty as Absalom; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.26When 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.27There were born to Absalom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a beautiful woman.28So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king's presence.29Then Absalom sent for Joab to send him to the king; but Joab would not come to him. He sent a second time, but Joab would not come.30Then he said to his servants, “Look, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom's servants set the field on fire.31Then Joab rose and went to Absalom at his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?”32Absalom answered Joab, “Look, I sent word to you: Come here, that I may send you to the king with the question, ‘Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.’ Now let me go into the king's presence; if there is guilt in me, let him kill me!”33Then Joab went to the king and told him; and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king and prostrated himself with his face to the ground before the king; and the king kissed Absalom.Chapter 15Absalom Usurps the Throne
1After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run ahead of him.2Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the road into the gate; and when anyone brought a suit before the king for judgment, Absalom would call out and say, “From what city are you?” When the person said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,”3Absalom would say, “See, your claims are good and right; but there is no one deputed by the king to hear you.”4Absalom said moreover, “If only I were judge in the land! Then all who had a suit or cause might come to me, and I would give them justice.”5Whenever people came near to do obeisance to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of them, and kiss them.6Thus Absalom did to every Israelite who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel.7At the end of four years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go to Hebron and pay the vow that I have made to the Lord.8For your servant made a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram: If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will worship the Lord in Hebron.”9The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he got up, and went to Hebron.10But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then shout: Absalom has become king at Hebron!”11Two hundred men from Jerusalem went with Absalom; they were invited guests, and they went in their innocence, knowing nothing of the matter.12While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city Giloh. The conspiracy grew in strength, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.David Flees from Jerusalem
13A messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the Israelites have gone after Absalom.”14Then David said to all his officials who were with him at Jerusalem, “Get up! Let us flee, or there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Hurry, or he will soon overtake us, and bring disaster down upon us, and attack the city with the edge of the sword.”15The king's officials said to the king, “Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king decides.”16So the king left, followed by all his household, except ten concubines whom he left behind to look after the house.17The king left, followed by all the people; and they stopped at the last house.18All his officials passed by him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the six hundred Gittites who had followed him from Gath, passed on before the king.19Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why are you also coming with us? Go back, and stay with the king; for you are a foreigner, and also an exile from your home.20You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, while I go wherever I can? Go back, and take your kinsfolk with you; and may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you.”21But Ittai answered the king, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.”22David said to Ittai, “Go then, march on.” So Ittai the Gittite marched on, with all his men and all the little ones who were with him.23The whole country wept aloud as all the people passed by; the king crossed the Wadi Kidron, and all the people moved on toward the wilderness.24Abiathar came up, and Zadok also, with all the Levites, carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, until the people had all passed out of the city.25Then 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 the place where it stays.26But if he says, ‘I take no pleasure in you,’ here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.”27The king also said to the priest Zadok, “Look, go back to the city in peace, you and Abiathar, with your two sons, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan son of Abiathar.28See, I will wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.”29So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem, and they remained there.30But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, with his head covered and walking barefoot; and all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went.31David was told that Ahithophel was among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, “O Lord, I pray you, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”Hushai Becomes David's Spy
32When David came to the summit, where God was worshiped, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and earth on his head.33David said to him, “If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me.34But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘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 Ahithophel.35The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be with you there. So whatever you hear from the king's house, tell it to the priests Zadok and Abiathar.36Their two sons are with them there, Zadok's son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan; and by them you shall report to me everything you hear.”37So Hushai, David's friend, came into the city, just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.Chapter 16David's Adversaries
1When David had passed a little beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, carrying two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred bunches of raisins, one hundred of summer fruits, and one skin of wine.2The king said to Ziba, “Why have you brought these?” Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king's household to ride, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine is for those to drink who faint in the wilderness.”3The king said, “And where is your master's son?” Ziba said to the king, “He remains in Jerusalem; for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back my grandfather's kingdom.’ ”4Then the king said to Ziba, “All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.” Ziba said, “I do obeisance; let me find favor in your sight, my lord the king.”Shimei Curses David
5When King David came to Bahurim, a man of the family of the house of Saul came out whose name was Shimei son of Gera; he came out cursing.6He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; now all the people and all the warriors were on his right and on his left.7Shimei shouted while he cursed, “Out! Out! Murderer! Scoundrel!8The Lord has avenged on all of you 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 Absalom. See, disaster has overtaken you; for you are a man of blood.”9Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.”10But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ ”11David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “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.12It may be that the Lord will look on my distress, and the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing of me today.”13So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, throwing stones and flinging dust at him.14The king and all the people who were with him arrived weary at the Jordan; and there he refreshed himself.The Counsel of Ahithophel
15Now Absalom and all the Israelites came to Jerusalem; Ahithophel was with him.16When Hushai the Archite, David's friend, came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”17Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?”18Hushai said to Absalom, “No; but the one whom the Lord and this people and all the Israelites have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain.19Moreover, whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? Just as I have served your father, so I will serve you.”20Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give us your counsel; what shall we do?”21Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father's concubines, the ones he has left to look after 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.”22So they pitched a tent for Absalom upon the roof; and Absalom went in to his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.23Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the oracle of God; so all the counsel of Ahithophel was esteemed, both by David and by Absalom.Chapter 171Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will set out and pursue David tonight.2I 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 only the king,3and 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.”4The advice pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.The Counsel of Hushai
5Then Absalom said, “Call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear too what he has to say.”6When Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “This is what Ahithophel has said; shall we do as he advises? If not, you tell us.”7Then Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good.”8Hushai continued, “You know that your father and his men are warriors, 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 troops.9Even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits, or in some other place. And when some of our troops fall at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.’10Then even the valiant warrior, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt with fear; for all Israel knows that your father is a warrior, and that those who are with him are valiant warriors.11But my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beer-sheba, like the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person.12So we shall come upon him in whatever place he may be found, and we shall light on him as the dew falls on the ground; and he will not survive, nor will any of those with him.13If 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.”14Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring ruin on Absalom.Hushai Warns David to Escape
15Then Hushai said to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “Thus and so did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and so I have counseled.16Therefore send quickly and tell David, ‘Do not lodge tonight at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means cross over; otherwise the king and all the people who are with him will be swallowed up.’ ”17Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at En-rogel; a servant-girl used to go and tell them, and they would go and tell King David; for they could not risk being seen entering the city.18But a boy saw them, and told Absalom; so both of them went away quickly, and came to the house of a man at Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard; and they went down into it.19The man's wife took a covering, stretched it over the well's mouth, and spread out grain on it; and nothing was known of it.20When Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house, they said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” The woman said to them, “They have crossed over the brook of water.” And when they had searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.21After they had gone, the men came up out of the well, and went and told King David. They said to David, “Go and cross the water quickly; for thus and so has Ahithophel counseled against you.”22So David and all the people who were with him set out and crossed the Jordan; by daybreak not one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.23When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and went off home to his own city. He set his house in order, and hanged himself; he died and was buried in the tomb of his father.24Then David came to Mahanaim, while Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel.25Now Absalom had set Amasa over the army in the place of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Ishmaelite, who had married Abigal daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab's mother.26The Israelites and Absalom encamped in the land of Gilead.27When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim,28brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, meal, parched grain, beans and lentils,29honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat; for they said, “The troops are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”Chapter 18The Defeat and Death of Absalom
1Then David mustered the men who were with him, and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.2And David divided the army into three groups: one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the men, “I myself will also go out with you.”3But 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.”4The 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.5The king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders concerning Absalom.6So the army went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim.7The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there was great on that day, twenty thousand men.8The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest claimed more victims that day than the sword.9Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. 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.10A man saw it, and told Joab, “I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.”11Joab 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 belt.”12But the man said to Joab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not raise my hand against the king's son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying: For my sake protect the young man Absalom!13On 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.”14Joab said, “I will not waste time like this with you.” He took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak.15And ten young men, Joab's armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him.16Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the troops.17They took Absalom, threw him into a great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones. Meanwhile all the Israelites fled to their homes.18Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar that is in the King's Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance”; he called the pillar by his own name. It is called Absalom's Monument to this day.David Hears of Absalom's Death
19Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, “Let me run, and carry tidings to the king that the Lord has delivered him from the power of his enemies.”20Joab said to him, “You are not to carry tidings today; you may carry tidings another day, but today you shall not do so, because the king's son is dead.”21Then Joab said to a Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran.22Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you have no reward for the tidings?”23“Come what may,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the Plain, and outran the Cushite.24Now David was sitting between the two gates. The sentinel went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he looked up, he saw a man running alone.25The sentinel shouted and told the king. The king said, “If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.” He kept coming, and drew near.26Then the sentinel saw another man running; and the sentinel called to the gatekeeper and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also is bringing tidings.”27The sentinel said, “I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz son of Zadok.” The king said, “He is a good man, and comes with good tidings.”28Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “All is well!” He prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground, and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.”29The king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I do not know what it was.”30The king said, “Turn aside, and stand here.” So he turned aside, and stood still.31Then the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, “Good tidings for my lord the king! For the Lord has vindicated you this day, delivering you from the power of all who rose up against you.”32The 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 to do you harm, be like that young man.”David Mourns for Absalom
33 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 Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”Chapter 191It was told Joab, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.”2So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the troops; for the troops heard that day, “The king is grieving for his son.”3The troops stole into the city that day as soldiers steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle.4The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”5Then Joab came into the house to the king, and said, “Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your officers who have saved your life today, and the lives of your sons and your daughters, and the lives of your wives and your concubines,6for love of those who hate you and for hatred of those who love you. You have made it clear today that commanders and officers are nothing to you; for I perceive that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased.7So go out at once and speak kindly to your servants; for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night; and this will be worse for you than any disaster that has come upon you from your youth until now.”8Then the king got up and took his seat in the gate. The troops were all told, “See, the king is sitting in the gate”; and all the troops came before the king.
David Recalled to Jerusalem
Meanwhile, all the Israelites had fled to their homes.9All the people were disputing throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies, and saved us from the hand of the Philistines; and now he has fled out of the land because of Absalom.10But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”11King David sent this message to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “Say to the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house? The talk of all Israel has come to the king.12You are my kin, you are my bone and my flesh; why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’13And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? So may God do to me, and more, if you are not the commander of my army from now on, in place of Joab.’ ”14Amasa swayed the hearts of all the people of Judah as one, and they sent word to the king, “Return, both you and all your servants.”15So the king came back to the Jordan; and Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and to bring him over the Jordan.16Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite, from Bahurim, hurried to come down with the people of Judah to meet King David;17with him were a thousand people from Benjamin. And Ziba, the servant of the house of Saul, with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants, rushed down to the Jordan ahead of the king,18while the crossing was taking place, to bring over the king's household, and to do his pleasure.
David's Mercy to Shimei
Shimei son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan,19and said to the king, “May my lord not hold me guilty or remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem; may the king not bear it in mind.20For your servant knows that I have sinned; therefore, see, I have come this day, the first of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.”21Abishai son of Zeruiah answered, “Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord's anointed?”22But David said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should today become an adversary to me? Shall anyone be put to death in Israel this day? For do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?”23The king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king gave him his oath.David and Mephibosheth Meet
24Mephibosheth grandson of Saul came down to meet the king; he had not taken care of his feet, or trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes, from the day the king left until the day he came back in safety.25When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?”26He answered, “My lord, O king, my servant deceived me; for your servant said to him, ‘Saddle a donkey for me, so that I may ride on it and go with the king.’ For your servant is lame.27He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like the angel of God; do therefore what seems good to you.28For all my father's house were doomed to death before my lord the king; but you set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right have I, then, to appeal to the king?”29The king said to him, “Why speak any more of your affairs? I have decided: you and Ziba shall divide the land.”30Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him take it all, since my lord the king has arrived home safely.”David's Kindness to Barzillai
31Now Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim; he went on with the king to the Jordan, to escort him over the Jordan.32Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old. He had provided the king with food while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man.33The king said to Barzillai, “Come over with me, and I will provide for you in Jerusalem at my side.”34But Barzillai said to the king, “How many years have I still to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem?35Today I am eighty years old; can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?36Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king recompense me with such a reward?37Please let your servant return, so that I may die in my own town, near the graves of my father and my mother. But here is your servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do for him whatever seems good to you.”38The king answered, “Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you; and all that you desire of me I will do for you.”39Then all the people crossed over the Jordan, and the king crossed over; the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home.40The king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him; all the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, brought the king on his way.41Then all the people of Israel came to the king, and said to him, “Why have our kindred the people of Judah stolen you away, and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David's men with him?”42All the people of Judah answered the people of Israel, “Because the king is near of kin to us. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king's expense? Or has he given us any gift?”43But the people of Israel answered the people of Judah, “We have ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?” But the words of the people of Judah were fiercer than the words of the people of Israel.Chapter 20The Rebellion of Sheba
1Now a scoundrel named Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjaminite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and cried out,
“We have no portion in David,
no share in the son of Jesse!
Everyone to your tents, O Israel!”2So all the people of Israel withdrew from David and followed Sheba son of Bichri; but the people of Judah followed their king steadfastly from the Jordan to Jerusalem.3David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten concubines whom he had left to look after the house, and put them in a house under guard, and provided for them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as if in widowhood.4Then the king said to Amasa, “Call the men of Judah together to me within three days, and be here yourself.”5So Amasa went to summon Judah; but he delayed beyond the set time that had been appointed him.6David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom; take your lord's servants and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities for himself, and escape from us.”7Joab's men went out after him, along with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the warriors; they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bichri.8When they were at the large stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was wearing a soldier's garment and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened at his waist; as he went forward it fell out.9Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him.10But Amasa did not notice the sword in Joab's hand; Joab struck him in the belly so that his entrails poured out on the ground, and he died. He did not strike a second blow.
Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bichri.11And one of Joab's men took his stand by Amasa, and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab.”12Amasa lay wallowing in his blood on the highway, and the man saw that all the people were stopping. Since he saw that all who came by him were stopping, he carried Amasa from the highway into a field, and threw a garment over him.13Once he was removed from the highway, all the people went on after Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bichri.14Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah; and all the Bichrites assembled, and followed him inside.15Joab's forces came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah; they threw up a siege ramp against the city, and it stood against the rampart. Joab's forces were battering the wall to break it down.16Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, I want to speak to you.’ ”17He came near her; and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” He answered, “I am listening.”18Then she said, “They used to say in the old days, ‘Let them inquire at Abel’; and so they would settle a matter.19I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel; you seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel; why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord?”20Joab answered, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy!21That is not the case! But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David; give him up alone, and I will withdraw from the city.” The woman said to Joab, “His head shall be thrown over the wall to you.”22Then the woman went to all the people with her wise plan. And they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, and all went to their homes, while Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.