2Sam 15-17

Absalom 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.”