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2 Samuel 16 - 18

David’s Adversaries

16When 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 favour in your sight, my lord the king.’

Shimei Curses David

When 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.’

Then 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

15 Now 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.’

20 Then 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.

17Moreover, 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

Then 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

15 Then 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 counselled. 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.

21 After 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 counselled 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.

23 When 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.

24 Then 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.

27 When 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.’

The Defeat and Death of Absalom

18Then 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 gave orders to 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.

So 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.

Absalom 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 armour-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him.

16 Then 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

19 Then 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.

24 Now 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.’

28 Then 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.

31 Then 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 that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!’

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29 April 2019

From the oremus Bible Browser https://bible.oremus.org v2.5.1 29 April 2019.