13And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.
14And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.
15And the kings servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.
16And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house.
17And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off.
18And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.
19Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile.
20Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.
21And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.
22And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him.
23And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.
24And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city.
25And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation:
26But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.
27The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
28See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.
29Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.
30And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.
31And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.
32And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head:
33Unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me:
34But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy fathers servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.
35And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the kings house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
36Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadoks son, and Jonathan Abiathars son; and by them ye shall send unto me every thing that ye can hear.
37So Hushai Davids friend came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.
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10 February 2011