2 Samuel 18-20 NASB
1 Then David [a]took a count of the people who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 And David sent the people out, a third [b]under the command of Joab, a third [c]under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and a third [d]under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I myself will certainly go out with you also.” 3 But the people said, “You should not go out; for if in fact we flee, they will not care about us; and if half of us die, they will not care about us. But [e]you are [f]worth ten thousand of us; so now it is better that you will be ready to help us from the city.” 4 Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and thousands. 5 But the king commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the people heard when the king commanded all the commanders regarding Absalom.
6 Then the people went out to the field against Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 7 The people of Israel were [g]defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, twenty thousand men. 8 For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
9 Now Absalom encountered the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the branches of a massive oak. Then his head caught firmly in the oak, and he was [h]left hanging between the sky and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going. 10 When a certain man saw him, he informed Joab and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Then Joab said to the man who had informed him, “So behold, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? And it would have been [i]my duty to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 But the man said to Joab, “Even if I were to [j]receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put out my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king commanded you, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, ‘[k]Protect the young man Absalom for me!’ 13 Otherwise, if I had dealt treacherously against [l]his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have [m]avoided me.” 14 Then Joab said, “I will not [n]waste time here with you.” So he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the [o]midst of the oak. 15 And ten young men who carried Joab’s armor gathered around and struck Absalom and killed him.
16 Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the people. 17 And they took Absalom and threw him into [p]a deep pit in the forest, and erected over him a very large pile of stones. And all Israel fled, each to his own tent. 18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a memorial stone, which is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to [q]continue my name.” So he named the memorial stone after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.
19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Please let me run and bring the king news that the Lord has [r]freed him from the hand of his enemies!” 20 But Joab said to him, “You are not the man to bring news this day, but you shall bring news another day; however, you shall bring no news this day, because the king’s son is dead.” 21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed to Joab and ran. 22 However, Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said once more to Joab, “But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why would you run, my son, since you will have no messenger’s reward for going?” 23 “But whatever happens,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and passed by the Cushite.
24 Now David was sitting between the two gates; and the watchman went to the roof of the gate by the wall, and raised his eyes and looked; and behold, a man was running by himself. 25 So the watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is by himself there is good news in his mouth.” And he came nearer and nearer. 26 Then the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “Behold, another man is running by himself.” And the king said, “This one also is bringing good news.” 27 The watchman said, “I [s]think the running form of the first one is like the running form of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “This is a good man, and he is coming with good news.”
28 Then Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “[t]All is well.” And he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, “Blessed is the Lord your God, who has turned over the men who raised their hands against my lord the king.” 29 But the king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, and your servant, I saw a great commotion, but I did not know what it was.” 30 Then the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.
31 Then behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, “Let my lord the king receive good news, for the Lord has [u]freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you.” 32 Then the king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be like that young man!”
33 [v]Then the king trembled and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And this is what he said as he walked: “My son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!”
1 [w]Then it was reported to Joab, “Behold, the king is weeping and he mourns for Absalom.” 2 So the [x]victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people, because the people heard it said that day, “The king is in mourning over his son.” 3 And the people entered the city surreptitiously that day, just as people who are humiliated surreptitiously flee in battle. 4 And the king covered his face and [y]cried out with a loud voice, “My son Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son!” 5 Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “Today you have shamed [z]all your servants, who have saved your life today and the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines, 6 by loving those who hate you, and by hating those who love you. For you have revealed today that [aa]commanders and servants are nothing to you; for I know today that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then it would be right [ab]as far as you are concerned. 7 Now therefore arise, go out and speak [ac]kindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go out, no man will stay the night with you, and this will be worse for you than all the misfortune that has [ad]happened to you from your youth until now!”
8 So the king got up and sat at the gate. When they told all the people, saying, “Behold, the king is sitting at the gate,” then all the people came before the king. Now Israel had fled, each to his tent. 9 And all the people were quarreling throughout the tribes of Israel, saying, “The king rescued us from the [ae]hands of our enemies and saved us from the [af]hands of the Philistines, but now he has fled out of the land from Absalom. 10 However, Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. Now then, why are you silent about bringing the king back?”
11 Then King David sent word to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, saying, “Speak to the elders of Judah, saying, ‘Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house, since the word of all Israel has come to the king, even to his house? 12 You are my brothers; you are my bone and my flesh. Why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13 And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? May God do so to me, and more so, if you will not be commander of the army [ag]for me continually, in place of Joab.’” 14 So he turned the hearts of all the men of Judah as one man, so that they sent word to the king, saying, “Return, you and all your servants.” 15 The king then returned and came as far as the Jordan. And the men of Judah came to Gilgal in order to go to meet the king, to escort the king across the Jordan.
16 Then Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite who was from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they rushed to the Jordan before the king. 18 Then they crossed the shallow places repeatedly to bring over the king’s household, and to do what was good in his sight. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king as he was about to cross the Jordan. 19 And he said to the king, “May my lord not consider me guilty, nor call to mind what your servant did wrong on the day when my lord the king went out from Jerusalem, so that the king would [ah]take it to heart. 20 For your servant knows that I have sinned; so behold, I have come today, the first of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.” 21 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah responded, “Should Shimei not be put to death for this, the fact that he cursed the Lord’s anointed?” 22 David then said, “What [ai]is there between you and me, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should be an adversary to me today? Should anyone be put to death in Israel today? For do I not know that I am king over Israel today?” 23 So the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” The king also swore to him.
24 Then Mephibosheth the [aj]grandson of Saul came down to meet the king; but he had neither [ak]tended to his feet, nor [al]trimmed his mustache, nor washed his clothes since the day the king departed until the day he came home in peace. 25 And it was when he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said to him, “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?” 26 So he said, “My lord the king, my servant betrayed me; for your servant said, ‘I will [am]saddle the donkey for myself so that I may ride on it and go with the king,’ since your servant cannot walk. 27 Furthermore, he has slandered your servant to my lord the king; but my lord the king is like the angel of God, therefore do what is good in your sight. 28 For all my father’s household was only people worthy of death to my lord the king; yet you placed your servant among those who ate at your own table. So what right do I still have, that I should [an]complain anymore to the king?” 29 So the king said to him, “Why do you still speak of your affairs? I have [ao]decided, ‘You and Ziba shall divide the land.’” 30 And Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him even take it all, since my lord the king has come safely to his own house.”
31 Now Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim; and he went on to the Jordan with the king to [ap]escort him over the Jordan. 32 Barzillai was very old: eighty years old; and he had provided the king food while he stayed in Mahanaim, for he was a very great man. 33 So the king said to Barzillai, “You cross over with me, and I will provide you food in Jerusalem with me.” 34 But Barzillai said to the king, “How long [aq]do I still have to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35 I am [ar]now eighty years old. Can I distinguish between good and bad? Or can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Or can I still hear the voice of men and women singing? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? 36 Your servant would merely cross over the Jordan with the king. So why should the king compensate me with this reward? 37 Please let your servant return, so that I may die in my own city near the grave of my father and my mother. However, here is your servant Chimham; let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what is good in your sight.” 38 And the king answered, “Chimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him what is good in your sight; and whatever you [as]require of me, I will do for you.” 39 All the people crossed over the Jordan and the king crossed too. The king then kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his place.
40 Now the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him; and all the people of Judah and also half the people of Israel [at]accompanied the king. 41 And behold, all the men of Israel came to the king and said to the king, “Why have our brothers, the men of Judah, abducted you and brought the king and his household and all David’s men with him, over the Jordan?” 42 Then all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is a close relative to [au]us. Why then are you angry about this matter? Have we eaten at all [av]at the king’s expense, or has anything been taken for us?” 43 But the men of Israel answered the men of Judah and said, “[aw]We have ten parts in the king, therefore [ax]we also have more claim on David than you. Why then did you treat [ay]us with contempt? Was it not [az]our [ba]advice first to bring back [bb]our king?” Yet the words of the men of Judah were harsher than the words of the men of Israel.
1 Now a worthless man happened to be there whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite; and he blew the trumpet and said,
“We have no share in David,
Nor do we have an inheritance in the son of Jesse;
Every man to his tents, Israel!”
2 So all the men of Israel [bc]withdrew from following David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah [bd]remained loyal to their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.
3 Then David came to his house in Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left behind to take care of the house, and put them in custody and provided them with food, but did not [be]have relations with them. So they were locked up until the day of their death, living as widows.
4 Now the king said to Amasa, “Summon the men of Judah for me within three days, and be present here yourself.” 5 So Amasa went to summon the men of Judah, but he was delayed longer than the set time which he had designated for him. 6 And David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom; take your lord’s servants and pursue him, so that he does not find for himself fortified cities and escape from our sight.” 7 So Joab’s men went out after him, along with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the warriors; and they left Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. 8 When they were at the large stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came [bf]to meet them. Now Joab was dressed in his military attire, and over it he had a belt with a sword in its sheath strapped on at his waist; and as he went forward, it fell out. 9 And Joab said to Amasa, “Is it going well for you, my brother?” And Joab took hold of Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him.
10 But Amasa was not on guard against the sword which was in Joab’s hand, so he struck him in the belly with it and spilled out his intestines on the ground, and did not strike him again, and he died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. 11 Now one of Joab’s young men stood by him and said, “Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David, follow Joab!” 12 But Amasa was wallowing in his own blood in the middle of the road. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he removed Amasa from the road to the field and threw a garment over him when he saw that everyone who came by him stood still.
13 As soon as he was removed from the road, all the men went on after Joab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.
14 Now he went on through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, that is, Beth-maacah, and all the Berites; and they assembled and went after him as well. 15 And they came and besieged him in Abel Beth-maacah, and they [bg]built up an assault ramp against the city, and it stood against the outer rampart; and all the people who were with Joab were wreaking destruction in order to topple the wall. 16 Then a wise woman called out from the city, “Listen, listen! Please tell Joab, ‘Come here that I may speak with you.’” 17 So he approached her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” And he answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your slave.” And he said, “I am listening.” 18 Then she spoke, saying, “In the past they used to say, ‘They will undoubtedly ask advice at Abel,’ and that is how they ended a dispute. 19 I am one of those who are ready for peace and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city, even a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?” 20 Joab replied, “Far be it, far be it from me that I would consume or destroy! 21 Such is not the case. But a man from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has raised his hand against King David. Only turn him over, and I will depart from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” 22 Then the woman wisely came to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, each to his tent. Joab also returned to the king at Jerusalem.
23 Now Joab was in command of the entire army of Israel, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24 and Adoram was over the forced labor, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the secretary; 25 and Sheva was scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26 Ira the Jairite also was a priest to David.