April 10

2 Samuel 13:23 — 15:22

 And it turned out after two full years that Absalom came to have sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is close by Ephraim; and Absalom proceeded to invite all the sons of the king. 24 So Absalom came in to the king and said: “Here, now, your servant has sheepshearers! Let the king go, please, and also his servants, with your servant.” 25 But the king said to Absalom: “No, my son! Do not let all of us go, please, that we may not be a burden upon you.” Although he kept urging him, he did not consent to go but blessed him. 26 Finally Absalom said: “If not [you], let Amnon my brother go with us, please.” At this the king said to him: “Why should he go with you?” 27 And Absalom began to urge him, so that he sent Amnon and all the sons of the king with him.

28 Then Absalom commanded his attendants, saying: “See, please, that just as soon as Amnon’s heart is in a merry mood with wine, and I shall certainly say to YOU, ‘Strike down Amnon!’ YOU must then put him to death. Do not be afraid. Have not I myself commanded YOU? Be strong and prove yourselves to be valiant men.” 29 And Absalom’s attendants proceeded to do to Amnon just as Absalom had commanded; and all the other sons of the king began to rise up and mount each one his mule and take to flight. 30 And it came about that, while they were on the way, the report itself came to David, saying: “Absalom has struck down all the sons of the king, and not one of them has been left over.” 31 At this the king got up and ripped his clothes apart and lay upon the earth, and all his servants were standing by with their garments ripped apart.

32 However, Jehonadab the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, answered and said: “Do not let my lord think that it is all the young men the sons of the king that they have put to death, for it is Amnon alone that has died, because at the order of Absalom it has occurred as something appointed from the day that he humiliated Tamar his sister. 33 And now do not let my lord the king take to his heart the word, saying, ‘All the king’s sons themselves have died’; but it is Amnon alone that has died.”

34 Meantime, Absalom went running away. Later the young man, the watchman, raised his eyes and saw, and, look! there were many people coming from the road behind him by the mountainside. 35 At this Jehonadab said to the king: “Look! The king’s sons themselves have come in. In accord with the word of your servant so it has taken place.” 36 And it came about that, as soon as he finished speaking, here the king’s sons themselves came in, and they began to raise their voice and weep; and even the king and all his servants wept with a very great weeping. 37 As for Absalom, he ran off that he might go to Talmai the son of Ammihud the king of Geshur. And [David] continued to mourn over his son all the days. 38 As for Absalom, he ran off and made his way to Geshur; and he came to be there three years.

39 Finally [the soul of] David the king longed to go out to Absalom; for he had comforted himself concerning Amnon, because he was dead.

14 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah came to know that the king’s heart was toward Absalom. 2 Accordingly Joab sent to Tekoa and took from there a wise woman and said to her: “Go in mourning, please, and dress yourself, please, with garments of mourning, and do not rub yourself with oil; and you must become like a woman here who has been mourning many days over someone dead. 3 And you must come in to the king and speak to him a word like this.” With that Joab put the words in her mouth.

4 And the Tekoite woman proceeded to come in to the king and fall upon her face to the earth and prostrate herself and say: “Do save, O king!” 5 At this the king said to her: “What is the matter with you?” To this she said: “For a fact I am a widowed woman, now that my husband is dead. 6 And your maidservant had two sons, and the two of them began to struggle with each other in the field while there was no deliverer to part them. Finally the one struck the other down and put him to death. 7 And here all the family have risen up against your maidservant and keep saying, ‘Give over the striker of his brother, that we may put him to death for the soul of his brother whom he killed, and let us even annihilate the heir!’ And they will certainly extinguish the glow of my charcoals that has remained, so as to assign to my husband neither a name nor a remnant on the surface of the ground.”

8 Then the king said to the woman: “Go to your house, and I myself shall give command regarding you.” 9 At this the Tekoite woman said to the king: “Upon me, O my lord the king, be the error, and also upon the house of my father, while the king and his throne are innocent.” 10 And the king went on to say: “If there is anyone speaking to you, you must also bring him to me, and he will never hurt you again.” 11 But she said: “Let the king, please, remember Jehovah your God, that the avenger of blood may not be continually causing ruin and that they may not annihilate my son.” To this he said: “As Jehovah is living, not a single hair of your son will fall to the earth.” 12 The woman now said: “Let your maidservant, please, speak a word to my lord the king.” So he said: “Speak!”

13 And the woman went on to say: “Why, then, have you reasoned like this against the people of God? As the king is speaking this word he is like one that is guilty, in that the king does not bring back his own banished one. 14 For we shall die without fail and be like waters that are being poured down to the earth, which cannot be gathered. But God will not take away a soul, and he has thought out reasons why the one banished should not be banished from him. 15 And now that I have come in to speak this word to the king my lord, it is because the people made me afraid. So your maidservant said, ‘Let me speak, please, to the king. Perhaps the king will act on the word of his slave girl. 16 Because the king proceeded to listen so as to deliver his slave girl out of the palm of the man [seeking] to annihilate me and my lone son from the inheritance given by God,’ 17 then your maidservant said, ‘Let the word of my lord the king serve, please, to give rest.’ For just like an angel of the [true] God is the way my lord the king is, to distinguish what is good and what is bad, and may Jehovah your God himself prove to be with you.”

18 The king now answered and said to the woman: “Do not, please, hide from me a thing about which I am asking you.” To this the woman said: “Let my lord the king speak, please.” 19 And the king went on to say: “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” Then the woman answered and said: “As your soul is living, O my lord the king, no man can go to the right or go to the left from all that my lord the king has spoken; for it was your servant Joab that commanded me, and he it was that put in the mouth of your maidservant all these words. 20 For the sake of altering the face of the matter your servant Joab has done this thing, but my lord is wise as with the wisdom of the angel of the [true] God so as to know all that is in the earth.”

21 Subsequently the king said to Joab: “Here, now, I shall certainly do this thing. So go, bring the young man Absalom back.” 22 At this Joab fell upon his face to the earth and prostrated himself and blessed the king; and Joab went on to say: “Today your servant does know that I have found favor in your eyes, O my lord the king, because the king has acted on the word of his servant.” 23 With that Joab rose up and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 However, the king said: “Let him turn toward his own house, but my face he may not see.” So Absalom turned toward his own house, and the face of the king he did not see.

25 Now compared with Absalom there proved to be no man so beautiful in all Israel as to be praised so much. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there proved to be no defect in him. 26 And when he shaved his head—and it occurred at the end of every year that he would shave it; because it was so heavy upon him, he shaved it—he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by the royal stone weight. 27 And there came to be born to Absalom three sons and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She proved to be a woman most beautiful in appearance.

28 And Absalom continued dwelling in Jerusalem for two full years, and the face of the king he did not see. 29 So Absalom sent for Joab to send him to the king, and he did not consent to come to him. Then he sent again, a second time, and he did not consent to come. 30 Finally he said to his servants: “See Joab’s tract of land beside mine, and there he has barley. Go and set it ablaze with fire.” Accordingly the servants of Absalom set the tract of land ablaze with fire. 31 At this Joab rose up and came to Absalom at the house and said to him: “Why did your servants set the tract of land that is mine ablaze with fire?” 32 So Absalom said to Joab: “Look! I sent to you, saying, ‘Come here and let me send you to the king, saying: “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me that I should still be there. And now let me see the face of the king and, if there is any error in me, he must then put me to death.”’”

33 Subsequently Joab came in to the king and told him. Then he called Absalom, who now came in to the king and prostrated himself to him, [falling] upon his face to the earth before the king; after which the king kissed Absalom.

15 And it came about following such things that Absalom proceeded to have a chariot made for himself, with horses and with fifty men running before him. 2 And Absalom rose up early and stood at the side of the road to the gate. And it came about, when any man happened to have a legal case to come to the king for judgment, then Absalom would call him and say: “From what city are you?” and he would say: “From one of the tribes of Israel your servant is.” 3 And Absalom would say to him: “See, your matters are good and straight; but there is no one from the king giving you a hearing.” 4 And Absalom would go on to say: “O that I were appointed judge in the land, that to me every man might come that happens to have a legal case or judgment! Then I should certainly do justice to him.”

5 It also occurred that, when a man drew near to bow down to him, he thrust his hand out and grabbed hold of him and kissed him. 6 And Absalom kept doing a thing like this to all Israelites that would come in for judgment to the king; and Absalom kept stealing the hearts of the men of Israel.

7 And it came about at the end of forty years that Absalom proceeded to say to the king: “Let me go, please, and pay in Hebron my vow that I solemnly made to Jehovah. 8 For your servant made a solemn vow when I was dwelling in Geshur in Syria, saying, ‘If Jehovah will without fail bring me back to Jerusalem, I must also render service to Jehovah.’” 9 So the king said to him: “Go in peace.” With that he rose up and went to Hebron.

10 Absalom now sent spies through all the tribes of Israel, saying: “As soon as YOU hear the sound of the horn, YOU must also say, ‘Absalom has become king in Hebron!’” 11 Now there had gone with Absalom two hundred men from Jerusalem, being called and going unsuspectingly, and they did not know a single thing. 12 Further, when he offered the sacrifices, Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy kept getting stronger, and the people were continually growing in number with Absalom.

13 In time an informer came to David, saying: “The heart of the men of Israel has come to be behind Absalom.” 14 At once David said to all his servants that were with him in Jerusalem: “Get up, and let us run away; for there will prove to be no escaping for us because of Absalom! Go hurriedly, for fear he may hurry up and actually catch up with us and bring down upon us what is bad and strike the city with the edge of the sword!” 15 At this the king’s servants said to the king: “According to all that my lord the king may choose, here are your servants.” 16 So the king went out with all his household at his feet, and the king left ten women, concubines, to take care of the house. 17 And the king continued on his way out with all the people at his feet; and they came to a stop at Beth-merhak.

18 And all his servants were crossing at his side; and all the Cherethites and all the Pelethites and all the Gittites, six hundred men that had followed him from Gath, were crossing before the king’s face. 19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite: “Why should you yourself also go with us? Go back and dwell with the king; for you are a foreigner and, besides, you are an exile from your place. 20 Yesterday was when you came and today shall I make you wander with us, to go when I am going wherever I am going? Go back and take your brothers back with you, [and may Jehovah exercise toward you] loving-kindness and trustworthiness!” 21 But Ittai answered the king and said: “As Jehovah is living and as my lord the king is living, in the place where my lord the king may come to be, whether for death or for life, there is where your servant will come to be!” 22 At that David said to Ittai: “Go and cross over.” So Ittai the Gittite crossed over, and also all his men and all the little ones that were with him.