April 12

2 Samuel 18:1 — 19:43

18 And David proceeded to number the people that were with him and to place over them chiefs of thousands and chiefs of hundreds. 2 Further, David sent one third of the people under the hand of Joab and one third under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. Then the king said to the people: “I myself also shall without fail go out with YOU.” 3 But the people said: “You must not go out, for if we should at all flee, they would not set heart upon us; and if half of us would die, they would not set heart upon us, because you are worth ten thousand of us; and now it would be better if you would be of service to us to give help from the city.” 4 So the king said to them: “Whatever seems good in YOUR eyes I shall do.” And the king kept standing at the side of the gate, and all the people themselves went out by hundreds and by thousands. 5 And the king went on to command Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying: “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people themselves heard when the king commanded all the chiefs over the matter of Absalom.

6 And the people continued on their way out to the field to meet Israel; and the battle came to be in the forest of Ephraim. 7 Finally the people of Israel were defeated there before the servants of David, and the slaughter there turned out to be great on that day, of twenty thousand men. 8 And the battle there got to be spread out over all the land that was in sight. Furthermore, the forest did more in eating up the people than the sword did in eating them up on that day.

9 Eventually Absalom found himself before the servants of David. And Absalom was riding upon a mule, and the mule got to come under the network of boughs of a massive big tree, so that his head got caught fast in the big tree, and he was taken up between the heavens and the earth, as the mule itself that was under him passed along. 10 Then a certain man saw it and told Joab and said: “Look! I have seen Absalom hung in a big tree.” 11 At this Joab said to the man who was telling him: “And here you saw it, and why did you not strike him down to the earth there? Then it would have been my obligation to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 But the man said to Joab: “And although I were weighing upon my palms a thousand pieces of silver, I should not thrust my hand out against the king’s son; for in our hearing it was that the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘WATCH, whoever [you are], over the young man, over Absalom.’ 13 Otherwise I should have dealt treacherously against his soul and the whole matter itself would not be hidden from the king, and you yourself would take a position off on the side.” 14 To this Joab said: “Let me not hold myself up this way before you!” With that he took three shafts in his palm and proceeded to drive them through the heart of Absalom while he was yet alive in the heart of the big tree. 15 Then ten attendants carrying Joab’s weapons came around and struck Absalom, that they might put him to death. 16 Joab now blew the horn, that the people might return from chasing after Israel; for Joab had held back the people. 17 Finally they took Absalom and pitched him in the forest into a big hollow and raised up over him a very big pile of stones. As for all Israel, they fled each man to his home.

18 Now Absalom himself, while he was alive, had taken and proceeded to raise up for himself a pillar, which is in the Low Plain of the King, for he said: “I have no son in order to keep my name in remembrance.” So he called the pillar by his own name, and it continues to be called Absalom’s Monument down to this day.

19 Now as regards Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, he said: “Let me run, please, and break the news to the king, because Jehovah has judged him [to free him] from the hand of his enemies.” 20 But Joab said to him: “You are not a man of news this day, and you must break the news on another day; but this day you must not break the news, for the very reason that the king’s own son has died.” 21 Then Joab said to the Cushite: “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” At that the Cushite bowed to Joab and began to run. 22 Ahimaaz the son of Zadok now said once again to Joab: “Let, now, happen whatever will, let me also myself, please, run behind the Cushite.” However, Joab said: “Why is it that you yourself have to run, my son, when there is no news being found for you?” 23 [Still he said:] “Let, now, happen whatever will, let me run.” So he said to him: “Run!” And Ahimaaz began to run by the way of the District, and he eventually passed by the Cushite.

24 Now David was sitting between the two gates. Meantime, the watchman went to the roof of the gate by the wall. At length he raised his eyes and saw and, look! there was a man running by himself. 25 So the watchman called and told the king, at which the king said: “If he is by himself, there is news in his mouth.” And he kept coming, steadily getting nearer. 26 The watchman now saw another man running. The watchman therefore called to the gatekeeper and said: “Look! Another man running by himself!” at which the king said: “This one also is a news bearer.” 27 And the watchman went on to say: “I am seeing that the running style of the first is like the running style of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok,” at which the king said: “This is a good man, and with good news he should come.” 28 Eventually Ahimaaz called and said to the king: “It is well!” With that he bowed to the king with his face to the earth. And he went on to say: “Blessed be Jehovah your God, who has surrendered the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king!”

29 However, the king said: “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” To this Ahimaaz said: “I saw the great commotion at the time Joab sent the king’s servant and your servant, and I did not know what it was.” 30 So the king said: “Step aside, take your position here.” At that he stepped aside and kept standing still.

31 And here was the Cushite coming in, and the Cushite began to say: “Let my lord the king accept news, for Jehovah has judged you today [to free you] from the hand of all those rising up against you.” 32 But the king said to the Cushite: “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” To this the Cushite said: “May the enemies of my lord the king and all those who rose up against you for evil become as the young man.”

33 Then the king became disturbed and went up to the roof chamber over the gateway and gave way to weeping; and this is what he said as he walked: “My son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! O that I might have died, I myself, instead of you, Absalom my son, my son!”

19 Later it was reported to Joab: “Look! The king is weeping, and he carries on mourning over Absalom.” 2 So the salvation on that day came to be an occasion of mourning on the part of all the people, because the people heard say on that day: “The king has felt hurt over his son.” 3 And the people began to steal away on that day to come into the city, just as the people would steal away when they felt disgraced because they fled in the battle. 4 And the king himself covered up his face, and the king continued crying out with a loud voice: “My son Absalom! Absalom my son, my son!”

5 Finally Joab came in to the king at the house and said: “You have today put to shame the face of all your servants, the ones providing escape for your soul today and for the soul of your sons and your daughters and the soul of your wives and the soul of your concubines, 6 by loving those hating you and by hating those loving you; for you have reported today that chiefs and servants are nothing to you, because I well know today that if only Absalom were alive and all of us others were today dead, why, in that case it would be right in your eyes. 7 And now rise up, go out and speak straight to the heart of your servants, because, by Jehovah, I do swear that, in case you are not going out, not a man will lodge with you tonight; and this will certainly be worse for you than all the injury that has come upon you from your youth until now.” 8 Accordingly the king rose up and seated himself in the gate, and to all the people they made the report, saying: “There is the king sitting in the gate.” And all the people began to come before the king.

As for Israel, they had fled each one to his home. 9 And all the people came to be involved in dispute in all the tribes of Israel, saying: “It was the king that delivered us out of the palm of our enemies, and he it was that provided escape for us out of the palm of the Philistines; and now he has run away out of the land from Absalom. 10 As for Absalom, whom we anointed over us, he has died in the battle. So now why are YOU doing nothing to bring the king back?”

11 As for King David, he sent to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, saying: “SPEAK to the older men of Judah, saying, ‘Why should YOU become the last ones to bring the king back to his house, when the word of all Israel itself has come to the king at his house? 12 My brothers YOU are; my bone and my flesh YOU are. So why should YOU become the last ones to bring the king back?’ 13 And to Amasa YOU should say, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? So may God do to me and so may he add to it if you will not become the army chief before me always instead of Joab.’”

14 And he proceeded to bend the heart of all the men of Judah as one man, so that they sent word to the king: “Come back, you and all your servants.”

15 And the king began to go back and got to come as far as the Jordan. As for Judah, they came to Gilgal to go and meet the king, to conduct the king across the Jordan. 16 Then Shimei the son of Gera the Benjaminite, who was from Bahurim, hurried and went down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 And there were with him a thousand men from Benjamin. (And also Ziba the attendant of the house of Saul and his fifteen sons and twenty servants of his were with him, and they made it successfully to the Jordan before the king. 18 And he crossed the ford to conduct the household of the king across and to do what was good in his eyes.) As for Shimei the son of Gera, he fell down before the king when he was about to cross the Jordan. 19 He now said to the king: “Do not let my lord attribute error to me, and do not remember the wrong that your servant did on the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, so that the king should lay it to his heart. 20 For your servant well knows that I am the one that sinned; and so here I have today come the first of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.”

21 At once Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said: “In return for this should not Shimei be put to death, in that he called evil down upon the anointed of Jehovah?” 22 But David said: “What do I have to do with YOU men, you sons of Zeruiah, that YOU should become today a resister of me? Will anyone today be put to death in Israel? For do I not well know that today I am king over Israel?” 23 Then the king said to Shimei: “You will not die.” And the king went on to swear to him.

24 As for Mephibosheth the grandson of Saul, he came down to meet the king; and he had not attended to his feet nor had he attended to his mustache nor had he washed his garments from the day that the king went away until the day that he came in peace. 25 And it came about that, when he came to Jerusalem to meet the king, then the king said to him: “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?” 26 To this he said: “My lord the king, it was my servant that tricked me. For your servant had said, ‘Let me saddle the female ass for me that I may ride upon it and go with the king,’ for your servant is lame. 27 So he slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is as an angel of the [true] God, and so do what is good in your eyes. 28 For all the household of my father would have become nothing but doomed to death to my lord the king, and yet you placed your servant among those eating at your table. So what do I still have as a just claim even for crying out further to the king?”

29 However, the king said to him: “Why do you yet keep speaking your words? I do say, You and Ziba should share in the field.” 30 At this Mephibosheth said to the king: “Let him even take the whole, now that my lord the king has come in peace to his house.”

31 And Barzillai the Gileadite himself came down from Rogelim that he might pass on to the Jordan with the king so as to escort him to the Jordan. 32 And Barzillai was very old, being eighty years of age; and he himself supplied the king with food while he was dwelling in Mahanaim, for he was a very great man. 33 So the king said to Barzillai: “You yourself cross over with me, and I shall certainly supply you with food with me in Jerusalem.” 34 But Barzillai said to the king: “What are the days of the years of my life like, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35 I am eighty years old today. Could I discern between good and bad, or could your servant taste what I ate and what I drank, or could I listen anymore to the voice of male and female singers? So why should your servant become a burden anymore to my lord the king? 36 For it is just a little way that your servant could bring the king along to the Jordan, and why should the king repay me with this reward? 37 Let your servant return, please, and let me die in my city close by the burial place of my father and my mother. But here is your servant Chimham. Let him cross over with my lord the king; and you do to him what is good in your eyes.”

38 Accordingly the king said: “With me Chimham will go across, and I myself shall do to him what is good in your eyes; and all that you may choose [to lay] upon me I shall do for you.” 39 All the people now began to cross the Jordan, and the king himself crossed; but the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, after which he returned to his place. 40 When the king went across to Gilgal, Chimham himself crossed with him, and also all the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, that they might bring the king across.

41 And, look! all the men of Israel were coming to the king, and they proceeded to say to the king: “Why did our brothers the men of Judah steal you that they might bring the king and his household and all the men of David with him over the Jordan?” 42 At this all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel: “Because the king is closely related to us; and why is it that you have become angry over this thing? Have we eaten at all at the king’s expense, or has a gift been carried to us?”

43 However, the men of Israel answered the men of Judah and said: “We have ten parts in the king, so that even in David we are more than you. Why, then, have you treated us with contempt, and why did not our matter become first for us to bring our king back?” But the word of the men of Judah was more severe than the word of the men of Israel.