2 Samuel 181 And so David, having reviewed his people, appointed over them tribunes and centurions. 2 And he placed a third part of the people under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Ittai, who was from Gath. And the king said to the people, “I, too, will go forth with you.” 3 And the people responded: “You shall not go out. For if we flee, there will not be great concern in them for us. Or if one half part of us will fall, they will not care much. For you are considered as one for ten thousand. Therefore, it is better that you should be in the city to strengthen us.” 4 And the king said to them, “I will do whatever seems good to you.” Therefore, the king stood beside the gate. And the people went out by their troops, by hundreds and by thousands. 5 And the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Preserve for me the boy Absalom.” And all the people heard the king commanding all the leaders on behalf of Absalom. 6 And so, the people departed into the field against Israel. And the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 7 And the people of Israel were cut down in that place by the army of David. And a great slaughter occurred on that day: twenty thousand men. 8 Now the battle in that place was dispersed over the face of all the land. And there were many more of the people whom the forest had consumed, than the sword had devoured, on that day. 9 Then it happened that Absalom, riding on a mule, met the servants of David. And when the mule had entered under a thick and large oak tree, his head became trapped in the oak. And while he was suspended between heaven and earth, the mule on which he had been sitting continued on. 10 Then a certain one saw this and reported it to Joab, saying, “I saw Absalom hanging from an oak.” 11 And Joab said to the man who had reported it to him, “If you saw him, why did you not stab him to the ground, and I would have given you ten shekels of silver and a belt?” 12 And he said to Joab: “Even if you weighed out to my hands one thousand silver coins, I would never lay my hands on the son of the king. For in our hearing the king ordered you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Keep for me the boy Absalom.’ 13 Then too, if I had acted with such audacity, against my own life, this would never have been able to be hidden from the king. And would you then have stood by my side?” 14 And Joab said, “It will not be as you wish. Instead, I will be assailing him in your sight.” Then he took three lances in his hand, and he fixed them in the heart of Absalom. And while he was still clinging to life upon the oak, 15 ten young men, armor bearers of Joab, ran up, and striking him, they killed him. 16 Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and he held back the people, lest they pursue Israel in their flight, for he was willing to spare the multitude. 17 And they took Absalom, and they threw him into a great pit in the forest. And they piled an exceedingly great heap of stones over him. But all of Israel fled to their own tents. 18 Now Absalom had raised up for himself, when he was still alive, a monument, which is in the Valley of the King. For he said, “I have no son, and so this shall be the memorial to my name.” And he called the monument by his own name. And it is called the Hand of Absalom, even to this day. 19 Then Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok, said, “I will run and report to the king that the Lord has accomplished judgment for him, from the hand of his enemies.” 20 And Joab said to him: “You shall not be the messenger on this day. Instead, you shall report on another day. I am not willing for you to give the report today, because the son of the king is dead.” 21 Then Joab said to Hushai, “Go, and report to the king what you have seen.” Hushai reverenced Joab, and he ran. 22 And Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok, said to Joab again, “What prevents me from running after Hushai also?” And Joab said to him: “Why do you want to run, my son? You would not be the bearer of good news.” 23 And he responded, “But what if I do run?” And he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz, running along a shorter way, passed Hushai. 24 Now David was sitting between the two gates. Truly, the watchman, who was at the summit of the gate upon the wall, lifting up his eyes, saw a man running alone. 25 And crying out, he told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there is good news in his mouth.” But as he was advancing and drawing nearer, 26 the watchman saw another man running. And so, crying out from the height, he said: “Another man has appeared, running alone.” And the king said, “This one also is a good messenger.” 27 Then the watchman said, “The running of the closest one seems like the running of Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man, and he arrives bearing good news.” 28 Then, Ahimaaz, crying out, said to the king, “Be well, O king.” And reverencing the king prone on the ground before him, he said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has enclosed the men who had lifted up their hands against my lord the king.” 29 And the king said, “Is there peace for the boy Absalom?” And Ahimaaz said: “I saw a great tumult, O king, when your servant Joab sent me, your servant. I know nothing else.” 30 And the king said to him, “Pass, and stand here.” And when he had passed and stood still, 31 Hushai appeared. And approaching, he said: “I bear good news, my lord the king. For today the Lord has judged for you, from the hand of all who had risen up against you.” 32 But the king said to Hushai, “Is there peace for the boy Absalom?” And responding, Hushai said to him, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against him for evil, be as the boy is.” 33 And so the king, being greatly saddened, ascended to the upper room of the gate, and he wept. And as he went, he was speaking in this manner: “My son Absalom! Absalom my son! Who can grant to me that I may die on your behalf? Absalom, my son! My son, Absalom!”
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