2 Samuel 18

Absalom Slain

1Then David
Lit mustered
numbered the people who were with him and b  set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.
2David sent the people out, c  one third under the
Lit hand
command of Joab, one third under the
Lit hand
command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the
Lit hand
command of g  Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I myself will surely go out with you also.”
3But the people said h  You should not go out; for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us; even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But
So with some ancient versions; M.T. for now there are ten thousand like us
you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city.”
4Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So j  the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and thousands. 5The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And k  all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom.

6Then the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle took place in l  the forest of Ephraim. 7The people of Israel were
Lit smitten
defeated there before the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, 20,000 men.
8For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

9Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. For Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. And n  his head caught fast in the oak, so he was
Lit placed
left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going.
10When a certain man saw it, he told Joab and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11Then Joab said to the man who had told him, “Now behold, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? And I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12The man said to Joab, “Even if I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put out my hand against the king’s son; for p  in our hearing the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘
So with some mss and the ancient versions; M.T. Take care whoever you are of
Protect for me the young man Absalom!’
13Otherwise, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and r  there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.” 14Then Joab said, “I will not
Lit tarry thus
waste time here with you.” t  So he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was yet alive in the
Lit heart
midst of the oak.
15And ten young men who carried Joab’s armor gathered around and struck Absalom and killed him.

16Then v  Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the people. 17They took Absalom and cast him into
Lit the great
a deep pit in the forest and x  erected over him a very great heap of stones. And y  all Israel fled, each to his tent.
18Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and z  set up for himself a pillar which is in aa  the King’s Valley, for he said ab  I have no son
Lit for the sake of remembering
to preserve my name.” So he named the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

David Is Grief-stricken

19Then ad  Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Please let me run and bring the king news ae  that the  Lord has
Lit vindicated
freed him from the hand of his enemies.”
20But Joab said to him, “You are not the man to carry news this day, but you shall carry news another day; however, you shall carry no news today because the king’s son is dead.” 21Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed to Joab and ran. 22Now 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 ag  you will have no reward for going?” 23But whatever happens,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and passed up the Cushite.

24Now ah  David was sitting between the two gates; and ai  the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and raised his eyes and looked, and behold, a man running by himself. 25The watchman called 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. 26Then the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “Behold, another man running by himself.” And the king said, “This one also is bringing good news.” 27The watchman said, “I
Lit see
think the running of the first one ak  is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said al  This is a good man and comes with good news.”

28Ahimaaz called and said to the king
Lit Peace
All is well.” And an  he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said ao  Blessed is the  Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king.”
29The king said ap  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 tumult, but aq  I did not know what it was.” 30Then the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.

31Behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, “Let my lord the king receive good news, for ar  the  Lord has
Lit vindicated
freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you.”
32Then the king said to the Cushite at  Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered au  Let the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be as that young man!”

Ch 19:1 in Heb
The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked aw  O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! ax  Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
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