1Now it came about after this that Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men Lit as runners aheadto run ahead of him.
2And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the road to the gate; and when any man who had a lawsuit was to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call out to him and say, “From what city are you?” And he would say, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.”
3Then Absalom would say to him, “See, your Lit wordsclaims are good and right, but you have no one to listen to you on the part of the king.”
4Moreover, Absalom would say, “Oh that someone would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has a lawsuit or claim could come to me, and I would give him justice!”
5And whenever a man approached to prostrate himself before him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him.
6Absalom dealt this way with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
7Now it came about at the end of As in some ancient versions; MT fortyfour years that Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow which I have made to the Lord, in Hebron.
8For your servant made a vow while I was living in Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.’ ”
9The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he got up and went to Hebron.
10But Absalom sent spies throughout the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron!’ ”
11Then two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem, who were invited and went Lit in their integrityinnocently, for they did not know anything.
12And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong, for the people continually increased with Absalom.
David Flees Jerusalem
13Then a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the people of Israel are Lit afterwith Absalom.”
14So David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem, “Arise and let’s flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go quickly, or he will hurry and overtake us, and bring disaster on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”
15Then the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants will do whatever my lord the king chooses.”
16So the king left, and all his household Lit at his feetwith him; but the king left ten concubines behind to take care of the house.
17The king left, and all the people Lit at his feetwith him, and they stopped at the last house.
18Now all of his servants passed by beside him, and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had come Lit at his feetwith him from Gath, passed by before the king.
19Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you go with us too? Return and stay with Lit the kingyour king, since you are a foreigner and an exile as well; return to your own place.
20You came only yesterday, so should I make you wander with us today, while I go wherever I go? Return and take your brothers back; mercy and Or faithfulnesstruth be with you.”
21But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there assuredly shall your servant be!”
22Then David said to Ittai, “Go and cross over the brook Kidron.” So Ittai the Gittite crossed over with all his men and all the I.e., children; here, families of the menlittle ones who were with him.
23While all the country was weeping with a loud voice, all the people were crossing over. The king was also crossing over the brook Kidron, and all the people were crossing over toward the way of the wilderness.
24Now behold, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him, carrying the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar came up until all the people had finished crossing over from the city.
25And the king said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the Lord, then He will bring me back and show me both it and His habitation.
26But if He says this: ‘I have no delight in you,’ then here I am, let Him do to me as seems good Lit in His sightto Him.”
27The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
28See, I am going to wait at the river crossing places of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.”
29So Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem and remained there.
30And David was going up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, and his head was covered, and he was walking barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his own head, and they were going up, weeping as they went.
31Now someone informed David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “Lord, please make the advice of Ahithophel foolish.”
32It happened as David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, that behold, Hushai the Archite met him with his Or tuniccoat torn, and Lit earthdust on his head.
33And David said to him, “If you go over with me, then you will become a burden to me.
34But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; even as I was your father’s servant in time past, so now I will also be your servant,’ then you can foil the advice of Ahithophel for me.
35Are Zadok and Abiathar the priests not with you there? So it shall be that whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall report to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
36Behold their two sons are there with them, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send me everything that you hear.”
37So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.
New American Standard Bible
Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020
by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved.
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