Absalom’s Return to Jerusalem
(2 Samuel 14:1-27)
Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was toward Absalom. And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched there a wise woman, and said to her, I pray you, feign yourself to be a mourner, and put on now mourning apparel, and anoint not yourself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead: And come to the king, and speak on this manner to him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.
And when the woman of Tekoah spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and said, Help, O king. And the king said to her, What ails you? And she answered, I am indeed a widow woman, and my husband is dead. And your handmaid had two sons, and they two strove together in the field, and there was none to part them, but the one smote the other, and slew him. And, behold, the whole family is risen against your handmaid, and they said, Deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill him, for the life of his brother whom he slew; and we will destroy the heir also: and so they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder on the earth.
And the king said to the woman, Go to your house, and I will give charge concerning you. And the woman of Tekoah said to the king, My lord, O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father’s house: and the king and his throne be guiltless. And the king said, Whoever said ought to you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you any more. Then said she, I pray you, let the king remember the LORD your God, that you would not suffer the revengers of blood to destroy any more, lest they destroy my son. And he said, As the LORD lives, there shall not one hair of your son fall to the earth.
Then the woman said, Let your handmaid, I pray you, speak one word to my lord the king. And he said, Say on. And the woman said, Why then have you thought such a thing against the people of God? for the king does speak this thing as one which is faulty, in that the king does not fetch home again his banished. For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither does God respect any person: yet does he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him. Now therefore that I am come to speak of this thing to my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid: and your handmaid said, I will now speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his handmaid. For the king will hear, to deliver his handmaid out of the hand of the man that would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God. Then your handmaid said, The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable: for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: therefore the LORD your God will be with you.
Then the king answered and said to the woman, Hide not from me, I pray you, the thing that I shall ask you. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak. And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with you in all this? And the woman answered and said, As your soul lives, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from ought that my lord the king has spoken: for your servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid: To fetch about this form of speech has your servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.
And the king said to Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring the young man Absalom again. And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, To day your servant knows that I have found grace in your sight, my lord, O king, in that the king has fulfilled the request of his servant. So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king’s face.
But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year’s end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king’s weight. And to Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a fair countenance.
Absalom Reconciled to David
(2 Samuel 14:28-33)
So Absalom dwelled two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king’s face. Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come. Therefore he said to his servants, See, Joab’s field is near mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom to his house, and said to him, Why have your servants set my field on fire? And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent to you, saying, Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say, Why am I come from Geshur? it had been good for me to have been there still: now therefore let me see the king’s face; and if there be any iniquity in me, let him kill me. So Joab came to the king, and told him: and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.
(2 Samuel 15:1-12)
And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called to him, and said, Of what city are you? And he said, Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said to him, See, your matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear you. Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which has any suit or cause might come to me, and I would do him justice! And it was so, that when any man came near to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said to the king, I pray you, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron. For your servant vowed a vow while I stayed at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD. And the king said to him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron. But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, Absalom reigns in Hebron. And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing. And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.
David Flees Jerusalem
(2 Samuel 15:13-28)
And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. And David said to all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil on us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword. And the king’s servants said to the king, Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king shall appoint. And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house. And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off. And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.
Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Why go you also with us? return to your place, and abide with the king: for you are a stranger, and also an exile. Whereas you came but yesterday, should I this day make you go up and down with us? seeing I go where I may, return you, and take back your brothers: mercy and truth be with you. And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will your servant be. And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him. And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.
And see Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city. And the king said to Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and show me both it, and his habitation: But if he thus say, I have no delight in you; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seems good to him. The king said also to Zadok the priest, Are not you a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me. Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.
David Weeps at Mount Olivet
(2 Samuel 15:30-37)
And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up. And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray you, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.
And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth on his head: To whom David said, If you pass on with me, then you shall be a burden to me: But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant till now, so will I now also be your servant: then may you for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel. And have you not there with you Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever you shall hear out of the king’s house, you shall tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok’s son, and Jonathan Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send to me every thing that you can hear. So Hushai David’s friend came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.
David and Ziba
(2 Samuel 16:1-4)
And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and on them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine. And the king said to Ziba, What mean you by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink. And the king said, And where is your master’s son? And Ziba said to the king, Behold, he stays at Jerusalem: for he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father. Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, your are all that pertained to Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech you that I may find grace in your sight, my lord, O king.
Shimei Curses David
(2 Samuel 16:5-14)
And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, you bloody man, and you man of Belial: The LORD has returned on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead you have reigned; and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son: and, behold, you are taken in your mischief, because you are a bloody man.
Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah to the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray you, and take off his head. And the king said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD has said to him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Why have you done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeks my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD has bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on my affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust. And the king, and all the people that were with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there.
The Counsel of Ahithophel and Hushai
(2 Samuel 16:15-23)
And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, was come to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, God save the king, God save the king. And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this your kindness to your friend? why went you not with your friend? And Hushai said to Absalom, No; but whom the LORD, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide. And again, whom should I serve? should I not serve in the presence of his son? as I have served in your father’s presence, so will I be in your presence.
Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do. And Ahithophel said to Absalom, Go in to your father’s concubines, which he has left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that you are abhorred of your father: then shall the hands of all that are with you be strong. So they spread Absalom a tent on the top of the house; and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counceled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.