18 Then David mustered the men who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 And David sent out the army, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the command of sIttai the Gittite. And the king said to the men, “I myself will also go out with you.” 3 tBut the men said, “You shall not go out. For if we flee, they will not care about us. If half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore it is better that you send us help from the city.” 4 The king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood at the side of the gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands. 5 And the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” uAnd all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders about Absalom.
6 So the army went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was fought in the vforest of Ephraim. 7 And the men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the loss there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. 8 The battle spread over the face of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword.
9 And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak,1 wand his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10 And a certain man saw it and told Joab, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Joab said to the man who told him, “What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 But the man said to Joab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not reach out my hand against the king’s son, for xin our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake protect the young man Absalom.’ 13 On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life2 (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.” 14 Joab said, “I will not waste time like this with you.” And he took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak. 15 And ten young men, Joab’s armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him and killed him.
16 Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained them. 17 And they took Absalom and threw him into a great pit in the forest and raised over him ya very great heap of stones. And all Israel zfled every one to his own home. 18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself athe pillar that is in bthe King’s Valley, for he said, c“I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s monument3 to this day.
David Hears of Absalom’s Death
19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, d“Let me run and carry news to the king that ethe Lord has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.” 20 And Joab said to him, “You are not to carry news today. You may carry news another day, but today you shall carry no news, because the king’s son is dead.” 21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. 22 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?” 23 “Come what may,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of fthe plain, and outran the Cushite.
24 Now David gwas sitting between the two gates, and hthe watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he lifted up his eyes and looked, he saw a man running alone. 25 The watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he drew nearer and nearer. 26 The watchman saw another man running. And the watchman called to the gate and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also brings news.” 27 The watchman said, “I think the running of the first is ilike the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, j“He is a good man and comes with good news.”
28 Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “All is well.” And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth and said, k“Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.” 29 And the king said, l“Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, your servant, I saw a great commotion, but I do not know what it was.” 30 And the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.
31 And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For mthe Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, l“Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, n“May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” 33 4 And the king was deeply moved and went up gto the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, o“O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
Joab Rebukes David
19 It was told Joab, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” 2 So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people, for the people heard that day, “The king is grieving for his son.” 3 And the people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. 4 The king pcovered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, q“O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 5 Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “You have today covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who have this day saved your life and the lives of your sons and your daughters and the lives of your wives and your concubines, 6 because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you, for today I know that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. 7 Now therefore arise, go out and speak rkindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now.” 8 Then the king arose and took his sseat in the gate. And the people were all told, “Behold, the king is sitting in the gate.” And all the people came before the king.
David Returns to Jerusalem
Now Israel had tfled every man to his own home. 9 And all the people were arguing throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, u“The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies and vsaved us from the hand of the Philistines, and now whe has fled out of the land from Absalom. 10 But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”
11 And King David sent this message to xZadok and Abiathar the priests: “Say to the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house, when the word of all Israel has come to the king?1 12 You are my brothers; yyou are my bone and my flesh. Why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13 And say to Amasa, z‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? aGod do so to me and more also, if you are not bcommander of my army from now on in place of Joab.’” 14 And he swayed the heart of all the men of Judah cas one man, so that they sent word to the king, “Return, both you and all your servants.” 15 So the king came back to the Jordan, and Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and to bring the king over the Jordan.
David Pardons His Enemies
16 And dShimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, from Bahurim, hurried to come down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 And with him were a thousand men from Benjamin. And eZiba the servant of the house of Saul, with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants, rushed down to the Jordan before the king, 18 and they crossed the ford to bring over the king’s household and to do his pleasure. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan, 19 and said to the king, f“Let not my lord hold me guilty or remember how your servant gdid wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. Do not let the king take it to heart. 20 For your servant knows that I have sinned. Therefore, behold, I have come this day, the first hof all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.” 21 Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered, “Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because ihe cursed the Lord’s anointed?” 22 But David said, j“What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be as an adversary to me? kShall anyone be put to death in Israel this day? For do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?” 23 lAnd the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king gave him his oath.
24 And mMephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king. He had neither taken care of his feet nor trimmed his beard nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came back in safety. 25 And when he came to Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, n“Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?” 26 He answered, “My lord, O king, my servant deceived me, for your servant said to him, ‘I will saddle a donkey for myself,2 that I may ride on it and go with the king.’ For oyour servant is lame. 27 pHe has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is qlike the angel of God; do therefore what seems good to you. 28 For all my father’s house were but men doomed to death before my lord the king, but ryou set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right have I, then, to cry to the king?” 29 And the king said to him, “Why speak any more of your affairs? I have decided: you and Ziba shall divide the land.” 30 And Mephibosheth said to the king, “Oh, let him take it all, since my lord the king has come safely home.”
31 Now sBarzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim, and he went on with the king to the Jordan, to escort him over the Jordan. 32 Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old. tHe had provided the king with food while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 33 And the king said to Barzillai, “Come over with me, and I will provide for you with me in Jerusalem.” 34 But Barzillai said to the king, u“How many years have I still to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35 I am this day veighty years old. Can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be wan added burden to my lord the king? 36 Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king repay me with such a reward? 37 Please let your servant return, that I may die in my own city near the grave of my father and my mother. But here is your servant xChimham. Let him go over with my lord the king, and do for him whatever seems good to you.” 38 And the king answered, “Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you, and all that you desire of me I will do for you.” 39 Then all the people went over the Jordan, and the king went over. And ythe king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home. 40 The king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him. All the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, brought the king on his way.
41 Then all the men of Israel came to the king and said to the king, “Why have our brothers the men of Judah stolen you away and zbrought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David’s men with him?” 42 All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is aour close relative. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king’s expense? Or has he given us any gift?” 43 And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, “We have bten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?” cBut the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
The Rebellion of Sheba
20 Now there happened to be there da worthless man, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite. And he blew the trumpet and said,
e“We have no portion in David,
and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse;
fevery man to his tents, O Israel!”
2 So all the men of Israel withdrew from David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah followed their king steadfastly from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
3 And David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took gthe ten concubines whom he had left to care for the house and put them in a house under guard and provided for them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as if in widowhood.
4 Then the king said to hAmasa, “Call the men of Judah together to me within three days, and be here yourself.” 5 So Amasa went to summon Judah, but he delayed beyond the set time that had been appointed him. 6 And David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom. Take iyour lord’s servants and pursue him, lest he get himself to fortified cities and escape from us.”1 7 And there went out after him Joab’s men and the jCherethites and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men. They went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. 8 When they were at the great stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was wearing a soldier’s garment, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened on his thigh, and as he went forward it fell out. 9 And Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand kto kiss him. 10 But Amasa did not observe the sword that was in Joab’s hand. lSo Joab struck him with it min the stomach and spilled his entrails to the ground without striking a second blow, and he died.
Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. 11 And one of Joab’s young men took his stand by Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab.” 12 And Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the highway. And anyone who came by, seeing him, stopped. And when the man saw that all the people stopped, he carried Amasa out of the highway into the field and threw a garment over him. 13 When he was taken out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.
14 And Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to nAbel of nBeth-maacah,2 and all othe Bichrites3 assembled and followed him in. 15 And all the men who were with Joab came and besieged him in nAbel of Beth-maacah. pThey cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart, and they were battering the wall to throw it down. 16 Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, that I may speak to you.’” 17 And he came near her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” And he answered, “I am listening.” 18 Then she said, “They used to say in former times, ‘Let them but ask counsel at nAbel,’ and so they settled a matter. 19 I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you qswallow up rthe heritage of the Lord?” 20 Joab answered, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should qswallow up or destroy! 21 That is not true. But a man of sthe hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.” 22 Then the woman went to all the people tin her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, uevery man to his home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.
23 vNow Joab was in command of all the army of Israel; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was in command of the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24 and wAdoram was in charge of the forced labor; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25 and Sheva was secretary; and xZadok and Abiathar were priests; 26 and yIra the Jairite was also David’s priest.
David Avenges the Gibeonites
21 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David zsought the face of the Lord. And the Lord said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” 2 So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the people of Israel but aof the remnant of the Amorites. Although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had sought to strike them down in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah. 3 And David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? And how shall I make atonement, that you may bless bthe heritage of the Lord?” 4 The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.” And he said, “What do you say that I shall do for you?” 5 They said to the king, “The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel, 6 let seven of his sons be given to us, so that we may hang them before the Lord at cGibeah of Saul, dthe chosen of the Lord.” And the king said, “I will give them.”
7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul’s son Jonathan, because of ethe oath of the Lord that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. 8 The king took the two sons of fRizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Merab1 the daughter of Saul, whom gshe bore to hAdriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite; 9 and he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the mountain before the Lord, and the seven of them perished together. They were put to death in the first days of harvest, iat the beginning of barley harvest.
10 jThen Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell upon them from the heavens. And she did not allow the birds of the air to come upon them by day, or the beasts of the field by night. 11 When David was told what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, 12 David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from the men of Jabesh-gilead, kwho had stolen them from the public square of lBeth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, on the day the Philistines killed Saul on Gilboa. 13 And he brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan; and they gathered the bones of those who were hanged. 14 And they buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin in mZela, in the tomb of Kish his father. And they did all that the king commanded. And after that nGod responded to the plea for the land.
War with the Philistines
15 There was war again between the Philistines and Israel, and David went down together with his servants, and they fought against the Philistines. And David grew weary. 16 And Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants oof the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels2 of bronze, and who was armed with a new sword, thought to kill David. 17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, p“You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench qthe lamp of Israel.”
18 rAfter this there was again war with the Philistines at Gob. Then sSibbecai tthe Hushathite struck down Saph, who was one of the descendants uof the giants. 19 And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob, and vElhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, struck down Goliath the Gittite, wthe shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.3 20 And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended xfrom the giants. 21 And when yhe taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down. 22 These four were descended xfrom the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.
David’s Song of Deliverance
22 And David spoke zto the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2 aHe said,
b“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
3 cmy1 God, my rock, din whom I take refuge,
emy shield, and fthe horn of my salvation,
gmy stronghold and hmy refuge,
my savior; you save me from violence.
4 I call upon the Lord, who is iworthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
5 j“For the waves of death encompassed me,
the torrents of destruction assailed me;2
6 kthe cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.
7 l“In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I called.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry mcame to his ears.
8 “Then nthe earth reeled and rocked;
othe foundations of the heavens trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
9 Smoke went up from his nostrils,3
and devouring fire from his mouth;
pglowing coals flamed forth from him.
10 qHe bowed the heavens and rcame down;
sthick darkness was under his feet.
11 He rode on a cherub and flew;
he was seen on tthe wings of the wind.
12 He made sdarkness around him uhis canopy,
thick clouds, a gathering of water.
13 Out of the brightness before him
vcoals of fire flamed forth.
14 wThe Lord thundered from heaven,
and the Most High uttered his voice.
15 And he sent out xarrows and scattered them;
lightning, and routed them.
16 Then the channels of the sea were seen;
the foundations of the world were laid bare,
at the rebuke of the Lord,
at the yblast of the breath of his nostrils.
17 z“He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
18 He rescued me from my strong enemy,
from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
20 aHe brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because bhe delighted in me.
21 “The Lord cdealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the dcleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
22 eFor I have kept the ways of the Lord
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
23 fFor all his rules were before me,
and from his statutes I did not turn aside.
24 I was gblameless before him,
and I kept myself from guilt.
25 dAnd the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to my cleanness in his sight.
26 h“With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the gblameless man you show yourself blameless;
27 with the purified you deal purely,
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
28 iYou save a humble people,
jbut your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down.
29 kFor you are my lamp, O Lord,
and my God lightens my darkness.
30 For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
31 This God—lhis way is perfect;
the mword of the Lord proves true;
he is na shield for all those who take refuge in him.
32 “For who is God, but the Lord?
oAnd who is a rock, except our God?
33 This God is my pstrong refuge
and has made my4 way blameless.5
34 qHe made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure ron the heights.
35 sHe trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your gentleness made me great.
37 tYou gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet6 did not slip;
38 I pursued my enemies and destroyed them,
and did not turn back until they were consumed.
39 I consumed them; I thrust them through, so that they did not rise;
they fell uunder my feet.
40 For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made vthose who rise against me sink under me.
41 You wmade my enemies turn their backs to me,7
those who hated me, and I destroyed them.
42 They looked, but there was none to save;
they cried to the Lord, but xhe did not answer them.
43 I beat them fine yas the dust of the earth;
I crushed them and stamped them down zlike the mire of the streets.
44 “You delivered me from strife with my people;8
you kept me as the head of athe nations;
bpeople whom I had not known served me.
45 Foreigners came cringing to me;
as soon as they heard of me, they obeyed me.
46 Foreigners lost heart
47 “The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be dmy God, ethe rock of my salvation,
48 the God who gave me vengeance
and fbrought down peoples under me,
49 who brought me out from my enemies;
you exalted me above vthose who rose against me;
you delivered me from gmen of violence.
50 h“For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing praises to your name.
51 iGreat salvation he brings10 to his king,
and shows steadfast love to jhis anointed,
to David and his offspring kforever.”