Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets,1 then say, 'Absalom is king in Hebron.' "
Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter.
While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel2 the Gilonite, David's counselor,3 to come from Giloh,4 his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom's following kept on increasing.5
A messenger came and told David, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom."
Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, "Come! We must flee,6 or none of us will escape from Absalom.7 We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin upon us and put the city to the sword."
The king's officials answered him, "Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king chooses."
The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines8 to take care of the palace.
So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at a place some distance away.
All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites9 and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.
The king said to Ittai10 the Gittite, "Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner,11 an exile from your homeland.
You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander12 about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your countrymen. May kindness and faithfulness13 be with you."