In the course of time,1 Absalom provided himself with a chariot2 and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him.
He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate.3 Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, "What town are you from?" He would answer, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel."
Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you."44
And Absalom would add, "If only I were appointed judge in the land!5 Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice."
Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him.
Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts6 of the men of Israel.
At the end of foura years, Absalom said to the king, "Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the LORD.
While your servant was living at Geshur7 in Aram, I made this vow:8 'If the LORD takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the LORD in Hebron.b ' "
The king said to him, "Go in peace." So he went to Hebron.
Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets,9 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 Ahithophel10 the Gilonite, David's counselor,11 to come from Giloh,12 his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom's following kept on increasing.13
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,14 or none of us will escape from Absalom.15 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 concubines16 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 Kerethites17 and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.