David reviewed his troops and appointed commanders of hundreds and of thousands over them.
He then sent out the troops, one third under Joab, one third under Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one third under Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the troops, "I will also march out with you."
"You must not go!" the people pleaded. "If we have to flee, they will not pay any attention to us. Even if half of us die, they will not pay any attention to us because you are wortha 10,000 of us. Therefore, it is better if you support us from the city."
"I will do whatever you think is best," the king replied to them. So he stood beside the gate while all the troops marched out by hundreds and thousands.
The king commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, "Treat the young man Absalom gently for my sake." All the people heard the king's orders to all the commanders about Absalom.
Then David's forces marched into the field to engage Israel in battle, which took place in the forest of Ephraim.