Then Davidanumbered the peoplewho were with him and 1setover them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.
2Davidsent the people out, 2one third under the bcommand of Joab, one third under the ccommand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab'sbrother, and one third under the dcommand of 3Ittai the Gittite. And the kingsaid to the people, "I myself will surelygo out with you also."
But the peoplesaid, "4You should not go out; for if we indeedflee, they will not careabout us; even ifhalf of us die, they will not careabout us. But eyou are worth tenthousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city."
Then the kingsaid to them, "Whateverseemsbest to you I will do." So 5the kingstoodbeside the gate, and all the peoplewent out by hundreds and thousands.
The kingchargedJoab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the youngmanAbsalom." And 6all the peopleheard when the kingchargedall the commandersconcerningAbsalom.
Then the peoplewent out into the fieldagainstIsrael, and the battletookplace in 7the forest of Ephraim.
The people of Israel were fdefeatedtherebefore the servants of David, and the slaughterthere that day was great, 20,000 men.
For the battlethere was spreadover the wholecountryside, and the forestdevouredmorepeople that daythan the sworddevoured.
Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. For Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mulewentunder the thickbranches of a greatoak. And 8his headcaughtfast in the oak, so he was glefthangingbetweenheaven and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going.
When a certainmansaw it, he toldJoab and said, "Behold, I sawAbsalomhanging in an oak."
Then Joabsaid to the man who had told him, "Now behold, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? And I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt."
The mansaid to Joab, "Even if I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put out my handagainst the king'sson; for 9in our hearing the kingcharged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, 'hProtect for me the youngmanAbsalom!'
13"Otherwise, if I had dealttreacherously against his life (and 10there is nothinghidden from the king ), then you yourself would have stoodaloof ."
Then Joabsaid, "I will not iwastetimehere with you." 11So he tookthreespears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was yetalive in the jmidst of the oak.
And tenyoungmen who carriedJoab'sarmorgatheredaround and struckAbsalom and killed him.
Then 12Joabblew the trumpet, and the peoplereturned from pursuingIsrael, for Joabrestrained the people.
They tookAbsalom and cast him into ka deeppit in the forest and 13erectedover him a verygreatheap of stones. And 14allIsraelfled, each to his tent.
Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and 15set up for himself a pillarwhich is in 16the King'sValley, for he said, "17I havenosonlto preserve my name." So he named the pillarafter his own name, and it is calledAbsalom'sMonument to thisday.
Then 18Ahimaaz the son of Zadoksaid, "Please let me run and bring the kingnews19that the LORD has mfreed him from the hand of his enemies."
But Joabsaid to him, "You are not the man to carrynewsthisday, but you shall carrynewsanotherday; however, you shall carrynonews todaybecause the king'sson is dead."
Then Joabsaid to the Cushite, "Go, tell the kingwhat you have seen." So the Cushitebowed to Joab and ran.
Now Ahimaaz the son of Zadoksaidoncemore to Joab, "But whateverhappens, please let me alsorunafter the Cushite." And Joabsaid, "Why would you run, my son, since 20you will havenoreward for going?"
"But whateverhappens," he said, "I will run." So he said to him, "Run." Then Ahimaazran by way of the plain and passed up the Cushite.
Now 21David was sittingbetween the twogates; and 22the watchmanwent up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and raised his eyes and looked, and behold, a manrunning by himself.
The watchmancalled and told the king. And the kingsaid, "If he is by himself there is good news in his mouth." And he camenearer and nearer.
Then the watchmansawanothermanrunning; and the watchmancalled to the gatekeeper and said, "Behold, another manrunning by himself." And the kingsaid, "Thisonealso is bringing good news."
The watchmansaid, "I nthink the running of the firstone23is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok." And the kingsaid, "24This is a goodman and comes with goodnews."
28Ahimaazcalled and said to the king, "oAll is well." And 25he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, "26Blessed is the LORD your God, who has delivered up the menwholifted their hands against my lord the king."
The kingsaid, "27Is it well with the youngmanAbsalom?" And Ahimaazanswered, "When Joabsent the king'sservant, and your servant, I saw a greattumult, but 28I did not knowwhat it was."
Then the kingsaid, "Turnaside and standhere." So he turnedaside and stoodstill.
31Behold, the Cushitearrived, and the Cushitesaid, "Let my lord the kingreceive good news, for 29the LORD has pfreed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you."
Then the kingsaid to the Cushite, "30Is it well with the youngmanAbsalom?" And the Cushiteanswered, "31Let the enemies of my lord the king, and allwhorise up against you for evil, be as that youngman!"
33qThe king was deeplymoved and went up to the chamberover the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, "32O my sonAbsalom, my son, my sonAbsalom! 33Would I had diedinstead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"