2 Samuel 18 NLT/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 David now appointed generals and captains to lead his troops. 1 David mustered the men who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.
2 One-third were placed under Joab, one-third under Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one-third under Ittai the Gittite. The king told his troops, "I am going out with you." 2 David sent the troops out--a third under the command of Joab, a third under Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. The king told the troops, "I myself will surely march out with you."
3 But his men objected strongly. "You must not go," they urged. "If we have to turn and run -- and even if half of us die -- it will make no difference to Absalom's troops; they will be looking only for you. You are worth ten thousand of us, and it is better that you stay here in the city and send us help if we need it." 3 But the men said, "You must not go out; if we are forced to flee, they won't care about us. Even if half of us die, they won't care; but you are worth ten thousand of us. It would be better now for you to give us support from the city."
4 "If you think that's the best plan, I'll do it," the king finally agreed. So he stood at the gate of the city as all the divisions of troops passed by. 4 The king answered, "I will do whatever seems best to you." So the king stood beside the gate while all the men marched out in units of hundreds and of thousands.
5 And the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: "For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom." And all the troops heard the king give this order to his commanders. 5 The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, "Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake." And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.
6 So the battle began in the forest of Ephraim, 6 The army marched into the field to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim.
7 and the Israelite troops were beaten back by David's men. There was a great slaughter, and twenty thousand men laid down their lives that day. 7 There the army of Israel was defeated by David's men, and the casualties that day were great--twenty thousand men.
8 The battle raged all across the countryside, and more men died because of the forest than were killed by the sword. 8 The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest claimed more lives that day than the sword.
9 During the battle, Absalom came unexpectedly upon some of David's men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great oak, his head got caught. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air. 9 Now Absalom happened to meet David's men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom's head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.
10 One of David's men saw what had happened and told Joab, "I saw Absalom dangling in a tree." 10 When one of the men saw this, he told Joab, "I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree."
11 "What?" Joab demanded. "You saw him there and didn't kill him? I would have rewarded you with ten pieces of silver and a hero's belt!" 11 Joab said to the man who had told him this, "What! You saw him? Why didn't you strike him to the ground right there? Then I would have had to give you ten shekels of silver and a warrior's belt."
12 "I wouldn't do it for a thousand pieces of silver, " the man replied. "We all heard the king say to you and Abishai and Ittai, 'For my sake, please don't harm young Absalom.' 12 But the man replied, "Even if a thousand shekels were weighed out into my hands, I would not lift my hand against the king's son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, 'Protect the young man Absalom for my sake. '
13 And if I had betrayed the king by killing his son -- and the king would certainly find out who did it -- you yourself would be the first to abandon me." 13 And if I had put my life in jeopardy--and nothing is hidden from the king--you would have kept your distance from me."
14 "Enough of this nonsense," Joab said. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into Absalom's heart as he dangled from the oak still alive. 14 Joab said, "I'm not going to wait like this for you." So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom's heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree.
15 Ten of Joab's young armor bearers then surrounded Absalom and killed him. 15 And ten of Joab's armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.
16 Then Joab blew the trumpet, and his men returned from chasing the army of Israel. 16 Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops stopped pursuing Israel, for Joab halted them.
17 They threw Absalom's body into a deep pit in the forest and piled a great heap of stones over it. And the army of Israel fled to their homes. 17 They took Absalom, threw him into a big pit in the forest and piled up a large heap of rocks over him. Meanwhile, all the Israelites fled to their homes.
18 During his lifetime, Absalom had built a monument to himself in the King's Valley, for he had said, "I have no son to carry on my name." He named the monument after himself, and it is known as Absalom's Monument to this day. 18 During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King's Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, "I have no son to carry on the memory of my name." He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom's Monument to this day.
19 Then Zadok's son Ahimaaz said, "Let me run to the king with the good news that the LORD has saved him from his enemy Absalom." 19 Now Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, "Let me run and take the news to the king that the LORD has delivered him from the hand of his enemies."
20 "No," Joab told him, "it wouldn't be good news to the king that his son is dead. You can be my messenger some other time, but not today." 20 "You are not the one to take the news today," Joab told him. "You may take the news another time, but you must not do so today, because the king's son is dead."
21 Then Joab said to a man from Cush, "Go tell the king what you have seen." The man bowed and ran off. 21 Then Joab said to a Cushite, "Go, tell the king what you have seen." The Cushite bowed down before Joab and ran off.
22 But Ahimaaz continued to plead with Joab, "Whatever happens, please let me go, too." "Why should you go, my son?" Joab replied. "There will be no reward for you." 22 Ahimaaz son of Zadok again said to Joab, "Come what may, please let me run behind the Cushite." But Joab replied, "My son, why do you want to go? You don't have any news that will bring you a reward."
23 "Yes, but let me go anyway," he begged. Joab finally said, "All right, go ahead." Then Ahimaaz took a shortcut across the plain of the Jordan and got to Mahanaim ahead of the man from Cush. 23 He said, "Come what may, I want to run." So Joab said, "Run!" Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and outran the Cushite.
24 While David was sitting at the city gate, the watchman climbed to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked, he saw a lone man running toward them. 24 While David was sitting between the inner and outer gates, the watchman went up to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked out, he saw a man running alone.
25 He shouted the news down to David, and the king replied, "If he is alone, he has news." As the messenger came closer, 25 The watchman called out to the king and reported it. The king said, "If he is alone, he must have good news." And the man came closer and closer.
26 the watchman saw another man running toward them. He shouted down, "Here comes another one!" The king replied, "He also will have news." 26 Then the watchman saw another man running, and he called down to the gatekeeper, "Look, another man running alone!" The king said, "He must be bringing good news, too."
27 "The first man runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok," the watchman said. "He is a good man and comes with good news," the king replied. 27 The watchman said, "It seems to me that the first one runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok." "He's a good man," the king said. "He comes with good news."
28 Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, "All is well!" He bowed low with his face to the ground and said, "Blessed be the LORD your God, who has handed over the rebels who dared to stand against you." 28 Then Ahimaaz called out to the king, "All is well!" He bowed down before the king with his face to the ground and said, "Praise be to the LORD your God! He has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king."
29 "What about young Absalom?" the king demanded. "Is he all right?" Ahimaaz replied, "When Joab told me to come, there was a lot of commotion. But I didn't know what was happening." 29 The king asked, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz answered, "I saw great confusion just as Joab was about to send the king's servant and me, your servant, but I don't know what it was."
30 "Wait here," the king told him. So Ahimaaz stepped aside. 30 The king said, "Stand aside and wait here." So he stepped aside and stood there.
31 Then the man from Cush arrived and said, "I have good news for my lord the king. Today the LORD has rescued you from all those who rebelled against you." 31 Then the Cushite arrived and said, "My lord the king, hear the good news! The LORD has delivered you today from all who rose up against you."
32 "What about young Absalom?" the king demanded. "Is he all right?" And the Cushite replied, "May all of your enemies, both now and in the future, be as that young man is!" 32 The king asked the Cushite, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" The Cushite replied, "May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man."
33 The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to his room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I could have died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son." 33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you--O Absalom, my son, my son!"