And David had the people who were with him numbered, and he put over them captains of thousands and captains of hundreds.
And David sent the people out, a third of them under the orders of Joab, and a third under the orders of Abishai, son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, And I myself will certainly go out with you.
But the people said, It is better for you not to go out: for if we are put to flight, they will not give a thought to us, and if death overtakes half of us, it will be nothing to them: but you are of more value than ten thousand of us: so it is better for you to be ready to come to our help from this town.
And the king said to them, I will do whatever seems best to you. So the king took his place by the door of the town, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.
And the king gave orders to Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Because of me, be gentle to the young man Absalom. And this order about Absalom was given in the hearing of all the people.
So the people went out into the field against Israel, and the fight took place in the woods of Ephraim.
And the people of Israel were overcome there by the servants of David, and there was a great destruction that day, and twenty thousand men were put to the sword.
And the fighting went on over all the face of the country: and the woods were responsible for more deaths than the sword.
And Absalom came across some of David's men. And Absalom was seated on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great tree, and his head became fixed in the tree and he was lifted up between earth and heaven, and the beast under him went on.