And a messenger came to David, saying, 1"The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom."
Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, "Arise, and let us 2flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword."
And the king's servants said to the king, "Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king decides."
So the king went out, and all his household after him. And the king left 3ten concubines to keep the house.
And the king went out, and all the people after him. And they halted at the last house.
And 4all his servants passed by him, and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the six hundred Gittites who had followed him from 5Gath, passed on before the king.
Then the king said to 6Ittai the Gittite, "Why do you also go with us? Go back and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile from your home.
You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, since I go 7I know not where? Go back and take your brothers with you, and may the LORD show steadfast love and faithfulness to you."
But Ittai answered the king, 8"As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, 9wherever my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, there also will your servant be."
And David said to Ittai, "Go then, pass on." So Ittai the Gittite passed on with all his men and all the little ones who were with him.
And all the land wept aloud as all the people passed by, and the king crossed 10the brook 11Kidron, and all the people passed on toward 12the wilderness.
And 13Abiathar came up, and behold, 14Zadok came also with all the Levites, 15bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God until the people had all passed out of the city.
Then the king said to Zadok, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will 16bring me back and let me see both it and his 17dwelling place.
But if he says, 'I have no 18pleasure in you,' behold, here I am, 19let him do to me what seems good to him."
The king also said to Zadok the priest, "Are you not a 20seer? Go back to the city in peace, with 21your two sons, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
See, I will wait at 22the fords of 23the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me."
So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem, and they remained there.
But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, 24barefoot and 25with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, 26weeping as they went.
And it was told David, "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." And David said, "O LORD, please 27turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness."
While David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai 28the Archite came to meet him 29with his coat torn and 30dirt on his head.
David said to him, "If you go on with me, you will be 31a burden to me.
But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, 32'I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father's servant in time past, so now I will be your servant,' then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel.
Are not Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? So whatever you hear from the king's house, 33tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
Behold, 34their two sons are with them there, Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, and Jonathan, Abiathar's son, 35and by them you shall send to me everything you hear."
So Hushai, 36David's friend, came into the city, 37just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.