2 Samuel 16; 2 Samuel 17; 2 Samuel 18

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2 Samuel 16

1 When David had gone over the top [of the Mount of Olives], Ziba, Mephibosheth's servant, met him with a pair of saddled donkeys. They were loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 bunches of raisins, 100 pieces of ripened fruit, and a full wineskin.
2 "Why did you bring these?" David asked Ziba. "The donkeys are for the king's family to ride on," Ziba answered. "The bread and the ripe fruit are for [your] servants to eat. The wine is for those who become tired and thirsty in the desert."
3 "Where is your master Saul's grandson?" the king asked. "He's staying in Jerusalem," Ziba answered the king. "He said, 'Today the house of Israel will give me back my grandfather's kingdom.'"
4 The king told Ziba, "In that case everything that belonged to Mephibosheth now belongs to you." "I sincerely thank you," said Ziba. "I hope to remain in your good graces, Your Majesty."
5 When King David came to Bahurim, a man who was a distant cousin of Saul came out cursing. His name was Shimei, son of Gera.
6 He threw stones at David and David's servants, although all the people and all the warriors were shielding David.
7 Shimei cursed and said, "Get out! Get out, you bloodthirsty man! You worthless person!
8 The LORD is paying you back for all the blood you spilled in the family of Saul, whom you succeeded as king. The LORD is giving the kingship to your son Absalom. Now you're in trouble because you're a bloodthirsty man."
9 Abishai, Zeruiah's son, asked the king, "Why should this dead dog curse you, Your Majesty? Let me go over there and tear off his head."
10 But the king said, "You don't think like me at all, sons of Zeruiah. Let him curse. If the LORD has told him, 'Curse David,' should anyone ask, 'Why do you do that?'"
11 David told Abishai and all his servants, "My own son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. Why, then, shouldn't this Benjaminite do this? Leave him alone. Let him curse, since the LORD has told him to do it.
12 Maybe the LORD will see my misery and turn his curse into a blessing for me today."
13 As David and his men went along the road, Shimei was walking along the hillside parallel to him. Shimei cursed, hurled stones, and threw dirt at David.
14 The king and all the people with him finally arrived [at their destination] and rested there.
15 Meanwhile, Absalom and all Israel's troops came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him.
16 When David's friend Hushai from Archi's family came to Absalom, he said, "Long live the king! Long live the king!"
17 "Is that how loyal you are to your friend?" Absalom asked Hushai. "Why didn't you go with him?"
18 Hushai answered Absalom, "No, I want to be with the one whom the LORD, these people, and all Israel have chosen. I will be his [friend] and stay with him.
19 And besides, whom should I serve? Shouldn't it be his son? As I served your father, so I'll serve you."
20 Then Absalom asked Ahithophel, "What's your advice? What should we do?"
21 Ahithophel told Absalom, "Sleep with your father's concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear about how you have made your father despise you. Everyone who is with you will support you even more."
22 So a tent was put up on the roof for Absalom, and he slept with his father's concubines in plain sight of Israel.
23 In those days both David and Absalom thought that Ahithophel's advice was like getting an answer from God.
GOD'S WORD® is a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations. Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

2 Samuel 17

1 Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Let me choose 12,000 men and leave tonight to go after David.
2 I'll attack him while he's tired and weak, and I'll cause him to panic. All the people with him will flee, but I'll kill only him.
3 I'll return all the people to you as a bride is returned to her husband. Since you will be seeking the life of only one man, all the people will have peace."
4 Absalom and all the leaders of Israel approved this plan.
5 Absalom said, "Please call Hushai, who is descended from Archi's family, and let us hear what he, too, has to say."
6 When Hushai arrived, Absalom said to him, "Ahithophel has told us his plan. Should we do what he says? If not, tell us."
7 "This time Ahithophel's advice is no good," Hushai said to Absalom.
8 "You know your father and his men. They are warriors as fierce as a wild bear whose cubs have been stolen. Your father is an experienced soldier. He will not camp with the troops tonight.
9 He has already hidden in one of the ravines or some other place. If some of our soldiers are killed in the initial attack, others will definitely hear about it and say, 'The troops that support Absalom have been defeated.'
10 Even the bravest man with a heart like a lion would lose his courage, because all Israel knows that your father is a warrior and the men with him are brave.
11 So my advice is to gather all Israel's troops from Dan to Beersheba, since they are as numerous as the sand on the seashore. Lead them into battle yourself.
12 Then we'll attack him wherever we find him. We'll fall on him as dew falls on the ground. Neither he nor any of his men will be left [alive].
13 If he retreats into a city, all Israel will bring ropes to that city and drag it into a valley so that not even a pebble will be found there."
14 Absalom and all the people of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai from Archi's family is better than Ahithophel's advice." (The LORD had commanded Ahithophel's good advice to be defeated in order to ruin Absalom.)
15 Then Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar, "Ahithophel advised Absalom and the leaders of Israel to do one thing, but I advised them to do something else.
16 Now send messengers quickly to tell David, 'Don't rest tonight in the river crossings in the desert, but make sure you cross [the river], or Your Majesty and all the troops with him will be wiped out.'"
17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at En Rogel. They could not risk being seen coming into the city, so a servant girl was to go and tell them, and they were to go and tell King David.
18 But a young man saw Jonathan and Ahimaaz and told Absalom. So both of them left quickly and came to the home of a man in Bahurim who had a cistern in his courtyard, and they went down into it.
19 The man's wife took a cover, spread it over the top of the cistern, and scattered some grain over it so that no one could tell it was there.
20 Absalom's servants came to the woman at her home. "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" they asked. The woman said, "They've crossed the stream." The servants looked for them but did not find them. So Absalom's servants returned to Jerusalem.
21 After Absalom's servants left, both men came out of the cistern and went and told King David. "Leave right away," they told David. "Cross the river quickly because this is what Ahithophel has advised against you...."
22 David and all the troops with him left to cross the Jordan River. When the dawn came, everyone had crossed the Jordan River.
23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice hadn't been followed, he saddled his donkey, left, and went home to his own city. He gave instructions to his family. Then he hanged himself, died, and was buried in his father's tomb.
24 David had [already] come to Mahanaim by the time Absalom and all the men of Israel with him crossed the Jordan River.
25 Absalom appointed Amasa to take Joab's place as commander of the army. (Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra, a descendant of Ishmael. His mother was Abigail, the daughter of Nahash and sister of Joab's mother Zeruiah.)
26 The Israelites and Absalom camped in the region of Gilead.
27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi, son of Nahash from Rabbah in Ammon, and Machir, son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai from Rogelim in Gilead
28 brought [supplies] and food for David and his troops: bedding, bowls, pots, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils,
29 honey, buttermilk, sheep, and calves. They brought these things because they thought, "The troops in the desert are hungry, exhausted, and thirsty."
GOD'S WORD® is a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations. Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

2 Samuel 18

1 David called together the troops that were with him. He appointed commanders in charge of regiments and battalions.
2 David put a third of the troops under Joab's command, another third under Joab's brother Abishai (Zeruiah's son), and the last third under Ittai from Gath. "I am going [into battle] with you," the king said to the troops.
3 "You're not going [with us]," the troops said. "If we flee, they won't care about us, and if half of us die, they won't care either. But you're worth 10,000 of us. It's better for you to be ready to send us help from the city."
4 "I'll do what you think best," the king responded. So the king stood by the gate while all the troops marched out by battalions and regiments.
5 The king ordered Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, "Treat the young man Absalom gently for my sake." All the troops heard him give all the commanders this order regarding Absalom.
6 So the troops went out to the country to fight Israel in the forest of Ephraim.
7 There David's men defeated Israel's army, and the massacre was sizable that day--20,000 men.
8 The fighting spread over the whole country. That day the woods devoured more people than the battle.
9 Absalom happened to come face to face with some of David's men. He was riding on a mule, and the mule went under the tangled branches of a large tree. Absalom's head became caught in the tree. So he was left hanging in midair when the mule that was under him ran away.
10 A man who saw this told Joab, "I saw Absalom hanging in a tree."
11 "What! You saw that!" Joab said to the man who told him. "Why didn't you strike him to the ground? Then I would have felt obligated to give you four ounces of silver and a belt."
12 But the man told Joab, "Even if I felt the weight of 25 pounds of silver in my hand, I wouldn't raise my hand against the king's son. We heard the order the king gave you, Abishai, and Ittai: 'Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.'
13 If I had done something treacherous to him, would you have stood by me? Like everything else, it wouldn't stay hidden from the king."
14 Then Joab said, "I shouldn't waste time with you like this." He took three sharp sticks and plunged them into Absalom's heart while he was still alive in the tree.
15 Then ten of Joab's armorbearers surrounded Absalom, attacked him, and killed him.
16 Joab blew the ram's horn to stop their [fighting], and the troops returned from pursuing Israel.
17 They took Absalom, threw him into a huge pit in the forest, and piled a large heap of stones over him. Meanwhile, all Israel fled and went back to their homes.
18 ([While he was still living,] Absalom had taken a rock and set it up for himself in the king's valley. He said, "I have no son to keep the memory of my name alive." He called the rock by his name, and it is still called Absalom's Monument today.)
19 Then Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, said, "Let me run and bring the king the good news that the LORD has freed him from his enemies."
20 But Joab told him, "You won't be the man carrying good news today. You can carry the news some other day. You must not deliver the news today because the king's son is dead."
21 Then Joab said to a man from Sudan, "Go, tell the king what you saw." The messenger bowed down with his face touching the ground in front of Joab and then ran off.
22 Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, spoke to Joab again, "Whatever may happen, I also want to run after the Sudanese messenger." "Now, son, why should you deliver the message?" Joab asked. "You won't be rewarded for this news."
23 "Whatever happens, I'd like to run," [replied Ahimaaz.] "Run," Joab told him. So Ahimaaz ran along the valley road and got ahead of the Sudanese messenger.
24 David was sitting between the two gates while the watchman walked along the roof of the gate by the wall. As he looked, he saw a man running alone.
25 The watchman called and alerted the king. "If he's alone," the king said, "he has good news to tell." The runner continued to come closer.
26 When the watchman saw another man running, the watchman called, "There's [another] man running alone." The king said, "This one is also bringing good news."
27 The watchman said, "It seems to me that the first one runs like Ahimaaz, Zadok's son." "He's a good man," the king said. "He must be coming with good news."
28 Then Ahimaaz came up to the king, greeted him, and bowed down in front of him. Ahimaaz said, "May the LORD your God be praised. He has handed over the men who rebelled against Your Majesty."
29 "Is the young man Absalom alright?" the king asked. Ahimaaz answered, "I saw a lot of confusion when Joab sent me away, but I didn't know what it meant."
30 "Step aside, and stand here," the king said. He stepped aside and stood there.
31 Then the Sudanese messenger came. "Good news for Your Majesty!" he said. "Today the LORD has freed you from all who turned against you."
32 "Is the young man Absalom alright?" the king asked. The Sudanese messenger answered, "May your enemies and all who turned against you be like that young man!"
33 The king was shaken [by the news]. He went to the room above the gate and cried. "My son Absalom!" he said as he went. "My son, my son Absalom! I wish I had died in your place! Absalom, my son, my son!"
GOD'S WORD® is a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations. Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. All rights reserved. Used by permission.