2 Samuel 1; 2 Samuel 2; 2 Samuel 3; 2 Samuel 4; 2 Samuel 5; 2 Samuel 6; 2 Samuel 7; 2 Samuel 8; 2 Samuel 9; 2 Samuel 10; 2 Samuel 11; 2 Samuel 12; 2 Samuel 13; 2 Samuel 14; 2 Samuel 15; 2 Samuel 16; 2 Samuel 17; 2 Samuel 18; 2 Samuel 19; 2 Samuel 20; 2 Samuel 21; 2 Samuel 22; 2 Samuel 23; 2 Samuel 24

1 Shortly after Saul died, David returned to Ziklag from his rout of the Amalekites. 2 Three days later a man showed up unannounced from Saul's army camp. 3 David asked, "What brings you here?" He answered, "I've just escaped from the camp of Israel." 4 "So what happened?" said David. "What's the news?" He said, "The Israelites have fled the battlefield, leaving a lot of their dead comrades behind. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead." 5 David pressed the young soldier for details: "How do you know for sure that Saul and Jonathan are dead?" 6 "I just happened by Mount Gilboa and came on Saul, badly wounded and leaning on his spear, with enemy chariots and horsemen bearing down hard on him. 7 He looked behind him, saw me, and called me to him. 'Yes sir,' I said, 'at your service.' 8 He asked me who I was, and I told him, 'I'm an Amalekite.'" 9 "Come here," he said, "and put me out of my misery. I'm nearly dead already, but my life hangs on." 10 "So I did what he asked - I killed him. I knew he wouldn't last much longer anyway. I removed his royal headband and bracelet, and have brought them to my master. Here they are." 11 In lament, David ripped his clothes to ribbons. All the men with him did the same. 12 They wept and fasted the rest of the day, grieving the death of Saul and his son Jonathan, and also the army of God and the nation Israel, victims in a failed battle. 13 Then David spoke to the young soldier who had brought the report: "Who are you, anyway?" "I'm from an immigrant family - an Amalekite." 14 "Do you mean to say," said David, "that you weren't afraid to up and kill God's anointed king?" 15 Right then he ordered one of his soldiers, "Strike him dead!" The soldier struck him, and he died. 16 "You asked for it," David told him. "You sealed your death sentence when you said you killed God's anointed king." 17 Then David sang this lament over Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and gave orders that everyone in Judah learn it by heart. Yes, it's even inscribed in The Book of Jashar. 19 Oh, oh, Gazelles of Israel, struck down on your hills, the mighty warriors - fallen, fallen! 20 Don't announce it in the city of Gath, don't post the news in the streets of Ashkelon. Don't give those coarse Philistine girls one more excuse for a drunken party! 21 No more dew or rain for you, hills of Gilboa, and not a drop from springs and wells, For there the warriors' shields were dragged through the mud, Saul's shield left there to rot. 22 Jonathan's bow was bold - the bigger they were the harder they fell. Saul's sword was fearless - once out of the scabbard, nothing could stop it. 23 Saul and Jonathan - beloved, beautiful! Together in life, together in death. Swifter than plummeting eagles, stronger than proud lions. 24 Women of Israel, weep for Saul. He dressed you in finest cottons and silks, spared no expense in making you elegant. 25 The mighty warriors - fallen, fallen in the middle of the fight! Jonathan - struck down on your hills! 26 O my dear brother Jonathan, I'm crushed by your death. Your friendship was a miracle-wonder, love far exceeding anything I've known - or ever hope to know. 27 The mighty warriors - fallen, fallen. And the arms of war broken to bits.
1 After all this, David prayed. He asked God, "Shall I move to one of the cities of Judah?" God said, "Yes, move." "And to which city?" "To Hebron." 2 So David moved to Hebron, along with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 3 David's men, along with their families, also went with him and made their home in and around Hebron. 4 The citizens of Judah came to Hebron, and then and there made David king over the clans of Judah. 5 David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead: "God bless you for this - for honoring your master, Saul, with a funeral. 6 God honor you and be true to you - and I'll do the same, matching your generous act of goodness. 7 Strengthen your resolve and do what must be done. Your master, Saul, is dead. The citizens of Judah have made me their king." 8 In the meantime, Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, had taken Saul's son Ish-Bosheth to Mahanaim 9 and made him king over Gilead, over Asher, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, over Benjamin - king, as it turns out, over all Israel. 10 Ish-Bosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he was made king over Israel. He lasted only two years. But the people of Judah stuck with David. 11 David ruled the people of Judah from Hebron for seven and a half years. 12 One day Abner son of Ner set out from Mahanaim with the soldiers of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, headed for Gibeon. 13 Joab son of Zeruiah, with David's soldiers, also set out. They met at the Pool of Gibeon, Abner's group on one side, Joab's on the other. 14 Abner challenged Joab, "Put up your best fighters. Let's see them do their stuff." Joab said, "Good! Let them go at it!" 15 So they lined up for the fight, twelve Benjaminites from the side of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve soldiers from David's side. 16 The men from each side grabbed their opponents' heads and stabbed them with their daggers. They all fell dead - the whole bunch together. So, they called the place Slaughter Park. It's right there at Gibeon. 17 The fighting went from bad to worse throughout the day. Abner and the men of Israel were beaten to a pulp by David's men. 18 The three sons of Zeruiah were present: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel, as fast as a wild antelope 19 on the open plain, chased Abner, staying hard on his heels. 20 Abner turned and said, "Is that you, Asahel?" "It surely is," he said. 21 Abner said, "Let up on me. Pick on someone you have a chance of beating and be content with those spoils!" But Asahel wouldn't let up. 22 Abner tried again, "Turn back. Don't force me to kill you. How would I face your brother Joab?" 23 When he refused to quit, Abner struck him in the belly with the blunt end of his spear so hard that it came out his back. Asahel fell to the ground and died at once. Everyone who arrived at the spot where Asahel fell and died stood and gaped - Asahel dead! 24 But Joab and Abishai kept up the chase after Abner. As the sun began to set, they came to the hill of Ammah that faced Giah on the road to the backcountry of Gibeon. 25 The Benjaminites had taken their stand with Abner there, deployed strategically on a hill. 26 Abner called out to Joab, "Are we going to keep killing each other till doomsday? Don't you know that nothing but bitterness will come from this? How long before you call off your men from chasing their brothers?" 27 "As God lives," said Joab, "if you hadn't spoken up, we'd have kept up the chase until morning!" 28 Then he blew the ram's horn trumpet and the whole army of Judah stopped in its tracks. They quit chasing Israel and called off the fighting. 29 Abner and his soldiers marched all that night up the Arabah Valley. They crossed the Jordan and, after a long morning's march, arrived at Mahanaim. 30 After Joab returned from chasing Abner, he took a head count of the army. Nineteen of David's men (besides Asahel) were missing. 31 David's men had cut down three hundred and sixty of Abner's men, all Benjaminites - all dead. 32 They brought Asahel and buried him in the family tomb in Bethlehem. Joab and his men then marched all night, arriving in Hebron as the dawn broke.
1 The war between the house of Saul and the house of David dragged on and on. The longer it went on the stronger David became, with the house of Saul getting weaker. 2 During the Hebron years, sons were born to David: Amnon, born of Ahinoam of Jezreel - the firstborn; 3 Kileab, born of Abigail of Carmel, Nabal's widow - his second; Absalom, born of Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur - the third; 4 Adonijah, born of Haggith - the fourth; Shephatiah, born of Abital - the fifth; 5 Ithream, born of Eglah - the sixth. These six sons of David were born in Hebron. 6 Abner took advantage of the continuing war between the house of Saul and the house of David to gain power for himself. 7 Saul had had a concubine, Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. One day Ish-Bosheth confronted Abner: "What business do you have sleeping with my father's concubine?" 8 Abner lost his temper with Ish-Bosheth, "Treat me like a dog, will you! Is this the thanks I get for sticking by the house of your father, Saul, and all his family and friends? I personally saved you from certain capture by David, and you make an issue out of my going to bed with a woman! 9 What God promised David, I'll help accomplish - transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and make David ruler over the whole country, both Israel and Judah, from Dan to Beersheba. If not, may God do his worst to me." 10 11 Ish-Bosheth, cowed by Abner's outburst, couldn't say another word. 12 Abner went ahead and sent personal messengers to David: "Make a deal with me and I'll help bring the whole country of Israel over to you." 13 "Great," said David. "It's a deal. But only on one condition: You're not welcome here unless you bring Michal, Saul's daughter, with you when you come to meet me." 14 David then sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul: "Give me back Michal, whom I won as my wife at the cost of a hundred Philistine foreskins." 15 Ish-Bosheth ordered that she be taken from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. 16 But Paltiel followed her, weeping all the way, to Bahurim. There Abner told him, "Go home." And he went home. 17 Abner got the elders of Israel together and said, "Only yesterday, it seems, you were looking for a way to make David your king. 18 So do it - now! For God has given the go-ahead on David: 'By my servant David's hand, I'll save my people Israel from the oppression of the Philistines and all their other enemies.'" 19 Abner took the Benjaminites aside and spoke to them. Then he went to Hebron for a private talk with David, telling him everything that Israel in general and Benjamin in particular were planning to do. 20 When Abner and the twenty men who were with him met with David in Hebron, David laid out a feast for them. 21 Abner then said, "I'm ready. Let me go now to rally everyone in Israel for my master, the king. They'll make a treaty with you, authorizing you to rule them however you see fit." Abner was sent off with David's blessing. 22 Soon after that, David's men, led by Joab, came back from a field assignment. Abner was no longer in Hebron with David, having just been dismissed with David's blessing. 23 As Joab and his raiding party arrived, they were told that Abner the son of Ner had been there with David and had been sent off with David's blessing. 24 Joab went straight to the king: "What's this you've done? Abner shows up, and you let him walk away scot-free? 25 You know Abner son of Ner better than that. This was no friendly visit. He was here to spy on you, figure out your comings and goings, find out what you're up to." 26 Joab left David and went into action. He sent messengers after Abner; they caught up with him at the well at Sirah and brought him back. David knew nothing of all this. 27 When Abner got back to Hebron, Joab steered him aside at the gate for a personal word with him. There he stabbed him in the belly, killed him in cold blood for the murder of his brother Asahel. 28 Later on, when David heard what happened, he said, "Before God I and my kingdom are totally innocent of this murder of Abner son of Ner. 29 Joab and his entire family will always be under the curse of this bloodguilt. May they forever be victims of crippling diseases, violence, and famine." 30 (Joab and his brother, Abishai, murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel at the battle of Gibeon.) 31 David ordered Joab and all the men under him, "Rip your cloaks into rags! Wear mourning clothes! Lead Abner's funeral procession with loud lament!" King David followed the coffin. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron. The king's voice was loud in lament as he wept at the side of Abner's grave. All the people wept, too. 33 Then the king sang this tribute to Abner: Can this be? Abner dead like a nameless bum? 34 You were a free man, free to go and do as you wished - Yet you fell as a victim in a street brawl. And all the people wept - a crescendo of crying! 35 They all came then to David, trying to get him to eat something before dark. But David solemnly swore, "I'll not so much as taste a piece of bread, or anything else for that matter, before sunset, so help me God!" 36 Everyone at the funeral took notice - and liked what they saw. In fact everything the king did was applauded by the people. 37 It was clear to everyone that day, including all Israel, that the king had nothing to do with the death of Abner son of Ner. 38 The king spoke to his servants: "You realize, don't you, that today a prince and hero fell victim of foul play in Israel? 39 And I, though anointed king, was helpless to do anything about it. These sons of Zeruiah are too much for me. God, requite the criminal for his crime!"
1 Saul's son, Ish-Bosheth, heard that Abner had died in Hebron. His heart sank. The whole country was shaken. 2 Ish-Bosheth had two men who were captains of raiding bands - one was named Baanah, the other Recab. They were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, a Benjaminite. (The people of Beeroth had been assigned to Benjamin 3 ever since they escaped to Gittaim. They still live there as resident aliens.) 4 It so happened that Saul's son, Jonathan, had a son who was maimed in both feet. When he was five years old, the report on Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and ran, but in her hurry to get away she fell, and the boy was maimed. His name was Mephibosheth. 5 One day Baanah and Recab, the two sons of Rimmon, headed out for the house of Ish-Bosheth. They arrived at the hottest time of the day, just as he was taking his afternoon nap. 6 They entered the house on a ruse, pretending official business. The maid guarding the bedroom had fallen asleep, so Recab and Baanah slipped by her 7 and entered the room where Ish-Bosheth was asleep on his bed. They killed him and then cut off his head, carrying it off as a trophy. They traveled all night long, taking the route through the Arabah Valley. 8 They presented the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron, telling the king, "Here's the head of Ish-Bosheth, Saul's son, your enemy. He was out to kill you, but God has given vengeance to my master, the king - vengeance this very day on Saul and his children!" 9 David answered the brothers Recab and Baanah, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, "As surely as God lives - the One who got me out of every trouble I've ever been in 10 - when the messenger told me, 'Good news! Saul is dead!' supposing I'd be delighted, I arrested him and killed him on the spot in Ziklag. That's what he got for his so-called good news! 11 And now you show up - evil men who killed an innocent man in cold blood, a man asleep in his own house! Don't think I won't find you guilty of murder and rid the country of you!" 12 David then issued orders to his soldiers. They killed the two - chopped off their hands and feet, and hung the corpses at the pool in Hebron. But Ish-Bosheth's head they took and buried in Abner's tomb in Hebron.
1 Before long all the tribes of Israel approached David in Hebron and said, "Look at us - your own flesh and blood! 2 In time past when Saul was our king, you're the one who really ran the country. Even then God said to you, 'You will shepherd my people Israel and you'll be the prince.'" 3 All the leaders of Israel met with King David at Hebron, and the king made a treaty with them in the presence of God. And so they anointed David king over Israel. 4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and ruled for forty years. 5 In Hebron he ruled Judah for seven and a half years. In Jerusalem he ruled all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years. 6 David and his men immediately set out for Jerusalem to take on the Jebusites, who lived in that country. But they said, "You might as well go home! Even the blind and the lame could keep you out. You can't get in here!" They had convinced themselves that David couldn't break through. 7 But David went right ahead and captured the fortress of Zion, known ever since as the City of David. 8 That day David said, "To get the best of these Jebusites, one must target the water system, not to mention this so-called lame and blind bunch that David hates." (In fact, he was so sick and tired of it, people coined the expression, "No lame and blind allowed in the palace.") 9 David made the fortress city his home and named it "City of David." He developed the city from the outside terraces inward. 10 David proceeded with a longer stride, a larger embrace since the God-of-the-Angel-Armies was with him. 11 It was at this time that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent messengers to David, along with timbers of cedar. He also sent carpenters and masons to build a house for David. 12 David took this as a sign that God had confirmed him as king of Israel, giving his kingship world prominence for the sake of Israel, his people. 13 David took on more concubines and wives from Jerusalem after he left Hebron. And more sons and daughters were born to him. 14 These are the names of those born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada, Eliphelet. 17 When the Philistines got word that David had been made king over all Israel, they came on the hunt for him. David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. 18 When the Philistines arrived, they deployed their forces in Raphaim Valley. 19 Then David prayed to God: "Shall I go up and fight the Philistines? Will you help me beat them?" 20 "Go up," God replied. "Count on me. I'll help you beat them." 21 The retreating Philistines dumped their idols, and David and his soldiers took them away. 22 Later there was a repeat performance. The Philistines came up again and deployed their troops in the Rephaim Valley. 23 David again prayed to God. 24 When you hear the sound of shuffling in the trees, get ready to move out. It's a signal that God is going ahead of you to smash the Philistine camp." 25 David did exactly what God told him. He routed the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.
1 David mustered the pick of the troops of Israel - thirty divisions of them. 2 Together with his soldiers, David headed for Baalah to recover the Chest of God, which was called by the Name God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who was enthroned over the pair of angels on the Chest. 3 They placed the Chest of God on a brand-new oxcart and removed it from Abinadab's house on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab's sons, were driving the new cart 4 loaded with the Chest of God, Ahio in the lead and Uzzah alongside the Chest. 5 David and the whole company of Israel were in the parade, singing at the top of their lungs and playing mandolins, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. 6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, so Uzzah reached out and grabbed the Chest of God. 7 God blazed in anger against Uzzah and struck him hard because he had profaned the Chest. Uzzah died on the spot, right alongside the Chest. 8 Then David got angry because of God's deadly outburst against Uzzah. That place is still called Perez Uzzah (The-Explosion-Against-Uzzah). 9 David became fearful of God that day and said, "This Chest is too hot to handle. How can I ever get it back to the City of David?" 10 He refused to take the Chest of God a step farther. Instead, David removed it off the road and to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 11 The Chest of God stayed at the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months. And God prospered Obed-Edom and his entire household. 12 It was reported to King David that God had prospered Obed-Edom and his entire household because of the Chest of God. So David thought, "I'll get that blessing for myself," and went and brought up the Chest of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David, celebrating 13 extravagantly all the way, with frequent sacrifices of choice bulls. 14 David, ceremonially dressed in priest's linen, danced with great abandon before God. 15 The whole country was with him as he accompanied the Chest of God with shouts and trumpet blasts. 16 But as the Chest of God came into the City of David, Michal, Saul's daughter, happened to be looking out a window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before God, her heart filled with scorn. 17 They brought the Chest of God and set it in the middle of the tent pavilion that David had pitched for it. Then and there David worshiped, offering burnt offerings and peace offerings. 18 When David had completed the sacrifices of burnt and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of God-of-the-Angel-Armies 19 and handed out to each person in the crowd, men and women alike, a loaf of bread, a date cake, and a raisin cake. Then everyone went home. 20 David returned home to bless his family. Michal, Saul's daughter, came out to greet him: "How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today - exposing himself to the eyes of the servants' maids like some burlesque street dancer!" 21 David replied to Michal, "In God's presence I'll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God's people, over Israel. Oh yes, I'll dance to God's glory 22 - more recklessly even than this. And as far as I'm concerned . . . I'll gladly look like a fool . . . but among these maids you're so worried about, I'll be honored no end." 23 Michal, Saul's daughter, was barren the rest of her life.
1 Before long, the king made himself at home and God gave him peace from all his enemies. 2 Then one day King David said to Nathan the prophet, "Look at this: Here I am, comfortable in a luxurious house of cedar, and the Chest of God sits in a plain tent." 3 Nathan told the king, "Whatever is on your heart, go and do it. God is with you." 4 But that night, the word of God came to Nathan saying, 5 "Go and tell my servant David: This is God's word on the matter: You're going to build a 'house' for me to live in? 6 Why, I haven't lived in a 'house' from the time I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt till now. All that time I've moved about with nothing but a tent. 7 And in all my travels with Israel, did I ever say to any of the leaders I commanded to shepherd Israel, 'Why haven't you built me a house of cedar?' 8 "So here is what you are to tell my servant David: The God-of-the-Angel-Armies has this word for you: I took you from the pasture, tagging along after sheep, and made you prince over my people Israel. 9 I was with you everywhere you went and mowed your enemies down before you. Now I'm making you famous, to be ranked with the great names on earth. 10 And I'm going to set aside a place for my people Israel and plant them there so they'll have their own home and not be knocked around any more. Nor will evil men afflict you as they always have, 11 even during the days I set judges over my people Israel. Finally, I'm going to give you peace from all your enemies. 12 When your life is complete and you're buried with your ancestors, then I'll raise up your child, your own flesh and blood, to succeed you, and I'll firmly establish his rule. 13 He will build a house to honor me, and I will guarantee his kingdom's rule permanently. 14 I'll be a father to him, and he'll be a son to me. When he does wrong, I'll discipline him in the usual ways, the pitfalls and obstacles of this mortal life. 15 But I'll never remove my gracious love from him, as I removed it from Saul, who preceded you and whom I most certainly did remove. 16 Your family and your kingdom are permanently secured. I'm keeping my eye on them! And your royal throne will always be there, rock solid." 17 Nathan gave David a complete and accurate account of everything he heard and saw in the vision. 18 King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed: "Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life? 19 But that's nothing compared to what's coming, for you've also spoken of my family far into the future, given me a glimpse into tomorrow, my Master God! 20 What can I possibly say in the face of all this? You know me, Master God, just as I am. 21 You've done all this not because of who I am but because of who you are - out of your very heart! - but you've let me in on it. 22 "This is what makes you so great, Master God! There is none like you, no God but you, nothing to compare with what we've heard with our own ears. 23 And who is like your people, like Israel, a nation unique in the earth, whom God set out to redeem for himself (and became most famous for it), performing great and fearsome acts, throwing out nations and their gods left and right as you saved your people from Egypt? 24 You established for yourself a people - your very own Israel! - your people permanently. And you, God, became their God. 25 "So now, great God, this word that you have spoken to me and my family, guarantee it permanently! Do exactly what you've promised! 26 Then your reputation will flourish always as people exclaim, 'The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is God over Israel!' And the house of your servant David will remain sure and solid in your watchful presence. 27 For you, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel's God, told me plainly, 'I will build you a house.' That's how I was able to find the courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 "And now, Master God, being the God you are, speaking sure words as you do, and having just said this wonderful thing to me, 29 please, just one more thing: Bless my family; keep your eye on them always. You've already as much as said that you would, Master God! Oh, may your blessing be on my family permanently!"
1 In the days that followed, David struck hard at the Philistines - brought them to their knees and took control of the countryside. 2 He also fought and defeated Moab. He chose two-thirds of them randomly and executed them. The other third he spared. So the Moabites fell under David's rule and were forced to bring tribute. 3 On his way to restore his sovereignty at the River Euphrates, David next defeated Hadadezer son of Rehob the king of Zobah. 4 He captured from him a thousand chariots, seven thousand cavalry, and twenty thousand infantry. He hamstrung all the chariot horses, but saved back a hundred. 5 When the Arameans from Damascus came to the aid of Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed twenty-two thousand of them. 6 David set up a puppet government in Aram-Damascus. The Arameans became subjects of David and were forced to bring tribute. God gave victory to David wherever he marched. 7 David plundered the gold shields that belonged to the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. 8 He also looted a great quantity of bronze from Tebah and Berothai, cities of Hadadezer. 9 Toi, king of Hamath, heard that David had struck down the entire army of Hadadezer. 10 So he sent his son Joram to King David to greet and congratulate him for fighting and defeating them, for Toi and Hadadezer were old enemies. He brought with him gifts of silver, gold, and bronze. 11 King David consecrated these along with the silver and gold from all the nations he had conquered 12 - from Aram, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and from Amalek, along with the plunder from Hadadezer son of Rehob king of Zobah. 13 David built a victory monument on his return from defeating the Arameans. 14 David set up a puppet government in Edom, and the Edomites became subjects under David. God gave David victory wherever he marched. 15 Thus David ruled over all of Israel. He ruled well - fair and evenhanded in all his duties and relationships. 16 Joab son of Zeruiah was head of the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was clerk; 17 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary; 18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; And David's sons were priests.
1 One day David asked, "Is there anyone left of Saul's family? If so, I'd like to show him some kindness in honor of Jonathan." 2 It happened that a servant from Saul's household named Ziba was there. They called him into David's presence. The king asked him, "Are you Ziba?" "Yes sir," he replied. 3 The king asked, "Is there anyone left from the family of Saul to whom I can show some godly kindness?" Ziba told the king, "Yes, there is Jonathan's son, lame in both feet." 4 "Where is he?" "He's living at the home of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar." 5 King David didn't lose a minute. He sent and got him from the home of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar. 6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan (who was the son of Saul), came before David, he bowed deeply, abasing himself, honoring David. David spoke his name: "Mephibosheth." "Yes sir?" 7 "Don't be frightened," said David. "I'd like to do something special for you in memory of your father Jonathan. To begin with, I'm returning to you all the properties of your grandfather Saul. Furthermore, from now on you'll take all your meals at my table." 8 Shuffling and stammering, not looking him in the eye, Mephibosheth said, "Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?" 9 David then called in Ziba, Saul's right-hand man, and told him, "Everything that belonged to Saul and his family, I've handed over to your master's grandson. 10 You and your sons and your servants will work his land and bring in the produce, provisions for your master's grandson. Mephibosheth himself, your master's grandson, from now on will take all his meals at my table." Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 "All that my master the king has ordered his servant," answered Ziba, "your servant will surely do." 12 Mephibosheth also had a small son named Mica. All who were part of Ziba's household were now the servants of Mephibosheth. 13 Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, taking all his meals at the king's table. He was lame in both feet.
1 Sometime after this, the king of the Ammonites died and Hanun, his son, succeeded him as king. 2 David said, "I'd like to show some kindness to Hanun, the son of Nahash - treat him as well and as kindly as his father treated me." So David sent Hanun condolences regarding his father. 3 the Ammonite leaders warned Hanun, their head delegate, "Do you for a minute suppose that David is honoring your father by sending you comforters? Don't you think it's because he wants to snoop around the city and size it up that David has sent his emissaries to you?" 4 So Hanun seized David's men, shaved off half their beards, cut off their robes halfway up their buttocks, and sent them packing. 5 When all this was reported to David, he sent someone to meet them, for they were seriously humiliated. The king told them, "Stay in Jericho until your beards grow out. Only then come back." 6 When it dawned on the Ammonites that as far as David was concerned they stunk to high heaven, they hired Aramean soldiers from Beth-Rehob and Zobah - twenty thousand infantry - and a thousand men from the king of Maacah, and twelve thousand men from Tob. 7 When David heard of this, he dispatched Joab with his strongest fighters in full force. 8 The Ammonites marched out and arranged themselves in battle formation at the city gate. The Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah took up a position out in the open fields. 9 When Joab saw that he had two fronts to fight, before and behind, he took his pick of the best of Israel and deployed them to confront the Arameans. 10 The rest of the army he put under the command of Abishai, his brother, and deployed them to confront the Ammonites. 11 Then he said, "If the Arameans are too much for me, you help me. And if the Ammonites prove too much for you, I'll come and help you. 12 Courage! We'll fight with might and main for our people and for the cities of our God. And God will do whatever he sees needs doing!" 13 But when Joab and his soldiers moved in to fight the Arameans, they ran off in full retreat. 14 Then the Ammonites, seeing the Arameans run for dear life, took to their heels from Abishai and went into the city. So Joab left off fighting the Ammonites and returned to Jerusalem. 15 When the Arameans saw how badly they'd been beaten by Israel, they picked up the pieces and regrouped. 16 Hadadezer sent for the Arameans who were across the River. They came to Helam. Shobach, commander of Hadadezer's army, led them. 17 All this was reported to David. 18 But the Arameans again scattered before Israel. David killed seven hundred chariot drivers and forty thousand cavalry. And he mortally wounded Shobach, the army commander, who died on the battlefield. 19 When all the kings who were vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace and became Israel's vassals. The Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites ever again.
1 When that time of year came around again, the anniversary of the Ammonite aggression, David dispatched Joab and his fighting men of Israel in full force to destroy the Ammonites for good. They laid siege to Rabbah, but David stayed in Jerusalem. 2 One late afternoon, David got up from taking his nap and was strolling on the roof of the palace. From his vantage point on the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was stunningly beautiful. 3 David sent to ask about her, and was told, "Isn't this Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite?" 4 David sent his agents to get her. After she arrived, he went to bed with her. (This occurred during the time of "purification" following her period.) Then she returned home. 5 Before long she realized she was pregnant. Later she sent word to David: "I'm pregnant." 6 David then got in touch with Joab: "Send Uriah the Hittite to me." Joab sent him. 7 When he arrived, David asked him for news from the front - how things were going with Joab and the troops and with the fighting. 8 Then he said to Uriah, "Go home. Have a refreshing bath and a good night's rest." 9 But Uriah didn't go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance, along with the king's servants. 10 David was told that Uriah had not gone home. He asked Uriah, "Didn't you just come off a hard trip? So why didn't you go home?" 11 Uriah replied to David, "The Chest is out there with the fighting men of Israel and Judah - in tents. My master Joab and his servants are roughing it out in the fields. So, how can I go home and eat and drink and enjoy my wife? On your life, I'll not do it!" 12 "All right," said David, "have it your way. Stay for the day and I'll send you back tomorrow." So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem the rest of the day. 13 David invited him to eat and drink with him, and David got him drunk. But in the evening Uriah again went out and slept with his master's servants. He didn't go home. 14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front lines where the fighting is the fiercest. Then pull back and leave him exposed so that he's sure to be killed." 16 So Joab, holding the city under siege, put Uriah in a place where he knew there were fierce enemy fighters. 17 When the city's defenders came out to fight Joab, some of David's soldiers were killed, including Uriah the Hittite. 18 Joab sent David a full report on the battle. 19 He instructed the messenger, "After you have given to the king a detailed report on the battle, 20 if he flares in anger, 21 say, 'And by the way, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.'" 22 Joab's messenger arrived in Jerusalem and gave the king a full report. 23 He said, "The enemy was too much for us. They advanced on us in the open field, and we pushed them back to the city gate. 24 But then arrows came hot and heavy on us from the city wall, and eighteen of the king's soldiers died." 25 When the messenger completed his report of the battle, David got angry at Joab. He vented it on the messenger: "Why did you get so close to the city? Didn't you know you'd be attacked from the wall? Didn't you remember how Abimelech son of Jerub-Besheth got killed? Wasn't it a woman who dropped a millstone on him from the wall and crushed him at Thebez? Why did you go close to the wall!" "By the way," said Joab's messenger, "your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead." Then David told the messenger, "Oh. I see. Tell Joab, 'Don't trouble yourself over this. War kills - sometimes one, sometimes another - you never know who's next. Redouble your assault on the city and destroy it.' Encourage Joab." 26 When Uriah's wife heard that her husband was dead, she grieved for her husband. 27 When the time of mourning was over, David sent someone to bring her to his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. But God was not at all pleased with what David had done,
1 and sent Nathan to David. Nathan said to him, "There were two men in the same city - one rich, the other poor. 2 The rich man had huge flocks of sheep, herds of cattle. 3 The poor man had nothing but one little female lamb, which he had bought and raised. It grew up with him and his children as a member of the family. It ate off his plate and drank from his cup and slept on his bed. It was like a daughter to him. 4 "One day a traveler dropped in on the rich man. He was too stingy to take an animal from his own herds or flocks to make a meal for his visitor, so he took the poor man's lamb and prepared a meal to set before his guest." 5 David exploded in anger. "As surely as God lives," he said to Nathan, "the man who did this ought to be lynched! 6 He must repay for the lamb four times over for his crime and his stinginess!" 7 "You're the man!" said Nathan. "And here's what God, the God of Israel, has to say to you: I made you king over Israel. I freed you from the fist of Saul. 8 I gave you your master's daughter and other wives to have and to hold. I gave you both Israel and Judah. And if that hadn't been enough, I'd have gladly thrown in much more. 9 So why have you treated the word of God with brazen contempt, doing this great evil? You murdered Uriah the Hittite, then took his wife as your wife. Worse, you killed him with an Ammonite sword! 10 And now, because you treated God with such contempt and took Uriah the Hittite's wife as your wife, killing and murder will continually plague your family. 11 This is God speaking, remember! I'll make trouble for you out of your own family. I'll take your wives from right out in front of you. I'll give them to some neighbor, and he'll go to bed with them openly. 12 You did your deed in secret; I'm doing mine with the whole country watching!" 13 Then David confessed to Nathan, "I've sinned against God." 14 But because of your blasphemous behavior, the son born to you will die." 15 After Nathan went home, God afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he came down sick. 16 David prayed desperately to God for the little boy. He fasted, wouldn't go out, and slept on the floor. 17 The elders in his family came in and tried to get him off the floor, but he wouldn't budge. Nor could they get him to eat anything. 18 On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him. They said, "What do we do now? While the child was living he wouldn't listen to a word we said. Now, with the child dead, if we speak to him there's no telling what he'll do." 19 David noticed that the servants were whispering behind his back, and realized that the boy must have died. He asked the servants, "Is the boy dead?" "Yes," they answered. "He's dead." 20 David got up from the floor, washed his face and combed his hair, put on a fresh change of clothes, then went into the sanctuary and worshiped. Then he came home and asked for something to eat. They set it before him and he ate. 21 His servants asked him, "What's going on with you? While the child was alive you fasted and wept and stayed up all night. Now that he's dead, you get up and eat." 22 "While the child was alive," he said, "I fasted and wept, thinking God might have mercy on me and the child would live. 23 But now that he's dead, why fast? Can I bring him back now? I can go to him, but he can't come to me." 24 David went and comforted his wife Bathsheba. And when he slept with her, they conceived a son. When he was born they named him Solomon. God had a special love for him 25 and sent word by Nathan the prophet that God wanted him named Jedidiah (God's Beloved). 26 Joab, at war in Rabbah against the Ammonites, captured the royal city. 27 He sent messengers to David saying, "I'm fighting at Rabbah, and I've just captured the city's water supply. 28 Hurry and get the rest of the troops together and set up camp here at the city and complete the capture yourself. Otherwise, I'll capture it and get all the credit instead of you." 29 So David marshaled all the troops, went to Rabbah, and fought and captured it. 30 He took the crown from their king's head - very heavy with gold, and with a precious stone in it. It ended up on David's head. And they plundered the city, carrying off a great quantity of loot. 31 David emptied the city of its people and put them to slave labor using saws, picks, and axes, and making bricks. He did this to all the Ammonite cities. Then David and the whole army returned to Jerusalem.
1 Some time later, this happened: Absalom, David's son, had a sister who was very attractive. Her name was Tamar. Amnon, also David's son, was in love with her. 2 Amnon was obsessed with his sister Tamar to the point of making himself sick over her. She was a virgin, so he couldn't see how he could get his hands on her. 3 Amnon had a good friend, Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah. Jonadab was exceptionally streetwise. 4 He said to Amnon, "Why are you moping around like this, day after day - you, the son of the king! Tell me what's eating at you." "In a word, Tamar," said Amnon. "My brother Absalom's sister. I'm in love with her." 5 "Here's what you do," said Jonadab. "Go to bed and pretend you're sick. When your father comes to visit you, say, 'Have my sister Tamar come and prepare some supper for me here where I can watch her and she can feed me.'" 6 So Amnon took to his bed and acted sick. When the king came to visit, Amnon said, "Would you do me a favor? Have my sister Tamar come and make some nourishing dumplings here where I can watch her and be fed by her." 7 David sent word to Tamar who was home at the time: "Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare a meal for him." 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house. She took dough, kneaded it, formed it into dumplings, and cooked them while he watched from his bed. 9 But when she took the cooking pot and served him, he wouldn't eat. 10 Then he said to Tamar, "Bring the food into my bedroom, where we can eat in privacy." She took the nourishing dumplings she had prepared and brought them to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11 But when she got ready to feed him, he grabbed her and said, "Come to bed with me, sister!" 12 "No, brother!" she said, "Don't hurt me! This kind of thing isn't done in Israel! Don't do this terrible thing! 13 Where could I ever show my face? And you - you'll be out on the street in disgrace. Oh, please! Speak to the king - he'll let you marry me." 14 But he wouldn't listen. Being much stronger than she, he raped her. 15 No sooner had Amnon raped her than he hated her - an immense hatred. The hatred that he felt for her was greater than the love he'd had for her. "Get up," he said, "and get out!" 16 "Oh no, brother," she said. "Please! This is an even worse evil than what you just did to me!" 17 He called for his valet. "Get rid of this woman. Get her out of my sight! And lock the door after her." 18 The valet threw her out and locked the door behind her. 19 Tamar poured ashes on her head, then she ripped the long-sleeved gown, held her head in her hands, and walked away, sobbing as she went. 20 Her brother Absalom said to her, "Has your brother Amnon had his way with you? Now, my dear sister, let's keep it quiet - a family matter. He is, after all, your brother. Don't take this so hard." Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's home, bitter and desolate. 21 King David heard the whole story and was enraged, 22 but he didn't discipline Amnon. David doted on him because he was his firstborn. Absalom quit speaking to Amnon - not a word, whether good or bad - because he hated him for violating his sister Tamar. 23 Two years went by. One day Absalom threw a sheep-shearing party in Baal Hazor in the vicinity of Ephraim and invited all the king's sons. 24 He also went to the king and invited him. "Look, I'm throwing a sheep-shearing party. Come, and bring your servants." 25 But the king said, "No, son - not this time, and not the whole household. We'd just be a burden to you." Absalom pushed, but David wouldn't budge. But he did give him his blessing. 26 Then Absalom said, "Well, if you won't come, at least let my brother Amnon come." 27 But Absalom was so insistent that he gave in and let Amnon and all the rest of the king's sons go. 28 Absalom prepared a banquet fit for a king. Then he instructed his servants, "Look sharp, now. When Amnon is well into the sauce and feeling no pain, and I give the order 'Strike Amnon,' kill him. And don't be afraid - I'm the one giving the command. Courage! You can do it!" 29 Absalom's servants did to Amnon exactly what their master ordered. All the king's sons got out as fast as they could, jumped on their mules, and rode off. 30 While they were still on the road, a rumor came to the king: "Absalom just killed all the king's sons - not one is left!" 31 The king stood up, ripped his clothes to shreds, and threw himself on the floor. All his servants who were standing around at the time did the same. 32 Just then, Jonadab, his brother Shimeah's son, stepped up. "My master must not think that all the young men, the king's sons, are dead. Only Amnon is dead. This happened because of Absalom's outrage since the day that Amnon violated his sister Tamar. 33 So my master, the king, mustn't make things worse than they are, thinking that all your sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead." 34 Absalom fled. Just then the sentry on duty looked up and saw a cloud of dust on the road from Horonaim alongside the mountain. He came and told the king, "I've just seen a bunch of men on the Horonaim road, coming around the mountain." 35 Then Jonadab exclaimed to the king, "See! It's the king's sons coming, just as I said!" 36 He had no sooner said the words than the king's sons burst in - loud laments and weeping! The king joined in, along with all the servants - loud weeping, many tears. 37 David mourned the death of his son a long time. 38 He was there three years. 39 The king finally gave up trying to get back at Absalom. He had come to terms with Amnon's death.
1 Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king, deep down, still cared for Absalom. 2 So he sent to Tekoa for a wise woman who lived there and instructed her, "Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in black and don't comb your hair, so you'll look like you've been grieving over a dead loved one for a long time. 3 Then go to the king and tell him this . . . " Joab then told her exactly what to say. 4 The woman of Tekoa went to the king, bowed deeply before him in homage, and said, "O King, help!" 5 He said, "How can I help?" 6 I had two sons. The two of them got into a fight out in the field and there was no one around to step between them. The one struck the other and killed him. 7 Then the whole family ganged up against me and demanded, 'Hand over this murderer so we can kill him for the life of the brother he murdered!' They want to wipe out the heir and snuff out the one spark of life left to me. And then there would be nothing left of my husband - not so much as a name - on the face of the earth. 8 The king said, "Go home, and I'll take care of this for you." 9 "I'll take all responsibility for what happens," the woman of Tekoa said. "I don't want to compromise the king and his reputation." 10 "Bring the man who has been harassing you," the king continued. "I'll see to it that he doesn't bother you anymore." 11 "Let the king invoke the name of God," said the woman, "so this self-styled vigilante won't ruin everything, to say nothing of killing my son." "As surely as God lives," he said, "not so much as a hair of your son's head will be lost." 12 Then she asked, "May I say one more thing to my master, the king?" He said, "Go ahead." 13 "Why, then," the woman said, "have you done this very thing against God's people? In his verdict, the king convicts himself by not bringing home his exiled son. 14 We all die sometime. Water spilled on the ground can't be gathered up again. But God does not take away life. He works out ways to get the exile back." 15 "So now I've dared come to the king, my master, about all this. They're making my life miserable, and I'm afraid. I said to myself, 'I'll go to the king. Maybe he'll do something! 16 When the king hears what's going on, he'll step in and rescue me from the abuse of the man who would get rid of me and my son and God's inheritance - the works!' 17 As your handmaid, I decided ahead of time, 'The word of my master, the king, will be the last word in this, for my master is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil.' God be with you!" 18 The king then said, "I'm going to ask you something. Answer me truthfully." "Certainly," she said. "Let my master, the king, speak." 19 The king said, "Is the hand of Joab mixed up in this?" 20 It was because he wanted to turn things around that your servant Joab did this. But my master is as wise as God's angels in knowing how to handle things on this earth." 21 The king spoke to Joab. "All right, I'll do it. Go and bring the young man Absalom back." 22 Joab bowed deeply in reverence and blessed the king. "I'm reassured to know that I'm still in your good graces and have your confidence, since the king is taking the counsel of his servant." 23 Joab got up, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 The king said, "He may return to his house, but he is not to see me face to face." So Absalom returned home, but was not permitted to see the king. 25 This Absalom! There wasn't a man in all Israel talked about so much for his handsome good looks - and not a blemish on him from head to toe! 26 When he cut his hair - he always cut it short in the spring because it had grown so heavy - the weight of the hair from his head was over two pounds! 27 Three sons were born to Absalom, and one daughter. Her name was Tamar - and she was a beauty. 28 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years, and not once did he see the king face to face. 29 He sent for Joab to get him in to see the king, but Joab still wouldn't budge. He tried a second time and Joab still wouldn't. 30 So he told his servants, "Listen. Joab's field adjoins mine, and he has a crop of barley in it. Go set fire to it." So Absalom's servants set fire to the field. 31 That got him moving - Joab came to Absalom at home and said, "Why did your servants set my field on fire?" 32 Absalom answered him, "Listen, I sent for you saying, 'Come, and soon. I want to send you to the king to ask, "What's the point of my coming back from Geshur? I'd be better off still there!" Let me see the king face to face. If he finds me guilty, then he can put me to death.'" 33 Joab went to the king and told him what was going on. Absalom was then summoned - he came and bowed deeply in reverence before him. And the king kissed Absalom.
1 As time went on, Absalom took to riding in a horse-drawn chariot, with fifty men running in front of him. 2 Early each morning he would take up his post beside the road at the city gate. When anyone showed up with a case to bring to the king for a decision, Absalom would call him over and say, "Where do you hail from?" And the answer would come, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel." 3 Then Absalom would say, "Look, you've got a strong case; but the king isn't going to listen to you." 4 Then he'd say, "Why doesn't someone make me a judge for this country? Anybody with a case could bring it to me and I'd settle things fair and square." 5 Whenever someone would treat him with special honor, he'd shrug it off and treat him like an equal, making him feel important. 6 Absalom did this to everyone who came to do business with the king and stole the hearts of everyone in Israel. 7 After four years of this, Absalom spoke to the king, "Let me go to Hebron to pay a vow that I made to God. 8 Your servant made a vow when I was living in Geshur in Aram saying, 'If God will bring me back to Jerusalem, I'll serve him with my life.'" 9 The king said, "Go with my blessing." And he got up and set off for Hebron. 10 Then Absalom sent undercover agents to all the tribes of Israel with the message, "When you hear the blast of the ram's horn trumpet, that's your signal: Shout, 'Absalom is king in Hebron!'" 11 Two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem. But they had been called together knowing nothing of the plot and made the trip innocently. 12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he managed also to involve Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's advisor, calling him away from his hometown of Giloh. The conspiracy grew powerful and Absalom's supporters multiplied. 13 Someone came to David with the report, "The whole country has taken up with Absalom!" 14 "Up and out of here!" called David to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem. "We've got to run for our lives or none of us will escape Absalom! Hurry, he's about to pull the city down around our ears and slaughter us all!" 15 The king's servants said, "Whatever our master, the king, says, we'll do; we're with you all the way!" 16 So the king and his entire household escaped on foot. The king left ten concubines behind to tend to the palace. 17 And so they left, step by step by step, and then paused at the last house 18 as the whole army passed by him - all the Kerethites, all the Pelethites, and the six hundred Gittites who had marched with him from Gath, went past. 19 The king called out to Ittai the Gittite, "What are you doing here? Go back with King Absalom. You're a stranger here and freshly uprooted from your own country. 20 You arrived only yesterday, and am I going to let you take your chances with us as I live on the road like a gypsy? Go back, and take your family with you. And God's grace and truth go with you!" 21 But Ittai answered, "As God lives and my master the king lives, where my master is, that's where I'll be - whether it means life or death." 22 "All right," said David, "go ahead." And they went on, Ittai the Gittite with all his men and all the children he had with him. 23 The whole country was weeping in loud lament as all the people passed by. As the king crossed the Brook Kidron, the army headed for the road to the wilderness. 24 Zadok was also there, the Levites with him, carrying God's Chest of the Covenant. They set the Chest of God down, Abiathar standing by, until all the people had evacuated the city. 25 Then the king ordered Zadok, "Take the Chest back to the city. If I get back in God's good graces, he'll bring me back and show me where the Chest has been set down. 26 But if he says, 'I'm not pleased with you' - well, he can then do with me whatever he pleases." 27 The king directed Zadok the priest, "Here's the plan: Return to the city peacefully, with Ahimaaz your son and Jonathan, Abiathar's son, with you. 28 I'll wait at a spot in the wilderness across the river, until I get word from you telling us what's up." 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the Chest of God back to Jerusalem and placed it there, 30 while David went up the Mount of Olives weeping, head covered but barefooted, and the whole army was with him, heads covered and weeping as they ascended. 31 David was told, "Ahithophel has joined the conspirators with Absalom." He prayed, "Oh, God - turn Ahithophel's counsel to foolishness." 32 As David approached the top of the hill where God was worshiped, Hushai the Arkite, clothes ripped to shreds and dirt on his head, was there waiting for him. 33 David said, "If you come with me, you'll be just one more piece of luggage. 34 Go back to the city and say to Absalom, 'I'm ready to be your servant, O King; I used to be your father's servant, now I'm your servant.' Do that and you'll be able to confuse Ahithophel's counsel for me. 35 The priests Zadok and Abiathar are already there; whatever information you pick up in the palace, tell them. 36 Their two sons - Zadok's son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan - are there with them - anything you pick up can be sent to me by them." 37 Hushai, David's friend, arrived at the same time Absalom was entering Jerusalem.
1 Shortly after David passed the crest of the hill, Mephibosheth's steward Ziba met him with a string of pack animals, saddled and loaded with a hundred loaves of bread, a hundred raisin cakes, a hundred baskets of fresh fruit, and a skin of wine. 2 The king said to Ziba, "What's all this?" "The donkeys," said Ziba, "are for the king's household to ride, the bread and fruit are for the servants to eat, and the wine is for drinking, especially for those overcome by fatigue in the wilderness." 3 The king said, "And where is your master's grandson?" "He stayed in Jerusalem," said Ziba. "He said, 'This is the day Israel is going to restore my grandfather's kingdom to me.'" 4 "Everything that belonged to Mephibosheth," said the king, "is now yours." Ziba said, "How can I ever thank you? I'll be forever in your debt, my master and king; may you always look on me with such kindness!" 5 When the king got to Bahurim, a man appeared who had connections with Saul's family. His name was Shimei son of Gera. As he followed along he shouted insults 6 and threw rocks right and left at David and his company, servants and soldiers alike. 7 To the accompaniment of curses he shouted, "Get lost, get lost, you butcher, you hellhound! 8 God has paid you back for all your dirty work in the family of Saul and for stealing his kingdom. God has given the kingdom to your son Absalom. Look at you now - ruined! And good riddance, you pathetic old man!" 9 Abishai son of Zeruiah said, "This mangy dog can't insult my master the king this way - let me go over and cut off his head!" 10 But the king said, "Why are you sons of Zeruiah always interfering and getting in the way? If he's cursing, it's because God told him, 'Curse David.' So who dares raise questions?" 11 "Besides," continued David to Abishai and the rest of his servants, "my own son, my flesh and bone, is right now trying to kill me; compared to that this Benjaminite is small potatoes. Don't bother with him; let him curse; he's preaching God's word to me. 12 And who knows, maybe God will see the trouble I'm in today and exchange the curses for something good." 13 David and his men went on down the road, while Shimei followed along on the ridge of the hill alongside, cursing, throwing stones down on them, and kicking up dirt. 14 By the time they reached the Jordan River, David and all the men of the company were exhausted. There they rested and were revived. 15 By this time Absalom and all his men were in Jerusalem. And Ahithophel was with them. 16 Soon after, Hushai the Arkite, David's friend, came and greeted Absalom, "Long live the king! Long live the king!" 17 Absalom said to Hushai, "Is this the way you show devotion to your good friend? Why didn't you go with your friend David?" 18 "Because," said Hushai, "I want to be with the person that God and this people and all Israel have chosen. And I want to stay with him. 19 Besides, who is there to serve other than the son? Just as I served your father, I'm now ready to serve you." 20 Then Absalom spoke to Ahithophel, "Are you ready to give counsel? What do we do next?" 21 Ahithophel told Absalom, "Go and sleep with your father's concubines, the ones he left to tend to the palace. Everyone will hear that you have openly disgraced your father, and the morale of everyone on your side will be strengthened." 22 So Absalom pitched a tent up on the roof in public view, and went in and slept with his father's concubines. 23 The counsel that Ahithophel gave in those days was treated as if God himself had spoken. That was the reputation of Ahithophel's counsel to David; it was the same with Absalom.
1 Next Ahithophel advised Absalom, "Let me handpick twelve thousand men and go after David tonight. 2 I'll come on him when he's bone tired and take him by complete surprise. The whole army will run off and I'll kill only David. 3 Then I'll bring the army back to you - a bride brought back to her husband! You're only after one man, after all. Then everyone will be together in peace!" 4 Absalom thought it was an excellent strategy, and all the elders of Israel agreed. 5 But then Absalom said, "Call in Hushai the Arkite - let's hear what he has to say." 6 So Hushai came and Absalom put it to him, "This is what Ahithophel advised. Should we do it? What do you say?" 7 Hushai said, "The counsel that Ahithophel has given in this instance is not good. 8 You know your father and his men, brave and bitterly angry - like a bear robbed of her cubs. And your father is an experienced fighter; you can be sure he won't be caught napping at a time like this. 9 Even while we're talking, he's probably holed up in some cave or other. If he jumps your men from ambush, word will soon get back, 'A slaughter of Absalom's army!' 10 Even if your men are valiant with hearts of lions, they'll fall apart at such news, for everyone in Israel knows the kind of fighting stuff your father's made of, and also the men with him. 11 "Here's what I'd advise: Muster the whole country, from Dan to Beersheba, an army like the sand of the sea, and you personally lead them. 12 We'll smoke him out wherever he is, fall on him like dew falls on the earth, and, believe me, there won't be a single survivor. 13 If he hides out in a city, then the whole army will bring ropes to that city and pull it down and into a gully - not so much as a pebble left of it!" 14 Absalom and all his company agreed that the counsel of Hushai the Arkite was better than the counsel of Ahithophel. (God had determined to discredit the counsel of Ahithophel so as to bring ruin on Absalom.) 15 Then Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar, "Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel thus and thus, and I advised them thus and thus. 16 Now send this message as quickly as possible to David: 'Don't spend the night on this side of the river; cross immediately or the king and everyone with him will be swallowed up alive.'" 17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting around at En Rogel. A servant girl would come and give them messages and then they would go and tell King David, for it wasn't safe to be seen coming into the city. 18 But a soldier spotted them and told Absalom, so the two of them got out of there fast and went to a man's house in Bahurim. He had a well in his yard and they climbed into it. 19 The wife took a rug and covered the well, then spread grain on it so no one would notice anything out of the ordinary. 20 Shortly, Absalom's servants came to the woman's house and asked her, "Have you seen Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" The woman said, "They were headed toward the river." They looked but didn't find them, and then went back to Jerusalem. 21 When the coast was clear, Ahimaaz and Jonathan climbed out of the well and went on to make their report to King David, "Get up and cross the river quickly; Ahithophel has given counsel against you!" 22 David and his whole army were soon up and moving and crossed the Jordan. As morning broke there was not a single person who had not made it across the Jordan. 23 When Ahithophel realized that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and left for his hometown. After making out his will and putting his house in order, he hanged himself and died. He was buried in the family tomb. 24 About the time David arrived at Mahanaim, Absalom crossed the Jordan, and the whole army of Israel with him. 25 Absalom had made Amasa head of the army, replacing Joab. (Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra, an Ishmaelite who had married Abigail, daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah, the mother of Joab.) 26 Israel and Absalom set camp in Gilead. 27 When David arrived at Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Ammonite Rabbah, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 28 brought beds and blankets, bowls and jugs filled with wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans and lentils, 29 honey, and curds and cheese from the flocks and herds. They presented all this to David and his army to eat, "because," they said, "the army must be starved and exhausted and thirsty out in this wilderness."
1 David organized his forces. He appointed captains of thousands and captains of hundreds. 2 Then David deployed his troops, a third under Joab, a third under Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. The king then announced, "I'm marching with you." 3 They said, "No, you mustn't march with us. If we're forced to retreat, the enemy won't give it a second thought. And if half of us die, they won't do so either. But you are worth ten thousand of us. It will be better for us if you stay in the city and help from there." 4 "If you say so," said the king. "I'll do what you think is best." And so he stood beside the city gate as the whole army marched out by hundreds and by thousands. 5 Then the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." The whole army heard what the king commanded the three captains regarding Absalom. 6 The army took the field to meet Israel. It turned out that the battle was joined in the Forest of Ephraim. 7 The army of Israel was beaten badly there that day by David's men, a terrific slaughter - twenty thousand men! 8 There was fighting helter-skelter all over the place - the forest claimed more lives that day than the sword! 9 Absalom ran into David's men, but was out in front of them riding his mule, when the mule ran under the branches of a huge oak tree. Absalom's head was caught in the oak and he was left dangling between heaven and earth, the mule running right out from under him. 10 A solitary soldier saw him and reported it to Joab, "I just saw Absalom hanging from an oak tree!" 11 Joab said to the man who told him, "If you saw him, why didn't you kill him then and there? I'd have rewarded you with ten pieces of silver and a fancy belt." 12 The man told Joab, "Even if I'd had a chance at a thousand pieces of silver, I wouldn't have laid a hand on the king's son. We all heard the king command you and Abishai and Ittai, 'For my sake, protect the young man Absalom.' 13 Why, I'd be risking my life, for nothing is hidden from the king. And you would have just stood there!" 14 Joab said, "I can't waste my time with you." He then grabbed three knives and stabbed Absalom in the heart while he was still alive in the tree; 15 by then Absalom was surrounded by ten of Joab's armor bearers; they hacked away at him and killed him. 16 Joab then blew the ram's horn trumpet, calling off the army in its pursuit of Israel. 17 They took Absalom, dumped him into a huge pit in the forest, and piled an immense mound of rocks over him. Meanwhile the whole army of Israel was in flight, each man making his own way home. 18 While alive, Absalom had erected for himself a pillar in the Valley of the King, "because," he said, "I have no son to carry on my name." He inscribed the pillar with his own name. To this day it is called "The Absalom Memorial." 19 Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, said, "Let me run to the king and bring him the good news that God has delivered him from his enemies." 20 But Joab said, "You're not the one to deliver the good news today; some other day, maybe, but it's not 'good news' today." (This was because the king's son was dead.) 21 Then Joab ordered a Cushite, "You go. Tell the king what you've seen." "Yes sir," said the Cushite, and ran off. 22 Ahimaaz son of Zadok kept at it, begging Joab, "What does it matter? Let me run too, following the Cushite." Joab said, "Why all this 'Run, run'? You'll get no thanks for it, I can tell you." 23 "I don't care; let me run." "Okay," said Joab, "run." So Ahimaaz ran, taking the lower valley road, and passed the Cushite. 24 David was sitting between the two gates. The sentry had gone up to the top of the gate on the wall and looked around. He saw a solitary runner. 25 The sentry called down and told the king. The king said, "If he's alone, it must be good news!" 26 the sentry saw another runner and called down to the gate, "Another runner all by himself." And the king said, "This also must be good news." 27 Then the sentry said, "I can see the first man now; he runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok." "He's a good man," said the king. "He's bringing good news for sure." 28 Then Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, "Peace!" Then he bowed deeply before the king, his face to the ground. "Blessed be your God; he has handed over the men who rebelled against my master the king." 29 The king asked, "But is the young man Absalom all right?" Ahimaaz said, "I saw a huge ruckus just as Joab was sending me off, but I don't know what it was about." 30 The king said, "Step aside and stand over there." So he stepped aside. 31 Then the Cushite arrived and said, "Good news, my master and king! God has given victory today over all those who rebelled against you!" 32 "But," said the king, "is the young man Absalom all right?" And the Cushite replied, "Would that all of the enemies of my master the king and all who maliciously rose against you end up like that young man." 33 The king was stunned. Heartbroken, he went up to the room over the gate and wept. As he wept he cried out, O my son Absalom, my dear, dear son Absalom! Why not me rather than you, my death and not yours, O Absalom, my dear, dear son!
1 Joab was told that David was weeping and lamenting over Absalom. 2 The day's victory turned into a day of mourning as word passed through the army, "David is grieving over his son." 3 The army straggled back to the city that day demoralized, dragging their tails. 4 And the king held his face in his hands and lamented loudly, O my son Absalom, Absalom my dear, dear son! 5 But in private Joab rebuked the king: "Now you've done it - knocked the wind out of your loyal servants who have just saved your life, to say nothing of the lives of your sons and daughters, wives and concubines. 6 What is this - loving those who hate you and hating those who love you? Your actions give a clear message: officers and soldiers mean nothing to you. You know that if Absalom were alive right now, we'd all be dead - would that make you happy? 7 Get hold of yourself; get out there and put some heart into your servants! I swear to God that if you don't go to them they'll desert; not a soldier will be left here by nightfall. And that will be the worst thing that has happened yet." 8 So the king came out and took his place at the city gate. Soon everyone knew: "Oh, look! The king has come out to receive us." And his whole army came and presented itself to the king. But the Israelites had fled the field of battle and gone home. 9 Meanwhile, the whole populace was now complaining to its leaders, "Wasn't it the king who saved us time and again from our enemies, and rescued us from the Philistines? And now he has had to flee the country on account of Absalom. 10 And now this Absalom whom we made king is dead in battle. So what are you waiting for? Why don't you bring the king back?" 11 When David heard what was being said, he sent word to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, "Ask the elders of Judah, 'Why are you so laggard in bringing the king back home? 12 You're my brothers! You're my own flesh and blood! So why are you the last ones to bring the king back home?' 13 And tell Amasa, 'You, too, are my flesh and blood. As God is my witness, I'm making you the permanent commander of the army in place of Joab.'" 14 He captured the hearts of everyone in Judah. They were unanimous in sending for the king: "Come back, you and all your servants." 15 So the king returned. He arrived at the Jordan just as Judah reached Gilgal on their way to welcome the king and escort him across the Jordan. 16 Even Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, hurried down to join the men of Judah so he could welcome the king, 17 a thousand Benjaminites with him. And Ziba, Saul's steward, with his fifteen sons and twenty servants, waded across the Jordan to meet the king 18 and brought his entourage across, doing whatever they could to make the king comfortable. 19 and said, "Don't think badly of me, my master! Overlook my irresponsible outburst on the day my master the king left Jerusalem - don't hold it against me! 20 I know I sinned, but look at me now - the first of all the tribe of Joseph to come down and welcome back my master the king!" 21 Abishai son of Zeruiah interrupted, "Enough of this! Shouldn't we kill him outright? Why, he cursed God's anointed!" 22 But David said, "What is it with you sons of Zeruiah? Why do you insist on being so contentious? Nobody is going to be killed today. I am again king over Israel!" 23 Then the king turned to Shimei, "You're not going to die." And the king gave him his word. 24 Next Mephibosheth grandson of Saul arrived from Jerusalem to welcome the king. He hadn't combed his hair or trimmed his beard or washed his clothes from the day the king left until the day he returned safe and sound. 25 The king said, "And why didn't you come with me, Mephibosheth?" 26 "My master the king," he said, "my servant betrayed me. I told him to saddle my donkey so I could ride it and go with the king, for, as you know, I am lame. 27 And then he lied to you about me. But my master the king has been like one of God's angels: he knew what was right and did it. 28 Wasn't everyone in my father's house doomed? But you took me in and gave me a place at your table. What more could I ever expect or ask?" 29 "That's enough," said the king. "Say no more. Here's my decision: You and Ziba divide the property between you." 30 Mephibosheth said, "Oh, let him have it all! All I care about is that my master the king is home safe and sound!" 31 Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim. He crossed the Jordan with the king to give him a good send-off. 32 Barzillai was a very old man - eighty years old! He had supplied the king's needs all the while he was in Mahanaim since he was very wealthy. 33 "Join me in Jerusalem," the king said to Barzillai. "Let me take care of you." 34 But Barzillai declined the offer, "How long do you think I'd live if I went with the king to Jerusalem? 35 I'm eighty years old and not much good anymore to anyone. Can't taste food; can't hear music. So why add to the burdens of my master the king? 36 I'll just go a little way across the Jordan with the king. But why would the king need to make a great thing of that? 37 Let me go back and die in my hometown and be buried with my father and mother. But my servant Kimham here; let him go with you in my place. But treat him well!" 38 The king said, "That's settled; Kimham goes with me. And I will treat him well! If you think of anything else, I'll do that for you, too." 39 The army crossed the Jordan but the king stayed. The king kissed and blessed Barzillai, who then returned home. 40 Then the king, Kimham with him, crossed over at Gilgal. 41 The men of Israel came to the king and said, "Why have our brothers, the men of Judah, taken over as if they owned the king, escorting the king and his family and close associates across the Jordan?" 42 The men of Judah retorted, "Because the king is related to us, that's why! But why make a scene? You don't see us getting treated special because of it, do you?" 43 The men of Israel shot back, "We have ten shares in the king to your one. Besides we're the firstborn - so why are we having to play second fiddle? It was our idea to bring him back." But the men of Judah took a harder line than the men of Israel.
1 Just then a good-for-nothing named Sheba son of Bicri the Benjaminite blew a blast on the ram's horn trumpet, calling out, We've got nothing to do with David, there's no future for us with the son of Jesse! Let's get out of here, Israel - head for your tents! 2 So all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed committed, sticking with their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem. 3 When David arrived home in Jerusalem, the king took the ten concubines he had left to watch the palace and placed them in seclusion, under guard. He provided for their needs but didn't visit them. They were virtual prisoners until they died, widows as long as they lived. 4 The king ordered Amasa, "Muster the men of Judah for me in three days; then report in." 5 Amasa went to carry out his orders, but he was late reporting back. 6 So David told Abishai, "Sheba son of Bicri is going to hurt us even worse than Absalom did. Take your master's servants and hunt him down before he gets holed up in some fortress city where we can't get to him." 7 So under Abishai's command, all the best men - Joab's men and the Kerethites and Pelethites - left Jerusalem to hunt down Sheba son of Bicri. 8 They were near the boulder at Gibeon when Amasa came their way. Joab was wearing a tunic with a sheathed sword strapped on his waist, but the sword slipped out and fell to the ground. 9 Joab greeted Amasa, "How are you, brother?" and took Amasa's beard in his right hand as if to kiss him. 10 Amasa didn't notice the sword in Joab's other hand. Joab stuck him in the belly and his guts spilled to the ground. A second blow wasn't needed; he was dead. Then Joab and his brother Abishai continued to chase Sheba son of Bicri. 11 One of Joab's soldiers took up his post over the body and called out, "Everyone who sides with Joab and supports David, follow Joab!" 12 Amasa was lying in a pool of blood in the middle of the road; the man realized that the whole army was going to stop and take a look, so he pulled Amasa's corpse off the road into the field and threw a blanket over him so it wouldn't collect spectators. 13 As soon as he'd gotten him off the road, the traffic flowed normally, following Joab in the chase after Sheba son of Bicri. 14 Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel as far as Abel Beth Maacah; all the Bicrites clustered and followed him into the city. 15 Joab's army arrived and laid siege to Sheba in Abel Beth Maacah. They built a siege-ramp up against the city's fortification. The plan was to knock down the wall. 16 But a shrewd woman called out from the city, "Listen, everybody! Please tell Joab to come close so I can talk to him." 17 When he had come, the woman said, "Are you Joab?" He said, "I am." "Then," she said, "listen to what I have to say." He said, "I'm listening." 18 "There's an old saying in these parts: 'If it's answers you want, come to Abel and get it straight.' 19 We're a peaceful people here, and reliable. And here you are, trying to tear down one of Israel's mother cities. Why would you want to mess with God's legacy like that?" 20 Joab protested, "Believe me, you've got me all wrong. I'm not here to hurt anyone or destroy anything - not on your life! 21 But a man from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba son of Bicri by name, revolted against King David; hand him over, him only, and we'll get out of here." The woman told Joab, "Sounds good. His head will be tossed to you from the wall." 22 The woman presented her strategy to the whole city and they did it: They cut off the head of Sheba son of Bicri and tossed it down to Joab. He then blew a blast on the ram's horn trumpet and the soldiers all went home. Joab returned to the king in Jerusalem. 23 Joab was again commander of the whole army of Israel. Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; 24 Adoniram over the work crews; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was clerk; 25 Sheva was historian; Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26 Ira the Jairite was David's chaplain.
1 There was a famine in David's time. It went on year after year after year - three years. David went to God seeking the reason. God said, "This is because there is blood on Saul and his house, from the time he massacred the Gibeonites." 2 So the king called the Gibeonites together for consultation. (The Gibeonites were not part of Israel; they were what was left of the Amorites, and protected by a treaty with Israel. But Saul, a fanatic for the honor of Israel and Judah, tried to kill them off.) 3 David addressed the Gibeonites: "What can I do for you? How can I compensate you so that you will bless God's legacy of land and people?" 4 The Gibeonites replied, "We don't want any money from Saul and his family. And it's not up to us to put anyone in Israel to death." But David persisted: "What are you saying I should do for you?" 5 Then they told the king, "The man who tried to get rid of us, who schemed to wipe us off the map of Israel 6 - well, let seven of his sons be handed over to us to be executed - hanged before God at Gibeah of Saul, the holy mountain." And David agreed, "I'll hand them over to you." 7 The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the promise David and Jonathan had spoken before God. 8 But the king selected Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons that Rizpah daughter of Aiah had borne to Saul, plus the five sons that Saul's daughter Merab had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 9 He turned them over to the Gibeonites who hanged them on the mountain before God - all seven died together. Harvest was just getting underway, the beginning of the barley harvest, when they were executed. 10 Rizpah daughter of Aiah took rough burlap and spread it out for herself on a rock from the beginning of the harvest until the heavy rains started. She kept the birds away from the bodies by day and the wild animals by night. 11 David was told what she had done, this Rizpah daughter of Aiah and concubine of Saul. 12 He then went and got the remains of Saul and Jonathan his son from the leaders at Jabesh Gilead (who had rescued them from the town square at Beth Shan where the Philistines had hung them after striking them down at Gilboa). 13 He gathered up their remains and brought them together with the dead bodies of the seven who had just been hanged. 14 The bodies were taken back to the land of Benjamin and given a decent burial in the tomb of Kish, Saul's father. They did everything the king ordered to be done. That cleared things up: from then on God responded to Israel's prayers for the land. 15 War broke out again between the Philistines and Israel. David and his men went down to fight. David became exhausted. 16 Ishbi-Benob, a warrior descended from Rapha, with a spear weighing nearly eight pounds and outfitted in brand-new armor, announced that he'd kill David. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to the rescue, struck the Philistine, and killed him. Then David's men swore to him, "No more fighting on the front-lines for you! Don't snuff out the lamp of Israel!" 18 Later there was another skirmish with the Philistines at Gob. That time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, another of the warriors descended from Rapha. 19 At yet another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaar, the weaver of Bethlehem, killed Goliath the Gittite whose spear was as big as a flagpole. 20 Still another fight broke out in Gath. There was a giant there with six fingers on his hands and six toes on his feet - twenty-four fingers and toes! He was another of those descended from Rapha. 21 He insulted Israel, and Jonathan son of Shimeah, David's brother, killed him. 22 These four were descended from Rapha in Gath. And they all were killed by David and his soldiers.
1 David prayed to God the words of this song after God saved him from all his enemies and from Saul. 2 God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. 3 My God - the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout; My mountaintop refuge, he saves me from ruthless men. 4 I sing to God the Praise-Lofty, and find myself safe and saved. 5 The waves of death crashed over me, devil waters rushed over me. 6 Hell's ropes cinched me tight; death traps barred every exit. 7 A hostile world! I called to God, to my God I cried out. From his palace he heard me call; my cry brought me right into his presence - a private audience! 8 Earth wobbled and lurched; the very heavens shook like leaves, Quaked like aspen leaves because of his rage. 9 His nostrils flared, billowing smoke; his mouth spit fire. Tongues of fire darted in and out; 10 he lowered the sky. He stepped down; under his feet an abyss opened up. 11 He rode a winged creature, swift on wind-wings. 12 He wrapped himself in a trenchcoat of black rain-cloud darkness. 13 But his cloud-brightness burst through, a grand comet of fireworks. 14 Then God thundered out of heaven; the High God gave a great shout. 15 God shot his arrows - pandemonium! He hurled his lightnings - a rout! 16 The secret sources of ocean were exposed, the hidden depths of earth lay uncovered The moment God roared in protest, let loose his hurricane anger. 17 But me he caught - reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out 18 Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. 19 They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. 20 He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved - surprised to be loved! 21 God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I cleaned up my act, he gave me a fresh start. 22 Indeed, I've kept alert to God's ways; I haven't taken God for granted. 23 Every day I review the ways he works, I try not to miss a trick. 24 I feel put back together, and I'm watching my step. 25 God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. 26 You stick by people who stick with you, you're straight with people who're straight with you, 27 You're good to good people, you shrewdly work around the bad ones. 28 You take the side of the down-and-out, but the stuck-up you take down a peg. 29 Suddenly, God, your light floods my path, God drives out the darkness. 30 I smash the bands of marauders, I vault the high fences. 31 What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him Makes it. 32 Is there any god like God? Are we not at bedrock? 33 Is not this the God who armed me well, then aimed me in the right direction? 34 Now I run like a deer; I'm king of the mountain. 35 He shows me how to fight; I can bend a bronze bow! 36 You protect me with salvation-armor; you touch me and I feel ten feet tall. 37 You cleared the ground under me so my footing was firm. 38 When I chased my enemies I caught them; I didn't let go till they were dead men. 39 I nailed them; they were down for good; then I walked all over them. 40 You armed me well for this fight; you smashed the upstarts. 41 You made my enemies turn tail, and I wiped out the haters. 42 They cried "uncle" but Uncle didn't come; They yelled for God and got no for an answer. 43 I ground them to dust; they gusted in the wind. I threw them out, like garbage in the gutter. 44 You rescued me from a squabbling people; you made me a leader of nations. People I'd never heard of served me; 45 the moment they got wind of me they submitted. 46 They gave up; they came trembling from their hideouts. 47 Live, God! Blessing to my Rock, my towering Salvation-God! 48 This God set things right for me and shut up the people who talked back. 49 He rescued me from enemy anger. You pulled me from the grip of upstarts, You saved me from the bullies. 50 That's why I'm thanking you, God, all over the world. That's why I'm singing songs that rhyme your name. 51 God's king takes the trophy; God's chosen is beloved. I mean David and all his children - always.
1 These are David's last words: The voice of the son of Jesse, the voice of the man God took to the top, Whom the God of Jacob made king, and Israel's most popular singer! 2 God's Spirit spoke through me, his words took shape on my tongue. 3 The God of Israel spoke to me, Israel's Rock-Mountain said, "Whoever governs fairly and well, who rules in the Fear-of-God, 4 Is like first light at daybreak without a cloud in the sky, Like green grass carpeting earth, glistening under fresh rain. 5 And this is just how my regime has been, for God guaranteed his covenant with me, Spelled it out plainly and kept every promised word - My entire salvation, my every desire. 6 But the devil's henchmen are like thorns culled and piled as trash; 7 Better not try to touch them; keep your distance with a rake or hoe. They'll make a glorious bonfire! 8 This is the listing of David's top men. Josheb-Basshebeth, the Tahkemonite. He was chief of the Three. He once put his spear to work against eight hundred - killed them all in a day. 9 Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite was the next of the elite Three. He was with David when the Philistines poked fun at them at Pas Dammim. When the Philistines drew up for battle, Israel retreated. 10 But Eleazar stood his ground and killed Philistines right and left until he was exhausted - but he never let go of his sword! A big win for God that day. The army then rejoined Eleazar, but all there was left to do was the clean-up. 11 Shammah son of Agee the Hararite was the third of the Three. The Philistines had mustered for battle at Lehi, where there was a field full of lentils. Israel fled before the Philistines 12 , but Shammah took his stand at the center of the field, successfully defended it, and routed the Philistines. Another great victory for God! 13 One day during harvest, the Three parted from the Thirty and joined David at the Cave of Adullam. A squad of Philistines had set up camp in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 While David was holed up in the Cave, the Philistines had their base camp in Bethlehem 15 David had a sudden craving and said, "Would I ever like a drink of water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem!" 16 So the Three penetrated the Philistine lines, drew water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But David wouldn't drink it; he poured it out as an offering to God, 17 saying, "There is no way, God, that I'll drink this! This isn't mere water, it's their life-blood - they risked their very lives to bring it!" So David refused to drink it. This is the sort of thing that the Three did. 18 Abishai brother of Joab and son of Zeruiah was the head of the Thirty. He once got credit for killing three hundred with his spear, but he was never named in the same breath as the Three. 19 He was the most respected of the Thirty and was their captain, but never got included among the Three 20 Benaiah son of Jehoiada from Kabzeel was a vigorous man who accomplished a great deal. He once killed two lion cubs in Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he climbed down into a pit and killed a lion. 21 Another time he killed a formidable Egyptian. The Egyptian was armed with a spear and Benaiah went against him with nothing but a walking stick; he seized the spear from his grip and killed him with his own spear 22 These are the things that Benaiah son of Jehoiada is famous for. But neither did he ever get ranked with the Three. 23 He was held in greatest respect among the Thirty, but he never got included with the Three. David put him in charge of his bodyguard. 24 "The Thirty" consisted of: Asahel brother of Joab; Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem; 25 Shammah the Harodite; Elika the Harodite; 26 Helez the Paltite; Ira son of Ikkesh the Tekoite; 27 Abiezer the Anathothite; Sibbecai the Hushathite; 28 Zalmon the Ahohite; Maharai the Netophathite; 29 Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite; Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah of the Benjaminites; 30 Benaiah the Pirathonite; Hiddai from the badlands of Gaash; 31 Abi-Albon the Arbathite; Azmaveth the Barhumite; 32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite; Jashen the Gizonite; 33 Shammah the Hararite; Ahiam son of Sharar the Urite; 34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite; Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite; 35 Hezro the Carmelite; Paarai the Arbite; 36 Igal son of Nathan, commander of the army of Hagrites 37 Zelek the Ammonite; Naharai the Beerothite, weapon bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah; 38 Ira the Ithrite; Gareb the Ithrite 39 Uriah the Hittite. Thirty-seven, all told.
1 Once again God's anger blazed out against Israel. He tested David by telling him, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah." 2 So David gave orders to Joab and the army officers under him, "Canvass all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and get a count of the population. I want to know the number." 3 But Joab resisted the king: "May your God multiply people by the hundreds right before the eyes of my master the king, but why on earth would you do a thing like this?" 4 Nevertheless, the king insisted, and so Joab and the army officers left the king to take a census of Israel. 5 They crossed the Jordan and began with Aroer and the town in the canyon of the Gadites near Jazer, 6 proceeded through Gilead, passed Hermon, then on to Dan, but detoured Sidon. 7 They covered Fort Tyre and all the Hivite and Canaanite cities, and finally reached the Negev of Judah at Beersheba. 8 They canvassed the whole country and after nine months and twenty days arrived back in Jerusalem. 9 Joab gave the results of the census to the king: 800,000 able-bodied fighting men in Israel; in Judah 500,000. 10 But when it was all done, David was overwhelmed with guilt because he had counted the people, replacing trust with statistics. And David prayed to God, "I have sinned badly in what I have just done. But now God forgive my guilt - I've been really stupid." 11 When David got up the next morning, the word of God had already come to Gad the prophet, David's spiritual advisor, 12 "Go and give David this message: 'God has spoken thus: There are three things I can do to you; choose one out of the three and I'll see that it's done.'" 13 Gad came to deliver the message: "Do you want three years of famine in the land, or three months of running from your enemies while they chase you down, or three days of an epidemic on the country? Think it over and make up your mind. What shall I tell the one who sent me?" 14 David told Gad, "They're all terrible! But I'd rather be punished by God, whose mercy is great, than fall into human hands." 15 So God let loose an epidemic from morning until suppertime. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand people died. 16 But when the angel reached out over Jerusalem to destroy it, God felt the pain of the terror and told the angel who was spreading death among the people, "Enough's enough! Pull back!" The angel of God had just reached the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. David looked up and saw the angel hovering between earth and sky, sword drawn and about to strike Jerusalem. David and the elders bowed in prayer and covered themselves with rough burlap. 17 When David saw the angel about to destroy the people, he prayed, "Please! I'm the one who sinned; I, the shepherd, did the wrong. But these sheep, what did they do wrong? Punish me and my family, not them." 18 That same day Gad came to David and said, "Go and build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." 19 David did what Gad told him, what God commanded. 20 Araunah looked up and saw David and his men coming his way; he met them, bowing deeply, honoring the king 21 and saying, "Why has my master the king come to see me?" "To buy your threshing floor," said David, "so I can build an altar to God here and put an end to this disaster." 22 "Oh," said Araunah, "let my master the king take and sacrifice whatever he wants. Look, here's an ox for the burnt offering and threshing paddles and ox-yokes for fuel 23 - Araunah gives it all to the king! And may God, your God, act in your favor." 24 But the king said to Araunah, "No. I've got to buy it from you for a good price; I'm not going to offer God, my God, sacrifices that are no sacrifice." 25 He built an altar to God there and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. God was moved by the prayers and that was the end of the disaster.
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