2 Samuel 13; 2 Samuel 14; 2 Samuel 15

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2 Samuel 13

1 David had a son named Absalom and a son named Amnon. Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar, and Amnon loved her.
2 Tamar was a virgin. Amnon made himself sick just thinking about her, because he could not find any chance to be alone with her.
3 Amnon had a friend named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David's brother. Jonadab was a very clever man.
4 He asked Amnon, "Son of the king, why do you look so sad day after day? Tell me what's wrong!" Amnon told him, "I love Tamar, the sister of my half-brother Absalom."
5 Jonadab said to Amnon, "Go to bed and act as if you are sick. Then your father will come to see you. Tell him, 'Please let my sister Tamar come in and give me food to eat. Let her make the food in front of me so I can watch and eat it from her hand.'"
6 So Amnon went to bed and acted sick. When King David came in to see him, Amnon said to him, "Please let my sister Tamar come in. Let her make two of her special cakes for me while I watch. Then I will eat them from her hands."
7 David sent for Tamar in the palace, saying, "Go to your brother Amnon's house and make some food for him."
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, and he was in bed. Tamar took some dough and pressed it together with her hands. She made some special cakes while Amnon watched. Then she baked them.
9 Next she took the pan and served him, but he refused to eat. He said to his servants, "All of you, leave me alone!" So they all left him alone.
10 Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food into the bedroom so I may eat from your hand." Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them to her brother Amnon in the bedroom.
11 She went to him so he could eat from her hands, but Amnon grabbed her. He said, "Sister, come and have sexual relations with me."
12 Tamar said to him, "No, brother! Don't force me! This should never be done in Israel! Don't do this shameful thing!
13 I could never get rid of my shame! And you will be like the shameful fools in Israel! Please talk with the king, and he will let you marry me."
14 But Amnon refused to listen to her. He was stronger than she was, so he forced her to have sexual relations with him.
15 After that, Amnon hated Tamar. He hated her more than he had loved her before. Amnon said to her, "Get up and leave!"
16 Tamar said to him, "No! Sending me away would be worse than what you've already done!" But he refused to listen to her.
17 He called his young servant back in and said, "Get this woman out of here and away from me! Lock the door after her."
18 So his servant led her out of the room and bolted the door after her. Tamar was wearing a special robe with long sleeves, because the king's virgin daughters wore this kind of robe.
19 To show how upset she was, Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her special robe and put her hand on her head. Then she went away, crying loudly.
20 Absalom, Tamar's brother, said to her, "Has Amnon, your brother, forced you to have sexual relations with him? For now, sister, be quiet. He is your half-brother. Don't let this upset you so much!" So Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's house and was sad and lonely.
21 When King David heard the news, he was very angry.
22 Absalom did not say a word, good or bad, to Amnon. But he hated Amnon for disgracing his sister Tamar.
23 Two years later Absalom had some men come to Baal Hazor, near Ephraim, to cut the wool from his sheep. Absalom invited all the king's sons to come also.
24 Absalom went to the king and said, "I have men coming to cut the wool. Please come with your officers and join me."
25 King David said to Absalom, "No, my son. We won't all go, because it would be too much trouble for you." Although Absalom begged David, he would not go, but he did give his blessing.
26 Absalom said, "If you don't want to come, then please let my brother Amnon come with us." King David asked, "Why should he go with you?"
27 Absalom kept begging David until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with Absalom.
28 Then Absalom instructed his servants, "Watch Amnon. When he is drunk, I will tell you, 'Kill Amnon.' Right then, kill him! Don't be afraid, because I have commanded you! Be strong and brave!"
29 So Absalom's young men killed Amnon as Absalom commanded, but all of David's other sons got on their mules and escaped.
30 While the king's sons were on their way, the news came to David, "Absalom has killed all of the king's sons! Not one of them is left alive!"
31 King David tore his clothes and lay on the ground to show his sadness. All his servants standing nearby tore their clothes also.
32 Jonadab son of Shimeah, David's brother, said to David, "Don't think all the young men, your sons, are killed. No, only Amnon is dead! Absalom has planned this ever since Amnon forced his sister Tamar to have sexual relations with him.
33 My master and king, don't think that all of the king's sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead!"
34 In the meantime Absalom had run away. A guard standing on the city wall saw many people coming from the other side of the hill.
35 So Jonadab said to King David, "Look, I was right! The king's sons are coming!"
36 As soon as Jonadab had said this, the king's sons arrived, crying loudly. David and all his servants began crying also.
37 David cried for his son every day. But Absalom ran away to Talmain son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur.
38 After Absalom ran away to Geshur, he stayed there for three years.
39 When King David got over Amnon's death, he missed Absalom greatly.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Samuel 14

1 Joab son of Zeruiah knew that King David missed Absalom very much.
2 So Joab sent messengers to Tekoa to bring a wise woman from there. He said to her, "Pretend to be very sad. Put on funeral clothes and don't put lotion on yourself. Act like a woman who has been crying many days for someone who died.
3 Then go to the king and say these words." Then Joab told her what to say.
4 So the woman from Tekoa spoke to the king. She bowed facedown on the ground to show respect and said, "My king, help me!"
5 King David asked her, "What is the matter?" The woman said, "I am a widow; my husband is dead.
6 I had two sons. They were out in the field fighting, and no one was there to stop them. So one son killed the other son.
7 Now all the family group is against me. They said to me, 'Bring the son who killed his brother so we may kill him for killing his brother. That way we will also get rid of the one who would receive what belonged to his father.' My son is like the last spark of a fire. He is all I have left. If they kill him, my husband's name and property will be gone from the earth."
8 Then the king said to the woman, "Go home. I will take care of this for you."
9 The woman of Tekoa said to him, "Let the blame be on me and my father's family. My master and king, you and your throne are innocent."
10 King David said, "Bring me anyone who says anything bad to you. Then he won't bother you again."
11 The woman said, "Please promise in the name of the Lord your God. Then my relative who has the duty of punishing a murderer won't add to the destruction by killing my son." David said, "As surely as the Lord lives, no one will hurt your son. Not one hair from his head will fall to the ground."
12 The woman said, "Let me say something to you, my master and king." The king said, "Speak."
13 Then the woman said, "Why have you decided this way against the people of God? When you judge this way, you show that you are guilty for not bringing back your son who was forced to leave home.
14 We will all die some day. We're like water spilled on the ground; no one can gather it back. But God doesn't take away life. Instead, he plans ways that those who have been sent away will not have to stay away from him!
15 My master and king, I came to say this to you because the people have made me afraid! I thought, 'Let me talk to the king. Maybe he will do what I ask.
16 Maybe he will listen. Perhaps he will save me from those who want to keep both me and my son from getting what God gave us.'
17 "Now I say, 'May the words of my master the king give me rest. Like an angel of God, you know what is good and what is bad. May the Lord your God be with you!'"
18 Then King David said, "Do not hide the truth. Answer me one question." The woman said, "My master the king, please ask your question."
19 The king said, "Did Joab tell you to say all these things?" The woman answered, "As you live, my master the king, no one could avoid that question. You are right. Your servant Joab did tell me to say these things.
20 Joab did it so you would see things differently. My master, you are wise like an angel of God who knows everything that happens on earth."
21 The king said to Joab, "Look, I will do what I promised. Bring back the young man Absalom."
22 Joab bowed facedown on the ground and blessed the king. Then he said, "Today I know you are pleased with me, because you have done what I asked."
23 Then Joab got up and went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem.
24 But King David said, "Absalom must go to his own house. He may not come to see me." So Absalom went to his own house and did not go to see the king.
25 Absalom was greatly praised for his handsome appearance. No man in Israel was as handsome as he. No blemish was on him from his head to his foot.
26 At the end of every year, Absalom would cut his hair, because it became too heavy. When he weighed it, it would weigh about five pounds by the royal measure.
27 Absalom had three sons and one daughter. His daughter's name was also Tamar, and she was a beautiful woman.
28 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two full years without seeing King David.
29 Then Absalom sent for Joab so he could send him to the king, but Joab would not come. Absalom sent a message a second time, but Joab still refused to come.
30 Then Absalom said to his servants, "Look, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley growing there. Go burn it." So Absalom's servants set fire to Joab's field.
31 Then Joab went to Absalom's house and said to him, "Why did your servants burn my field?"
32 Absalom said to Joab, "I sent a message to you, asking you to come here. I wanted to send you to the king to ask him why he brought me home from Geshur. It would have been better for me to stay there! Now let me see the king. If I have sinned, he can put me to death!"
33 So Joab went to the king and told him Absalom's words. Then the king called for Absalom. Absalom came and bowed facedown on the ground before the king, and the king kissed him.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Samuel 15

1 After this, Absalom got a chariot and horses for himself and fifty men to run before him.
2 Absalom would get up early and stand near the city gate. Anyone who had a problem for the king to settle would come here. When someone came, Absalom would call out and say, "What city are you from?" The person would answer, "I'm from one of the tribes of Israel."
3 Then Absalom would say, "Look, your claims are right, but the king has no one to listen to you."
4 Absalom would also say, "I wish someone would make me judge in this land! Then people with problems could come to me, and I could help them get justice."
5 People would come near Absalom to bow to him. When they did, Absalom would reach out his hand and take hold of them and kiss them.
6 Absalom did that to all the Israelites who came to King David for decisions. In this way, Absalom stole the hearts of all Israel.
7 After four years Absalom said to King David, "Please let me go to Hebron. I want to carry out my promise that I made to the Lord
8 while I was living in Geshur in Aram. I said, 'If the Lord takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship him in Hebron.'"
9 The king said, "Go in peace." So Absalom went to Hebron.
10 But he sent secret messengers through all the tribes of Israel. They told the people, "When you hear the trumpets, say this: 'Absalom is the king at Hebron!'"
11 Absalom had invited two hundred men to go with him. So they went from Jerusalem with him, but they didn't know what he was planning.
12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of the people who advised David, to come from his hometown of Giloh. So Absalom's plans were working very well. More and more people began to support him.
13 A messenger came to David, saying, "The Israelites are giving their loyalty to Absalom."
14 Then David said to all his officers who were with him in Jerusalem, "We must leave quickly! If we don't, we won't be able to get away from Absalom. We must hurry before he catches us and destroys us and kills the people of Jerusalem."
15 The king's officers said to him, "We will do anything you say."
16 The king set out with everyone in his house, but he left ten slave women to take care of the palace.
17 The king left with all his people following him, and they stopped at a house far away.
18 All the king's servants passed by him -- the Kerethites and Pelethites, all those from Gath, and the six hundred men who had followed him.
19 The king said to Ittai, a man from Gath, "Why are you also going with us? Turn back and stay with King Absalom because you are a foreigner. This is not your homeland.
20 You joined me only a short time ago. Should I make you wander with us when I don't even know where I'm going? Turn back and take your brothers with you. May kindness and loyalty be shown to you."
21 But Ittai said to the king, "As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will stay with you, whether it means life or death."
22 David said to Ittai, "Go, march on." So Ittai from Gath and all his people with their children marched on.
23 All the people cried loudly as everyone passed by. King David crossed the Kidron Valley, and then all the people went on to the desert.
24 Zadok and all the Levites with him carried the Ark of the Agreement with God. They set it down, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had left the city.
25 The king said to Zadok, "Take the Ark of God back into the city. If the Lord is pleased with me, he will bring me back and will let me see both it and Jerusalem again.
26 But if the Lord says he is not pleased with me, I am ready. He can do what he wants with me."
27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, "Aren't you a seer? Go back to the city in peace and take your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan with you.
28 I will wait near the crossings into the desert until I hear from you."
29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the Ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
30 David went up the Mount of Olives, crying as he went. He covered his head and went barefoot. All the people with David covered their heads also and cried as they went.
31 Someone told David, "Ahithophel is one of the people with Absalom who made secret plans against you." So David prayed, "Lord, please make Ahithophel's advice foolish."
32 When David reached the top of the mountain where people used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite came to meet him. Hushai's coat was torn, and there was dirt on his head to show how sad he was.
33 David said to Hushai, "If you go with me, you will be just one more person for me to take care of.
34 But if you return to the city, you can make Ahithophel's advice useless. Tell Absalom, 'I am your servant, my king. In the past I served your father, but now I will serve you.'
35 The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be with you. Tell them everything you hear in the royal palace.
36 Zadok's son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan are with them. Send them to tell me everything you hear."
37 So David's friend Hushai entered Jerusalem just as Absalom arrived.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.