Tag Archives: 2 Samuel
2 Samuel 24
David Takes a Census
1 Once again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census. “Go and count the people of Israel and Judah,” the Lord told him.
2 So the king said to Joab and the commanders[a] of the army, “Take a census of all the tribes of Israel—from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south—so I may know how many people there are.”
3 But Joab replied to the king, “May the Lord your God let you live to see a hundred times as many people as there are now! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this?”
4 But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab and the commanders of the army went out to count the people of Israel. 5 First they crossed the Jordan and camped at Aroer, south of the town in the valley, in the direction of Gad. Then they went on to Jazer, 6 then to Gilead in the land of Tahtim-hodshi[b] and to Dan-jaan and around to Sidon. 7 Then they came to the fortress of Tyre, and all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites. Finally, they went south to Judah[c] as far as Beersheba.
8 Having gone through the entire land for nine months and twenty days, they returned to Jerusalem. 9 Joab reported the number of people to the king. There were 800,000 capable warriors in Israel who could handle a sword, and 500,000 in Judah.
Judgment for David’s Sin
10 But after he had taken the census, David’s conscience began to bother him. And he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt, Lord, for doing this foolish thing.”
11 The next morning the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, who was David’s seer. This was the message: 12 “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’”
13 So Gad came to David and asked him, “Will you choose three[d] years of famine throughout your land, three months of fleeing from your enemies, or three days of severe plague throughout your land? Think this over and decide what answer I should give the Lord who sent me.”
14 “I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great. Do not let me fall into human hands.”
15 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days.[e] A total of 70,000 people died throughout the nation, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.16 But as the angel was preparing to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord relented and said to the death angel, “Stop! That is enough!” At that moment the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
17 When David saw the angel, he said to the Lord, “I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? Let your anger fall against me and my family.”
David Builds an Altar
18 That day Gad came to David and said to him, “Go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”
19 So David went up to do what the Lord had commanded him. 20 When Araunah saw the king and his men coming toward him, he came and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 21 “Why have you come, my lord the king?” Araunah asked.
David replied, “I have come to buy your threshing floor and to build an altar to the Lord there, so that he will stop the plague.”
22 “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and you can use the threshing boards and ox yokes for wood to build a fire on the altar. 23 I will give it all to you, Your Majesty, and may the Lord your God accept your sacrifice.”
24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver[f] for the threshing floor and the oxen.
25 David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the Lord answered his prayer for the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.
- 24:2 As in Greek version (see also 24:4 and 1 Chr 21:2); Hebrew reads Joab the commander.
- 24:6 Greek version reads to Gilead and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites.
- 24:7 Or they went to the Negev of Judah.
- 24:13 As in Greek version (see also 1 Chr 21:12); Hebrew reads seven.
- 24:15 Hebrew for the designated time.
- 24:24 Hebrew 50 shekels of silver, about 20 ounces or 570 grams in weight.
2 Samuel 23
David’s Last Words
23 These are the last words of David:
“David, the son of Jesse, speaks—
David, the man who was raised up so high,
David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
David, the sweet psalmist of Israel.[a]
2 “The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me;
his words are upon my tongue.
3 The God of Israel spoke.
The Rock of Israel said to me:
‘The one who rules righteously,
who rules in the fear of God,
4 is like the light of morning at sunrise,
like a morning without clouds,
like the gleaming of the sun
on new grass after rain.’
5 “Is it not my family God has chosen?
Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me.
His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail.
He will ensure my safety and success.
6 But the godless are like thorns to be thrown away,
for they tear the hand that touches them.
7 One must use iron tools to chop them down;
they will be totally consumed by fire.”
David’s Mightiest Warriors
8 These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite,[b] who was leader of the Three[c]—the three mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.[d]
9 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. 10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!
11 Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, 12 but Shammah[e] held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.
13 Once during the harvest, when David was at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. 14 David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.
15 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 16 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. 17 “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men[f] who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.
David’s Thirty Mighty Men
1 Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty.[g] He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three. 19 Abishai was the most famous of the Thirty[h] and was their commander, though he was not one of the Three.
20 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior[i] from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions[j] of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21 Once, armed only with a club, he killed an imposing Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. 22 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. 23 He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard.
24 Other members of the Thirty included:
Asahel, Joab’s brother;
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem;
25 Shammah from Harod;
Elika from Harod;
26 Helez from Pelon[k];
Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa;
27 Abiezer from Anathoth;
Sibbecai[l] from Hushah;
28 Zalmon from Ahoah;
Maharai from Netophah;
29 Heled[m] son of Baanah from Netophah;
Ithai[n] son of Ribai from Gibeah (in the land of Benjamin);
30 Benaiah from Pirathon;
Hurai[o] from Nahale-gaash[p];
31 Abi-albon from Arabah;
Azmaveth from Bahurim;
32 Eliahba from Shaalbon;
the sons of Jashen;
Jonathan 33 son of Shagee[q] from Harar;
Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar;
34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai from Maacah;
Eliam son of Ahithophel from Giloh;
35 Hezro from Carmel;
Paarai from Arba;
36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah;
Bani from Gad;
37 Zelek from Ammon;
Naharai from Beeroth, the armor bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah;
38 Ira from Jattir;
Gareb from Jattir;
39 Uriah the Hittite.
There were thirty-seven in all.
- 23:1 Or the favorite subject of the songs of Israel; or the favorite of the Strong One of Israel.
- 23:8a As in parallel text at 1 Chr 11:11; Hebrew reads Josheb-basshebeth the Tahkemonite.
- 23:8b As in Greek and Latin versions (see also 1 Chr 11:11); the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
- 23:8c As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 1 Chr 11:11); the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain, though it might be rendered the Three. It was Adino the Eznite who killed 800 men at one time.
- 23:12 Hebrew he.
- 23:17 Hebrew Shall I drink the blood of these men?
- 23:18 As in a few Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac version; most Hebrew manuscripts read the Three.
- 23:19 As in Syriac version; Hebrew reads the Three.
- 23:20a Or son of Jehoiada, son of Ish-hai.
- 23:20b Hebrew two of Ariel.
- 23:26 As in parallel text at 1 Chr 11:27 (see also 1 Chr 27:10); Hebrew reads from Palti.
- 23:27 As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 1 Chr 11:29); Hebrew reads Mebunnai.
- 23:29a As in some Hebrew manuscripts (see also 1 Chr 11:30); most Hebrew manuscripts read Heleb.
- 23:29b As in parallel text at 1 Chr 11:31; Hebrew reads Ittai.
- 23:30a As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 1 Chr 11:32); Hebrew reads Hiddai.
- 23:30b Or from the ravines of Gaash.
- 23:33 As in parallel text at 1 Chr 11:34; Hebrew reads Jonathan, Shammah; some Greek manuscripts read Jonathan son of Shammah.
2 Samuel 22
David’s Song of Praise
1 David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. 2 He sang:
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
3 my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
He is my refuge, my savior,
the one who saves me from violence.
4 I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and he saved me from my enemies.
5 “The waves of death overwhelmed me;
floods of destruction swept over me.
6 The grave[a] wrapped its ropes around me;
death laid a trap in my path.
7 But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
yes, I cried to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
my cry reached his ears.
8 “Then the earth quaked and trembled.
The foundations of the heavens shook;
they quaked because of his anger.
9 Smoke poured from his nostrils;
fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
10 He opened the heavens and came down;
dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
11 Mounted on a mighty angelic being,[b] he flew,
soaring[c] on the wings of the wind.
12 He shrouded himself in darkness,
veiling his approach with dense rain clouds.
13 A great brightness shone around him,
and burning coals[d] blazed forth.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
15 He shot arrows and scattered his enemies;
his lightning flashed, and they were confused.
16 Then at the command of the Lord,
at the blast of his breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.
17 “He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
19 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
but the Lord supported me.
20 He led me to a place of safety;
he rescued me because he delights in me.
21 The Lord rewarded me for doing right;
he restored me because of my innocence.
22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
23 I have followed all his regulations;
I have never abandoned his decrees.
24 I am blameless before God;
I have kept myself from sin.
25 The Lord rewarded me for doing right.
He has seen my innocence.
26 “To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
to those with integrity you show integrity.
27 To the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
28 You rescue the humble,
but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them.
29 O Lord, you are my lamp.
The Lord lights up my darkness.
30 In your strength I can crush an army;
with my God I can scale any wall.
31 “God’s way is perfect.
All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
32 For who is God except the Lord?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
33 God is my strong fortress,
and he makes my way perfect.
34 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
35 He trains my hands for battle;
he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
36 You have given me your shield of victory;
your help[e] has made me great.
37 You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.
38 “I chased my enemies and destroyed them;
I did not stop until they were conquered.
39 I consumed them;
I struck them down so they did not get up;
they fell beneath my feet.
40 You have armed me with strength for the battle;
you have subdued my enemies under my feet.
41 You placed my foot on their necks.
I have destroyed all who hated me.
42 They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue.
They even cried to the Lord, but he refused to answer.
43 I ground them as fine as the dust of the earth;
I trampled them[f] in the gutter like dirt.
44 “You gave me victory over my accusers.
You preserved me as the ruler over nations;
people I don’t even know now serve me.
45 Foreign nations cringe before me;
as soon as they hear of me, they submit.
46 They all lose their courage
and come trembling[g] from their strongholds.
47 “The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock!
May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted!
48 He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
he brings down the nations under me
49 and delivers me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
you save me from violent opponents.
50 For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
I will sing praises to your name.
51 You give great victories to your king;
you show unfailing love to your anointed,
to David and all his descendants forever.”
- 22:6 Hebrew Sheol.
- 22:11a Hebrew a cherub.
- 22:11b As in some Hebrew manuscripts (see also Ps 18:10); other Hebrew manuscripts read appearing.
- 22:13 Or and lightning bolts.
- 22:36 As in Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text reads your answering.
- 22:43 As in Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Ps 18:42); Masoretic Text reads I crushed and trampled them.
- 22:46 As in parallel text at Ps 18:45; Hebrew reads come girding themselves.
2 Samuel 21
David Avenges the Gibeonites
1 There was a famine during David’s reign that lasted for three years, so David asked the Lord about it. And the Lord said, “The famine has come because Saul and his family are guilty of murdering the Gibeonites.”
2 So the king summoned the Gibeonites. They were not part of Israel but were all that was left of the nation of the Amorites. The people of Israel had sworn not to kill them, but Saul, in his zeal for Israel and Judah, had tried to wipe them out. 3 David asked them, “What can I do for you? How can I make amends so that you will bless the Lord’s people again?”
4 “Well, money can’t settle this matter between us and the family of Saul,” the Gibeonites replied. “Neither can we demand the life of anyone in Israel.”
“What can I do then?” David asked. “Just tell me and I will do it for you.”
5 Then they replied, “It was Saul who planned to destroy us, to keep us from having any place at all in the territory of Israel. 6 So let seven of Saul’s sons be handed over to us, and we will execute them before the Lord at Gibeon, on the mountain of the Lord.[a]”
“All right,” the king said, “I will do it.” 7 The king spared Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth,[b] who was Saul’s grandson, because of the oath David and Jonathan had sworn before the Lord. 8 But he gave them Saul’s two sons Armoni and Mephibosheth, whose mother was Rizpah daughter of Aiah. He also gave them the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab,[c] the wife of Adriel son of Barzillai from Meholah. 9 The men of Gibeon executed them on the mountain before the Lord. So all seven of them died together at the beginning of the barley harvest.
10 Then Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the mother of two of the men, spread burlap on a rock and stayed there the entire harvest season. She prevented the scavenger birds from tearing at their bodies during the day and stopped wild animals from eating them at night. 11 When David learned what Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, had done, 12 he went to the people of Jabesh-gilead and retrieved the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan. (When the Philistines had killed Saul and Jonathan on Mount Gilboa, the people of Jabesh-gilead stole their bodies from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hung them.) 13 So David obtained the bones of Saul and Jonathan, as well as the bones of the men the Gibeonites had executed.
14 Then the king ordered that they bury the bones in the tomb of Kish, Saul’s father, at the town of Zela in the land of Benjamin. After that, God ended the famine in the land.
Battles against Philistine Giants
15 Once again the Philistines were at war with Israel. And when David and his men were in the thick of battle, David became weak and exhausted. 16 Ishbi-benob was a descendant of the giants[d]; his bronze spearhead weighed more than seven pounds,[e] and he was armed with a new sword. He had cornered David and was about to kill him. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue and killed the Philistine. Then David’s men declared, “You are not going out to battle with us again! Why risk snuffing out the light of Israel?”
18 After this, there was another battle against the Philistines at Gob. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, another descendant of the giants.
19 During another battle at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair[f] from Bethlehem killed the brother of Goliath of Gath.[g] The handle of his spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam!
20 In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man[h] with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. 21 But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea.[i]
22 These four Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them.
21:6 As in Greek version (see also 21:9); Hebrew reads at Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the Lord.
21:7 Mephibosheth is another name for Merib-baal.
21:8 As in a few Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and Syriac version (see also 1 Sam 18:19); most Hebrew manuscripts read Michal.
21:16a Or a descendant of the Rapha; also in 21:18, 20, 22.
21:16b Hebrew 300 [shekels] [3.4 kilograms].
21:19a As in parallel text at 1 Chr 20:5; Hebrew reads son of Jaare-oregim.
21:19b As in parallel text at 1 Chr 20:5; Hebrew reads killed Goliath of Gath.
21:20 As in parallel text at 1 Chr 20:6; Hebrew reads a Midianite.
21:21 As in parallel text at 1 Chr 20:7; Hebrew reads Shimei, a variant spelling of Shimea.
2 Samuel 20
The Revolt of Sheba
1 There happened to be a troublemaker there named Sheba son of Bicri, a man from the tribe of Benjamin. Sheba blew a ram’s horn and began to chant:
“Down with the dynasty of David!
We have no interest in the son of Jesse.
Come on, you men of Israel,
back to your homes!”
2 So all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed with their king and escorted him from the Jordan River to Jerusalem.
3 When David came to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to look after the palace and placed them in seclusion. Their needs were provided for, but he no longer slept with them. So each of them lived like a widow until she died.
4 Then the king told Amasa, “Mobilize the army of Judah within three days, and report back at that time.” 5 So Amasa went out to notify Judah, but it took him longer than the time he had been given.
6 Then David said to Abishai, “Sheba son of Bicri is going to hurt us more than Absalom did. Quick, take my troops and chase after him before he gets into a fortified town where we can’t reach him.”
7 So Abishai and Joab,[a] together with the king’s bodyguard[b] and all the mighty warriors, set out from Jerusalem to go after Sheba. 8 As they arrived at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa met them. Joab was wearing his military tunic with a dagger strapped to his belt. As he stepped forward to greet Amasa, he slipped the dagger from its sheath.[c]
9 “How are you, my cousin?” Joab said and took him by the beard with his right hand as though to kiss him. 10 Amasa didn’t notice the dagger in his left hand, and Joab stabbed him in the stomach with it so that his insides gushed out onto the ground. Joab did not need to strike again, and Amasa soon died. Joab and his brother Abishai left him lying there and continued after Sheba.
11 One of Joab’s young men shouted to Amasa’s troops, “If you are for Joab and David, come and follow Joab.” 12 But Amasa lay in his blood in the middle of the road, and Joab’s man saw that everyone was stopping to stare at him. So he pulled him off the road into a field and threw a cloak over him. 13 With Amasa’s body out of the way, everyone went on with Joab to capture Sheba son of Bicri.
14 Meanwhile, Sheba traveled through all the tribes of Israel and eventually came to the town of Abel-beth-maacah. All the members of his own clan, the Bicrites,[d] assembled for battle and followed him into the town. 15 When Joab’s forces arrived, they attacked Abel-beth-maacah. They built a siege ramp against the town’s fortifications and began battering down the wall. 16 But a wise woman in the town called out to Joab, “Listen to me, Joab. Come over here so I can talk to you.” 17 As he approached, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?”
“I am,” he replied.
So she said, “Listen carefully to your servant.”
“I’m listening,” he said.
18 Then she continued, “There used to be a saying, ‘If you want to settle an argument, ask advice at the town of Abel.’ 19 I am one who is peace loving and faithful in Israel. But you are destroying an important town in Israel.[e] Why do you want to devour what belongs to the Lord?”
20 And Joab replied, “Believe me, I don’t want to devour or destroy your town! 21 That’s not my purpose. All I want is a man named Sheba son of Bicri from the hill country of Ephraim, who has revolted against King David. If you hand over this one man to me, I will leave the town in peace.”
“All right,” the woman replied, “we will throw his head over the wall to you.” 22 Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off Sheba’s head and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the ram’s horn and called his troops back from the attack. They all returned to their homes, and Joab returned to the king at Jerusalem.
23 Now Joab was the commander of the army of Israel. Benaiah son of Jehoiada was captain of the king’s bodyguard. 24 Adoniram[f] was in charge of forced labor. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian. 25 Sheva was the court secretary. Zadok and Abiathar were the priests. 26 And Ira, a descendant of Jair, was David’s personal priest.
- 20:7a Hebrew So Joab’s men.
- 20:7b Hebrew the Kerethites and Pelethites; also in 20:23.
- 20:8 Hebrew As he stepped forward, it fell out.
- 20:14 As in Greek and Latin versions; Hebrew reads All the Berites.
- 20:19 Hebrew a town that is a mother in Israel.
- 20:24 As in Greek version (see also 1 Kgs 4:6; 5:14); Hebrew reads Adoram.
2 Samuel 19 Joab Rebukes the King
1 [a]Word soon reached Joab that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom. 2 As all the people heard of the king’s deep grief for his son, the joy of that day’s victory was turned into deep sadness. 3 They crept back into the town that day as though they were ashamed and had deserted in battle. 4 The king covered his face with his hands and kept on crying, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”
5 Then Joab went to the king’s room and said to him, “We saved your life today and the lives of your sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines. Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed of ourselves. 6 You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that your commanders and troops mean nothing to you. It seems that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would be pleased. 7 Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than ever before.”
8 So the king went out and took his seat at the town gate, and as the news spread throughout the town that he was there, everyone went to him.
Meanwhile, the Israelites who had supported Absalom fled to their homes. 9 And throughout all the tribes of Israel there was much discussion and argument going on. The people were saying, “The king rescued us from our enemies and saved us from the Philistines, but Absalom chased him out of the country. 10 Now Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, is dead. Why not ask David to come back and be our king again?”
11 Then King David sent Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, to say to the elders of Judah, “Why are you the last ones to welcome back the king into his palace? For I have heard that all Israel is ready. 12 You are my relatives, my own tribe, my own flesh and blood! So why are you the last ones to welcome back the king?” 13 And David told them to tell Amasa, “Since you are my own flesh and blood, like Joab, may God strike me and even kill me if I do not appoint you as commander of my army in his place.”
14 Then Amasa[b] convinced all the men of Judah, and they responded unanimously. They sent word to the king, “Return to us, and bring back all who are with you.”
David’s Return to Jerusalem
15 So the king started back to Jerusalem. And when he arrived at the Jordan River, the people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet him and escort him across the river.16 Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin, hurried across with the men of Judah to welcome King David. 17 A thousand other men from the tribe of Benjamin were with him, including Ziba, the chief servant of the house of Saul, and Ziba’s fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed down to the Jordan to meet the king. 18 They crossed the shallows of the Jordan to bring the king’s household across the river, helping him in every way they could.
David’s Mercy to Shimei
As the king was about to cross the river, Shimei fell down before him. 19 “My lord the king, please forgive me,” he pleaded. “Forget the terrible thing your servant did when you left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind. 20 I know how much I sinned. That is why I have come here today, the very first person in all Israel[c] to greet my lord the king.”
21 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shimei should die, for he cursed the Lord’s anointed king!”
22 “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah!” David exclaimed. “Why have you become my adversary[d] today? This is not a day for execution, for today I am once again the king of Israel!” 23 Then, turning to Shimei, David vowed, “Your life will be spared.”
David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth
24 Now Mephibosheth,[e] Saul’s grandson, came down from Jerusalem to meet the king. He had not cared for his feet, trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes since the day the king left Jerusalem. 25 “Why didn’t you come with me, Mephibosheth?” the king asked him.
26 Mephibosheth replied, “My lord the king, my servant Ziba deceived me. I told him, ‘Saddle my donkey[f] so I can go with the king.’ For as you know I am crippled. 27 Ziba has slandered me by saying that I refused to come. But I know that my lord the king is like an angel of God, so do what you think is best. 28 All my relatives and I could expect only death from you, my lord, but instead you have honored me by allowing me to eat at your own table! What more can I ask?”
29 “You’ve said enough,” David replied. “I’ve decided that you and Ziba will divide your land equally between you.”
30 “Give him all of it,” Mephibosheth said. “I am content just to have you safely back again, my lord the king!”
David’s Kindness to Barzillai
31 Barzillai of Gilead had come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan. 32 He was very old—eighty years of age—and very wealthy. He was the one who had provided food for the king during his stay in Mahanaim. 33 “Come across with me and live in Jerusalem,” the king said to Barzillai. “I will take care of you there.”
34 “No,” he replied, “I am far too old to go with the king to Jerusalem. 35 I am eighty years old today, and I can no longer enjoy anything. Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the singers as they sing. I would only be a burden to my lord the king. 36 Just to go across the Jordan River with the king is all the honor I need! 37 Then let me return again to die in my own town, where my father and mother are buried. But here is your servant, my son Kimham. Let him go with my lord the king and receive whatever you want to give him.”
38 “Good,” the king agreed. “Kimham will go with me, and I will help him in any way you would like. And I will do for you anything you want.” 39 So all the people crossed the Jordan with the king. After David had blessed Barzillai and kissed him, Barzillai returned to his own home.
40 The king then crossed over to Gilgal, taking Kimham with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel escorted the king on his way.
An Argument over the King
41 But all the men of Israel complained to the king, “The men of Judah stole the king and didn’t give us the honor of helping take you, your household, and all your men across the Jordan.”
42 The men of Judah replied, “The king is one of our own kinsmen. Why should this make you angry? We haven’t eaten any of the king’s food or received any special favors!”
43 “But there are ten tribes in Israel,” the others replied. “So we have ten times as much right to the king as you do. What right do you have to treat us with such contempt? Weren’t we the first to speak of bringing him back to be our king again?” The argument continued back and forth, and the men of Judah spoke even more harshly than the men of Israel.
2 Samuel 18
Absalom’s Defeat and Death
1 David now mustered the men who were with him and appointed generals and captains[a] to lead them. 2 He sent the troops out in three groups, placing one group under Joab, one under Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one under Ittai, the man from Gath. The king told his troops, “I am going out with you.”
3 But his men objected strongly. “You must not go,” they urged. “If we have to turn and run—and even if half of us die—it will make no difference to Absalom’s troops; they will be looking only for you. You are worth 10,000 of us,[b] and it is better that you stay here in the town and send help if we need it.”
4 “If you think that’s the best plan, I’ll do it,” the king answered. So he stood alongside the gate of the town as all the troops marched out in groups of hundreds and of thousands.
5 And the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom.” And all the troops heard the king give this order to his commanders.
6 So the battle began in the forest of Ephraim, 7 and the Israelite troops were beaten back by David’s men. There was a great slaughter that day, and 20,000 men laid down their lives. 8 The battle raged all across the countryside, and more men died because of the forest than were killed by the sword.
9 During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David’s men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair[c] got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air. 10 One of David’s men saw what had happened and told Joab, “I saw Absalom dangling from a great tree.”
11 “What?” Joab demanded. “You saw him there and didn’t kill him? I would have rewarded you with ten pieces of silver[d] and a hero’s belt!”
12 “I would not kill the king’s son for even a thousand pieces of silver,[e]” the man replied to Joab. “We all heard the king say to you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake, please spare young Absalom.’ 13 And if I had betrayed the king by killing his son—and the king would certainly find out who did it—you yourself would be the first to abandon me.”
14 “Enough of this nonsense,” Joab said. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into Absalom’s heart as he dangled, still alive, in the great tree. 15 Ten of Joab’s young armor bearers then surrounded Absalom and killed him.
16 Then Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men returned from chasing the army of Israel. 17 They threw Absalom’s body into a deep pit in the forest and piled a great heap of stones over it. And all Israel fled to their homes.
18 During his lifetime, Absalom had built a monument to himself in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to carry on my name.” He named the monument after himself, and it is known as Absalom’s Monument to this day.
David Mourns Absalom’s Death
19 Then Zadok’s son Ahimaaz said, “Let me run to the king with the good news that the Lord has rescued him from his enemies.”
20 “No,” Joab told him, “it wouldn’t be good news to the king that his son is dead. You can be my messenger another time, but not today.”
21 Then Joab said to a man from Ethiopia,[f] “Go tell the king what you have seen.” The man bowed and ran off.
22 But Ahimaaz continued to plead with Joab, “Whatever happens, please let me go, too.”
“Why should you go, my son?” Joab replied. “There will be no reward for your news.”
23 “Yes, but let me go anyway,” he begged.
Joab finally said, “All right, go ahead.” So Ahimaaz took the less demanding route by way of the plain and ran to Mahanaim ahead of the Ethiopian.
24 While David was sitting between the inner and outer gates of the town, the watchman climbed to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked, he saw a lone man running toward them. 25 He shouted the news down to David, and the king replied, “If he is alone, he has news.”
As the messenger came closer, 26 the watchman saw another man running toward them. He shouted down, “Here comes another one!”
The king replied, “He also will have news.”
27 “The first man runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok,” the watchman said.
“He is a good man and comes with good news,” the king replied.
28 Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “Everything is all right!” He bowed before the king with his face to the ground and said, “Praise to the Lord your God, who has handed over the rebels who dared to stand against my lord the king.”
29 “What about young Absalom?” the king demanded. “Is he all right?”
Ahimaaz replied, “When Joab told me to come, there was a lot of commotion. But I didn’t know what was happening.”
30 “Wait here,” the king told him. So Ahimaaz stepped aside.
31 Then the man from Ethiopia arrived and said, “I have good news for my lord the king. Today the Lord has rescued you from all those who rebelled against you.”
32 “What about young Absalom?” the king demanded. “Is he all right?”
And the Ethiopian replied, “May all of your enemies, my lord the king, both now and in the future, share the fate of that young man!”
33 [g]The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.”
- 18:1 Hebrew appointed commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.
- 18:3 As in two Hebrew manuscripts and some Greek and Latin manuscripts; most Hebrew manuscripts read Now there are 10,000 like us.
- 18:9 Hebrew his head.
- 18:11 Hebrew 10 [shekels] of silver, about 4 ounces or 114 grams in weight.
- 18:12 Hebrew 1,000 [shekels] of silver, about 25 pounds or 11.4 kilograms in weight.
- 18:21 Hebrew from Cush; similarly in 18:23, 31, 32.
- 18:33 Verse 18:33 is numbered 19:1 in Hebrew text.
2 Samuel 17
1 Now Ahithophel urged Absalom, “Let me choose 12,000 men to start out after David tonight. 2 I will catch up with him while he is weary and discouraged. He and his troops will panic, and everyone will run away. Then I will kill only the king, 3 and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband. After all, it is only one man’s life that you seek.[a] Then you will be at peace with all the people.” 4 This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel.
Hushai Counters Ahithophel’s Advice
5 But then Absalom said, “Bring in Hushai the Arkite. Let’s see what he thinks about this.” 6 When Hushai arrived, Absalom told him what Ahithophel had said. Then he asked, “What is your opinion? Should we follow Ahithophel’s advice? If not, what do you suggest?”
7 “Well,” Hushai replied to Absalom, “this time Ahithophel has made a mistake.8 You know your father and his men; they are mighty warriors. Right now they are as enraged as a mother bear who has been robbed of her cubs. And remember that your father is an experienced man of war. He won’t be spending the night among the troops. 9 He has probably already hidden in some pit or cave. And when he comes out and attacks and a few of your men fall, there will be panic among your troops, and the word will spread that Absalom’s men are being slaughtered. 10 Then even the bravest soldiers, though they have the heart of a lion, will be paralyzed with fear. For all Israel knows what a mighty warrior your father is and how courageous his men are.
11 “I recommend that you mobilize the entire army of Israel, bringing them from as far away as Dan in the north and Beersheba in the south. That way you will have an army as numerous as the sand on the seashore. And I advise that you personally lead the troops. 12 When we find David, we’ll fall on him like dew that falls on the ground. Then neither he nor any of his men will be left alive. 13 And if David were to escape into some town, you will have all Israel there at your command. Then we can take ropes and drag the walls of the town into the nearest valley until every stone is torn down.”
14 Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “Hushai’s advice is better than Ahithophel’s.” For the Lord had determined to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, which really was the better plan, so that he could bring disaster on Absalom!
Hushai Warns David to Escape
15 Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, what Ahithophel had said to Absalom and the elders of Israel and what he himself had advised instead.16 “Quick!” he told them. “Find David and urge him not to stay at the shallows of the Jordan River[b] tonight. He must go across at once into the wilderness beyond. Otherwise he will die and his entire army with him.”
17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz had been staying at En-rogel so as not to be seen entering and leaving the city. Arrangements had been made for a servant girl to bring them the message they were to take to King David. 18 But a boy spotted them at En-rogel, and he told Absalom about it. So they quickly escaped to Bahurim, where a man hid them down inside a well in his courtyard. 19 The man’s wife put a cloth over the top of the well and scattered grain on it to dry in the sun; so no one suspected they were there.
20 When Absalom’s men arrived, they asked her, “Have you seen Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
The woman replied, “They were here, but they crossed over the brook.” Absalom’s men looked for them without success and returned to Jerusalem.
21 Then the two men crawled out of the well and hurried on to King David. “Quick!” they told him, “cross the Jordan tonight!” And they told him how Ahithophel had advised that he be captured and killed. 22 So David and all the people with him went across the Jordan River during the night, and they were all on the other bank before dawn.
23 When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. He died there and was buried in the family tomb.
24 David soon arrived at Mahanaim. By now, Absalom had mobilized the entire army of Israel and was leading his troops across the Jordan River. 25 Absalom had appointed Amasa as commander of his army, replacing Joab, who had been commander under David. (Amasa was Joab’s cousin. His father was Jether,[c] an Ishmaelite.[d] His mother, Abigail daughter of Nahash, was the sister of Joab’s mother, Zeruiah.) 26 Absalom and the Israelite army set up camp in the land of Gilead.
27 When David arrived at Mahanaim, he was warmly greeted by Shobi son of Nahash, who came from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and by Makir son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and by Barzillai of Gilead from Rogelim. 28 They brought sleeping mats, cooking pots, serving bowls, wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans, lentils, 29 honey, butter, sheep, goats, and cheese for David and those who were with him. For they said, “You must all be very hungry and tired and thirsty after your long march through the wilderness.”
2 Samuel 16 David and Ziba
1 When David had gone a little beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth,[a] was waiting there for him. He had two donkeys loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, 100 bunches of summer fruit, and a wineskin full of wine.
2 “What are these for?” the king asked Ziba.
Ziba replied, “The donkeys are for the king’s people to ride on, and the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat. The wine is for those who become exhausted in the wilderness.”
3 “And where is Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson?” the king asked him.
“He stayed in Jerusalem,” Ziba replied. “He said, ‘Today I will get back the kingdom of my grandfather Saul.’”
4 “In that case,” the king told Ziba, “I give you everything Mephibosheth owns.”
“I bow before you,” Ziba replied. “May I always be pleasing to you, my lord the king.”
Shimei Curses David
5 As King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family. 6 He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him.7 “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. 8 “The Lordis paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the Lord has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!”
9 “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!”
10 “No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the Lordhas told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?”
11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul[b] have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. 12 And perhaps the Lordwill see that I am being wronged[c] and will bless me because of these curses today.” 13 So David and his men continued down the road, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing and throwing stones and dirt at David.
14 The king and all who were with him grew weary along the way, so they rested when they reached the Jordan River.[d]
Ahithophel Advises Absalom
15 Meanwhile, Absalom and all the army of Israel arrived at Jerusalem, accompanied by Ahithophel. 16 When David’s friend Hushai the Arkite arrived, he went immediately to see Absalom. “Long live the king!” he exclaimed. “Long live the king!”
17 “Is this the way you treat your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why aren’t you with him?”
18 “I’m here because I belong to the man who is chosen by the Lord and by all the men of Israel,” Hushai replied. 19 “And anyway, why shouldn’t I serve you? Just as I was your father’s adviser, now I will be your adviser!”
20 Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and asked him, “What should I do next?”
21 Ahithophel told him, “Go and sleep with your father’s concubines, for he has left them here to look after the palace. Then all Israel will know that you have insulted your father beyond hope of reconciliation, and they will throw their support to you.” 22 So they set up a tent on the palace roof where everyone could see it, and Absalom went in and had sex with his father’s concubines.
23 Absalom followed Ahithophel’s advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.
2 Samuel 15
1 After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. 2 He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. 3 Then Absalom would say, “You’ve really got a strong case here! It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear it. 4 I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!”
5 When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn’t let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them. 6 Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.
7 After four years,[a] Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and fulfill a vow I made to him. 8 For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the Lord in Hebron[b] if he would bring me back to Jerusalem.”
9 “All right,” the king told him. “Go and fulfill your vow.”
So Absalom went to Hebron. 10 But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. “As soon as you hear the ram’s horn,” his message read, “you are to say, ‘Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.’” 11 He took 200 men from Jerusalem with him as guests, but they knew nothing of his intentions. 12 While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David’s counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum.
David Escapes from Jerusalem
13 A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!”
14 “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.”
15 “We are with you,” his advisers replied. “Do what you think is best.”
16 So the king and all his household set out at once. He left no one behind except ten of his concubines to look after the palace. 17 The king and all his people set out on foot, pausing at the last house 18 to let all the king’s men move past to lead the way. There were 600 men from Gath who had come with David, along with the king’s bodyguard.[c]
19 Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, “Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile. 20 You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don’t even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the Lord show you his unfailing love and faithfulness.[d]”
21 But Ittai said to the king, “I vow by the Lord and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens—whether it means life or death.”
22 David replied, “All right, come with us.” So Ittai and all his men and their families went along.
23 Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. They crossed the Kidron Valley and then went out toward the wilderness.
24 Zadok and all the Levites also came along, carrying the Ark of the Covenant of God. They set down the Ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices[e] until everyone had passed out of the city.
25 Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. “If the Lord sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle[f] again. 26 But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.”
27 The king also told Zadok the priest, “Look,[g] here is my plan. You and Abiathar[h]should return quietly to the city with your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan. 28 I will stop at the shallows of the Jordan River[i] and wait there for a report from you.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the Ark of God back to the city and stayed there.
30 David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill. 31 When someone told David that his adviser Ahithophel was now backing Absalom, David prayed, “O Lord, let Ahithophel give Absalom foolish advice!”
32 When David reached the summit of the Mount of Olives where people worshiped God, Hushai the Arkite was waiting there for him. Hushai had torn his clothing and put dirt on his head as a sign of mourning. 33 But David told him, “If you go with me, you will only be a burden. 34 Return to Jerusalem and tell Absalom, ‘I will now be your adviser, O king, just as I was your father’s adviser in the past.’ Then you can frustrate and counter Ahithophel’s advice. 35 Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, will be there. Tell them about the plans being made in the king’s palace, 36 and they will send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what is going on.”
37 So David’s friend Hushai returned to Jerusalem, getting there just as Absalom arrived.
- 15:7 As in Greek and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads forty years.
- 15:8 As in some Greek manuscripts; Hebrew lacks in Hebron.
- 15:18 Hebrew the Kerethites and Pelethites.
- 15:20 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads and may unfailing love and faithfulness go with you.
- 15:24 Or Abiathar went up.
- 15:25 Hebrew and his dwelling place.
- 15:27a As in Greek version; Hebrew reads Are you a seer? or Do you see?
- 15:27b Hebrew lacks and Abiathar; compare 15:29.
- 15:28 Hebrew at the crossing points of the wilderness.