Bible: 2 Samuel 11-24

David Commits Adultery with Bathsheba

11:1 In the spring of the year, at the time when kings 1  normally conduct wars, 2  David sent out Joab with his officers 3  and the entire Israelite army. 4  They defeated the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed behind in Jerusalem. 5  11:2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of his palace. 6  From the roof he saw a woman bathing. Now this woman was very attractive. 7  11:3 So David sent someone to inquire about the woman. The messenger 8  said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

11:4 David sent some messengers to get her. 9  She came to him and he had sexual relations with her. 10  (Now at that time she was in the process of purifying herself from her menstrual uncleanness.) 11  Then she returned to her home. 11:5 The woman conceived and then sent word to David saying, “I’m pregnant.”

11:6 So David sent a message to Joab that said, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. 11:7 When Uriah came to him, David asked about how Joab and the army were doing and how the campaign was going. 12  11:8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your home and relax.” 13  When Uriah left the palace, the king sent a gift to him. 14  11:9 But Uriah stayed at the door of the palace with all 15  the servants of his lord. He did not go down to his house.

11:10 So they informed David, “Uriah has not gone down to his house.” So David said to Uriah, “Haven’t you just arrived from a journey? Why haven’t you gone down to your house? 11:11 Uriah replied to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah reside in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and my lord’s soldiers are camping in the open field. Should I go to my house to eat and drink and have marital relations 16  with my wife? As surely as you are alive, 17  I will not do this thing! 11:12 So David said to Uriah, “Stay here another day. Tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem both that day and the following one. 18  11:13 Then David summoned him. He ate and drank with him, and got him drunk. But in the evening he went out to sleep on his bed with the servants of his lord; he did not go down to his own house.

11:14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 11:15 In the letter he wrote: “Station Uriah in the thick of the battle and then withdraw from him so he will be cut down and killed.”

11:16 So as Joab kept watch on the city, he stationed Uriah at the place where he knew the best enemy soldiers 19  were. 11:17 When the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, some of David’s soldiers 20  fell in battle. Uriah the Hittite also died.

11:18 Then Joab sent a full battle report to David. 21  11:19 He instructed the messenger as follows: “When you finish giving the battle report to the king, 11:20 if the king becomes angry and asks you, ‘Why did you go so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you realize they would shoot from the wall? 11:21 Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn’t a woman throw an upper millstone 22  down on him from the wall so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go so close to the wall?’ just say to him, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.’

11:22 So the messenger departed. When he arrived, he informed David of all the news that Joab had sent with him. 11:23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and attacked us 23  in the field. But we forced them to retreat all the way 24  to the door of the city gate. 11:24 Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall and some of the king’s soldiers 25  died. Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.” 11:25 David said to the messenger, “Tell Joab, ‘Don’t let this thing upset you. 26  There is no way to anticipate whom the sword will cut down. 27  Press the battle against the city and conquer 28  it.’ Encourage him with these words.” 29 

11:26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she mourned for him. 30  11:27 When the time of mourning passed, David had her brought to his palace. 31  She became his wife and she bore him a son. But what David had done upset the Lord. 32 

Nathan the Prophet Confronts David

12:1 So the Lord sent Nathan 33  to David. When he came to David, 34  Nathan 35  said, 36 There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. 12:2 The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. 12:3 But the poor man had nothing except for a little lamb he had acquired. He raised it, and it grew up alongside him and his children. 37  It used to 38  eat his food, 39  drink from his cup, and sleep in his arms. 40  It was just like a daughter to him.

12:4When a traveler arrived at the rich man’s home, 41  he did not want to use one of his own sheep or cattle to feed 42  the traveler who had come to visit him. 43  Instead, he took the poor man’s lamb and cooked 44  it for the man who had come to visit him.”

12:5 Then David became very angry at this man. He said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 45  12:6 Because he committed this cold-hearted crime, he must pay for the lamb four times over! 46 

12:7 Nathan said to David, “You are that man! This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I chose 47  you to be king over Israel and I rescued you from the hand of Saul. 12:8 I gave you your master’s house, and put your master’s wives into your arms. 48  I also gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all that somehow seems insignificant, I would have given you so much more as well! 12:9 Why have you shown contempt for the word of the Lord by doing evil in my 49  sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and you have taken his wife as your own! 50  You have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 12:10 So now the sword will never depart from your house. For you have despised me by taking the wife of Uriah the Hittite as your own!’ 12:11 This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to bring disaster on you 51  from inside your own household! 52  Right before your eyes I will take your wives and hand them over to your companion. 53  He will have sexual relations with 54  your wives in broad daylight! 55  12:12 Although you have acted in secret, I will do this thing before all Israel, and in broad daylight.’ 56 

12:13 Then David exclaimed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord!” Nathan replied to David, “Yes, and the Lord has forgiven 57  your sin. You are not going to die. 12:14 Nonetheless, because you have treated the Lord with such contempt 58  in this matter, the son who has been born to you will certainly die.”

12:15 Then Nathan went to his home. The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and the child became very ill. 59  12:16 Then David prayed to 60  God for the child and fasted. 61  He would even 62  go and spend the night lying on the ground. 12:17 The elders of his house stood over him and tried to lift him from the ground, but he was unwilling, and refused to eat food with them.

12:18 On the seventh day the child died. But the servants of David were afraid to inform him that the child had died, for they said, “While the child was still alive he would not listen to us 63  when we spoke to him. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He will do himself harm! 64 

12:19 When David saw that his servants were whispering to one another, he 65  realized that the child was dead. So David asked his servants, “Is the child dead?” They replied, “Yes, he’s dead.” 12:20 So David got up from the ground, bathed, put on oil, and changed his clothes. He went to the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then, when he entered his palace, he requested that food be brought to him, and he ate.

12:21 His servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? While 66  the child was still alive, you fasted and wept. Once the child was dead you got up and ate food! 12:22 He replied, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, 67 Perhaps 68  the Lord will show pity and the child will live. 12:23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Am I able to bring him back? I will go to him, but he cannot return to me!’

12:24 So David comforted his wife Bathsheba. He went to her and had marital relations with her. 69  She gave birth to a son, and David 70  named him Solomon. Now the Lord loved the child 71  12:25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet that he should be named Jedidiah 72  for the Lord’s sake.

12:26

David’s Forces Defeat the Ammonites

73 

So Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal city. 12:27 Joab then sent messengers to David, saying, “I have fought against Rabbah and have captured the water supply of the city. 74  12:28 So now assemble the rest of the army 75  and besiege the city and capture it. Otherwise I will capture the city and it will be named for me.”

12:29 So David assembled all the army and went to Rabbah and fought against it and captured it. 12:30 He took the crown of their king 76  from his head – it was gold, weighed about seventy-five pounds, 77  and held a precious stone – and it was placed on David’s head. He also took from the city a great deal of plunder. 12:31 He removed 78  the people who were in it and made them do hard labor with saws, iron picks, and iron axes, putting them to work at the brick kiln. This was his policy 79  with all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem. 80 

The Rape of Tamar

13:1 Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. In the course of time David’s son Amnon fell madly in love with her. 81  13:2 But Amnon became frustrated because he was so lovesick 82  over his sister Tamar. For she was a virgin, and to Amnon it seemed out of the question to do anything to her.

13:3 Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah. Jonadab was a very crafty man. 13:4 He asked Amnon, 83  “Why are you, the king’s son, 84  so depressed every morning? Can’t you tell me?” So Amnon said to him, “I’m in love with Tamar the sister of my brother Absalom.” 13:5 Jonadab replied to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be sick. 85  When your father comes in to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come in so she can fix some food for me. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I can watch. Then I will eat from her hand.’

13:6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. When the king came in to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come in so she can make a couple of cakes in my sight. Then I will eat from her hand.”

13:7 So David sent Tamar to the house saying, “Please go to the house of Amnon your brother and prepare some food for him.” 13:8 So Tamar went to the house of Amnon her brother, who was lying down. She took the dough, kneaded it, made some cakes while he watched, 86  and baked them. 87  13:9 But when she took the pan and set it before him, he refused to eat. Instead Amnon said, “Get everyone out of here!” 88  So everyone left. 89 

13:10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the cakes into the bedroom; then I will eat from your hand.” So Tamar took the cakes that she had prepared and brought them to her brother Amnon in the bedroom. 13:11 As she brought them to him to eat, he grabbed her and said to her, “Come on! Get in bed with me, 90  my sister!

13:12 But she said to him, “No, my brother! Don’t humiliate me! This just isn’t done in Israel! Don’t do this foolish thing! 13:13 How could I ever be rid of my humiliation? And you would be considered one of the fools 91  in Israel! Just 92  speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” 13:14 But he refused to listen to her. 93  He overpowered her and humiliated her by raping her. 94  13:15 Then Amnon greatly despised her. 95  His disdain toward her surpassed the love he had previously felt toward her. 96  Amnon said to her, “Get up and leave!

13:16 But she said to him, “No I won’t, for sending me away now would be worse than what you did to me earlier!” 97  But he refused to listen to her. 13:17 He called his personal attendant and said to him, “Take this woman out of my sight 98  and lock the door behind her! 13:18 (Now she was wearing a long robe, 99  for this is what the king’s virgin daughters used to wear.) So Amnon’s 100  attendant removed her and bolted the door 101  behind her. 13:19 Then Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went on her way, wailing as she went.

13:20 Her brother Absalom said to her, “Was Amnon your brother with you? Now be quiet, my sister. He is your brother. Don’t take it so seriously!” 102  Tamar, devastated, lived in the house of her brother Absalom.

13:21 Now King David heard about all these things and was very angry. 103  13:22 But Absalom said nothing to Amnon, either bad or good, yet Absalom hated Amnon because he had humiliated his sister Tamar.

Absalom Has Amnon Put to Death

13:23 Two years later Absalom’s sheepshearers were in Baal Hazor, 104  near Ephraim. Absalom invited all the king’s sons. 13:24 Then Absalom went to the king and said, “My shearers have begun their work. 105  Let the king and his servants go with me.”

13:25 But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son. We shouldn’t all go. We shouldn’t burden you in that way.” Though Absalom 106  pressed 107  him, the king 108  was not willing to go. Instead, David 109  blessed him.

13:26 Then Absalom said, “If you will not go, 110  then let my brother Amnon go with us.” The king replied to him, “Why should he go with you? 13:27 But when Absalom pressed him, he sent Amnon and all the king’s sons along with him.

13:28 Absalom instructed his servants, “Look! When Amnon is drunk 111  and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ kill him then and there. Don’t fear! Is it not I who have given you these instructions? Be strong and courageous! 112  13:29 So Absalom’s servants did to Amnon exactly what Absalom had instructed. Then all the king’s sons got up; each one rode away on his mule and fled.

13:30 While they were still on their way, the following report reached David: “Absalom has killed all the king’s sons; not one of them is left! 13:31 Then the king stood up and tore his garments and lay down on the ground. All his servants were standing there with torn garments as well.

13:32 Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah, said, “My lord should not say, ‘They have killed all the young men who are the king’s sons.’ For only Amnon is dead. This is what Absalom has talked about 113  from the day that Amnon 114  humiliated his sister Tamar. 13:33 Now don’t let my lord the king be concerned about the report that has come saying, ‘All the king’s sons are dead.’ It is only Amnon who is dead.”

13:34 In the meantime Absalom fled. When the servant who was the watchman looked up, he saw many people coming from the west 115  on a road beside the hill. 13:35 Jonadab said to the king, “Look! The king’s sons have come! It’s just as I said!

13:36 Just as he finished speaking, the king’s sons arrived, wailing and weeping. 116  The king and all his servants wept loudly 117  as well. 13:37 But Absalom fled and went to King Talmai son of Ammihud of Geshur. And David 118  grieved over his son every day.

13:38 After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he remained there for three years. 13:39 The king longed 119  to go to Absalom, for he had since been consoled over the death of Amnon. 120 

David Permits Absalom to Return to Jerusalem

14:1 Now Joab son of Zeruiah realized that the king longed to see 121  Absalom. 14:2 So Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman. He told her, “Pretend to be in mourning 122  and put on garments for mourning. Don’t anoint yourself with oil. Instead, act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for some time. 123  14:3 Go to the king and speak to him in the following fashion.” Then Joab told her what to say. 124 

14:4 So the Tekoan woman went 125  to the king. She bowed down with her face to the ground in deference to him and said, “Please help me, 126  O king! 14:5 The king replied to her, “What do you want?” 127  She answered, “I am a widow; my husband is dead. 14:6 Your servant 128  has two sons. When the two of them got into a fight in the field, there was no one present who could intervene. One of them struck the other and killed him. 14:7 Now the entire family has risen up against your servant, saying, ‘Turn over the one who struck down his brother, so that we can execute him and avenge the death 129  of his brother whom he killed. In so doing we will also destroy the heir.’ They want to extinguish my remaining coal, 130  leaving no one on the face of the earth to carry on the name of my husband.”

14:8 Then the king told the woman, “Go to your home. I will give instructions concerning your situation.” 131  14:9 The Tekoan woman said to the king, “My lord the king, let any blame fall on me and on the house of my father. But let the king and his throne be innocent!

14:10 The king said, “Bring to me whoever speaks to you, and he won’t bother you again! 14:11 She replied, “In that case, 132  let the king invoke the name of 133  the Lord your God so that the avenger of blood may not kill! Then they will not destroy my son!” He replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, not a single hair of your son’s head 134  will fall to the ground.”

14:12 Then the woman said, “Please permit your servant to speak to my lord the king about another matter.” He replied, “Tell me.” 14:13 The woman said, “Why have you devised something like this against God’s people? When the king speaks in this fashion, he makes himself guilty, for the king has not brought back the one he has banished. 14:14 Certainly we must die, and are like water spilled on the ground that cannot be gathered up again. But God does not take away life; instead he devises ways for the banished to be restored. 135  14:15 I have now come to speak with my lord the king about this matter, because the people have made me fearful. 136  But your servant said, ‘I will speak to the king! Perhaps the king will do what his female servant 137  asks. 14:16 Yes! 138  The king may 139  listen and deliver his female servant 140  from the hand of the man who seeks to remove 141  both me and my son from the inheritance God has given us!’ 142  14:17 So your servant said, ‘May the word of my lord the king be my security, for my lord the king is like the angel of God when it comes to deciding between right and wrong! May the Lord your God be with you!’

14:18 Then the king replied to the woman, “Don’t hide any information from me when I question you.” The woman said, “Let my lord the king speak! 14:19 The king said, “Did Joab put you up to all of this?” 143  The woman answered, “As surely as you live, my lord the king, there is no deviation to the right or to the left from all that my lord the king has said. For your servant Joab gave me instructions. He has put all these words in your servant’s mouth. 14:20 Your servant Joab did this so as to change this situation. But my lord has wisdom like that of the angel of God, and knows everything that is happening in the land.” 144 

14:21 Then the king said to Joab, “All right! I 145  will do this thing! Go and bring back the young man Absalom! 14:22 Then Joab bowed down with his face toward the ground and thanked 146  the king. Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, because the king has granted the request of your 147  servant!

14:23 So Joab got up and went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 148  14:24 But the king said, “Let him go over 149  to his own house. He may not see my face.” So Absalom went over 150  to his own house; he did not see the king’s face.

14:25 Now in all Israel everyone acknowledged that there was no man as handsome as Absalom. 151  From the sole of his feet to the top of his head he was perfect in appearance. 152  14:26 When he would shave his head – at the end of every year he used to shave his head, for it grew too long 153  and he would shave it – he used to weigh the hair of his head at three pounds 154  according to the king’s weight. 14:27 Absalom had 155  three sons and one daughter, whose name was Tamar. She was a very attractive woman. 156 

14:28 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years without seeing the king’s face. 14:29 Then Absalom sent a message to Joab asking him to send him to the king, but Joab was not willing to come to him. So he sent a second message to him, but he still was not willing to come. 14:30 So he said to his servants, “Look, Joab has a portion of field adjacent to mine and he has some barley there. Go and set it on fire.” 157  So Absalom’s servants set Joab’s 158  portion of the field on fire.

14:31 Then Joab got up and came to Absalom’s house. He said to him, “Why did your servants set my portion of field on fire? 14:32 Absalom said to Joab, “Look, I sent a message to you saying, ‘Come here so that I can send you to the king with this message: 159  “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there.”’ Let me now see the face of the king. If I am at fault, let him put me to death!

14:33 So Joab went to the king and informed him. The king 160  summoned Absalom, and he came to the king. Absalom 161  bowed down before the king with his face toward the ground and the king kissed him. 162 

Absalom Leads an Insurrection against David

15:1 Some time later Absalom managed to acquire 163  a chariot and horses, as well as fifty men to serve as his royal guard. 164  15:2 Now Absalom used to get up early and stand beside the road that led to the city gate. Whenever anyone came by who had a complaint to bring to the king for arbitration, Absalom would call out to him, “What city are you from?” The person would answer, “I, your servant, 165  am from one of the tribes of Israel.” 15:3 Absalom would then say to him, “Look, your claims are legitimate and appropriate. 166  But there is no representative of the king who will listen to you.” 15:4 Absalom would then say, “If only they would make me 167  a judge in the land! Then everyone who had a judicial complaint 168  could come to me and I would make sure he receives a just settlement.”

15:5 When someone approached to bow before him, Absalom 169  would extend his hand and embrace him and kiss him. 15:6 Absalom acted this way toward everyone in Israel who came to the king for justice. In this way Absalom won the loyalty 170  of the citizens 171  of Israel.

15:7 After four 172  years Absalom said to the king, “Let me go and repay my vow that I made to the Lord while I was in Hebron. 15:8 For I made this vow 173  when I was living in Geshur in Aram: ‘If the Lord really does allow me to return to Jerusalem, 174  I will serve the Lord.’ 15:9 The king replied to him, “Go in peace.” So Absalom 175  got up and went to Hebron.

15:10 Then Absalom sent spies through all the tribes of Israel who said, “When you hear the sound of the horn, you may assume 176  that Absalom rules in Hebron.” 15:11 Now two hundred men had gone with Absalom from Jerusalem. Since they were invited, they went naively and were unaware of what Absalom was planning. 177  15:12 While he was offering sacrifices, Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s adviser, 178  to come from his city, Giloh. 179  The conspiracy was gaining momentum, and the people were starting to side with Absalom.

David Flees from Jerusalem

15:13 Then a messenger came to David and reported, “The men of Israel are loyal to Absalom! 180  15:14 So David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem, 181 Come on! 182  Let’s escape! 183  Otherwise no one will be delivered from Absalom! Go immediately, or else he will quickly overtake us and bring 184  disaster on us and kill the city’s residents with the sword.” 185  15:15 The king’s servants replied to the king, “We will do whatever our lord the king decides.” 186 

15:16 So the king and all the members of his royal court 187  set out on foot, though the king left behind ten concubines 188  to attend to the palace. 15:17 The king and all the people set out on foot, pausing 189  at a spot 190  some distance away. 15:18 All his servants were leaving with him, 191  along with all the Kerethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites – some six hundred men who had come on foot from Gath. They were leaving with 192  the king.

15:19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you come with us? Go back and stay with the new 193  king, for you are a foreigner and an exile from your own country. 194  15:20 It seems like you arrived just yesterday. Today should I make you wander around by going with us? I go where I must go. But as for you, go back and take your men 195  with you. May genuine loyal love 196  protect 197  you!

15:21 But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the Lord lives and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king is, whether dead or alive, 198  there I 199  will be as well! 15:22 So David said to Ittai, “Come along then.” 200  So Ittai the Gittite went along, 201  accompanied by all his men and all the dependents 202  who were with him.

15:23 All the land was weeping loudly 203  as all these people were leaving. 204  As the king was crossing over the Kidron Valley, all the people were leaving 205  on the road that leads to the desert. 15:24 Zadok and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. When they positioned the ark of God, Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving 206  the city.

15:25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back to the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s sight he will bring me back and enable me to see both it and his dwelling place again. 15:26 However, if he should say, ‘I do not take pleasure in you,’ then he will deal with me in a way that he considers appropriate.” 207 

15:27 The king said to Zadok the priest, “Are you a seer? 208  Go back to the city in peace! Your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan may go with you and Abiathar. 209  15:28 Look, I will be waiting at the fords of the desert until word from you 210  reaches me.” 15:29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and remained there.

15:30 As David was going up the Mount of Olives, he was weeping as he went; his head was covered and his feet were bare. All the people who were with him also had their heads covered and were weeping as they went up. 15:31 Now David 211  had been told, “Ahithophel has sided with the conspirators who are with Absalom. So David prayed, 212 Make the advice of Ahithophel foolish, O Lord!

15:32 When David reached the summit, where he used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite met him with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. 15:33 David said to him, “If you leave 213  with me you will be a burden to me. 15:34 But you will be able to counter the advice of Ahithophel if you go back to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king! Previously I was your father’s servant, and now I will be your servant.’ 15:35 Zadok and Abiathar the priests will be there with you. 214  Everything you hear in the king’s palace 215  you must tell Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 15:36 Furthermore, their two sons are there with them, Zadok’s son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan. You must send them to me with any information you hear.” 216 

15:37 So David’s friend Hushai arrived in the city, just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.

David Receives Gifts from Ziba

16:1 When David had gone a short way beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth was there to meet him. He had a couple of donkeys that were saddled, and on them were two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred raisin cakes, a hundred baskets of summer fruit, 217  and a container of wine.

16:2 The king asked Ziba, “Why did you bring these things?” 218  Ziba replied, “The donkeys are for the king’s family to ride on, the loaves of bread 219  and the summer fruit are for the attendants to eat, and the wine is for those who get exhausted in the desert.” 220  16:3 The king asked, “Where is your master’s grandson?” 221  Ziba replied to the king, “He remains in Jerusalem, 222  for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give back to me my grandfather’s 223  kingdom.’ 16:4 The king said to Ziba, “Everything that was Mephibosheth’s now belongs to you.” Ziba replied, “I bow before you. May I find favor in your sight, my lord the king.”

Shimei Curses David and His Men

16:5 Then King David reached 224  Bahurim. There a man from Saul’s extended family named Shimei son of Gera came out, yelling curses as he approached. 225  16:6 He threw stones at David and all of King David’s servants, as well as all the people and the soldiers who were on his right and on his left. 16:7 As he yelled curses, Shimei said, “Leave! Leave! You man of bloodshed, you wicked man! 226  16:8 The Lord has punished you for 227  all the spilled blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you rule. Now the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. Disaster has overtaken you, for you are a man of bloodshed!

16:9 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head! 16:10 But the king said, “What do we have in common, 228  you sons of Zeruiah? If he curses because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David!’, who can say to him, ‘Why have you done this?’ 16:11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son, my very own flesh and blood, 229  is trying to take my life. So also now this Benjaminite! Leave him alone so that he can curse, for the Lord has spoken to him. 16:12 Perhaps the Lord will notice my affliction 230  and this day grant me good in place of his curse.” 231 

16:13 So David and his men went on their way. But Shimei kept going along the side of the hill opposite him, yelling curses as he threw stones and dirt at them. 232  16:14 The king and all the people who were with him arrived exhausted at their destination, where David 233  refreshed himself.

The Advice of Ahithophel

16:15 Now when Absalom and all the men 234  of Israel arrived in Jerusalem, 235  Ahithophel was with him. 16:16 When David’s friend Hushai the Arkite came to Absalom, Hushai said to him, 236 Long live the king! Long live the king!

16:17 Absalom said to Hushai, “Do you call this loyalty to your friend? Why didn’t you go with your friend? 16:18 Hushai replied to Absalom, “No, I will be loyal to the one whom the Lord, these people, and all the men of Israel have chosen. 237  16:19 Moreover, whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? Just as I served your father, so I will serve you.” 238 

16:20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give us your advice. What should we do? 16:21 Ahithophel replied to Absalom, “Have sex with 239  your father’s concubines whom he left to care for the palace. All Israel will hear that you have made yourself repulsive to your father. Then your followers will be motivated to support you.” 240  16:22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, 241  and Absalom had sex with 242  his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

16:23 In those days Ahithophel’s advice was considered as valuable as a prophetic revelation. 243  Both David and Absalom highly regarded the advice of Ahithophel. 244 

The Death of Ahithophel

17:1 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me pick out twelve thousand men. Then I will go and pursue David this very night. 17:2 When I catch up with 245  him he will be exhausted and worn out. 246  I will rout him, and the entire army that is with him will flee. I will kill only the king 17:3 and will bring the entire army back to you. In exchange for the life of the man you are seeking, you will get back everyone. 247  The entire army will return unharmed.” 248 

17:4 This seemed like a good idea to Absalom and to all the leaders 249  of Israel. 17:5 But Absalom said, “Call for 250  Hushai the Arkite, and let’s hear what he has to say.” 251  17:6 So Hushai came to Absalom. Absalom said to him, “Here is what Ahithophel has advised. Should we follow his advice? If not, what would you recommend?

17:7 Hushai replied to Absalom, “Ahithophel’s advice is not sound this time.” 252  17:8 Hushai went on to say, “You know your father and his men – they are soldiers and are as dangerous as a bear out in the wild that has been robbed of her cubs. 253  Your father is an experienced soldier; he will not stay overnight with the army. 17:9 At this very moment he is hiding out in one of the caves or in some other similar place. If it should turn out that he attacks our troops first, 254  whoever hears about it will say, ‘Absalom’s army has been slaughtered!’ 17:10 If that happens even the bravest soldier – one who is lion-hearted – will virtually melt away. For all Israel knows that your father is a warrior and that those who are with him are brave. 17:11 My advice therefore is this: Let all Israel from Dan to Beer Sheba – in number like the sand by the sea! – be mustered to you, and you lead them personally into battle. 17:12 We will come against him wherever he happens to be found. We will descend on him like the dew falls on the ground. Neither he nor any of the men who are with him will be spared alive – not one of them! 17:13 If he regroups in a city, all Israel will take up ropes to that city and drag it down to the valley, so that not a single pebble will be left there!

17:14 Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Arkite sounds better than the advice of Ahithophel.” Now the Lord had decided 255  to frustrate the sound advice of Ahithophel, so that the Lord could bring disaster on Absalom.

17:15 Then Hushai reported to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, “Here is what Ahithophel has advised Absalom and the leaders 256  of Israel to do, and here is what I have advised. 17:16 Now send word quickly to David and warn him, 257  “Don’t spend the night at the fords of the desert 258  tonight. Instead, be sure you cross over, 259  or else the king and everyone who is with him may be overwhelmed.” 260 

17:17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying in En Rogel. A female servant would go and inform them, and they would then go and inform King David. It was not advisable for them to be seen going into the city. 17:18 But a young man saw them on one occasion and informed Absalom. So the two of them quickly departed and went to the house of a man in Bahurim. There was a well in his courtyard, and they got down in it. 17:19 His wife then took the covering and spread it over the top of the well and scattered some grain over it. No one was aware of what she had done.

17:20 When the servants of Absalom approached the woman at her home, they asked, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” The woman replied to them, “They crossed over the stream.” Absalom’s men 261  searched but did not find them, so they returned to Jerusalem. 262 

17:21 After the men had left, Ahimaaz and Jonathan 263  climbed out of the well. Then they left and informed King David. They advised David, “Get up and cross the stream 264  quickly, for Ahithophel has devised a plan to catch you.” 265  17:22 So David and all the people who were with him got up and crossed the Jordan River. 266  By dawn there was not one person left who had not crossed the Jordan.

17:23 When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and returned to his house in his hometown. After setting his household in order, he hanged himself. So he died and was buried in the grave 267  of his father.

17:24 Meanwhile David had gone to Mahanaim, while Absalom and all the men of Israel had crossed the Jordan River. 17:25 Absalom had made Amasa general in command of the army in place of Joab. (Now Amasa was the son of an Israelite man named Jether, who had married 268  Abigail the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother.) 17:26 The army of Israel 269  and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.

17:27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, Makir the son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 17:28 brought bedding, basins, and pottery utensils. They also brought food for David and all who were with him, including wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, 270  17:29 honey, curds, flocks, and cheese. 271  For they said, “The people are no doubt hungry, tired, and thirsty there in the desert.” 272 

The Death of Absalom

18:1 David assembled the army that was with him. He appointed leaders of thousands and leaders of hundreds. 18:2 David then sent out the army – a third under the leadership of Joab, a third under the leadership of Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under the leadership of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the troops, “I too will indeed march out with you.”

18:3 But the soldiers replied, 273 You should not do this! 274  For if we should have to make a rapid retreat, they won’t be too concerned about us. 275  Even if half of us should die, they won’t be too concerned about us. But you 276  are like ten thousand of us! So it is better if you remain in the city for support.” 18:4 Then the king said to them, “I will do whatever seems best to you.”

So the king stayed beside the city gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands. 18:5 The king gave this order to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake deal gently with the young man Absalom.” Now the entire army was listening when the king gave all the leaders this order concerning Absalom.

18:6 Then the army marched out to the field to fight against Israel. The battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 18:7 The army of Israel was defeated there by David’s men. 277  The slaughter there was great that day – 20,000 soldiers were killed. 18:8 The battle there was spread out over the whole area, and the forest consumed more soldiers than the sword devoured that day.

18:9 Then Absalom happened to come across David’s men. Now as Absalom was riding on his 278  mule, it 279  went under the branches of a large oak tree. His head got caught in the oak and he was suspended in midair, 280  while the mule he had been riding kept going.

18:10 When one 281  of the men saw this, he reported it to Joab saying, “I saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree. 18:11 Joab replied to the man who was telling him this, “What! You saw this? Why didn’t you strike him down right on the spot? 282  I would have given you ten pieces of silver 283  and a commemorative belt! 284 

18:12 The man replied to Joab, “Even if 285  I were receiving 286  a thousand pieces of silver, 287  I would not strike 288  the king’s son! In our very presence 289  the king gave this order to you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.’ 290  18:13 If I had acted at risk of my own life 291 and nothing is hidden from the king! – you would have abandoned me.” 292 

18:14 Joab replied, “I will not wait around like this for you!” He took three spears in his hand and thrust them into the middle of Absalom while he was still alive in the middle of the oak tree. 293  18:15 Then ten soldiers who were Joab’s armor bearers struck Absalom and finished him off.

18:16 Then Joab blew the trumpet 294  and the army turned back from chasing Israel, for Joab had called for the army to halt. 18:17 They took Absalom, threw him into a large pit in the forest, and stacked a huge pile of stones over him. In the meantime all the Israelite soldiers fled to their homes. 295 

18:18 Prior to this 296  Absalom had set up a monument 297  and dedicated it to himself in the King’s Valley, reasoning “I have no son who will carry on my name.” He named the monument after himself, and to this day it is known as Absalom’s Memorial.

David Learns of Absalom’s Death

18:19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run and give the king the good news that the Lord has vindicated him before his enemies.” 298  18:20 But Joab said to him, “You will not be a bearer of good news today. You will bear good news some other day, but not today, 299  for the king’s son is dead.”

18:21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go and tell the king what you have seen.” After bowing to Joab, the Cushite ran off. 18:22 Ahimaaz the son of Zadok again spoke to Joab, “Whatever happens, let me go after the Cushite.” But Joab said, “Why is it that you want to go, my son? You have no good news that will bring you a reward.” 18:23 But he said, 300  “Whatever happens, I want to go!” So Joab 301  said to him, “Then go!” So Ahimaaz ran by the way of the Jordan plain, and he passed the Cushite.

18:24 Now David was sitting between the inner and outer gates, 302  and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate at the wall. When he looked, he saw a man running by himself. 18:25 So the watchman called out and informed the king. The king said, “If he is by himself, he brings good news.” 303  The runner 304  came ever closer.

18:26 Then the watchman saw another man running. The watchman called out to the gatekeeper, “There is another man running by himself.” The king said, “This one also is bringing good news.” 18:27 The watchman said, “It appears to me that the first runner is Ahimaaz 305  son of Zadok.” The king said, “He is a good man, and he comes with good news.”

18:28 Then Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “Greetings!” 306  He bowed down before the king with his face toward the ground and said, “May the Lord your God be praised because he has defeated 307  the men who opposed 308  my lord the king!

18:29 The king replied, “How is the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz replied, “I saw a great deal of confusion when Joab was sending the king’s servant and me, your servant, but I don’t know what it was all about.” 18:30 The king said, “Turn aside and take your place here.” So he turned aside and waited.

18:31 Then the Cushite arrived and said, 309 May my lord the king now receive the good news! The Lord has vindicated you today and delivered you from the hand of all who have rebelled against you! 310  18:32 The king asked the Cushite, “How is the young man Absalom?” The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who have plotted against you 311  be like that young man!

18:33 312  The king then became very upset. He went up to the upper room over the gate and wept. As he went he said, “My son, Absalom! My son, my son, 313  Absalom! If only I could have died in your place! Absalom, my son, my son! 314 

19:1 Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning over Absalom.” 19:2 So the victory of that day was turned to mourning as far as all the people were concerned. For the people heard on that day, “The king is grieved over his son.” 19:3 That day the people stole away to go to the city the way people who are embarrassed steal away in fleeing from battle. 19:4 The king covered his face and cried out loudly, 315 My son, Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!

19:5 So Joab visited 316  the king at his home. He said, “Today you have embarrassed all your servants who have saved your life this day, as well as the lives of your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your concubines. 19:6 You seem to love your enemies and hate your friends! For you have as much as declared today that leaders and servants don’t matter to you. I realize now 317  that if 318  Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, 319  it would be all right with you. 19:7 So get up now and go out and give some encouragement to 320  your servants. For I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out there, not a single man will stay here with you tonight! This disaster will be worse for you than any disaster that has overtaken you from your youth right to the present time!

19:8 So the king got up and sat at the city gate. When all the people were informed that the king was sitting at the city gate, they 321  all came before him.

David Goes Back to Jerusalem

But the Israelite soldiers 322  had all fled to their own homes. 323  19:9 All the people throughout all the tribes of Israel were arguing among themselves saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies. He rescued us from the hand of the Philistines, but now he has fled from the land because of Absalom. 19:10 But Absalom, whom we anointed as our king, 324  has died in battle. So now why do you hesitate to bring the king back? 325 

19:11 Then King David sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar the priests saying, “Tell the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you delay any further in bringing the king back to his palace, 326  when everything Israel is saying has come to the king’s attention. 327  19:12 You are my brothers – my very own flesh and blood! 328  Why should you delay any further in bringing the king back?’ 19:13 Say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my flesh and blood? 329  God will punish me severely, 330  if from this time on you are not the commander of my army in place of Joab!’

19:14 He 331  won over the hearts of all the men of Judah as though they were one man. Then they sent word to the king saying, “Return, you and all your servants as well.” 19:15 So the king returned and came to the Jordan River. 332 

Now the people of Judah 333  had come to Gilgal to meet the king and to help him 334  cross the Jordan. 19:16 Shimei son of Gera the Benjaminite from Bahurim came down quickly with the men of Judah to meet King David. 19:17 There were a thousand men from Benjamin with him, along with Ziba the servant 335  of Saul’s household, and with him his fifteen sons and twenty servants. They hurriedly crossed 336  the Jordan within sight of the king. 19:18 They crossed at the ford in order to help the king’s household cross and to do whatever he thought appropriate.

Now after he had crossed the Jordan, Shimei son of Gera threw himself down before the king. 19:19 He said to the king, “Don’t think badly of me, my lord, and don’t recall the sin of your servant on the day when you, my lord the king, left 337  Jerusalem! 338  Please don’t call it to mind! 19:20 For I, your servant, 339  know that I sinned, and I have come today as the first of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.”

19:21 Abishai son of Zeruiah replied, “For this should not Shimei be put to death? After all, he cursed the Lord’s anointed! 19:22 But David said, “What do we have in common, 340  you sons of Zeruiah? You are like my enemy today! Should anyone be put to death in Israel today? Don’t you realize that today I am king over Israel? 19:23 The king said to Shimei, “You won’t die.” The king vowed an oath 341  concerning this.

19:24 Now Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, 342  came down to meet the king. From the day the king had left until the day he safely 343  returned, Mephibosheth 344  had not cared for his feet 345  nor trimmed 346  his mustache nor washed his clothes.

19:25 When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, “Why didn’t you go with me, Mephibosheth? 19:26 He replied, “My lord the king, my servant deceived me! I 347  said, ‘Let me get my donkey saddled so that I can ride on it and go with the king,’ for I 348  am lame. 19:27 But my servant 349  has slandered me 350  to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like an angel of God. Do whatever seems appropriate to you. 19:28 After all, there was no one in the entire house of my grandfather 351  who did not deserve death from my lord the king. But instead you allowed me to eat at your own table! 352  What further claim do I have to ask 353  the king for anything?

19:29 Then the king replied to him, “Why should you continue speaking like this? You and Ziba will inherit the field together.” 19:30 Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him have 354  the whole thing! My lord the king has returned safely 355  to his house!

19:31 Now when Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim, he crossed the Jordan with the king so he could send him on his way from there. 356  19:32 But Barzillai was very old – eighty years old, in fact – and he had taken care of the king when he stayed in Mahanaim, for he was a very rich 357  man. 19:33 So the king said to Barzillai, “Cross over with me, and I will take care of you while you are with me in Jerusalem.”

19:34 Barzillai replied to the king, “How many days do I have left to my life, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 19:35 I am presently eighty years old. Am I able to discern good and bad? Can I 358  taste what I eat and drink? Am I still able to hear the voices of male and female singers? Why should I 359  continue to be a burden to my lord the king? 19:36 I will cross the Jordan with the king and go a short distance. 360  Why should the king reward me in this way? 19:37 Let me 361  return so that I may die in my own city near the grave of my father and my mother. But look, here is your servant Kimham. Let him cross over with my lord the king. Do for him whatever seems appropriate to you.”

19:38 The king replied, “Kimham will cross over with me, and I will do for him whatever I deem appropriate. And whatever you choose, I will do for you.”

19:39 So all the people crossed the Jordan, as did the king. After the king had kissed him and blessed him, Barzillai returned to his home. 362  19:40 When the king crossed over to Gilgal, Kimham 363  crossed over with him. Now all the soldiers 364  of Judah along with half of the soldiers of Israel had helped the king cross over. 365 

19:41 Then all the men of Israel began coming to the king. They asked the king, “Why did our brothers, the men of Judah, sneak the king away and help the king and his household cross the Jordan – and not only him but all of David’s men as well?

19:42 All the men of Judah replied to the men of Israel, “Because the king is our close relative! Why are you so upset about this? Have we eaten at the king’s expense? 366  Or have we misappropriated anything for our own use? 19:43 The men of Israel replied to the men of Judah, “We have ten shares in the king, and we have a greater claim on David than you do! Why do you want 367  to curse us? Weren’t we the first to suggest bringing back our king?” But the comments of the men of Judah were more severe than those of the men of Israel.

Sheba’s Rebellion

20:1 Now a wicked man 368  named Sheba son of Bicri, a Benjaminite, 369  happened to be there. He blew the trumpet 370  and said,

We have no share in David;

we have no inheritance in this son of Jesse!

Every man go home, 371  O Israel!

20:2 So all the men of Israel deserted 372  David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stuck by their king all the way from the Jordan River 373  to Jerusalem. 374 

20:3 Then David went to his palace 375  in Jerusalem. The king took the ten concubines he had left to care for the palace and placed them under confinement. 376  Though he provided for their needs, he did not have sexual relations with them. 377  They remained in confinement until the day they died, living out the rest of their lives as widows.

20:4 Then the king said to Amasa, “Call the men of Judah together for me in three days, 378  and you be present here with them too.” 20:5 So Amasa went out to call Judah together. But in doing so he took longer than the time that the king had allotted him.

20:6 Then David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bicri will cause greater disaster for us than Absalom did! Take your lord’s servants and pursue him. Otherwise he will secure 379  fortified cities for himself and get away from us.” 20:7 So Joab’s men, accompanied by the Kerethites, the Pelethites, and all the warriors, left Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bicri.

20:8 When they were near the big rock that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to them. Now Joab was dressed in military attire and had a dagger in its sheath belted to his waist. When he advanced, it fell out. 380 

20:9 Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” With his right hand Joab took hold of Amasa’s beard as if to greet him with a kiss. 20:10 Amasa did not protect himself from the knife in Joab’s other hand, and Joab 381  stabbed him in the abdomen, causing Amasa’s 382  intestines to spill out on the ground. There was no need to stab him again; the first blow was fatal. 383  Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bicri.

20:11 One of Joab’s soldiers who stood over Amasa said, “Whoever is for 384  Joab and whoever is for David, follow Joab! 20:12 Amasa was squirming in his own blood in the middle of the path, and this man had noticed that all the soldiers stopped. Having noticed that everyone who came across Amasa 385  stopped, the man 386  pulled him 387  away from the path and into the field and threw a garment over him. 20:13 Once he had removed Amasa 388  from the path, everyone followed Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bicri.

20:14 Sheba 389  traveled through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of 390  Beth Maacah and all the Berite region. When they had assembled, 391  they too joined him. 20:15 So Joab’s men 392  came and laid siege against him in Abel of Beth Maacah. They prepared a siege ramp outside the city which stood against its outer rampart. As all of Joab’s soldiers were trying to break through 393  the wall so that it would collapse, 20:16 a wise woman called out from the city, “Listen up! Listen up! Tell Joab, ‘Come near so that I may speak to you.’

20:17 When he approached her, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?” He replied, “I am.” She said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” He said, “Go ahead. I’m listening.” 20:18 She said, “In the past they would always say, ‘Let them inquire in Abel,’ and that is how they settled things. 20:19 I represent the peaceful and the faithful in Israel. You are attempting to destroy an important city 394  in Israel. Why should you swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?

20:20 Joab answered, “Get serious! 395  I don’t want to swallow up or destroy anything! 20:21 That’s not the way things are. There is a man from the hill country of Ephraim named Sheba son of Bicri. He has rebelled 396  against King David. Give me just this one man, and I will leave the city.” The woman said to Joab, “This very minute 397  his head will be thrown over the wall to you!

20:22 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. Joab 398  blew the trumpet, and his men 399  dispersed from the city, each going to his own home. 400  Joab returned to the king in Jerusalem.

20:23 Now Joab was the general in command of all the army of Israel. Benaiah the son of Jehoida was over the Kerethites and the Perethites. 20:24 Adoniram 401  was supervisor of the work crews. 402  Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the secretary. 20:25 Sheva was the scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests. 20:26 Ira the Jairite was David’s personal priest. 403 

The Gibeonites Demand Revenge

21:1 During David’s reign there was a famine for three consecutive years. So David inquired of the Lord. 404  The Lord said, “It is because of Saul and his bloodstained family, 405  because he murdered the Gibeonites.”

21:2 So the king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke with them. (Now the Gibeonites were not descendants of Israel; they were a remnant of the Amorites. The Israelites had made a promise to 406  them, but Saul tried to kill them because of his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah.) 21:3 David said to the Gibeonites, “What can I do for you, and how can I make amends so that you will bless 407  the Lord’s inheritance?

21:4 The Gibeonites said to him, “We 408  have no claim to silver or gold from Saul or from his family, 409  nor would we be justified in putting to death anyone in Israel.” David asked, 410 What then are you asking me to do for you? 21:5 They replied to the king, “As for this man who exterminated us and who schemed against us so that we were destroyed and left without status throughout all the borders of Israel 21:6 let seven of his male descendants be turned over to us, and we will execute 411  them before the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, who was the Lord’s chosen one.” 412  The king replied, “I will turn them over.”

21:7 The king had mercy on Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, in light of the Lord’s oath that had been taken between David and Jonathan son of Saul. 21:8 So the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah whom she had born to Saul, and the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab 413  whom she had born to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 21:9 He turned them over to the Gibeonites, and they executed them on a hill before the Lord. The seven of them 414  died 415  together; they were put to death during harvest time – during the first days of the beginning 416  of the barley harvest.

21:10 Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest until the rain fell on them, 417  she did not allow the birds of the air to feed 418  on them by day, nor the wild animals 419  by night. 21:11 When David was told what Rizpah daughter of Aiah, Saul’s concubine, had done, 21:12 he 420  went and took the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan 421  from the leaders 422  of Jabesh Gilead. (They had secretly taken 423  them from the plaza at Beth Shan. It was there that Philistines 424  publicly exposed their corpses 425  after 426  they 427  had killed Saul at Gilboa.) 21:13 David 428  brought the bones of Saul and of Jonathan his son from there; they also gathered up the bones of those who had been executed.

21:14 They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin at Zela in the grave of his father Kish. After they had done everything 429  that the king had commanded, God responded to their prayers 430  for the land.

Israel Engages in Various Battles with the Philistines

21:15 Another battle was fought between the Philistines and Israel. So David went down with his soldiers 431  and fought the Philistines. David became exhausted. 21:16 Now Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, 432  had a spear 433  that weighed three hundred bronze shekels, 434  and he was armed with a new weapon. 435  He had said that he would kill David. 21:17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to David’s aid, striking the Philistine down and killing him. Then David’s men took an oath saying, “You will not go out to battle with us again! You must not extinguish the lamp of Israel!

21:18 Later there was another battle with the Philistines, this time in Gob. On that occasion Sibbekai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was one of the descendants of Rapha. 21:19 Yet another battle occurred with the Philistines in Gob. On that occasion Elhanan the son of Jair 436  the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath the Gittite, 437  the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. 21:20 Yet another battle occurred in Gath. On that occasion there was a large man 438  who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all! He too was a descendant of Rapha. 21:21 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimeah, killed him. 21:22 These four were the descendants of Rapha who lived in Gath; they were killed 439  by David and his soldiers. 440 

22:1

David Sings to the Lord

441 

David sang 442  to the Lord the words of this song when 443  the Lord rescued him from the power 444  of all his enemies, including Saul. 445  22:2 He said:

“The Lord is my high ridge, 446  my stronghold, 447  my deliverer.

22:3 My God 448  is my rocky summit where I take shelter, 449 

my shield, the horn that saves me, 450  my stronghold,

my refuge, my savior. You save me from violence! 451 

22:4 I called 452  to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, 453 

and I was delivered from my enemies.

22:5 The waves of death engulfed me;

the currents 454  of chaos 455  overwhelmed me. 456 

22:6 The ropes of Sheol 457  tightened around me; 458 

the snares of death trapped me. 459 

22:7 In my distress I called to the Lord;

I called to my God. 460 

From his heavenly temple 461  he heard my voice;

he listened to my cry for help. 462 

22:8 The earth heaved and shook; 463 

the foundations of the sky 464  trembled. 465 

They heaved because he was angry.

22:9 Smoke ascended from 466  his nose; 467 

fire devoured as it came from his mouth; 468 

he hurled down fiery coals. 469 

22:10 He made the sky sink 470  as he descended;

a thick cloud was under his feet.

22:11 He mounted 471  a winged angel 472  and flew;

he glided 473  on the wings of the wind. 474 

22:12 He shrouded himself in darkness, 475 

in thick rain clouds. 476 

22:13 From the brightness in front of him

came coals of fire. 477 

22:14 The Lord thundered 478  from the sky;

the sovereign One 479  shouted loudly. 480 

22:15 He shot 481  arrows and scattered them, 482 

lightning and routed them. 483 

22:16 The depths 484  of the sea were exposed;

the inner regions 485  of the world were uncovered

by the Lord’s battle cry, 486 

by the powerful breath from his nose. 487 

22:17 He reached down from above and grabbed me; 488 

he pulled me from the surging water. 489 

22:18 He rescued me from my strong enemy, 490 

from those who hate me,

for they were too strong for me.

22:19 They confronted 491  me in my day of calamity,

but the Lord helped me. 492 

22:20 He brought me out into a wide open place;

he delivered me because he was pleased with me. 493 

22:21 The Lord repaid 494  me for my godly deeds; 495 

he rewarded 496  my blameless behavior. 497 

22:22 For I have obeyed the Lord’s commands; 498 

I have not rebelled against my God. 499 

22:23 For I am aware of all his regulations, 500 

and I do not reject his rules. 501 

22:24 I was blameless before him;

I kept myself from sinning. 502 

22:25 The Lord rewarded me for my godly deeds; 503 

he took notice of my blameless behavior. 504 

22:26 You prove to be loyal 505  to one who is faithful; 506 

you prove to be trustworthy 507  to one who is innocent. 508 

22:27 You prove to be reliable 509  to one who is blameless,

but you prove to be deceptive 510  to one who is perverse. 511 

22:28 You deliver oppressed 512  people,

but you watch the proud and bring them down. 513 

22:29 Indeed, 514  you are my lamp, 515  Lord.

The Lord illumines 516  the darkness around me. 517 

22:30 Indeed, 518 with your help 519  I can charge 520  against an army; 521 

by my God’s power 522  I can jump over a wall. 523 

22:31 The one true God acts in a faithful manner; 524 

the Lord’s promise is reliable; 525 

he is a shield to all who take shelter in him.

22:32 Indeed, 526  who is God besides the Lord?

Who is a protector 527  besides our God? 528 

22:33 The one true God 529  is my mighty refuge; 530 

he removes 531  the obstacles in my way. 532 

22:34 He gives me the agility of a deer; 533 

he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain. 534 

22:35 He trains 535  my hands for battle; 536 

my arms can bend even the strongest bow. 537 

22:36 You give me 538  your protective shield; 539 

your willingness to help enables me to prevail. 540 

22:37 You widen my path; 541 

my feet 542  do not slip.

22:38 I chase my enemies and destroy them;

I do not turn back until I wipe them out.

22:39 I wipe them out and beat them to death;

they cannot get up;

they fall at my feet.

22:40 You give me strength for battle; 543 

you make my foes kneel before me. 544 

22:41 You make my enemies retreat; 545 

I destroy those who hate me.

22:42 They cry out, 546  but there is no one to help them; 547 

they cry out to the Lord, 548  but he does not answer them.

22:43 I grind them as fine as the dust of the ground;

I crush them and stomp on them like clay 549  in the streets.

22:44 You rescue me from a hostile army; 550 

you preserve me as a leader of nations;

people over whom I had no authority are now my subjects. 551 

22:45 Foreigners are powerless before me; 552 

when they hear of my exploits, they submit to me. 553 

22:46 Foreigners lose their courage; 554 

they shake with fear 555  as they leave 556  their strongholds. 557 

22:47 The Lord is alive! 558 

My protector 559  is praiseworthy! 560 

The God who delivers me 561  is exalted as king! 562 

22:48 The one true God completely vindicates me; 563 

he makes nations submit to me. 564 

22:49 He delivers me from my enemies; 565 

you snatch me away 566  from those who attack me; 567 

you rescue me from violent men.

22:50 So I will give you thanks, O Lord, before the nations! 568 

I will sing praises to you. 569 

22:51 He gives his chosen king magnificent victories; 570 

he is faithful to his chosen ruler, 571 

to David and to his descendants forever!

David’s Final Words

23:1 These are the final words of David:

“The oracle of David son of Jesse,

the oracle of the man raised up as

the ruler chosen by the God of Jacob, 572 

Israel’s beloved 573  singer of songs:

23:2 The Lord’s spirit spoke through me;

his word was on my tongue.

23:3 The God of Israel spoke,

the protector 574  of Israel spoke to me.

The one who rules fairly among men,

the one who rules in the fear of God,

23:4 is like the light of morning when the sun comes up,

a morning in which there are no clouds.

He is like the brightness after rain

that produces grass from the earth.

23:5 My dynasty is approved by God, 575 

for he has made a perpetual covenant with me,

arranged in all its particulars and secured.

He always delivers me,

and brings all I desire to fruition. 576 

23:6 But evil people are like thorns

all of them are tossed away,

for they cannot be held in the hand.

23:7 The one who touches them

must use an iron instrument

or the wooden shaft of a spear.

They are completely burned up right where they lie! 577 

David’s Warriors

23:8 These are the names of David’s warriors:

Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was head of the officers. 578  He killed eight hundred men with his spear in one battle. 579  23:9 Next in command 580  was Eleazar son of Dodo, 581  the son of Ahohi. He was one of the three warriors who were with David when they defied the Philistines who were assembled there for battle. When the men of Israel retreated, 582  23:10 he stood his ground 583  and fought the Philistines until his hand grew so tired that it 584  seemed stuck to his sword. The Lord gave a great victory on that day. When the army returned to him, the only thing left to do was to plunder the corpses.

23:11 Next in command 585  was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines assembled at Lehi, 586  where there happened to be an area of a field that was full of lentils, the army retreated before the Philistines. 23:12 But he made a stand in the middle of that area. He defended 587  it and defeated the Philistines; the Lord gave them a great victory.

23:13 At the time of 588  the harvest three 589  of the thirty leaders went down to 590  David at the cave of Adullam. A band of Philistines was camped in the valley of Rephaim. 23:14 David was in the stronghold at the time, while a Philistine garrison was in Bethlehem. 591  23:15 David was thirsty and said, “How I wish someone would give me some water to drink from the cistern in Bethlehem near the gate! 23:16 So the three elite warriors broke through the Philistine forces and drew some water from the cistern in Bethlehem near the gate. They carried it back to David, but he refused to drink it. He poured it out as a drink offering to the Lord 23:17 and said, “O Lord, I will not do this! 592  It is equivalent to the blood of the men who risked their lives by going.” 593  So he refused to drink it. Such were the exploits of the three elite warriors. 594 

23:18 Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was head of the three. 595  He killed three hundred men with his spear and gained fame among the three. 596  23:19 From 597  the three he was given honor and he became their officer, even though he was not one of the three.

23:20 Benaiah son of Jehoida was a brave warrior 598  from Kabzeel who performed great exploits. He struck down the two sons of Ariel of Moab. 599  He also went down and killed a lion in a cistern on a snowy day. 23:21 He also killed an impressive-looking Egyptian. 600  The Egyptian wielded a spear, while Benaiah attacked 601  him with a club. He grabbed the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. 23:22 Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoida, who gained fame among the three elite warriors. 23:23 He received honor from 602  the thirty warriors, though he was not one of the three elite warriors. David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

23:24 Included with the thirty were the following: Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem, 603  23:25 Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite, 23:26 Helez the Paltite, Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa, 23:27 Abiezer the Anathothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite, 23:28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite, 23:29 Heled 604  son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ittai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin, 23:30 Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai from the wadis of Gaash, 23:31 Abi-Albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite, 23:32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan 23:33 son of 605  Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite, 23:34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite, Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, 23:35 Hezrai 606  the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite, 23:36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah, Bani the Gadite, 23:37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite (the armor-bearer 607  of Joab son of Zeruiah), 23:38 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite 23:39 and Uriah the Hittite. Altogether there were thirty-seven.

David Displeases the Lord by Taking a Census

24:1 The Lord’s anger again raged against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go count Israel and Judah.” 608  24:2 The king told Joab, the general in command of his army, “Go through all the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beer Sheba and muster the army, so I may know the size of the army.”

24:3 Joab replied to the king, “May the Lord your God make the army a hundred times larger right before the eyes of my lord the king! But why does my master the king want to do this?

24:4 But the king’s edict stood, despite the objections of 609  Joab and the leaders of the army. So Joab and the leaders of the army left the king’s presence in order to muster the Israelite army.

24:5 They crossed the Jordan and camped at Aroer, on the south side of the city, at 610  the wadi of Gad, near Jazer. 24:6 Then they went on to Gilead and to the region of Tahtim Hodshi, coming to Dan Jaan and on around to Sidon. 611  24:7 Then they went to the fortress of Tyre 612  and all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Then they went on to the Negev of Judah, to Beer Sheba. 24:8 They went through all the land and after nine months and twenty days came back to Jerusalem. 613 

24:9 Joab reported the number of warriors 614  to the king. In Israel there were 800,000 sword-wielding warriors, and in Judah there were 500,000 soldiers.

24:10 David felt guilty 615  after he had numbered the army. David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly by doing this! Now, O Lord, please remove the guilt of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”

24:11 When David got up the next morning, the Lord had already spoken 616  to Gad the prophet, David’s seer: 24:12 Go, tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am offering you three forms of judgment. Pick one of them and I will carry it out against you.’

24:13 Gad went to David and told him, “Shall seven 617  years of famine come upon your land? Or shall you flee for three months from your enemy with him in hot pursuit? Or shall there be three days of plague in your land? Now decide 618  what I should tell the one who sent me.” 24:14 David said to Gad, “I am very upset! I prefer that we be attacked by the Lord, for his mercy is great; I do not want to be attacked by men! 619 

24:15 So the Lord sent a plague through Israel from the morning until the completion of the appointed time. Seventy thousand men died from Dan to Beer Sheba. 24:16 When the angel 620  extended his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord relented from his judgment. 621  He told the angel who was killing the people, “That’s enough! Stop now!” 622  (Now the Lord’s angel was near the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.)

24:17 When he saw the angel who was destroying the people, David said to the Lord, “Look, it is I who have sinned and done this evil thing! As for these sheep – what have they done? Attack me and my family.” 623 

David Acquires a Threshing Floor and Constructs an Altar There

24:18 So Gad went to David that day and told him, “Go up and build an altar for the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 24:19 So David went up as Gad instructed him to do, according to the Lord’s instructions.

24:20 When Araunah looked out and saw the king and his servants approaching him, he 624  went out and bowed to the king with his face 625  to the ground. 24:21 Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David replied, “To buy from you the threshing floor so I can build an altar for the Lord, so that the plague may be removed from the people.” 24:22 Araunah told David, “My lord the king may take whatever he wishes 626  and offer it. Look! Here are oxen for burnt offerings, and threshing sledges 627  and harnesses 628  for wood. 24:23 I, the servant of my lord 629  the king, give it all to the king!” Araunah also told the king, “May the Lord your God show you favor! 24:24 But the king said to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it from you! I will not offer to the Lord my God burnt sacrifices that cost me nothing.”

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. 630  24:25 Then David built an altar for the Lord there and offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings. And the Lord accepted prayers for the land, and the plague was removed from Israel.

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