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2 Samuel 15:14–20:26

14 David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “aArise and let us flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go in haste, or he will overtake us quickly and bring down calamity on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”

15 Then the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses.”

16 So the king went out and all his household 1with him. But athe king left ten concubines to keep the house.

17 The king went out and all the people 1with him, and they stopped at the last house.

18 Now all his servants passed on beside him, aall the Cherethites, all the Pelethites and all the Gittites, bsix hundred men who had come 1with him from Gath, passed on before the king.

19 Then the king said to aIttai the Gittite, “Why will you also go with us? Return and remain with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile; return to your own place.

20 “You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander with us, while aI go where I will? Return and take back your brothers; bmercy and 1truth be with you.”

21 But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely awherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.”

22 Therefore David said to Ittai, “Go and pass over.” So Ittai the Gittite passed over with all his men and all the little ones who were with him.

23 While all the country was weeping with a loud voice, all the people passed over. The king also passed over athe brook Kidron, and all the people passed over toward bthe way of the wilderness.

24 Now behold, aZadok also came, and all the Levites with him bcarrying the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and cAbiathar came up until all the people had finished passing from the city.

25 The king said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the Lord, then aHe will bring me back again and show me both it and bHis habitation.

26 “But if He should say thus, ‘aI have no delight in you,’ behold, here I am, blet Him do to me as seems good 1to Him.”

27 The king said also to Zadok the priest, “Are you not aa seer? Return to the city in peace and your btwo sons with you, your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.

28 “See, I am going to wait aat the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.”

29 Therefore Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem and remained there.

30 And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and ahis head was covered and he walked bbarefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went.

31 Now someone told David, saying, “aAhithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, I pray, bmake the counsel of Ahithophel foolishness.”

32 It happened as David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, that behold, Hushai the aArchite met him with his 1coat torn and 2dust on his head.

33 David said to him, “If you pass over with me, then you will be aa burden to me.

34 “But if you return to the city, and asay to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so I will now be your servant,’ then you can thwart the counsel of Ahithophel for me.

35 “Are not Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? So it shall be that awhatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall report to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.

36 “Behold atheir two sons are with them there, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and bby them you shall send me everything that you hear.”

37 So Hushai, aDavid’s friend, came into the city, and bAbsalom came into Jerusalem.

Chapter 16

Ziba, a False Servant

1 Now when David had passed aa little beyond the summit, behold, bZiba the servant of Mephibosheth met him cwith a couple of saddled donkeys, and on them were two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred clusters of raisins, a hundred summer fruits, and a jug of wine.

2 The king said to Ziba, “Why do you have these?” And Ziba said, “aThe donkeys are for the king’s household to ride, and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine, bfor whoever is faint in the wilderness to drink.”

3 Then the king said, “And where is ayour master’s son?” And bZiba said to the king, “Behold, he is staying in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me.’ ”

4 So the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” And Ziba said, “I prostrate myself; let me find favor in your sight, O my lord, the king!”

David Is Cursed

5 When King David came to aBahurim, behold, there came out from there a man of the family of the house of Saul bwhose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he came out ccursing continually as he came.

6 He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left.

7 Thus Shimei said when he cursed, “Get out, get out, ayou man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow!

8 aThe Lord has returned upon you all bthe bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are taken in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!”

9 Then aAbishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should bthis dead dog ccurse my lord the king? Let me go over now and 1cut off his head.”

10 But the king said, “aWhat have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah? bIf he curses, and if the Lord has told him, ‘Curse David,’ cthen who shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ ”

11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, amy son who came out from 1me seeks my life; how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, bfor the Lord has told him.

12 “Perhaps the Lord will look on my affliction and 1areturn good to me instead of his cursing this day.”

13 So David and his men went on the way; and Shimei went along on the hillside parallel with him and as he went he cursed and cast stones and threw dust at him.

14 The king and all the people who were with him arrived weary and he refreshed himself there.

Absalom Enters Jerusalem

15 aThen Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.

16 Now it came about when aHushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, that bHushai said to Absalom, “cLong live the king! Long live the king!”

17 Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your 1loyalty to your friend? aWhy did you not go with your friend?”

18 Then Hushai said to Absalom, “No! For whom the Lord, this people, and all the men of Israel have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain.

19 “Besides, awhom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so I will be in your presence.”

20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your advice. What shall we do?”

21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “aGo in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. The hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.”

22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, aand Absalom went in to his father’s concubines bin the sight of all Israel.

23 aThe advice of Ahithophel, which he 1gave in those days, was as if one inquired of the word of God; bso was all the advice of Ahithophel regarded by both David and Absalom.

Chapter 17

Hushai’s Counsel

1 Furthermore, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Please let me choose 12,000 men that I may arise and pursue David tonight.

2 aI will come upon him while he is weary and 1exhausted and terrify him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then bI will strike down the king alone,

3 and I will bring back all the people to you. 1The return of everyone depends on the man you seek; then all the people will be at apeace.”

4 So the 1plan pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

5 Then Absalom said, “Now call aHushai the Archite also, and let us hear what 1he has to say.”

6 When Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom said to 1him, “Ahithophel has spoken 2thus. Shall we 3carry out his plan? If not, you speak.”

7 So Hushai said to Absalom, “aThis time the advice that Ahithophel has 1given is not good.”

8 Moreover, Hushai said, “You know your father and his men, that they are mighty men and they are 1fierce, alike a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. And your father is an 2expert in warfare, and will not spend the night with the people.

9 “Behold, he has now hidden himself in one of the 1caves or in another place; and it will be 2when he falls on them at the first attack, that whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’

10 “And even the one who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, awill completely 1lose heart; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man and those who are with him are valiant men.

11 “But I counsel that all Israel be surely gathered to you, afrom Dan even to Beersheba, bas the sand that is by the sea in abundance, and that 1you personally go into battle.

12 “So we shall come to him in one of the places where he can be found, and we will 1fall on him aas the dew falls on the ground; and of him and of all the men who are with him, not even one will be left.

13 “If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city, and we will adrag it into the 1valley until not even a small stone is found there.”

14 Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For athe Lord had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring calamity on Absalom.

Hushai’s Warning Saves David

15 Then aHushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, “1This is what Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and 1this…

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