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2 Samuel

Chapter 1

1 After the death of Saul, David returned from attacking the Amalekites and remained in Ziklag for two days. 2 On the third day, a man came from Saul's camp with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. When he came to David he lay facedown on the ground and prostrated himself. 3 David said to him, "Where did you come from?" He answered, "I escaped from the camp of Israel." 4 David said to him, "Please tell me how things went." He answered, "The people fled from the battle. Many have fallen and many are dead. Saul and Jonathan his son are also dead." 5 David said to the young man, "How do you know that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead?" 6 The young man replied, "By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there Saul was leaning on his spear, and chariots and riders were about to catch up with him. 7 Saul turned around and saw me and called out to me. I answered, 'Here I am.' 8 He said to me, 'Who are you?' I answered him, 'I am an Amalekite.' 9 He said to me, 'Please stand over me and kill me, for great suffering has taken hold of me, but life is still in me.' 10 So I stood over him and killed him, because I knew that he would not live after he had fallen. Then I took the crown that was on his head and the band that was on his arm, and brought them here to you, my master."

11 Then David tore his clothes, and all the men with him did the same. 12 They mourned, wept, and fasted until evening for Saul, for Jonathan his son, for the people of Yahweh, and for the house of Israel because they had fallen by the sword. 13 David said to the young man, "Where are you from?" He answered, "I am the son of a foreigner in the land, an Amalekite." 14 David said to him, "Why were you not afraid to kill Yahweh's anointed king with your own hand?" 15 David called one of the young men and said, "Go and kill him." So that man went and struck him down, and the Amalekite died. 16 Then David said to the dead Amalekite, "Your blood is on your head because your own mouth has testified against you and said, 'I have killed Yahweh's anointed king.'"

17 Then David sung this funeral song about Saul and Jonathan his son. 18 He commanded the people to teach this Song of the Bow to the sons of Judah, which has been written in the Book of Jashar.

     19 "Your glory, Israel,

         is dead, killed on your high places!

     How the mighty have fallen!

     20 Do not tell it in Gath,

     do not proclaim it

         in the streets of Ashkelon,

     so that the daughters of the

         Philistines may not rejoice,

     so that the daughters of the

         uncircumcised may not celebrate.

     21 Mountains of Gilboa,

         let there not be dew or rain on you,

         nor fields giving grain for offerings,

     for there the shield of the mighty was defiled.

         The shield of Saul is no longer anointed with oil.

     22 From the blood of those who have been killed,

         from the bodies of the mighty,

     the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,

     and the sword of Saul did not return empty.

     23 Saul and Jonathan were loved and gracious in life,

     and in their death they were not separated.

     They were swifter than eagles,

     they were stronger than lions.

     24 You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,

     who clothed you in scarlet as well as jewels,

     and who put ornaments of gold on your clothing.

     25 How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle!

     Jonathan is killed on your high places.

     26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan.

     You were very dear to me.

     Your love to me was wonderful,

     exceeding the love of women.

     27 How the mighty have fallen,

     and the weapons of war perished!"

Chapter 2

1 After this David asked Yahweh and said, "Should I go up to one of the cities of Judah?" Yahweh replied to him, "Go up." David said, "To which city should I go?" Yahweh replied, "To Hebron." 2 So David went up with his two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel, and Abigail from Carmel, the widow of Nabal. 3 David brought the men who were with him, who each brought his family, to the cities of Hebron, where they began to live. 4 Then men from Judah came and anointed David king over the house of Judah.

They told David, "The men of Jabesh Gilead have buried Saul." 5 So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead and said to them, "You are blessed by Yahweh, since you have showed this loyalty to your master Saul and have buried him. 6 Now may Yahweh show you covenantal loyalty and faithfulness. I also will show you this goodness because you have done this thing. 7 Now then, let your hands be strong; be courageous for Saul your master is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them."

8 But Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, took Ishbosheth son of Saul and brought him to Mahanaim. 9 He made Ishbosheth king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and over all Israel. 10 Ishbosheth son of Saul, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. 11 The time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

12 Abner son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 Joab son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met them by the pool of Gibeon. There they sat down, one group on one side of the pool and the other on the other side. 14 Abner said to Joab, "Let the young men arise and compete before us." Then Joab said, "Let them arise." 15 Then the young men got up and gathered together, twelve for Benjamin and Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve from servants of David. 16 Each man seized his opponent by the head and thrust his sword into the side of his opponent, and they fell down together. Therefore that place was called "Helkath Hazzurim," or "Field of Swords," which is in Gibeon. 17 The battle was very severe that day and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated before the servants of David.

18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel was swift in his feet like a wild gazelle. 19 Asahel closely pursued Abner and followed him without turning away in any direction. 20 Abner looked behind him and said, "Is that you Asahel?" He answered, "It is I." 21 Abner said to him, "Turn aside to your right or to your left, and seize one of the young men and take his armor." But Asahel would not turn aside. 22 So Abner said again to Asahel, "Stop pursuing me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I hold up my face to Joab, your brother?" 23 But Asahel refused to turn aside, and so Abner stabbed him in the body with the blunt end of his spear, so that the spear came out the other side. Asahel fell down and died there. So it came about that anyone who arrived at the place where Asahel fell down and died, he stopped and stood still.

24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. When the sun was going down, they came to the hill of Ammah, which is near Giah by the road to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 The men of Benjamin gathered themselves together behind Abner and stood on the top of the hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab and said, "Must the sword devour forever? Do you not know it will be bitter in the end? How long will it be before you tell your men to stop pursuing their brothers?" 27 Joab replied, "Just as God lives, if you had not said that, my soldiers would have pursued their brothers until the morning!" 28 So Joab blew the trumpet, and all his men stopped and did not pursue Israel anymore, nor did they fight anymore. 29 Abner and his men traveled all that night through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, marched all the next morning, and then reached Mahanaim.

30 Joab returned from pursuing Abner. He assembled all his men, from whom were missing Asahel and nineteen of David's soldiers. 31 But the men of David had killed 360 men of Benjamin with Abner. 32 Then they took up Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was in Bethlehem. Joab and his men traveled all night, and the day dawned on them at Hebron.

Chapter 3

1 Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. David grew stronger and stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.

2 Sons were born to David in Hebron. His firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam from Jezreel. 3 His second son, Kileab, was born to Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. The third, Absalom, was son of Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. 4 David's fourth son, Adonijah, was the son of Haggith. His fifth son was Shephatiah son of Abital, 5 and the sixth, Ithream, was the son of David's wife Eglah. These sons were born to David in Hebron.

6 It came about during the war between the house of Saul and the house of David that Abner made himself strong in the house of Saul. 7 Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. Ishbosheth said to Abner, "Why have you slept with my father's concubine?" 8 Then Abner was very angry at the words of Ishbosheth and said, "Am I a dog's head that belongs to Judah? Today I am showing faithfulness to the house of Saul, your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, by not delivering you into the hand of David. But now you accuse me of an offense concerning this woman? 9 May God do so to me, Abner, and more also, if I do not do for David as Yahweh has sworn to him, 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba." 11 Ishbosheth could not answer Abner another word, because he feared him.

12 Then Abner sent messengers to David to speak for him saying, "Whose land is this? Make a covenant with me, and you will see that my hand is with you, to bring all Israel to you." 13 David answered, "Good, I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require from you is that you cannot see my face unless you first bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when you come to see me." 14 Then David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul's son, saying, "Give me my wife Michal, for whom I paid a price of one hundred Philistine foreskins." 15 So Ishbosheth sent for Michal and took her from her husband, Paltiel son of Laish. 16 Her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, "Return home now." So he returned.

17 Abner spoke with the elders of Israel saying, "In the past you were trying to have David be king over you. 18 Now do it. For Yahweh has spoken of David saying, 'By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.'" 19 Abner also spoke personally to the people of Benjamin. Then Abner went also to speak with David in Hebron to explain everything that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin desired to accomplish. 20 When Abner and twenty of his men arrived in Hebron to see David, David had a feast prepared for them. 21 Abner explained to David, "I will arise and gather all Israel to you, my master the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, so that you may reign over all that you desire." So David sent Abner away, and Abner left in peace.

22 Then the soldiers of David and Joab came from a raid and brought much plunder with them. But Abner was not with David in Hebron. David had sent him away, and Abner had left in peace. 23 When Joab and all the army with him arrived, they told Joab, "Abner son of Ner came to the king, and the king has sent him away, and Abner left in peace." 24 Then Joab came to the king and said, "What have you done? Look, Abner came to you! Why have you sent him away, and he is gone? 25 Do you not know that Abner son of Ner came to deceive you and to discover your plans and learn everything you are doing?" 26 When Joab left David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah, but David did not know this.

27 When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the middle of the gate to speak with him quietly. There Joab stabbed him in the stomach and killed him. In this way, Joab avenged the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 When David heard about this he said, "I and my kingdom are innocent before Yahweh forever regarding the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 Let the guilt of Abner's death fall on the head of Joab and on all his father's house. May there never fail to be in the family of Joab someone who has a flowing sore or skin disease or who is lame and must walk with a staff or who is killed by the sword or who goes without food." 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon in battle.

31 David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, "Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn before Abner's body." Now King David walked behind the body in the funeral procession. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron. The king wept and cried loudly at the tomb of Abner, and all the people also wept. 33 The king lamented for Abner and sang,

     "Should Abner die as a fool dies?

         34 Your hands were not bound.

         Your feet were not shackled.

     As a man falls before the sons of injustice, so you have fallen."

Once more all the people wept over him. 35 All the people came to make David eat while it was still day, but David swore, "May God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down." 36 All the people took notice of David's grief, and it pleased them, as whatever the king did pleased them. 37 So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not the king's desire to kill Abner son of Ner. 38 The king said to his servants, "Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39 Now I am weak today, though I am an anointed king. These men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too brutal for me. May Yahweh repay the evildoer by punishing him for his wickedness, as he deserves."

Chapter 4

1 When Ishbosheth, Saul's son, heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands became weak, and all Israel was troubled. 2 Now Saul's son had two men who were captains of groups of soldiers. The name of one was Baanah and the other Recab, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite of the people of Benjamin (for Beeroth is also considered part of Benjamin, 3 and the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been living there until this very time).

4 Now Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up to flee. But as she was running, Jonathan's son fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.

5 So the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Recab and Baanah, traveled during the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, as he was resting at noon. 6 The woman guarding the door had fallen asleep while sifting wheat, and Recab and Baanah walked in quietly and passed her. 7 So after they entered the house, they attacked him and killed him as he was lying on his bed in his room. Then they cut off his head and carried it away, traveling on the road all night to the Arabah. 8 They brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron, and they said to the king, "Look, this is the head of Ishbosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life. Today Yahweh has avenged our master the king against Saul and his descendants." 9 David answered Recab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite; he said to them, "As Yahweh lives, who delivered my life from every trouble, 10 when someone told me, 'Look, Saul is dead,' thinking he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him at Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have killed an innocent person in his own house on his bed, should I not now require his blood from your hand, and remove you from the earth?" 12 Then David gave orders to the young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hung them up beside the pool at Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth and buried it in the grave of Abner in Hebron.

Chapter 5

1 Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, "Look, we are your flesh and bone. 2 In the recent past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led the Israelite army. Yahweh said to you, 'You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become ruler over Israel.'" 3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them before Yahweh. They anointed David king over Israel. 4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.

6 The king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land. They said to David, "You will not come here except to be turned away by the blind and the lame. David cannot come here." 7 Nevertheless, David captured the stronghold of Zion, which now is the city of David. 8 At that time David said, "Those who attack the Jebusites will have to go through the water shaft to reach the 'lame and the blind' who are David's enemies." That is why people say, "The 'blind and the lame' must not enter the palace." 9 So David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David. He fortified around it, from the terrace toward the inside. 10 David became very powerful because Yahweh, the God of hosts, was with him.

11 Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, carpenters, and masons. They built a house for David. 12 David knew that Yahweh had established him as king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

13 After David left Hebron and came to Jerusalem, he took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. 14 These were the names of the children who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.

17 Now when the Philistines heard that David had been anointed as king over Israel, they all went out looking for him. But David heard about it and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. 19 Then David asked for help from Yahweh. He said, "Should I attack the Philistines? Will you give victory over them?" Yahweh said to David, "Attack, for I will certainly give you victory over the Philistines." 20 So David attacked at Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He commented, "Yahweh has burst through my enemies before me like a bursting flood of water." So the name of that place became Baal Perazim. 21 The Philistines left their idols there, and David and his men carried them away.

22 Then the Philistines came up again and spread out once more in the Valley of Rephaim. 23 So David sought help from Yahweh again, and Yahweh said to him, "You must not attack their front, but rather circle around behind them and come on them through the balsam woods. 24 When you hear the sound of marching in the wind blowing through the balsam treetops, then attack with force. Do this because Yahweh will have gone out before you to attack the army of the Philistines." 25 So David did as Yahweh had commanded him. He killed Philistines from Geba all the way to Gezer.

Chapter 6

1 Now David again gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 David arose and went with all his men who were with him from Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of Yahweh of hosts, who sits enthroned over the cherubim. 3 They set the ark of God on a new cart. They brought it out of Abinadab's house, which was on a hill. Uzzah and Ahio, his sons, were guiding the new cart. 4 They brought the cart out of Abinadab's house on the hill with the ark of God on it. Ahio was walking in front of the ark. 5 Then David and all the house of Israel began to play before Yahweh, celebrating with wooden instruments, harps, lyres, tambourines, rattles, and cymbals.

6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out with his hand to grab the ark of God, and he took hold of it. 7 Then the anger of Yahweh burned against Uzzah. God attacked him there for his sin. Uzzah died there by the ark of God. 8 David was angry because Yahweh had attacked Uzzah, and he called the name of that place Perez Uzzah. That place is called Perez Uzza to this day. 9 David was afraid of Yahweh that day. He said, "How can the ark of Yahweh come to me?" 10 So David was not willing to take the ark of Yahweh with him into the city of David. Instead, he put it aside in the house of Obed Edom the Gittite. 11 The ark of Yahweh remained in the house of Obed Edom the Gittite for three months. So Yahweh blessed him and all his household.

12 Now King David was told, "Yahweh has blessed Obed Edom's house and everything that belongs to him because of the ark of God." So David went and brought up the ark of God from Obed Edom's house to the city of David with joy. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of Yahweh had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened calf. 14 David danced before Yahweh with all his might; he was wearing only a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of Yahweh with shouting and the sound of trumpets.

16 Now as the ark of Yahweh came into the city of David, Michal, daughter of Saul, looked out the window. She saw King David leaping and dancing before Yahweh. Then she despised him in her heart. 17 They brought in the ark of Yahweh and put it in its place, in the middle of the tent that David had set up for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before Yahweh. 18 When David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of Yahweh of hosts. 19 Then he distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both to men and women, a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people left; each one returned to his own house.

20 Then David returned to bless his family. Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet David and said, "How honored the king of Israel was today, who undressed himself today before the eyes of the slave girls among his servants, like one of the crude fellows who shamelessly undresses himself!" 21 David responded to Michal, "I did that before Yahweh, who chose me above your father and above all his family, who appointed me leader over the people of Yahweh, over Israel. Before Yahweh I will be joyful! 22 I will be even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you have spoken about, I will be honored." 23 So Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no children to the day of her death.

Chapter 7

1 It happened that after the king had settled in his house, and after Yahweh had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, "Look, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God is staying in the middle of a tent." 3 Then Nathan said to the king, "Go, do what is in your heart, for Yahweh is with you." 4 But that same night the word of Yahweh came to Nathan, saying, 5 "Go and tell David my servant, 'This is what Yahweh says: Will you build me a house in which to live? 6 For I have not lived in a house from the day that I brought up the people of Israel out of Egypt until this present day; instead, I have been moving about in a tent, a tabernacle. 7 In all places where I have moved among all the people of Israel, did I ever say anything to any of Israel's leaders whom I appointed to shepherd my people Israel, saying, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"'" 8 Now then, tell my servant David, "This is what Yahweh of hosts says: 'I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, so that you would be ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you went. I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the great ones of the earth. 10 I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them there, so that they may live in their own place and be troubled no more. No longer will wicked people oppress them, as they did before, 11 as they were doing from the days that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Now I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, I, Yahweh declare to you that I will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up a descendant after you, one who will come out from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he will be my son. When he sins, I will discipline him with the rod of men and with the whipping of the sons of men. 15 But my covenant faithfulness will not leave him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and kingdom will be confirmed forever before you. Your throne will be established forever.'" 17 Nathan spoke to David and reported to him all these words, and he told him about the entire vision.

18 Then David the king went in and sat before Yahweh and said, "Who am I, Yahweh God, and what is my family that you have brought me to this point? 19 Now this was a small thing in your sight, Lord Yahweh. You have even spoken about your servant's family for a great while to come, and have shown me future generations, Lord Yahweh! 20 What more can I, David, say to you? You have known your servant, Lord Yahweh. 21 For your word's sake, and to fulfill your own purpose, you have done this great thing and revealed it to your servant. 22 Therefore you are great, Lord Yahweh, for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, as we have heard with our own ears. 23 What nation is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom you, God, went and rescued for yourself? You did this so that they would become a people for yourself, to make a name for yourself, and to do great and fearful deeds for your land. You drove out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you rescued from Egypt. 24 You established Israel as your own people forever, and you, Yahweh, became their God. 25 So now, Yahweh God, may the promise that you made concerning your servant and his family be established forever. Do as you have spoken. 26 May your name be forever great, so the people will say, 'Yahweh of hosts is the God of Israel,' while the house of me, David, your servant is established before you. 27 For you, Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, have revealed to your servant that you will build him a house. That is why I, your servant, have found courage to pray to you. 28 Now, Lord Yahweh, you are God, and your words are trustworthy, and you have made this good promise to your servant. 29 Now then, let it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, Lord Yahweh, have said these things, and with your blessing your servant's house will be blessed forever."

Chapter 8

1 After this it came about that David attacked the Philistines and defeated them. So David took Metheg Ammah from the control of the Philistines.

2 Then he defeated Moab and measured their men with a line by making them lie down on the ground. He measured off two lines to put to death, and one full line to keep alive. So the Moabites became servants to David and began to pay him tribute.

3 David then defeated Hadadezer son of Rehob, the king of Zobah, as Hadadezer was traveling to recover his rule by the Euphrates River. 4 David captured from him 1,700 chariots and twenty thousand footmen. David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but reserved enough of them for a hundred chariots. 5 When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed twenty-two thousand Aramean men. 6 Then David put garrisons in Aram of Damascus, and the Arameans became servants to him and brought him tribute. Yahweh gave victory to David wherever he went. 7 David took the golden shields that were on Hadadezer's servants and brought them to Jerusalem. 8 From Tebah and Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, King David took very much bronze.

9 When Tou, king of Hamath, heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer, 10 Tou sent Hadoram his son to King David to greet him and to bless him, because David had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him, and because Hadadezer had waged war against Tou. Hadoram brought with himself objects of silver, gold, and bronze. 11 King David set aside these objects to Yahweh, together with the silver and gold from all the nations that he conquered— 12 from Aram, Moab, the people of Ammon, the Philistines, and Amalek, along with all of the plundered goods of Hadadezer son of Rehob, the king of Zobah.

13 David's name was well known when he returned from conquering the Arameans in the Valley of Salt, with their eighteen thousand men. 14 He placed garrisons throughout all of Edom, and all the Edomites became servants to him. Yahweh gave victory to David wherever he went.

15 David reigned over all Israel, and he administered justice and righteousness to all his people. 16 Joab son of Zeruiah was the commander of the army, and Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder. 17 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests, and Seraiah was scribe. 18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was in charge of the Kerethites and Pelethites, and David's sons were the chief officials at the king's hand. [1]

8:18 [1]Comparing this verse with 1 Chron. 18:17, were the chief officials at the king's hand ; but the MT has, were priests .

Chapter 9

1 David said, "Is there anyone left in Saul's family to whom I may show kindness for Jonathan's sake?" 2 There was in Saul's family a servant whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. The king said to him, "Are you Ziba?" He replied, "Yes. I am your servant." 3 So the king said, "Is there not anyone left of Saul's family to whom I may show the kindness of God?" Ziba replied to the king, "Jonathan still has a son, who is lame in his feet." 4 The king said to him, "Where is he?" Ziba replied to the king, "Look, he is in the house of Machir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar." 5 Then King David sent and had him brought out of the house of Machir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar. 6 So Mephibosheth son of Jonathan son of Saul, came to David and bowed down his face to the floor in honor of David. David said, "Mephibosheth." He answered, "See, I am your servant!" 7 David said to him, "Do not be afraid, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather, and you will always eat at my table." 8 Mephibosheth bowed and said, "What is your servant, that you should look with favor on such a dead dog as I am?"

9 Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, "All that belonged to Saul and his family I have given to your master's grandson. 10 You, your sons, and your servants must till the land for him and you must harvest the crops so that your master's grandson will have food to eat. For Mephibosheth, your master's grandson, must always eat at my table." Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, "Your servant will do all that my master the king commands his servant." The king added, "As for Mephibosheth he will eat at my table, as one of the king's sons." 12 Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mika. All who lived in the house of Ziba were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, and he always ate at the king's table, though he was lame in both his feet.

Chapter 10

1 It came about later that the king of the people of Ammon died, and that Hanun his son became king in his place. 2 David said, "I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me." So David sent his servants to comfort Hanun concerning his father. His servants entered the land of the people of Ammon. 3 But the leaders of the people of Ammon said to Hanun their master, "Do you really think that David is honoring your father because he has sent men to comfort you? Has not David sent his servants to you to look at the city, to spy it out, in order to overthrow it?" 4 So Hanun took David's servants, shaved off half their beards, cut off their garments up to their buttocks, and sent them away. 5 When they explained this to David, he sent to meet with them, for the men were deeply ashamed. The king said, "Stay at Jericho until your beards have grown back, and then return."

6 When the people of Ammon saw that they had become a stench to David, the people of Ammon sent messengers and hired the Arameans of Beth Rehob and Zobah, twenty thousand foot soldiers, and the king of Maacah with a thousand men, and the men of Tob with twelve thousand men. 7 When David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of soldiers. 8 The Ammonites came out and formed a line of battle at the entrance to their city gate, while the Arameans of Zobah and of Rehob, and the men of Tob and Maacah, stood by themselves in the open fields.

9 When Joab saw the battle lines facing him both in front and behind, he chose some of Israel's best fighters and arranged them against the Arameans. 10 The rest of his people he put into the hand of Abishai his brother, and he set them out in position to fight against the army of Ammon. 11 Joab said, "If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you, Abishai, must rescue me. But if the army of Ammon is too strong for you, then I will come and rescue you. 12 Be strong, and let us show ourselves to be strong for our people and for the cities of our God, for Yahweh will do what is good for his purpose." 13 So Joab and the soldiers of his army advanced to the battle against the Arameans, who were forced to flee before the army of Israel. 14 When the army of Ammon saw that the Arameans had fled, they also fled from Abishai and went back into the city. Then Joab returned from the people of Ammon and went back to Jerusalem.

15 When the Arameans saw that they were being defeated by Israel, they gathered themselves together again. 16 Then Hadarezer sent for Aramean troops from beyond the Euphrates River. They came to Helam, and Shobak, the commander of Hadarezer's army, went before them. 17 When David was told this, he gathered all Israel together, crossed the Jordan, and arrived at Helam. The Arameans arranged themselves in battle lines against David and fought him. 18 The Arameans fled from Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their men in chariots and forty thousand horsemen. Shobak the commander of their army was wounded and died there. 19 When all the kings who were servants of Hadarezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and became their subjects. So the Arameans were afraid to help the people of Ammon anymore.

Chapter 11

1 It came about in the springtime, at the time when kings normally go to war, that David sent out Joab, his servants, and all the army of Israel. They destroyed the army of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed in Jerusalem.

2 So it came about one evening that David got up from his bed and walked on the roof of his palace. From there he happened to see a woman who was bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to look at. 3 So David sent and he asked people who would know about the woman. Someone said, "Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, and is she not the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" 4 David sent messengers and took her; she came in to him, and he slept with her (for she had just purified herself from menstruation). Then she returned to her house. 5 The woman conceived, and she sent and told David; she said, "I am pregnant."

6 Then David sent to Joab saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." So Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab was, how the army was doing, and how the war was going. 8 David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the king's palace, and the king sent a gift for Uriah after he left. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king's palace with all the servants of his master, and he did not go down to his house. 10 When they told David, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?" 11 Uriah answered David, "The ark, and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my master's servants are camped in an open field. How then can I go into my house to eat and to drink and to sleep with my wife? As sure as you are alive, I will not do this." 12 So David said to Uriah, "Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you leave." So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next day. 13 When David called him, he ate and drank before him, and David made him drunk. At evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed with the servants of his master; he did not go down to his house.

14 So in the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 David wrote in the letter saying, "Set Uriah at the very front of the most intense battle, and then withdraw from him, that he may be hit and killed." 16 So as Joab watched the siege upon the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew the strongest enemy soldiers would be fighting. 17 When the men of the city went out and fought against Joab's army, some of the soldiers of David fell, and Uriah the Hittite was also killed there. 18 When Joab sent word to David about everything concerning the war, 19 he commanded the messenger, saying, "When you have finished telling all the things concerning the war to the king, 20 it may happen that the king will become angry, and he will say to you, 'Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelech son of Jerub-Besheth? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?' Then you must answer, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.'"

22 So the messenger left and went to David and told him everything that Joab had sent him to say. 23 Then the messenger said to David, "The enemy were stronger than we were at first; they came out to us into the field, but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate. 24 Then their shooters shot at your soldiers from off the wall, and some of the king's servants were killed, and your servant Uriah the Hittite was killed too." 25 Then David said to the messenger, "Say this to Joab, 'Do not let this displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Make your battle even stronger against the city, and overthrow it,' and encourage him."

26 So when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented deeply for her husband. 27 When her sorrow passed, David sent and took her home to his palace, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But what David had done displeased Yahweh.

Chapter 12

1 Then Yahweh sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said, "There were once two men in a city. One man was rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had huge numbers of flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and fed and raised. It grew up together with him and with his children. The lamb even ate with him and drank from his own cup, and it slept in his arms and was like a daughter to him. 4 One day a visitor came to the rich man, but the rich man was unwilling to take an animal from his own flocks and herds to provide food for him. Instead he took the poor man's ewe lamb and cooked it for his visitor." 5 David was hot with anger against the rich man, and he raged to Nathan, "As Yahweh lives, the man who has done this deserves to be put to death. 6 He must pay back the lamb four times over because he did such a thing, and because he had no pity on the poor man."

7 Then Nathan said to David, "You are that man! Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you out of the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your arms. I also gave you the house of Israel and Judah. But if that had been too little, I would have given you many other things in addition. 9 So why have you despised the commands of Yahweh, so as to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your own wife. You killed him with the sword of the army of Ammon. 10 So now the sword will never leave your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite as your wife.' 11 Yahweh says, 'Look, I will raise up disaster against you out of your own house. Before your own eyes, I will take your wives and give them to your neighbor, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 For you committed your sin secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, in the sunlight.'" 13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against Yahweh." Nathan replied to David, "Yahweh also has passed over your sin. You will not be killed. 14 However, because by this act you have despised Yahweh, the child who is born to you will surely die." 15 Then Nathan left and went home.

Yahweh attacked the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he was very sick. 16 David then implored God for the boy. David fasted and went inside and lay all night on the floor. 17 The elders of his house arose and stood beside him, to raise him up from the floor, but he would not get up, and he would not eat with them. 18 It came about on the seventh day that the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, "Look, while the child was still alive we spoke to him, and he did not listen to our voice. What might he do to himself if we tell him that the boy is dead?!" 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead. He said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" They answered, "He is dead." 20 Then David arose from the floor and washed himself, anointed himself, and changed his clothes. He went to the tabernacle of Yahweh and worshiped there, and then he came back to his own palace. When he asked for it, they set food before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, "Why have you done this? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you got up and ate." 22 David answered, "While the child was still alive I fasted and wept. I said, 'Who knows whether or not Yahweh will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' 23 But now he is dead, so why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

24 David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her, and slept with her. Later she gave birth to a son, and the child was named Solomon. Yahweh loved him 25 and he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah, because Yahweh loved him.

26 Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites, and he captured the royal city. 27 So Joab sent messengers to David and said, "I have fought against Rabbah, and I have taken the city's water supply. 28 Now therefore gather the rest of the army together and camp against the city and take it, because if I take the city, it will be named after me." 29 So David gathered all the army together and went to Rabbah; he fought against the city and captured it. 30 David took the crown from their king's head—it weighed a talent of gold, and there was a precious stone in it. The crown was placed on David's own head. Then he brought out the plunder of the city in large quantities. 31 He brought out the people who were in the city and forced them to work with saws, iron picks, and axes; he also made them work at brick kilns. David required all the cities of the people of Ammon to do this labor. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem.

Chapter 13

1 It came about after this that Amnon son of David was very attracted to his beautiful half-sister Tamar, who was a full sister of Absalom, another of David's sons. 2 Amnon was so frustrated that he became sick because of his sister Tamar. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. 3 But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab son of Shimeah, David's brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man. 4 Jonadab said to Amnon, "Why, son of the king, are you depressed every morning? Will you not tell me?" So Amnon answered him, "I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister." 5 Then Jonadab said to him, "Lie down on your bed and pretend to be sick. When your father comes to see you, ask him, 'Would you please send my sister Tamar to give me something to eat and cook it before me, so that I may see it and eat it from her hand?'" 6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, "Please send my sister Tamar to make some food for my sickness in front of me so that I may eat from her hand."

7 Then David sent word to Tamar at his palace, saying, "Go now to your brother Amnon's house and prepare food for him." 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house where he was lying down. She took dough and kneaded it and formed bread in his sight, and then she baked it. 9 She took the pan and gave the bread to him, but he refused to eat. Then Amnon said to the others present, "Send everyone out, away from me." So everyone went out from him. 10 So Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food into my room that I may eat from your hand." So Tamar took the bread that she had made, and brought it into the room of Amnon her brother. 11 When she had brought the food to him, he took hold of her and said to her, "Come, sleep with me, my sister." 12 She answered him, "No, my brother, do not force me, for nothing like this should be done in Israel. Do not do this appalling thing! 13 How could I be rid of my shame? What about you? You would be like one of the fools in Israel! Now, please speak to the king, for he would not keep me from you." 14 However Amnon would not listen to her. Since he was stronger than Tamar, he seized her and he slept with her.

15 Then Amnon hated Tamar with extreme hatred. He hated her even more than he had desired her. Amnon said to her, "Get up and go." 16 But she responded to him, "No! Because this great evil of making me leave is even worse than what you did to me!" But Amnon did not listen to her. 17 Instead, he called his personal servant and said, "Take this woman away from me, and bolt the door after her." 18 Then his servant brought her out and bolted the door after her. Tamar was wearing a very decorated robe because the king's daughters who were virgins dressed that way. 19 Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her robe. She put her hands on her head and walked away, crying aloud as she went.

20 Absalom her brother said to her, "Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now keep quiet, my sister. He is your brother. Do not take this thing to heart." So Tamar remained alone in her brother Absalom's house. 21 But when King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. 22 Absalom said nothing to Amnon, for Absalom hated him for what he had done to her and how he had disgraced his sister Tamar.

23 It came about after two full years that Absalom had sheep shearers working at Baal Hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons to visit there. 24 Absalom went to the king and said, "Look now, your servant has sheep shearers. Please, may the king and his servants go with me, your servant." 25 The king answered Absalom, "No, my son, all of us should not go because we would be a burden to you." Absalom begged the king, but he would not go, but he gave him his blessing. 26 Then Absalom said, "If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us." So the king said to him, "Why should Amnon go with you?" 27 Absalom pressed David, and so he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. 28 Absalom commanded his servants saying, "Listen closely. When Amnon begins to be affected by the wine, and when I say to you, 'Attack Amnon,' then kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and brave." 29 So Absalom's servants did to Amnon as he had commanded them. Then all the king's sons arose, and every man mounted his mule and fled.

30 So it came about, while they were on the road, that the news came to David saying, "Absalom has killed all the king's sons, and there is not one of them left." 31 Then the king arose and tore his clothes, and lay on the floor; all his servants stood by with their clothes torn. 32 Jonadab son of Shimeah, David's brother, answered and said, "Let not my master believe that they have killed all the young men who are the king's sons, for Amnon only is dead. Absalom has planned this from the day that Amnon violated his sister Tamar. 33 So therefore let not my master the king take this report to heart, so as to believe that all the king's sons are dead, for Amnon only is dead."

34 Absalom fled away. A servant keeping watch raised his eyes and saw many people coming on the road on the hillside west of him. 35 Then Jonadab said to the king, "Look, the king's sons are coming. It is just as your servant said." 36 So it came about when he finished speaking, the king's sons arrived and raised their voices and wept. The king and all his servants also wept bitterly.

37 But Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. David mourned for his son every day. 38 So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, where he was for three years. 39 The mind of King David longed to go out to see Absalom, for he was comforted concerning Amnon and his death.

Chapter 14

1 Now Joab son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart desired to see Absalom. 2 So Joab sent word to Tekoa and had a wise woman brought to him. He said to her, "Please pretend you are a mourner and put on mourning clothes. Please do not anoint yourself with oil, but be like a woman who has mourned a long time for the dead. 3 Then go to the king and speak to him about what I will describe." So Joab told her the words she was to say to the king.

4 When the woman from Tekoa spoke to the king, she lay facedown on the ground and said, "Help me, king." 5 The king said to her, "What is wrong?" She answered, "The truth is that I am a widow, and my husband is dead. 6 I, your servant, had two sons, and they fought together in the field, and there was no one to separate them. One struck the other and killed him. 7 Now the whole clan has risen against your servant, and they say, 'Give into our hand the man who struck his brother, so that we may put him to death, to pay for the life of his brother whom he killed.' So they would also destroy the heir. Thus they will put out the burning coal that I have left, and they will leave for my husband neither name nor descendant on the surface of the earth."

8 So the king said to the woman, "Go to your house, and I will command something to be done for you." 9 The woman of Tekoa replied to the king, "My master, king, may the guilt be on me and on my father's family. The king and his throne are guiltless." 10 The king replied, "Whoever says anything to you, bring him to me, and he will not touch you anymore." 11 Then she said, "Please, may the king call to mind Yahweh your God, so that the avenger of blood will not destroy anyone further, so that they will not destroy my son." The king replied, "As Yahweh lives, not one hair of your son will fall to the ground."

12 Then the woman said, "Please let your servant speak a further word to my master the king." He said, "Speak on." 13 So the woman said, "Why then have you devised such a thing against the people of God? For in saying this thing, the king is like someone who is guilty, because the king has not brought back home again his banished son. 14 For we all must die, and we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life; instead, he finds a way for those who were driven away to be restored. 15 Now then, seeing that I have come to speak this thing to my master the king, it is because the people have made me afraid. So your servant said to herself, 'I will now speak to the king. It may be that the king will perform the request of his servant. 16 Perhaps the king will listen to me and deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together, out of the inheritance God gave us.' 17 Then your servant prayed, 'Yahweh, please let the word of my master the king give me relief, for as an angel of God, so is my master the king in telling good from evil.' May Yahweh your God be with you."

18 Then the king answered and said to the woman, "Please do not hide from me anything that I will ask you." The woman replied, "Let my master the king now speak." 19 The king said, "Is not the hand of Joab with you in all this?" The woman answered and said, "As you live, my master the king, no one can escape to the right hand or to the left from anything that my master the king has spoken. It was your servant Joab who commanded me and told me to say these things that your servant has spoken. 20 Your servant Joab has done this to change the course of what is happening. My master is wise, like the wisdom of an angel of God, and he knows everything that is happening in the land."

21 So the king said to Joab, "Look now, I will do this thing. Go then, and bring the young man Absalom back." 22 So Joab lay facedown on the ground in honor and gratitude to the king. Joab said, "Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your eyes, my master, king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant." 23 So Joab arose, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 24 The king said, "He may return to his own house, but he may not see my face." So Absalom returned to his own house, but did not see the king's face.

25 Now in all Israel there was no one praised for his handsomeness more than Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the top of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 When he cut the hair of his head at the end of every year, because it was heavy on him, he weighed his hair; it would weigh about two hundred shekels, which is measured by the weight of the king's standard. 27 To Absalom were born three sons and one daughter, whose name was Tamar. She was a beautiful woman.

28 Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without seeing the king's face. 29 Then Absalom sent word for Joab to send him to the king, but Joab would not come to him. So Absalom sent word a second time, but Joab still did not come. 30 So Absalom said to his servants, "See, Joab's field is near mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire." So Absalom's servants set the field on fire. 31 Then Joab arose and came to Absalom at his house, and said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?" 32 Absalom answered Joab, "Look, I sent word to you saying, 'Come here so I may send you to the king to say, "Why did I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to still be there. Now therefore let me see the king's face, and if I am guilty, let him kill me."'" 33 So Joab went to the king and told him. When the king called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed low to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.

Chapter 15

1 It came about after this that Absalom prepared a chariot and horses for himself, with fifty men to run before him. 2 Absalom would get up early and stand beside the road leading to the city gate. When any man had a dispute to come to the king for judgment, Absalom called to him and said, "From what city have you come?" Then the man would answer, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel." 3 So Absalom would say to him, "Look, your case is good and right, but there is no one empowered by the king to hear your case." 4 Absalom added, "I wish that I were made judge in the land, so that every man who had any dispute or cause might come to me, and I would bring him justice!" 5 So it came about that when any man came to Absalom to honor him, Absalom would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Absalom acted in this way to all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

7 It came about at the end of four years that Absalom said to the king, "Please let me go and pay a vow that I have made to Yahweh in Hebron. 8 For your servant made a vow while I was living at Geshur in Aram, saying,' If Yahweh will indeed bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will worship Yahweh.'" 9 So the king said to him, "Go in peace." So Absalom arose and went to Hebron. 10 But then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you must say, 'Absalom is king in Hebron.'" 11 With Absalom went two hundred men from Jerusalem, who were invited. They went in their innocence, not knowing anything that Absalom had planned. 12 While Absalom offered sacrfices, he sent for Ahithophel from his hometown of Giloh. He was David's counselor. Absalom's conspiracy was strong, for the people following Absalom were constantly increasing.

13 A messenger came to David saying, "The hearts of the men of Israel are following after Absalom." 14 So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, "Arise and let us flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Prepare to leave immediately, or he will quickly overtake us, and he will bring down disaster on us and attack the city with the edge of the sword." 15 The king's servants said to the king, "Look, your servants are ready to do whatever our master the king decides." 16 The king left and all his family after him, but the king left ten women, who were concubines, to keep the palace. 17 After the king went out and all the people after him, they stopped at the last house. 18 All his army marched with him, and before him went all the Kerethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites—six hundred men who had followed him from Gath.

19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why will you come with us? Return and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner and an exile. Return to your own place. 20 Since you just left yesterday, why should I make you wander all over with us? I do not even know where I am going. So return and take your fellow countrymen back. May loyalty and faithfulness go with you." 21 But Ittai answered the king and said, "As Yahweh lives, and as my master the king lives, surely in whatever place where my master the king goes, there also will your servant go, whether that means living or dying." 22 So David said to Ittai, "Go ahead and continue with us." So Ittai the Gittite marched with the king, along with all his men and all the families who were with him. 23 All the country wept with a loud voice as all the people passed by over the Kidron Valley, and as the king also himself crossed over. All the people traveled on the road toward the wilderness.

24 Even Zadok with all the Levites, carrying the ark of the covenant of God, were present. They set the ark of God down, and then Abiathar joined them. They waited until all the people had passed by out of the city. 25 The king said to Zadok, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of Yahweh, he will bring me back here and show me again the ark and the place where he lives. 26 But if he says, 'I am not pleased with you,' look, here am I, let him do to me whatever seems good to him." 27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, "Are you not a seer? Return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan son of Abiathar. 28 See, I will wait at the fords of the Arabah until word comes from you to inform me." 29 So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back into Jerusalem, and they stayed there.

30 But David ascended barefoot and weeping up the Mount of Olives, and he had his head covered. Every man of the people who were with him covered his head, and they went up weeping as they walked. 31 Someone told David saying, "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." So David prayed, "O Yahweh, please turn Ahithophel's advice into foolishness." 32 It came about that when David arrived at the top of the road, where God used to be worshiped, Hushai the Arkite came to meet him with his coat torn and earth on his head. 33 David said to him, "If you travel with me, then you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, 'I will be your servant, king, as I have been your father's servant in time past, so will I now be your servant,' then you will confuse Ahithophel's advice for me. 35 Will you not have the priests Zadok and Abiathar with you? So whatever you hear in the king's palace, you must tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 See that they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, and Jonathan, Abiathar's son. You must send to me by their hand everything that you hear." 37 So Hushai, David's friend, came into the city as Absalom arrived and entered into Jerusalem.

Chapter 16

1 When David had gone a short distance over the summit of the hill, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him with a couple of saddled donkeys; on them were two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred clusters of raisins, and one hundred bunches of figs, and a skin of wine. 2 The king said to Ziba, "Why did you bring these things?" Ziba replied, "The donkeys are for the king's household to ride on, the bread and fig cakes are for your men to eat, and the wine is for anyone who is faint in the wilderness to drink." 3 The king said, "Then where is your master's grandson?" Ziba replied to the king, "Look, he has stayed behind in Jerusalem, for he said, 'Today the house of Israel will restore my father's kingdom to me.'" 4 Then the king said to Ziba, "Look, all that belonged to Mephibosheth now belongs to you." Ziba answered, "I bow in humility to you, my master, king. Let me find favor in your eyes."

5 When King David approached Bahurim, there came out from there a man from the clan of Saul, whose name was Shimei son of Gera. He came out cursing as he walked. 6 He threw stones at David and at all of the king's officials, in spite of the army and bodyguards who were on the king's right and left. 7 Shimei called out in cursing, "Go away, get out of here, you villain, you man of blood! 8 Yahweh has repaid all of you for the blood you shed within the family of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. Yahweh has given the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. You have come to ruin because you are a man of blood."

9 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah, said to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my master the king? Please let me go over and take off his head." 10 But the king said, "What have I to do with you, sons of Zeruiah? Perhaps he is cursing me because Yahweh has said to him, 'Curse David.' Who then could say to him, 'Why are you cursing the king?'" 11 So David said to Abishai and to all his servants, "Look, my son, who was born from my body, wants to take my life. How much more may this Benjamite now desire my ruin? Leave him alone and let him curse, for Yahweh has commanded him to do it. 12 Perhaps Yahweh will look at the misery unleashed on me, and repay me with good for his cursing me today." 13 So David and his men traveled on the road, while Shimei went beside him up on the hillside, cursing and throwing dust and stones at him as he went. 14 Then the king and all the people who were with him became weary, and he rested when they stopped for the night.

15 As for Absalom and all the men of Israel who were with him, they came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him. 16 It came about when Hushai the Arkite, David's friend, had come to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, "Long live the king! Long live the king!" 17 Absalom said to Hushai, "Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with him?" 18 Hushai said to Absalom, "No! Instead, the one whom Yahweh and this people and all the men of Israel have chosen, that is the man to whom I will belong, and I will stay with him. 19 Also, what man should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father's presence, I will serve in your presence."

20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, "Give us your advice about what we should do." 21 Ahithophel answered Absalom, "Go sleep with your father's slave wives whom he has left to keep the palace, and all Israel will hear that you have become a stench to your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strong." 22 So they spread for Absalom a tent on the top of the palace, and Absalom slept with his father's slave wives in the sight of all Israel. 23 Now the advice of Ahithophel that he gave in those days was as if a man heard from the mouth of God himself. That was how all of Ahithophel's advice was viewed by both David and Absalom.

Chapter 17

1 Then Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Now let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. 2 I will come on him while he is weary and weak and will surprise him with fear. The people who are with him will flee, and I will attack only the king. 3 I will bring back all the people to you, like a bride coming to her husband, and all the people will be at peace under you." 4 What Ahithophel said pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

5 Then Absalom said, "Now call Hushai the Arkite, too, and let us hear what he says." 6 When Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom explained to him what Ahithophel had said and then asked Hushai, "Should we do what Ahithophel has said? If not, tell us what you advise." 7 So Hushai said to Absalom, "The advice that Ahithophel has given this time is not good." 8 Hushai added, "You know your father and his men are strong warriors, and that they are bitter, and they are like a bear robbed of her cubs in a field. Your father is a man of war; he will not sleep with the army tonight. 9 Look, right now he is probably hidden in some pit or in some other place. It will happen that when some of your men have been killed at the beginning of an attack, that whoever hears it will say, 'A slaughter has taken place among the soldiers who follow Absalom.' 10 Then even the bravest soldiers, whose hearts are like the heart of a lion, will be afraid because all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and that the men who are with him are very strong. 11 So I advise you that all Israel should be gathered together to you, from Dan to Beersheba, as numerous as the sands that are by the sea, and that you go to battle in person. 12 Then we will come on him wherever he may be found, and we will cover him as the dew falls on the ground. We will not leave even one of his men, or him himself, alive. 13 If he retreats into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city and we will drag it into the river, until there is no longer even a small stone found there." 14 Then Absalom and the men of Israel said, "Hushai the Arkite's advice is better than Ahithophel's." Yahweh had ordained the rejection of Ahithophel's good advice in order to bring destruction on Absalom.

15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, "Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel in such and such a way, but I have advised something else. 16 Now then, go quickly and report to David; say to him, 'Do not camp tonight at the fords of the Arabah, but by all means cross over, or the king will be swallowed up along with all the people who are with him.'" 17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at the spring of Rogel. A female servant used to go and inform them what they needed to know, for they could not risk being seen going into the city. When the message came, then they were to go and tell King David. 18 But a young man saw them this time and told Absalom. So Jonathan and Ahimaaz went away quickly and came to the house of a man in Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard, into which they descended. 19 The man's wife took the covering for the well and spread it over the well's opening, and tossed grain over it, so no one knew Jonathan and Ahimaaz were in the well. 20 Absalom's men came to the woman of the house and said, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" The woman told them, "They have crossed over the river." So after they had looked around and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.

21 It came about after they had left that Jonathan and Ahimaaz came up out of the well. They went to report to King David; they said to him, "Get up and cross quickly over the water because Ahithophel has given such and such advice about you." 22 Then David arose and all the people who were with him, and they crossed over the Jordan. By morning daylight not one of them had failed to cross over the Jordan. 23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and left. He went home to his own city, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. In this way he died and was buried in the tomb of his father.

24 Then David came to Mahanaim. As for Absalom, he crossed over the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. 25 Absalom had set Amasa over the army instead of Joab. Amasa was the son of Jether the Ishmaelite [1] , who had slept with Abigail, who was the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah, the mother of Joab. 26 Then Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.

27 It came about when David had come to Mahanaim, that Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 28 brought sleeping mats and blankets, bowls and pots, and wheat, barley flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, 29 honey, butter, sheep, and milk curds, so that David and the people with him could eat. These men had said, "The people are hungry, weary, and thirsty in the wilderness."

17:25 [1]Scholars disagree about whether the word describing Jether should be "Ishmaelite" as it is in some ancient Greek versions, or "Israelite" as it is in the ancient Hebrew text. Some scholars believe that "Israelite" is a scribal error in the Hebrew. "Ishmaelite" is the word used in a parallel passage (See: 1 Chron. 2:17), in both the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts.

Chapter 18

1 David counted the soldiers who were with him and appointed captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. 2 Then David sent out the army, one-third under the command of Joab, another third under the command of Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and still another third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the army, "I will certainly go out with you myself, too." 3 But the men said, "You must not go to battle, for if we flee away they will not care about us, or if half of us die they will not care. But you are worth ten thousand of us! Therefore it is better that you be ready to help us from the city." 4 So the king answered them, "I will do whatever seems best to you." The king stood by the city gate while all the army went out by hundreds and by thousands. 5 The king commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man, with Absalom." All the people heard that the king had given the captains this command about Absalom.

6 So the army went out into the countryside against Israel; the battle spread into the forest of Ephraim. 7 The army of Israel was defeated there before the soldiers of David; there was a great slaughter there that day of twenty thousand men. 8 The battle spread throughout the whole countryside, and more men were consumed by the forest than by the sword.

9 Absalom happened to meet some of David's soldiers. Absalom was riding his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak tree, and his head was caught up in the tree branches. He was left dangling between the ground and the sky while the mule he was riding kept going. 10 Someone saw this and told Joab, "Look, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree!" 11 Joab said to the man who told him about Absalom, "Look! You saw him! Why did you not strike him down to the ground? I would have given you ten silver shekels and a belt." 12 The man replied to Joab, "Even if I received a thousand silver shekels, still I would not have reached out my hand against the king's son, because we all heard the king command you, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, 'No one must touch the young man Absalom.' 13 If I had risked my life by a falsehood (and there is nothing hidden from the king), you would have abandoned me." 14 Then Joab said, "I will not wait for you." So Joab took three javelins in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive and hanging from the oak. 15 Then ten young men who carried Joab's armor surrounded Absalom, attacked him, and killed him.

16 Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the army returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab held back the army. 17 They took Absalom and threw him into a large pit in the forest; they buried his body under a very large pile of stones, while all Israel fled, every man to his own home. 18 Now Absalom, while still alive, had built for himself a large stone pillar in the King's Valley, for he said, "I have no son to carry along the memory of my name." He named the pillar after his own name, so it is called Absalom's Monument to this very day.

19 Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, "Let me now run to the king with the good news, how Yahweh has rescued him from the hand of his enemies." 20 Joab answered him, "You will not be the bearer of news today; you must do it another day. Today you will bear no news because the king's son is dead." 21 Then Joab said to a Cushite, "Go, tell the king what you have seen." The Cushite bowed down to Joab, and ran. 22 Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said again to Joab, "Regardless of what may happen, please let me also run and follow the Cushite." Joab replied, "Why do you want to run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?" 23 "Whatever happens," said Ahimaaz, "I will run." So Joab answered him, "Run." Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.

24 Now David was sitting between the inner and outer gates. The watchman had gone up to the roof of the gate to the wall and raised his eyes. As he looked, he saw a man approaching, running alone. 25 The watchman shouted out and told the king. Then the king said, "If he is alone, there is news in his mouth." The runner came closer and neared the city. 26 Then the watchman noticed another man running, and the watchman called to the gatekeeper; he said, "Look, there is another man running alone." The king said, "He is also bringing news." 27 So the watchman said, "I think the running of the man in front is like the running of Ahimaaz son of Zadok." The king said, "He is a good man and is coming with good news."

28 Then Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, "All is well." He bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground and said, "Blessed be Yahweh your God! He has delivered the men who lifted up their hand against my master the king." 29 So the king replied, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent me, the king's servant, to you, king, I saw a great disturbance, but I did not know what it was." 30 Then the king said, "Turn aside and stand here." So Ahimaaz turned aside, and stood still.

31 Immediately then the Cushite arrived and said, "There is good news for my master the king, for Yahweh has avenged you today from all who rose up against you." 32 Then the king said to the Cushite, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" The Cushite answered, "The enemies of my master the king, and all who rise up against you to do harm to you, should be as that young man is." 33 Then the king was deeply unnerved, and he went up to the room over the gate and wept. As he went he grieved, "My son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! I wish I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!"

Chapter 19

1 Joab was told, "Look, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom." 2 So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the army, for the army heard it said that day, "The king is mourning for his son." 3 The soldiers had to sneak quietly into the city that day, like people who are ashamed sneak away when they run from battle. 4 The king covered his face and cried in a loud voice, "My son Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son!" 5 Then Joab entered into the house to the king and said to him, "You have shamed the faces of all your soldiers today, who have saved your life today, and the lives of your sons and of your daughters, and the lives of your wives, and the lives of your slave wives, 6 because you love those who hate you, and you hate those who love you. For today you have shown that commanders and soldiers are nothing to you. Today I believe that if Absalom had lived, and we all had died, then that would have pleased you. 7 Now therefore get up and go out and speak kindly to your soldiers, for I swear by Yahweh, if you do not go, not one man will remain with you tonight. That would be worse for you than all the disasters that have ever happened to you from your youth until now." 8 So the king got up and sat in the city gate, and all the people were told, "Look, the king is sitting in the gate," and all the people came before the king.

So Israel fled, every man to his home. 9 All the people were arguing with each other throughout all the tribes of Israel saying, "The king rescued us out of the hand of our enemies, and he saved us out of the hand of the Philistines, but now he has run out of the land because of Absalom. 10 Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?"

11 King David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests saying, "Speak to the elders of Judah saying, 'Why are you the last to bring the king back to his palace, since the talk of all Israel favors the king, to bring him back to his palace? 12 You are my brothers, my flesh and bone. Why then are you the last to bring back the king?' 13 Then say to Amasa, 'Are you not my flesh and my bone? God do so to me, and more also, if you are not captain of my army from now on in the place of Joab.'" 14 So he won the hearts of all the men of Judah as one man. They sent to the king saying, "Return, you and all your men." 15 So the king returned and came to the Jordan. Now the men of Judah came to Gilgal to go to meet the king and then to bring the king across the Jordan.

16 Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite, who was from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 There were one thousand men from Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of Saul, and his fifteen sons and twenty servants with him. They crossed through the Jordan in the presence of the king. 18 They crossed to bring over the king's family and to do whatever he thought good. Shimei son of Gera bowed down before the king just before he began to cross the Jordan. 19 Shimei said to the king, "Do not, my master, find me guilty or call to mind the wrong your servant did the day my master the king left Jerusalem. Please, may the king not take it to heart. 20 For your servant knows that I have sinned. See, that is why I have come today as the first from all the family of Joseph to come down to meet my master the king."

21 But Abishai son of Zeruiah answered and said, "Should not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed Yahweh's anointed?" 22 Then David said, "What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should today be adversaries to me? Will any man be put to death today in Israel? For do I not know that today I am king over Israel?" 23 So the king said to Shimei, "You will not die." So the king promised him with an oath.

24 Then Mephibosheth son of Saul came down to meet the king. He had not dressed his feet, or trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes from the day the king left until the day he came home in peace. 25 So when he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, "Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?" 26 He answered, "My master the king, my servant deceived me, for I said, 'I will saddle a donkey so I may ride on it and go with the king, because your servant is lame.' 27 My servant Ziba has slandered me, your servant, to my master the king. But my master the king is like an angel of God. Therefore, do what is good in your eyes. 28 For all my father's house were dead men before my master the king, but you set your servant among those who ate at your own table. What right therefore have I that I should still cry any more to the king?" 29 Then the king said to him, "Why explain anything further? I have decided that you and Ziba will divide the fields." 30 So Mephibosheth replied to the king, "Yes, let him take it all, since my master the king has come safely to his own home."

31 Then Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim to cross over the Jordan with the king, and he accompanied the king over the Jordan. 32 Now Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years old. He had furnished the king with provisions while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 33 The king said to Barzillai, "Come over with me, and I will provide for you to stay with me in Jerusalem." 34 Barzillai replied to the king, "How many days are left in the years of my life, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35 I am eighty years old. Can I distinguish between good and bad? Can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be a burden to my master the king? 36 Your servant would like to just go over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king repay me with such a reward? 37 Please let your servant return back home, so I may die in my own city by the grave of my father and my mother. But see, here is your servant Kimham. Let him cross over with my master the king, and do for him what seems good to you." 38 The king answered, "Kimham will go over with me, and I will do for him what seems good to you, and whatever you desire from me, I do that for you." 39 Then all the people crossed the Jordan, and the king crossed over, and the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Then Barzillai returned to his own home.

40 So the king crossed over to Gilgal, and Kimham crossed over with him. All the army of Judah brought the king over, and also half the army of Israel. 41 Soon all the men of Israel began to come to the king and say to the king, "Why have our brothers, the men of Judah, stolen you away and brought the king and his family over the Jordan, and all David's men with him?" 42 So the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, "It is because the king is more closely related to us. Why then are you angry about this? Have we eaten anything that the king had to pay for? Has he given us any gifts?" 43 The men of Israel answered the men of Judah, "We have ten tribes related to the king, so we have even more right to David than you. Why then did you despise us? Was not our proposal to bring back our king the first to be heard?" But the words of the men of Judah were even more harsh than the words of the men of Israel.

Chapter 20

1 There also happened to be at the same place a troublemaker whose name was Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite. He blew the trumpet and said, "We have no part in David, neither have we any inheritance in the son of Jesse. Let every man go back to his home, Israel." 2 So all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bikri. But the men of Judah followed closely their king, from the Jordan all the way to Jerusalem.

3 When David came to his palace at Jerusalem, he took the ten slave wives whom he had left to keep the palace, and he put them in a house under guard. He provided for their needs, but he did not sleep with them any longer. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living as if they were widows.

4 Then the king said to Amasa, "Call the men of Judah together within three days; you must be here, too." 5 So Amasa went to call Judah, but he was delayed beyond the time that the king had allotted for him. 6 So David said to Abishai, "Now Sheba son of Bikri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your master's servants, my soldiers, and pursue after him, or he will find fortified cities and escape out of our sight." 7 Then Joab's men went out after him, along with the Kerethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty warriors. They left Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bikri. 8 When they were at the great stone which is at Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing the battle armor that he had put on, which included a belt around his waist with a sheathed sword fastened to it. As he walked forward, the sword fell out. 9 So Joab said to Amasa, "Is it well with you, my cousin?" Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 Amasa did not notice the dagger that was in Joab's left hand. Joab stabbed Amasa in the stomach and his bowels spilled out to the ground. Joab did not strike him again, and Amasa died.

So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba son of Bikri. 11 Then one of Joab's men stood by Amasa, and the man said, "He who favors Joab, and he who is for David, let him follow Joab." 12 Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the road. When the man saw that all the people stood still, he carried Amasa off of the road and into a field. He threw a garment over him because he saw that everyone who came by him stood still. 13 After Amasa was taken off the road, all the men followed on after Joab in pursuit of Sheba son of Bikri.

14 Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth Maacah, and through all the land of the Bikrites, who gathered together and also pursued Sheba. 15 They caught up with him and besieged him in Abel of Beth Maacah. They built up a siege ramp against the city against the wall. All the army who were with Joab battered the wall to knock it down. 16 Then a wise woman cried out of the city, "Listen, please listen, Joab! Come near me so I may speak with you." 17 So Joab came near to her, and the woman said, "Are you Joab?" He answered, "I am." Then she said to him, "Listen to the words of your servant." He answered, "I am listening." 18 Then she spoke, "They used to say in old times, 'Surely seek advice at Abel,' and that advice would end the matter. 19 We are a city that is one of the most peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the inheritance of Yahweh?" 20 So Joab answered and said, "Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy. 21 That is not true. But a man from the hill country of Ephraim, named Sheba son of Bikri, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city." The woman said to Joab, "His head will be thrown to you over the wall." 22 Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. They cut off the head of Sheba son of Bikri, and threw it out to Joab. Then he blew the trumpet and Joab's men left the city, every man to his home. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.

23 Now Joab was over all the army of Israel, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and over the Pelethites. 24 Adoniram was over the men who did forced labor, and Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the recorder. 25 Sheva was scribe and Zadok and Abiathar were priests. 26 Ira the Jairite was chief minister to David.

Chapter 21

1 There was a famine in David's time for three years in a row, and David sought the face of Yahweh. So Yahweh said, "This famine is on you because of Saul and his murderous family, because he put the Gibeonites to death." 2 Now the Gibeonites were not from the people of Israel; they were from what remained of the Amorites. The people of Israel had sworn not to kill them, but Saul tried to kill them all anyway in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah. 3 So King David called together the Gibeonites and said to them, "What should I do for you? How can I make atonement, so that you may bless the people of Yahweh, who inherit his goodness and promises?" 4 The Gibeonites responded to him, "It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his family. In the same way it is not for us to put to death any man in Israel." David replied, "What are you saying that I should do for you?" 5 They answered the king, "The man who tried to kill us all, who schemed against us, so that we are now destroyed and have no place within the borders of Israel— 6 let seven men from his descendants be handed over to us, and we will hang them before Yahweh in Gibeah of Saul, the one chosen by Yahweh." So the king said, "I will give them to you."

7 But the king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan son of Saul, because of Yahweh's oath between them, between David and Jonathan son of Saul. 8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, sons whom she bore to Saul—the two sons were named Armoni and Mephibosheth; and David also took the five sons of Merab [1] daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 9 He handed them over into the hands of the Gibeonites. They hanged them on the mountain before Yahweh, and they died all seven together. They were put to death during the time of harvest, during the first days at the beginning of barley harvest.

10 Then Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the mountain beside the dead bodies, from the beginning of harvest until the rain poured down on them from the sky. She did not allow the birds of the sky to disturb the bodies by day or the wild animals by night. 11 It was told to David what Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, the slave wife of Saul, had done.

12 So David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh Gilead, who had stolen them from the public square of Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, after the Philistines had killed Saul in Gilboa. 13 David took away from there the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son, and they gathered the bones of the seven men who had been hanged, as well. 14 They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of Kish his father. They performed all that the king commanded. After that God answered their prayers for the land.

15 Then the Philistines went to war again with Israel. So David went down with his army and fought against the Philistines. David was overcome with battle fatigue. 16 Ishbi-Benob, a descendant of the giants, whose bronze spear weighed three hundred shekels, and who was armed with a new sword, intended to kill David. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah rescued David, attacked the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, "You must not go to battle anymore with us, so that you do not put out the lamp of Israel."

18 It came about after this that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob, when Sibbekai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was one of the descendants of the Rephaim. [2] 19 It came about again in a battle with the Philistines at Gob, that Elhanan son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. 20 It came about in another battle at Gath that there was a man of great height who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number. He also was descended from the Rephaim. 21 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David's brother, killed him. 22 These were descendants of the Rephaim of Gath, and they were killed by the hand of David and by the hand of his soldiers.

21:8 [1]Some versions read: Michal,but 2SA 6:23 says she had no children; or Michal may have been another name for Merab.
21:18 [2]Instead of Gob in the Hebrew text, some versions have Gezeth or Gezer .

Chapter 22

1 David sang to Yahweh the words of this song on the day that Yahweh rescued him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul. 2 He prayed,

     "Yahweh is my rock, my fortress, the one who rescues me.

     3 God is my rock. I take refuge in him.

     He is my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, and my refuge,

     the one who saves me from violence.

     4 I will call on Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised,

     and I will be saved from my enemies.

     5 For the waves of death surrounded me,

     the rushing waters of destruction overwhelmed me.

     6 The cords of Sheol surrounded me;

     the snares of death trapped me.

     7 In my distress I called to Yahweh;

     I called to my God;

     he heard my voice from his temple,

     and my call for help went into his ears.

     8 Then the earth shook and trembled.

     The foundations of the heavens trembled

     and were shaken, because God was angry.

     9 Smoke went up from out of his nostrils,

     and blazing fire came out of his mouth.

     Coals were ignited by it.

     10 He opened the heavens and came down,

     and thick darkness was under his feet.

     11 He rode on a cherub and flew.

     He was seen on the wings of the wind. [1]

     12 He made darkness a tent around him,

     gathering heavy rain clouds in the skies.

     13 From the lightning before him

     coals of fire fell.

     14 Yahweh thundered from the heavens.

     The Most High shouted.

     15 He shot arrows and scattered his enemies—

     lightning bolts and dispersed them.

     16 Then the channels of the sea were seen;

     the foundations of the world were laid bare

     at the rebuke of Yahweh,

     at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.

     17 He reached down from above; he took hold of me!

     He pulled me out of the surging water.

     18 He rescued me from my strong enemy,

     from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.

     19 They came against me on the day of my distress,

     but Yahweh was my support.

     20 He also brought me out to a wide open place.

     He saved me because he was pleased with me.

     21 Yahweh has rewarded me to the measure of my righteousness;

     he has restored me to the measure of the cleanness of my hands.

     22 For I have kept the ways of Yahweh

     and have not acted wickedly by turning from my God.

     23 For all his righteous decrees have been before me;

     as for his statutes, I have not turned away from them.

     24 I have also been innocent before him,

     and I have kept myself from sin.

     25 Therefore Yahweh has restored me to the measure of my righteousness,

     to the degree of my cleanness in his sight.

     26 To one who is faithful, you show yourself to be faithful;

     to a man who is blameless, you show yourself to be blameless.

     27 With the pure you show yourself pure,

     but you are perverse to the twisted.

     28 You save afflicted people,

     but your eyes are against the proud, and you bring them down.

     29 For you are my lamp, Yahweh.

     Yahweh lights up my darkness.

     30 For by you I can run over a barricade;

     by my God I can leap over a wall.

     31 As for God, his way is perfect.

     The word of Yahweh is pure.

     He is a shield to everyone who takes refuge in him.

     32 For who is God except Yahweh,

     and who is a rock except our God?

     33 God is my refuge,

     and he leads the blameless person on his path.

     34 He makes my feet swift like a deer

     and places me on the high hills.

     35 He trains my hands for war,

     and my arms to bend a bow of bronze.

     36 You have given me the shield of your salvation,

     and your favor has made me great.

     37 You have made a wide place for my feet beneath me,

     so my feet have not slipped.

     38 I pursued my enemies and destroyed them.

     I did not turn back until they were destroyed.

     39 I devoured them and smashed them; they cannot rise.

     They have fallen under my feet.

     40 You put strength on me like a belt for battle;

     you put under me those who rise up against me.

     41 You gave me the back of my enemies' necks;

     I annihilated those who hated me.

     42 They cried for help, but no one saved them;

     they cried out to Yahweh, but he did not answer them.

     43 I beat them into fine pieces like dust on the ground,

     I pulverized them like mud in the streets.

     44 You also have rescued me from the disputes of my own people.

     You have kept me as the head of nations.

     A people that I have not known serves me.

     45 Foreigners were forced to bow to me.

     As soon as they heard of me, they obeyed me.

     46 The foreigners came trembling out of their strongholds.

     47 Yahweh lives! May my rock be praised.

     May God be exalted, the rock of my salvation.

     48 This is the God who executes vengeance for me,

     the one who brings down peoples under me.

     49 He sets me free from my enemies.

     Indeed, you lifted me up above those who rose up against me.

     You rescue me from violent men.

     50 Therefore I will give thanks to you, Yahweh, among the nations;

     I will sing praises to your name.

     51 God gives great victory to his king,

     and he shows his covenant loyalty to his anointed one,

     to David and to his descendants forever."

22:11 [1]Some versions have, He flew on the wings of the wind .

Chapter 23

1 Now these are the last words of David—

     David son of Jesse,

     the man who was highly honored,

     the one anointed by the God of Jacob,

     the sweet psalmist of Israel.

     2 "The Spirit of Yahweh spoke by me,

     and his word was on my tongue.

     3 The God of Israel spoke,

     the Rock of Israel said to me,

     'The one who rules righteously over men,

     who rules in the fear of God.

     4 He will be like the morning light when the sun rises,

     a morning without clouds,

     when the tender grass springs up from the earth

     through bright sunshine after rain.

     5 Indeed, is my family not like this before God?

     Has he not made an everlasting covenant with me,

     ordered and sure in every way?

     Does he not increase my salvation and fulfill my every desire?

     6 But the worthless will all be like thorns to be thrown away,

     because they cannot be gathered by one's hands.

     7 The man who touches them

     must use an iron tool or the shaft of a spear.

     They must be burned up where they lie.'"

8 These are the names of David's mighty men: Jeshbaal the Hachmonite was the leader of the mighty men. He killed eight hundred men on one occasion. [1]

9 After him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men. He was with David when they taunted the Philistines who had gathered together to do battle, and when the men of Israel had retreated. 10 Eleazar stood and fought the Philistines until his hand became weary and his hand stiffened to the grip of his sword. Yahweh brought about a great victory that day. The army returned after Eleazar, only to strip the bodies.

11 After him was Shammah son of Agee, a Hararite. The Philistines gathered together where there was a field of lentils, and the army fled from them. 12 But Shammah stood in the middle of the field and defended it. He killed the Philistines, and Yahweh brought about a great victory.

13 Three of the thirty soldiers went down to David at harvest time, to the cave of Adullam. The army of the Philistines was camped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 At that time David was in his stronghold, a cave, while the Philistines had established at Bethlehem. 15 David was longing for water and said, "If only someone would give me water to drink from the well at Bethlehem, the well that is by the gate!" 16 So these three mighty men broke through the army of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, the well at the gate. They took the water and brought it to David, but he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out to Yahweh. 17 Then he said, "Yahweh, far be it from me, that I should do this. Should I drink the blood of men who have risked their lives?" So he refused to drink it.

These things were done by the three mighty.

18 Abishai, brother of Joab and son of Zeruiah, was captain over the three. He once fought with his spear against three hundred men and killed them. He was often mentioned along with the three soldiers. 19 Was he not even more famous than the three? He was made their captain. However, his fame did not equal the fame of the three most famous soldiers.

20 Benaiah from Kabzeel was the son of Jehoiada; he was a strong man who did mighty feats. He killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down into a pit and killed a lion while it was snowing. 21 Then he killed a very large Egyptian man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but Benaiah fought against him with only a staff. He seized the spear out of the Egyptian's hand and then killed him with his own spear. 22 Benaiah son of Jehoiada did these feats, and he was named alongside the three mighty men. 23 He was more highly regarded than the thirty soldiers in general, but he was not regarded quite as highly as the three mighty men. Yet David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

24 The thirty included the following men: Asahel brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem, 25 Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite, 26 Helez the Paltite, Ira son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, 27 Abiezer the Anathothite, Sibbekai [2] the Hushathite, 28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite; 29 Heleb son of Baanah, the Netophathite, Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah of the Benjamites, 30 Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the valleys of Gaash. 31 Abi-Albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite, 32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan son of Shammah the Hararite; 33 Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite, 34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maakathite, Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, 35 Hezro the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite, 36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah, Bani from the tribe of Gad, 37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armor bearer to Joab son of Zeruiah, 38 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, 39 Uriah the Hittite—thirty-seven in all.

23:8 [1]Instead of Jeshbaal , some versions have Josheb-Basshebeth , Jashobeam , Ishbaal , or Ishbosheth . These all are probably forms of the same name.
23:27 [2]Some LXX manuscripts have the name Sibbekai,see also 2SA 21:18 and 1CH 11:29. The Hebrew text has Mebunnai .

Chapter 24

1 Again the anger of Yahweh was ignited against Israel, and he moved David against them saying, "Go, count Israel and Judah." 2 The king said to Joab the commander of the army, who was with him, "Go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count all the people, so that I may know the total number of men fit for battle." 3 Joab said to the king, "May Yahweh your God multiply the number of people a hundred times, and may the eyes of my master the king see it take place. But why does my master the king want this?" 4 Nevertheless, the king's word was final against Joab and against the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders went out from the king's presence to count the people of Israel. 5 They crossed over the Jordan and encamped near Aroer, south of the city in the valley. Then they traveled on through Gad to Jazer. 6 They came to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim Hodshi, then on to Dan Jaan and around toward Sidon. 7 They reached the stronghold of Tyre and all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Then they went out to the Negev in Judah at Beersheba. 8 When they had gone throughout all the land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9 Then Joab reported the total of the count of the fighting men to the king. There were in Israel 800,000 brave men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were 500,000 men.

10 Then David's heart afflicted him after he had counted the men. So he said to Yahweh, "I have greatly sinned by doing this. Now, Yahweh, take away your servant's guilt, for I have acted very foolishly." 11 When David rose up in the morning, the word of Yahweh came to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, 12 "Go say to David: 'This is what Yahweh says: "I am giving you three choices. Choose one of them."'" 13 So Gad went to David and said to him, "Will three years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months from your enemies while they pursue you? Or will there be three days of plague in your land? Now decide what answer I should return to him who sent me." 14 Then David said to Gad, "I am in deep trouble. Let us fall into Yahweh's hands rather than into the hand of man, for his merciful actions are very great."

15 So Yahweh sent a plague on Israel from the morning to a fixed time, and seventy thousand people died from Dan to Beersheba. 16 When the angel reached out with his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, Yahweh changed his mind because of the harm it would cause, and he said to the angel who was destroying people, "Enough! Now draw back your hand." At that time the angel of Yahweh was standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 Then David spoke to Yahweh when he saw the angel who had attacked the people, and said, "I have sinned, and I have acted perversely. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand punish me and my father's family!"

18 Then Gad came that day to David and said to him, "Go up and build an altar for Yahweh at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." 19 So David went up as Gad instructed him to do, as Yahweh had commanded. 20 Araunah looked out and saw the king and his servants approaching. So Araunah went out and bowed to the king with his face to the ground. 21 Then Araunah said, "Why has my master the king come to me, his servant?" David replied, "To buy your threshing floor, so I can build an altar for Yahweh, so that the plague may be removed from the people." 22 Araunah said to David, "Take it as your own, my master the king. Do with it what is good in your sight. Look, here are oxen for the burnt offering and threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. 23 All this, my king, I, Araunah, will give to you." Then he said to the king, "May Yahweh your God accept you." 24 The king said to Araunah, "No, I insist on buying it at a price. I will not offer as a burnt offering to Yahweh anything that costs me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 David built an altar for Yahweh there and offered on it burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. So Yahweh answered the prayer on behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was confined.