THE SECOND BOOK OF
2 Samuel 18 ©
David numbered his men and puts the battle in array, but himself (at the people’s request) tarries at Mahanaim, v. 1. etc. Gives orders to spare Absalom, 5. Absalom’s men are smitten and Absalom himself, hanging on an oak by his long hair, is thrust through by Joab and cast into a pit, a great heap of stones being laid upon it, 7. Of Absalom’s pillar, which, in his lifetime, he had caused to be set up for his monument, 8. Ahimaaz and Cushi bring David tidings, 19. Who makes much lamentation for Absalom, 33.
AND David numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.
And David sent forth a third part of the people under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third part under the hand of 1Ittai the Gittite. And the king said unto the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also.
But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not 2care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: 3but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou 4succour us out of the 5city.
And the king said unto them, What seemeth you 6best I will do. And the king stood 7by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands.
And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.
¶So the people went out into the field against 8Israel: and the battle was in the 9wood of Ephraim;
Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of 10twenty thousand men.
For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood 11devoured 12more people that day than the sword devoured.
¶And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the 13thick boughs of a great oak, and 14his head caught hold of the oak, and he 15was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.
And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak.
And Joab said unto the man that told him, And, behold, thou sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and I would have given thee ten 16shekels of silver, and a girdle.
And the man said unto Joab, Though I should 17receive a thousand shekels of silver in mine hand, yet would I not put forth mine hand against the king's son: for in our hearing the king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, 18Beware that none touch 19the young man Absalom.
20Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against mine own life: for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thy-self wouldest have set thyself 21against me.
Then said Joab, 22I may not tarry 23thus with thee. And he took three 24darts in his hand, and thrust them through the 25heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in 26the midst of the oak.
And ten young men that bare Joab's armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him.
And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people.
And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great 27heap of stones upon him: and all 28Israel fled every one to his 29tent.
¶Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the 30king’s dale: for he said, I have 31no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom’s 32place.
¶Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how that the LORD hath 33avenged him of his enemies.
And Joab said unto him, Thou shalt not bear 34tidings this day, but thou shalt bear tidings another day: but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, 35because the king's son is dead.
Then said Joab to 36Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast seen. And Cushi bowed himself unto Joab, and ran.
Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, 37But howsoever, let me, I pray thee, also run after Cushi. And Joab said, Wherefore wilt thou run, my 38son, seeing that thou hast no 39tidings ready?
But howsoever, said 40he, let me run. And 41he said unto him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and overrana Cushi.
And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone.
And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth. And 42he came apace, and drew near.
And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called unto the porter, and said, Behold another man running alone. And the king said, He also bringeth tidings.
And the watchman said, Me thinketh the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings.
And Ahimaaz called, and said unto the king, 43All is well. And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, 44Blessed be the LORD thy God, which hath 45delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king.
And the king said, 46Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz 47answered, When Joab sent the king’s 48servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great 49tumult, but I knew not what it was.
And the king said unto him, Turn aside, and stand here. And he turned aside, and stood still.
And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the LORD hath 50avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee.
And the king said unto Cushi, 51Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is.
¶And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he 52said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! 53would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!