1 Then David numbered F211 the people who were with him and set R524 over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 David sent the people out, one R525 third under the command F212 of Joab, one third under the command F212 of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one third under the command F212 of Ittai R526 the Gittite. And the king said to the people, "I myself will surely go out with you also." 3 But the people said, "You R527 should not go out; for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us; even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But you F213 are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city." 4 Then the king said to them, "Whatever seems best to you I will do." So the R528 king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and thousands. 5 The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." And all R529 the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom.
6 Then the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle took place in the R530 forest of Ephraim. 7 The people of Israel were defeated F214 there before the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, 20,000 men. 8 For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
9 Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. For Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. And his R531 head caught fast in the oak, so he was left F215 hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going. 10 When a certain man saw it, he told Joab and said, "Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak." 11 Then Joab said to the man who had told him, "Now behold, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? And I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt." 12 The man said to Joab, "Even if I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put out my hand against the king's son; for in R532 our hearing the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, `Protect F216 for me the young man Absalom!' 13 "Otherwise, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there R533 is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof." 14 Then Joab said, "I will not waste F217 time here with you." So R534 he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was yet alive in the midst F218 of the oak. 15 And ten young men who carried Joab's armor gathered around and struck Absalom and killed him.
16 Then Joab R535 blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the people. 17 They took Absalom and cast him into a F219 deep pit in the forest and erected R536 over him a very great heap of stones. And all R537 Israel fled, each to his tent. 18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set R538 up for himself a pillar which is in the R539 King's Valley, for he said, "I R540 have no son to F220 preserve my name." So he named the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom's Monument to this day.
David Is Grief-stricken
19 Then Ahimaaz R541 the son of Zadok said, "Please let me run and bring the king news that R542 the LORD has freed F221 him from the hand of his enemies." 20 But Joab said to him, "You are not the man to carry news this day, but you shall carry news another day; however, you shall carry no news today because the king's son is dead." 21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, "Go, tell the king what you have seen." So the Cushite bowed to Joab and ran. 22 Now Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said once more to Joab, "But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite." And Joab said, "Why would you run, my son, since you R543 will have no reward for going?" 23 "But whatever happens," he said, "I will run." So he said to him, "Run." Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and passed up the Cushite.
24 Now David R544 was sitting between the two gates; and the R545 watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and raised his eyes and looked, and behold, a man running by himself. 25 The watchman called and told the king. And the king said, "If he is by himself there is good news in his mouth." And he came nearer and nearer. 26 Then the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, "Behold, another man running by himself." And the king said, "This one also is bringing good news." 27 The watchman said, "I think F222 the running of the first one is R546 like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok." And the king said, "This R547 is a good man and comes with good news."
28 Ahimaaz called and said to the king, "All F223 is well." And he R548 prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, "Blessed R549 is the LORD your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king." 29 The king said, "Is R550 it well with the young man Absalom?" And Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent the king's servant, and your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I R551 did not know what it was." 30 Then the king said, "Turn aside and stand here." So he turned aside and stood still.
31 Behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, "Let my lord the king receive good news, for the R552 LORD has freed F224 you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you." 32 Then the king said to the Cushite, "Is R553 it well with the young man Absalom?" And the Cushite answered, "Let R554 the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be as that young man!"
33 The F225 king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, "O R555 my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would R556 I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"
F211: Lit mustered
F212: Lit hand
F212: Lit hand
F212: Lit hand
F213: So with some ancient versions; M.T. for now there are ten thousand like us
F214: Lit smitten
F215: Lit placed
F216: So with some mss and the ancient versions; M.T. Take care whoever you are of
F217: Lit tarry thus
F218: Lit heart
F219: Lit the great
F220: Lit for the sake of remembering
F221: Lit vindicated
F222: Lit see
F223: Lit Peace
F224: Lit vindicated
F225: Ch 19:1 in Heb
R524: Exodus 18:25; Numbers 31:14; 1 Samuel 22:7
R525: Judges 7:16; 1 Samuel 11:11
R526: 2 Samuel 15:19-22
R527: 2 Samuel 21:17
R528: 2 Samuel 18:24
R529: 2 Samuel 18:12
R530: Joshua 17:15,18; 2 Samuel 17:26
R531: 2 Samuel 14:26
R532: 2 Samuel 18:5
R533: 2 Samuel 14:19,20
R534: 2 Samuel 14:30
R535: 2 Samuel 2:28; 20:22
R536: Deuteronomy 21:20,21; Joshua 7:26; 8:29
R537: 2 Samuel 19:8; 20:1,22
R538: 1 Samuel 15:12
R539: Genesis 14:17
R540: 2 Samuel 14:27
R541: 2 Samuel 15:36
R542: 2 Samuel 18:31
R543: 2 Samuel 18:29
R544: 2 Samuel 19:8
R545: 2 Samuel 13:34; 2 Kings 9:17
R546: 2 Kings 9:20
R547: 1 Kings 1:42
R548: 1 Samuel 25:23; 2 Samuel 14:4
R549: 1 Samuel 17:46
R550: 2 Samuel 20:9; 2 Kings 4:26
R551: 2 Samuel 18:22
R552: Judges 5:31; 2 Samuel 18:19
R553: 2 Samuel 18:29
R554: 1 Samuel 25:26
R555: 2 Samuel 19:4
R556: Exodus 32:32; Romans 9:3