2 Samuel Chapter 17 to 18 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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Ahithophel’s Advice About David

17 Ahithophel also said to Absalom, “Let me now choose 12,000 men. Then I will chase David tonight. 2I will catch him while he is tired and weak. I will scare him. And all his people will run away. But I will kill only King David. 3Then I will bring all the people back to you. If David is dead, then all the people will come back in peace.” 4This plan seemed good to Absalom and all the leaders of Israel. 5But Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Arkite. I also want to hear what he says.”

Hushai Ruins Ahithophel’s Advice

6Hushai came to Absalom. Absalom said to Hushai, “This is the plan Ahithophel gave. Should we follow it? If not, tell us.” 7Hushai said to Absalom, “Ahithophel’s advice is not good this time.” 8Hushai added, “You know that your father and his men are strong men. They are as dangerous as a wild bear when something has taken its babies. Your father is a skilled fighter. He will not stay {all night} with the people. 9He is probably already hiding in a cave or some other place. If your father attacks your men first, then people will hear the news. And they will think, ‘Absalom’s followers are losing!’ 10Then even the people who are as brave as a lion will become scared. Why? Because all the Israelites know that your father is a strong fighter and that his men are brave. 11“This is what I suggest: You must gather all the Israelites together from Dan to Beersheba.* Then there will be many people, like the sand by the sea. Then you yourself must go into the battle. 12We will catch David in the place where he is hiding. We will attack David with many soldiers—We will be like the many drops of dew that cover the ground. We will kill David and all of his men. No man will be left alive. 13But if David escapes into a city, then all the Israelites will bring ropes to that city. We will pull down the walls of that city. We will pull them down into the valley. There won’t be even a small stone left {in that city}.” 14Absalom and all the Israelites said, “The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than Ahithophel’s advice.” {They said this} because it was the Lord’s plan. The Lord had planned to make Ahithophel’s good advice useless. That is how the Lord would punish Absalom.

Hushai Sends a Warning to David

15Hushai told those things to the priests, Zadok and Abiathar. Hushai told them about the things that Ahithophel suggested to Absalom and the leaders of Israel. Hushai also told Zadok and Abiathar about the things that he himself had suggested. {Hushai said}, 16“Quickly! Send {a message} to David. Tell him not to stay tonight at the places where people cross into the desert. Tell him to go across the Jordan River at once. If he crosses the river, then the king and all his people will not be caught.” 17{The priests’ sons,} Jonathan and Ahimaaz, waited at En Rogel. They did not want to be seen going into the town, so a servant girl came out to them. She gave them the message. Then Jonathan and Ahimaaz went and told those things to King David. 18But a boy saw Jonathan and Ahimaaz. The boy ran to tell Absalom. Jonathan and Ahimaaz ran away quickly. They arrived at a man’s house in Bahurim. The man had a well in his courtyard.* Jonathan and Ahimaaz went down into this well. 19The man’s wife spread a sheet over the well. Then she covered the well with grain. {The well looked like a pile of grain,} so no person could know {that Jonathan and Ahimaaz were hiding there}. 20Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house. They asked, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” The woman said to Absalom’s servants, “They have already crossed over the brook.” Absalom’s servants then went to look for Jonathan and Ahimaaz. But they could not find them. So Absalom’s servants went back to Jerusalem. 21After Absalom’s servants left, Jonathan and Ahimaaz came up out of the well. They went and told King David. They said to David, “Hurry, go across the river. Ahithophel is planning to do these things against you.” 22Then David and all his people crossed over the Jordan River. Before the sun came up, all of David’s people had already crossed the Jordan River.

Ahithophel Kills Himself

23Ahithophel saw that the Israelites did not accept his advice. Ahithophel put a saddle on his donkey and went back to his home town. He made plans for his family and then he hanged himself. After Ahithophel died, the people buried him in his father’s tomb.*

Absalom Crosses the Jordan River

24David arrived at Mahanaim. Absalom and the Israelites that were with him went across the Jordan River. 25Absalom had made Amasa the new captain of the army. Amasa took Joab’s place.* Amasa was the son of Ithra the Ishmaelite.* Amasa’s mother was Abigail, the daughter of Nahash sister of Zeruiah.* (Zeruiah was Joab’s mother.) 26Absalom and the Israelites made their camp in the land of Gilead.

Shobi, Makir, and Barzillai

27David arrived at Mahanaim. Shobi, Makir, and Barzillai were at that place. (Shobi son of Nahash was from the Ammonite town of Rabbah. Makir son of Ammiel was from Lo Debar. Barzillai was from Rogelim in Gilead.) 28–29Those three men said, “The people in the desert are tired, hungry and thirsty.” So they brought many things to David and the people that were with him. They brought them beds, bowls, and other kinds of dishes. They also brought wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, dried seeds, honey, butter, sheep, and cheese made from cow’s milk.

Dan to Beersheba This means all the people of Israel. Dan was the town farthest north, and Beersheba was in the south. courtyard An open area outside the house. Many houses were built around courtyards so people could work, cook, or eat outside. tomb A cave or a building where dead people are buried. Amasa took Joab’s place Joab still supported David. Joab was one of the three captains in David’s army when David was running away from Absalom. See 2 Sam. 18:2. Ishmaelite The Hebrew has “Israelite,” but see 1 Chron 2:17 and the ancient Greek translation. Amasa’s mother … Zeruiah Literally, “Ithra had sexual relations with Abigail, the daughter of Nahash sister of Zeruiah.”

David Gets the Battle Ready

18 David counted his people. He chose captains over 1,000 and captains over 100 to lead these people. 2{David separated the people into three groups.} And then David sent the people out. Joab led one third of the people. Joab’s brother, Abishai son of Zeruiah led another third of the people. And Ittai from Gath led the last third of the people. King David said to the people, “I will also go with you.” 3But the people said, “No! You must not go with us. Why? Because if we run away in the battle, Absalom’s men will not care. Even if half of us are killed, Absalom’s men will not care. But you are worth 10,000 of us! It is better for you to stay in the city. Then, if we need help, you can help us.” 4The king said to his people, “I will do what you think is best.” Then the king stood at the side of the gate. The army went out. They went out in groups of 100 and 1,000.

“Be Gentle With Young Absalom!”

5The king gave a command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai. He said, “Do this for me: Be gentle with young Absalom!” All the people heard the king’s orders about Absalom to the captains.

David’s Army Defeats Absalom’s Army

6David’s army went out into the field against Absalom’s Israelites. They fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7David’s army defeated the Israelites. There were 20,000 men killed that day. 8The battle spread through all the country. But that day more men died in the forest than by the sword. 9It happened that Absalom met David’s officers. Absalom jumped on his mule and tried to escape. The mule went under the branches of a large oak tree. The branches were thick, and Absalom’s head got caught in the tree. His mule ran out from under him, so Absalom was hanging above the ground.* 10A man saw this happen. He told Joab, “I saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree.” 11Joab said to the man, “Why did you not kill him and let him fall to the ground? I would have given you a belt and ten pieces of silver!” 12The man said to Joab, “I would not try to hurt the king’s son even if you gave me 1,000 {pieces of} silver. Why? Because we heard the king’s command to you, Abishai, and Ittai. The king said, ‘Be careful not to hurt young Absalom.’ 13If I had killed Absalom, the king himself would find out. And you would punish me.” 14Joab said, “I will not waste my time here with you!” Absalom was still alive and hanging in the oak tree. Joab took three spears and threw them at Absalom. The spears went through Absalom’s heart. 15Joab had ten young soldiers who helped him in battle. These ten men gathered around Absalom and killed him. 16Joab blew the trumpet {and called} the people to stop chasing {Absalom’s} Israelites. 17Then Joab’s men took Absalom’s body and threw it into a large hole in the forest. They filled the large hole with many stones. All the Israelites {that followed Absalom} ran away and went home. 18While Absalom was alive he put up a pillar in King’s Valley. Absalom said, “I have no son to keep my name alive.” So he named the pillar after himself. That pillar is called “Absalom’s Monument” even today.

Joab Sends the News to David

19Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said {to Joab}, “Let me now run and bring the news to King David. I’ll tell him the Lord has destroyed the enemy for him.” 20Joab answered Ahimaaz, “No, you will not bring the news {to David} today. You can bring the news another time, but not today. Why? Because the king’s son is dead.” 21Then Joab said to a man from Ethiopia, “Go, tell the king about the things you have seen.” So the Ethiopian bowed to Joab and ran {to tell David}. 22But Ahimaaz son of Zadok begged Joab again, “No matter what happens, please let me also run after the Ethiopian!” Joab said, “Son, why do you want to carry the news? You will not get any reward for the news you bring.” 23Ahimaaz answered, “No matter what happens, I will run {to David}.” Joab said to Ahimaaz, “Fine, run {to David}!” Then Ahimaaz ran through Jordan Valley and passed the Ethiopian.

David Hears the News

24David was sitting between the two gates {of the city}. The watchman went up to the roof over the gate walls. The watchman looked up and saw a man running alone. 25The watchman shouted to tell King David. King David said, “If the man is alone, he is bringing news.” The man came closer and closer to the city. 26The watchman saw another man running. The watchman called to the gatekeeper, “Look! Another man is running alone.” The king said, “He is also bringing news.” 27The watchman said, “I think the first man runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok.” The king said, “Ahimaaz is a good man. He must be bringing good news.” 28Ahimaaz called to the king, “All is fine!” Ahimaaz bowed with his face to the ground in front of the king. Ahimaaz said, “Praise the Lord your God! The Lord has defeated the men who were against you, my lord and king.” 29The king asked, “Is young Absalom all right?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent me, I saw some great excitement. But I don’t know what it was.” 30Then the king said, “Step over here and wait.” Ahimaaz went there and stood there waiting. 31The Ethiopian arrived. He said, “News for my lord and king. Today the Lord has punished the people who were against you!” 32The king asked the Ethiopian, “Is young Absalom all right?” The Ethiopian answered, “I hope your enemies and all people who come against you to hurt you will be {punished} like this young man (Absalom).” 33{Then the king knew Absalom was dead}. The king was very upset. He went up to the room over the gate and cried. He kept crying again and again as he walked to that room. He was saying, “O my son Absalom, my son Absalom! I wish I had died instead of you. O Absalom, my son, my son!”

above the ground Literally, “between heaven and earth.”

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