1. And David numbered the people who were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.
2. And David sent forth a third of the people under the hand of Joab, and a third under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and a third under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I will also surely go forth with you myself.”
3. But the people answered, “You shall not go forth, for if we run away, they will not set their heart on us, even if half of us die; for now you are worth ten thousand of us. And now it is better that you remain to help us from the city.”
4. And the king said to them, “I will do what is good in your eyes.” And the king stood by the side of the gate, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands.
5. And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “For my sake be gentle with the young man, with Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave all the commanders charge concerning Absalom.
6. And the people went out into the field against Israel. And the battle was in the forest of Ephraim.
7. And the people of Israel were killed there before the servants of David. And there was a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand,
8. For the battle was scattered there over the face of all the country. And the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
9. And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak. And his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up hanging between the heaven and the earth. And the mule under him went away.
10. And a certain man saw and told Joab, and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.”
11. And Joab said to the man who told him, “Now, behold, you saw him, and why did you not strike him there to the ground? And I would have given you ten shekels of silver and a girdle.”
12. Then the man said to Joab, “Though I should receive a thousand silverlings in my hand, yet I would not put forth my hand against the king’s son, for in our ears the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Beware you who go against the young man, against Absalom.’
13. Or I would have dealt falsely with my own life, for there is no matter hidden from the king, and you yourself would have set yourself against me.”
14. And Joab said, “I cannot remain here with you.” Then he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the midst of the oak.
15. And ten young men who bore Joab’s armor surrounded and struck Absalom, and killed him.
16. Then Joab blew the ram’s horn, and the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab held back the people.
17. And they took Absalom and threw him into a great pit in the forest. And they laid a very great heap of stones upon him. And all Israel fled, each one to his tent.
18. Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” And he called the pillar after his own name. And it is called Absalom’s monument until this day.
19. Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “And let me run and bear the news to the king, how the LORD has avenged him of his enemies.”
20. And Joab said to him, “You shall not bear news today, but you shall bear good news some other day. But today you shall bear no tidings because the king’s son is dead.”
21. And Joab said to Cushi, “Go tell the king what you have seen.” And Cushi bowed himself to Joab and ran.
22. And Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said yet again to Joab, “Yet whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, since you have no good news ready?”
23. But he said, “Yet whatever happens, let me run!” And he said to him, “Run.” And Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and ran past the Cushite.
24. And David sat between the two gates. And the watchman went up to the roof over the gate to the wall, and lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was running alone.
25. And the watchman cried and told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he came quickly and drew near.
26. Then the watchman saw another man running. And the watchman called to the porter and said, “Behold, another man is running alone.” And the king said, “He also brings news.”
27. And the watchman said, “I see the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man, and comes with good news.”
28. And Ahimaaz called and said to the king, “Peace!” And he fell down upon his face before the king, and said, “Blessed be the LORD your God, Who has delivered up the men who lifted up their hand against my lord the king.”
29. And the king said, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” And Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, and your servant, I saw a great uproar, but I did not know what it was.”
30. And the king said, “Turn aside, stand here.” And he turned aside and stood still.
31. And, behold, Cushi came. And Cushi said, “Good news, my lord the king, for the LORD has avenged you this day of all those who rose up against you.”
32. And the king said to Cushi, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” And Cushi answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise against you to do you hurt, be as the young man.”
33. And the king was much moved, and went up to the room over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said this, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
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