1And it came to pass after this that Absalom prepared himself chariots and horses and fifty men to run before him.2And Absalom rose up early and stood beside the way of the gate; and when anyone that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto them and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy slave is of one of the tribes of Israel.3And Absalom would say unto them, See, thy matters are good and just; but there is no one delegated by the king to hear thee.4And Absalom would say, Oh, that I were made judge in the land, that everyone who has any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!5And it was so, that when anyone came near unto him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand and took him and kissed him.6And Absalom did according to this manner with all Israel that came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole the hearts of those of Israel.
7And at the end of a predetermined period of forty years, it came to pass that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go to Hebron and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord.8For thy slave vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.9And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose and went to Hebron.10But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the shofar, then ye shall say, Absalom reigns in Hebron.11And two hundred men of Jerusalem went with Absalom, that were invited by him, and they went in their integrity, without knowing anything.12Absalom also sent for Ahithophel, the Gilonite, of David’s counsel, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong, for the people increased continually with Absalom.
13And the word came to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.14Then David said unto all his slaves that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee, for we shall not otherwise escape from Absalom; make speed to depart lest he overtake us suddenly and bring evil upon us and smite the city with the edge of the sword.15And the king’s slaves said unto the king, Behold, thy slaves are ready to do whatever my lord the king shall choose.16And the king went forth and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, who were concubines, to keep the house.17And the king went forth and all the people after him and stopped in a place that was far off.18And all his slaves passed to his side, and all the Cherethites and all the Pelethites and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had come on foot with him from Gath, went before the king.19Then the king said to Ittai, the Gittite, Why dost thou also go with us? Return to thy place and abide with the king; for thou art a stranger and also an exile.20Whereas thou didst come but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? Seeing I go where I go, return thou and take back thy brethren; mercy and truth are in thee.21And Ittai answered the king and said, As the Lord lives and as my lord the king lives, for life or for death, wherever my lord the king shall be, there also will thy slave be.22Then David said to Ittai, Go, therefore, and pass. And Ittai, the Gittite, passed and all his men and all the little ones that were with him.23And all those of the land wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed the brook Kidron; and then the king also passed, and all the people passed unto the way of the wilderness.
24And behold Zadok also and with him all the Levites who bore the ark of the covenant of God, and they set down the ark of God. And Abiathar went up after all the people had finished leaving the city.25But the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city; if I shall find grace in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again and show me both it and his tabernacle.26But if he should say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here I am, let him do to me as seems good unto him.27The king said also unto Zadok, the priest, Art not thou a seer? Return into the city in peace and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz, thy son, and Jonathan, the son of Abiathar.28See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness until you send word to me.29Then Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem, and they remained there.30And David went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet and wept as he went up and had his head covered, and he went barefoot. And all the people that were with him covered each one his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.
31And it was told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. Then David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into folly.32And it came to pass that when David came to the top of the mount to worship God there, behold, Hushai, the Archite came to meet him, with his coat rent and earth upon his head,33Unto whom David said, If thou pass on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me;34but if thou return to the city and say unto Absalom, I will be thy slave, O king as I have been thy father’s slave until now, so will I now also be thy slave; then thou may defeat the counsel of Ahithophel for me.35Are not Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, there with thee? Therefore, it shall be that whatever thou shalt hear out of the king’s house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests.36Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send unto me everything that you hear.37So Hushai, David’s special companion came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.