1And Dawiḏ mustered the people who were with him, and set commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds over them.
2And Dawiḏ sent out one third of the people under the hand of Yo’aḇ, and one third under the hand of Aḇishai son of Tseruyah, Yo’aḇ’s brother, and one third under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the sovereign said to the people, “I shall certainly go out with you too.”
3But the people answered, “Do not go out, for if we flee away, they would not set heart upon us. Even if half of us die, they would not set heart upon us. For now, ten thousand are like us. Therefore, it is better for you to support us from the city.”
4And the sovereign said to them, “That which is good in your eyes I do.” And the sovereign stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.
5And the sovereign ordered Yo’aḇ, and Aḇishai and Ittai, saying, “Be gentle with the young man Aḇshalom for my sake.” And all the people heard when the sovereign gave all the commanders orders concerning Aḇshalom.
6So the people went out into the field to meet Yisra’ĕl. And the battle was in the forest of Ephrayim,
7and the people of Yisra’ĕl were smitten there before the servants of Dawiḏ. And the slaughter there that day was great – twenty thousand.
8And the battle there was scattered over the face of all the land, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
9And when Aḇshalom met the servants of Dawiḏ, Aḇshalom was riding on a mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great terebinth tree, and his head caught in the terebinth. And he was suspended between the heavens and earth while the mule which was under him passed on.
10And a certain man saw it and informed Yo’aḇ, and said, “Look, I saw Aḇshalom hanging in a terebinth tree!”
11And Yo’aḇ said to the man who informed him, “Now look, you saw, and why did you not smite him to the earth there? Then I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt.”
12But the man answered Yo’aḇ, “Though I were to receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not raise my hand against the son of the sovereign. Because in our hearing the sovereign ordered you and Aḇishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Take heed, you who go against the youth, against Aḇshalom!’
13“Otherwise I would have been untrue to my own life. For no matter is hidden from the sovereign, and you yourself would have set yourself against me.”
14And Yo’aḇ said, “Let me not waste time here with you.” And he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through Aḇshalom’s heart, while he was still alive in the midst of the terebinth tree.
15And ten young men who bore Yo’aḇ’s armour went around, and smote Aḇshalom and put him to death.
16And Yo’aḇ blew the ram’s horn, and the people returned from pursuing Yisra’ĕl, for Yo’aḇ had held the people back.
17And they took Aḇshalom and threw him into a large pit in the forest, and heaped a very large pile of stones over him. And all Yisra’ĕl fled, each one to his tent.
18And Aḇshalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a monument for himself, which is in the Sovereign’s Valley. For he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” And he called the monument after his own name. And to this day it is called Aḇshalom’s Monument.
19And Aḥima‛ats son of Tsaḏoq said, “Please let me run and take the news to the sovereign, for יהוה has avenged him of his enemies.”
20But Yo’aḇ said to him, “You are not the man to take the news today, but you shall take the news another day. But today you do not take news, because the sovereign’s son is dead.”
21And Yo’aḇ said to the Kushite, “Go, inform the sovereign what you have seen.” And the Kushite bowed himself to Yo’aḇ and ran.
22And Aḥima‛ats son of Tsaḏoq said again to Yo’aḇ, “And whatever might be, please let me also run after the Kushite.” And Yo’aḇ said, “Why would you run, my son, there is no news to bring you reward.”
23“And whatever might be,” he said, “let me run.” So he said to him, “Run.” And Aḥima‛ats ran by the way of the plain, and passed the Kushite.
24Now Dawiḏ was sitting between the two gates. And the watchman went up to the roof over the gate, to the wall, and lifted his eyes and looked and saw a man, running alone.
25So the watchman called out and told the sovereign. And the sovereign said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he came nearer and nearer.
26And the watchman saw another man running, and the watchman called out to the gatekeeper and said, “See, a man, running by himself!” And the sovereign said, “This one is also bringing news.”
27And the watchman said, “I see the running of the first is like the running of Aḥima‛ats son of Tsaḏoq.” And the sovereign said, “This is a good man, and he comes with good news.”
28And Aḥima‛ats called out and said to the sovereign, “Peace!” Then he bowed down with his face to the earth before the sovereign, and said, “Blessed be יהוה your Elohim, who has surrendered the men who raised their hand against my master the sovereign!”
29And the sovereign said, “Peace to the young man, to Aḇshalom?” And Aḥima‛ats answered, “When Yo’aḇ sent the sovereign’s servant and me your servant, I saw a great crowd, but I did not know why.”
30And the sovereign said, “Turn aside and stand here.” And he turned aside and stood still.
31And see, the Kushite came, and the Kushite said, “Receive news, my master the sovereign! For יהוה has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you.”
32And the sovereign said to the Kushite, “Peace to the young man, to Aḇshalom?” And the Kushite answered, “Let the enemies of my master the sovereign, and all who rise against you for evil, be as that young man is!”
33And the sovereign was shaken, and went up to the room over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said this, “O my son Aḇshalom! My son, my son Aḇshalom, if only I had died instead of you! O Aḇshalom my son, my son!”
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