The Death of Absalom
1And David numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. 2And David sent forth a third part of the people under the hand of Jo´ab, and a third part under the hand of Ab´ishai the son of Zeru-i´ah, Jo´ab's brother, and a third part under the hand of It´tai the Gittite. And the king said unto the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also. 3But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou succor us out of the city. 4And the king said unto them, What seemeth you best I will do. And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands. 5And the king commanded Jo´ab and Ab´ishai and It´tai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Ab´salom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Ab´salom.
6So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of E´phra-im; 7where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men. 8For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
9And Ab´salom met the servants of David. And Ab´salom 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 between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away. 10And a certain man saw it, and told Jo´ab, and said, Behold, I saw Ab´salom hanged in an oak. 11And Jo´ab said unto the man that told him, And, behold, thou sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and I would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and a girdle. 12And the man said unto Jo´ab, Though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in mine hand, yet would I not put forth mine hand against the king's son: for in our hearing the king charged thee and Ab´ishai and It´tai, saying, Beware that none touch the young man Ab´salom. 13Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against mine own life: for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against me. 14Then said Jo´ab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Ab´salom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. 15And ten young men that bare Jo´ab's armor compassed about and smote Ab´salom, and slew him.
16And Jo´ab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Jo´ab held back the people. 17And they took Ab´salom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent. 18Now Ab´salom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale: 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 unto this day, Ab´salom's place.
19Then said Ahim´a-az the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how that the Lord hath avenged him of his enemies. 20And Jo´ab said unto him, Thou shalt not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt bear tidings another day: but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king's son is dead. 21Then said Jo´ab to Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast seen. And Cushi bowed himself unto Jo´ab, and ran. 22Then said Ahim´a-az the son of Zadok yet again to Jo´ab, But howsoever, let me, I pray thee, also run after Cushi. And Jo´ab said, Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing that thou hast no tidings ready? 23But howsoever, said he, let me run. And he said unto him, Run. Then Ahim´a-az ran by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi.
24And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone. 25And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth. And he came apace, and drew near. 26And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called unto the porter, and said, Behold another man running alone. And the king said, He also bringeth tidings. 27And the watchman said, Methinketh the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahim´a-az the son of Zadok. And the king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings.
28And Ahim´a-az called, and said unto the king, All is well. And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, Blessed be the Lord thy God, which hath delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king. 29And the king said, Is the young man Ab´salom safe? And Ahim´a-az answered, When Jo´ab sent the king's servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was. 30And the king said unto him, Turn aside, and stand here. And he turned aside, and stood still.
31And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the Lord hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee. 32And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Ab´salom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is. 33And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Ab´salom! my son, my son Ab´salom! would God I had died for thee, O Ab´salom, my son, my son!