King David Weeps for Absalom
1And it was told to Joab that the king was weeping and he mourned over Absalom, 2so the victory turned to mourning on that day for all the army, because they had heard that day, “The king is grieving over his son.” 3The army came secretly#Literally “stole secretly to come” into the city on that day because the army was disgraced when they fled in the battle, 4and because the king had covered his face and cried with a loud voice, “My son, Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son.”
5Then Joab came to the king’s house and said, “Today you have humiliated the faces of all of your servants who have saved your life this day, and the life of your sons and your daughters, the life of your wives, and the life of your concubines, 6by loving those who hate you and hating those who love you. Indeed, you have made clear this day that you have no regard for your commanders or officers, for I have realized today that were Absalom alive, and all of us were dead, then that would have been right in your eyes! 7So then, get up and go out and speak kindly to your servants,#Literally “speak to the heart of your servants” for I swear by Yahweh, if you do not go out, no man will lodge this night with you, and this disaster will be greater for you than any disaster that has come upon you from your childhood until now!” 8So the king got up and he sat in the gate, and they told all the army, “Look, the king is sitting in the gate.” Then all the army came before the king; whereas all of Israel had fled, each to his tent.
David Returns from Exile
9Then it happened that all the people were disputing among all the tribes of Israel, saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies, and he saved us from the hand of the Philistines, but now he has fled from the land because of Absalom. 10Now Absalom whom we anointed as king over us has died in the battle; so then, why are you taking no action to restore the king?” 11Then King David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, “Speak to the elders of Judah: ‘Why are you last to bring back the king to his house? The talk of all Israel has come to the king in his house. 12My brothers, you are my bones and you are my flesh. Why should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13To Amasa you shall say: ‘Are you not my bones and my flesh? May God punish me#Literally “Thus may God do to me and thus may he add” if you are not the commander of my army before me forever, in place of Joab.’ ” 14So he turned the heart of all the men of Judah as one man, and they sent word to the king, “Return, you and all your servants.”
15Then the king returned and he came to the Jordan; Judah had come to Gilgal to come to meet the king, to bring the king over the Jordan. 16Then Shimei the son of Gera, the son of the Benjaminite, who was from Bahurim quickly came down with the men of Judah to meet King David, 17and a thousand men were with him from Benjamin. Too, Ziba the servant of the household of Saul and fifteen of his sons and twenty of his servants were with him, and they rushed to the Jordan before the king. 18The crossing took place#Literally “And the ford crossed” to bring the household of the king over and to do good in his eyes. Then Shimei the son of Gera fell before the king when he crossed over the Jordan, 19and he said to the king, “May not my lord hold me guilty, and may you not remember how your servant did wrong on the day that my lord the king went out from Jerusalem, by taking it to heart! 20For your servant knows that I have sinned; look, I have come this day as the first of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.” 21Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah responded and said, “Because of this, should not Shimei be put to death, for he cursed the anointed one of Yahweh?” 22Then David said, “What is it to me or to you, sons of Zeruiah, that you should be an adversary today? Should anyone be put to death in Israel? Do I not know today that I am king over Israel?” 23Then the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die,” and so the king swore to him.
24Now, Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king; he had not taken care of his feet nor trimmed his moustache nor washed his clothes from the day the king left until the day he came back in peace. 25It happened that when he came to Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, “Why did you not come with me, Mephibosheth?” 26Then he said, “My lord the king, my servant deceived me, for your servant had said, ‘Let me saddle the donkey that I may ride on her and go with the king,’ for your servant is lame. 27But he slandered against your servant to my lord the king. My lord the king is like the angel of God; do as you see fit..”#Literally “do the good in your eyes” 28For there was no one in all the house of my father who were not doomed to death#Literally “except men of death” before my lord the king, but you set your servant among those who eat at your table. Do I have any righteousness any longer except to cry out to the king?” 29Then the king said to him, “Why should you speak any more about the matter? I have decided: you and Ziba shall divide the land.” 30Then Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him take the whole thing, since my lord the king has come safely#Literally “in peace” to his house.”
31Then Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim and crossed with the king over the Jordan to escort him through the Jordan. 32Now Barzillai was very old, eighty years old.#Literally “a son of eighty years” Now he had provided the king with food while he was staying at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 33The king said to Barzillai, “You cross over with me, and I will provide for you to dwell with me in Jerusalem.” 34Then Barzillai said to the king, “What are the days of the years of my life, that I should go with the king to Jerusalem? 35I am eighty years old today. Can I discern between good and bad? Or can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Or can I still hear the voice of singing men and women? Why should your servant be a burden any longer to my lord the king? 36Your servant shall go over the Jordan with the king a little way, but why should the king recompense me with this reward? 37Please let your servant return, and let me die in my city in the tomb of my father and my mother. Here is your servant Kimham; let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him that which is good in your eyes.” 38The king said, “Let Kimham go over with me, and I will do for him the good in your eyes, and all that you desire of me I will do for you.”
39Then all the people crossed over the Jordan, and the king crossed and kissed Barzillai and blessed him; then he returned to his place. 40The king went over to Gilgal, and Kimham went over with him. All the people of Judah went over with the king, and half of the people of Israel too. 41Suddenly, all the men of Israel were coming to the king. They said to the king, “Why have our brothers the men of Judah stolen away and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, with all the men of David?” 42Then all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is my close relative! Why are you this angry over this matter? Have we by any means eaten anything from the king? Did we take by any means anything that was not ours?”#Literally “By any means did we eat from the king or by any means was it dragged away for us?” 43Then the people of Israel answered the men of Judah and said, “I have ten times as much#Literally “ten hands” in the king, moreover in David I have more than you. Why did you treat me with contempt by not giving me first chance#Literally “and my word was not the first” to bring back my king?” But the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the word of the men of Israel.