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2 Samuel -- Chapter 6

[15] After a time Absalom acquired a chariot and horses, with fifty men to run ahead of him. He would go and stand by the city gate, and whenever a person came with a complaint for the king he would talk with the person. "Look," he would say. "You have a valid complaint, but there is no representative of the king to hear you. If only I was appointed judge then I would make sure that everyone who has a complaint would receive justice!"

Also, whenever anyone approached to bow down to him Absalom would kiss him, and so he stole the people's hearts.

Then Absalom said to his father, "Let me go to Hebron to fulfill a vow to the lord that I made."

"But of course," his father said. So Absalom went to Hebron.

Then Absalom sent secret messengers throught Israel to say, "When you hear the sound of the trumpet say, "Absalom is king in Hebron." While in Hebron Absalom's conspiracy gained strength, and even David's advisor, Ahithophel, joined with him.

A messenger came to David and said, "The hearts of the people are with Absalom." Then the great and mighty David, who had killed so many Philistines and other ungodly creatures, said, "Come! Let's get out of here or none of us will escape from that kid of mine!"

So David left with his entire household and the people following him, but he left ten of his concubines to take care of the palace. Those concubines were expendable, you know. Besides, he had a lot left from where they came from.

The whole countryside wept as David and the people passed by. Zadok the Levite, with his fellow Levites, were carrying the ark of god. They set it down, and Abiathar the priest killed animals until all the people had left the city. You can't do anything important without killing those animals, you know.

Then David told Zadok, "Take the ark of god back into the city. You and Abiathar return with your two sons, and you send word to let me know what god has to say. So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark and went back into Jerusalem."

David, though, continued and went up the Mount of Olives, crying as he went, as were all the people. David found out that Ahithophel had gone over to Absalom's side. When he got to the top of the Mount of Olives this fellow Hushi the Arkite was there to greet him. David said to his buddy Hushai, "Look. If you go with me you are just going to be a burden to me." This must have made Hushai feel good since all the people were following David, but Hushai would be a burden. But ignoring this offense he listend to the rest of what David had to say. "But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, 'Your Majesty, I will be your servant,' then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel's advice. Also, Zadok and Abiathar are there, so you can tell them anything that you hear in the palace."

So Hushai went back and arrived just as Absalom was entering the city.

[16] When David went just a little farther he bumped into Ziba, Mephibosheth's steward, who had a string of donkeys saddled with bread, raisins, figs and wine.

"Why have you brought these?" David asked.

Ziba explained to David what donkeys, bread, fruit and wine were used for. "The donkeys are for the king household to sit on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is for those who become exhausted in the wilderness. You couldn't have figured that out for yourself?"

"And where is Mephibosheth?" David asked.

"Oh, he stayed in Jerusalem thinking that the Israelites will restore the kingdom to him."

"Well, that dirty, backstabbing little cocksucker!" David said, "Everything that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours, my friend."

"Why, thank you, Mr. David. That's right kind of you."

As David approached Bahurim a man named Shimei from the same clan as Saul's family came out, threw rocks, and cursed him, saying, "Get out your murderer, you scoundrel! God is repaying you for the blood you have shed in Saul's household!"

Abishai, Joab's brother, asked David, "Why should we let this fool curse the king? Let me go cut off his head."

"Leave him alone," David said. "Let him curse. Perhaps god told him to do so. My own son is out to get me. Nevermind that fellow." So they continued on with Shimei cursing them and showering them with dirt and rocks. By the time they arrived at their destination they were quite exhausted.


Meanwhile Absalom, Ahithophel and all the men of Israel came to Jerusalem. Hushai meth him there and said, "Long live the king! Long live the king!"

Absalom said, "So this is how you treat your friend? Why didn't you go with him?"

Hushai said, "No, the one chosen by god, and these people, and by all the men of Israel is the one I should serve. I will serve you just like I served your father."

Absalom then asked Ahithophel for his advice. "Sleep with your father's concubines he left behind," Ahithophel said. "Then everyone will hear that you have made yourself hated by your father and they will follow you more resolutely."

That sounded good to Absalom. He liked concubines. So he followed Ahithophel's advice and screwed them right up on the palace roof for everyone to see. It was quite a show. "Step right up, my friend. Absalom's X-Rated Roof Show! Bring one; bring all! Children under 12 half price!"

[17] After that Ahithophel said, "I would choose twelve thousand men tonight and go in pursuit of David. Attack him while he is weary and weak. Strike down the only king and bring all the people over to you."

"After screwing ten women all at once on the rooftop now you want me to go out to fight? Have you no mercy?" Absalom cried, but the plan seemed good to him and to the elders of Israel. (David had never given them a show like that one!) However, Absalom said, "Let's get Hushai the Arkite's advice, as well. He's a pretty sharp one, too."

Ahithophel was a little miffed, but what could he do. Absalom was the new king, after all. So Hushai was brought in and Absalom asked, "What do you think? Ahithophel has given this advice. Should we do what he says? What is your opinion?"

"Ahithophel's advice is not good at this time," Hushai replied. "You know your father and his men; they are fighters as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs. Besides, your father is a very experienced fighter. He will not spend the night with the troops. Even now he is hidden somewhere in a cave. If he gets the jump on you people will hear about it and say, 'There has been a slaughter among Absalom's troops. Then even the bravest soldier will melt away in fear, knowing that your father is fighter and his men are brave. So I advise that you wait until all of Israel can be brought in and go out and attack him with great numbers. Then you can fall on him no matter where he is found, and if he hides in a city you can drag the whole city down until nothing is left."

Absalom and the men of Israel said, "Hushai's advice is better than Ahithophel's". For god had determined to frustrate Ahithophel's advice in order to bring disaster on Absalom. Of course, god, who knows the end from the beginning, couldn't be bothered to have warned David about all this ahead of time. Then he wouldn't have had so much fun watching the action!

Hushai went and told Abiathar and Zadok, who sent their sons, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, to go tell David what had transpired. Absalom found out that the two men were headed to see David, but the two men also found out that Absalom knew, so they went and hid in the well of a man in Bahurim. When Absalom's men came to the house the man's wife told them that the men had crossed over the brook. (There was only one brook in Israel, you see.) The men went an searched but didn't find them, and then returned to Jerusalem. Then the men climbed out of the well and hurried to tell David the news. So David moved on in case they decided to follow Ahithophel's advice.

Ahithophel, though, being a sore loser, went home and hung himself. "You won't get any more advice from me, Mr. Absalom. So there!!"

[18] After this David divided his men between Joab, his brother Abishai, and a man Ittai, a Gittite. They encountered Absalom's forces in the forest of Ephraim and a great battle ensued. Israel's troops were routed by David's men and the casualties were great - twenty thousand men. David had told the men, though, "Be gentle with Absalom for my sake!"

Now Absalom happened to meet up with some of David's men as he was riding his mule. As the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak tree his hair got caught in the tree, the mule kept on going, and Absalom was left hanging in midair. When the men saw what happend one of them told Joab, "I just saw Absalom haning in an oak tree, and he sure is cute up there!"

Joab roared, "What! And you didn't kill the bastard?"

"But you heard David," the man responded. "He said, 'Protect Absalom for my sake'. If I had risked my life by killing him you would not have stood up for me. Oh, no. I'm doing what the king says."

Joab said, "Enough of this bullshit!" and he went and found Absalom still hanging in the tree and took three javelins and plunged them into Absalom's heart. Apparently Absalom had a very tough heart, because then ten of Joab's armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.

The Joab sounded the trumpet and the troops stopped pursuing Israel. They took Absalom, threw him into a pit in the forest and piled a big heap of stones over him.

Two runners left and brought news to David. "Praise god. He has delivered you from your enemies."

"Is Absalom safe?" David asked.

"May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise against you end up like that man!" one of them responded.

Then David was shaken and grieved for his son.

[19] Joab was told, "The king is weeping and mourning for his son." The army's victory that day was turned into mourning. The men stole into the city as men who were ashamed from losing a battle, so Joab went to David and said, "Today you have humiliated your men who have just saved your life and the lives of your family. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. I can see that you would be happy if Absalom were alive and we were all dead. Now, you need to go out and encourage your men. I swear that if you don't you won't have any men left by nightfall." So David went out and encouraged the men.