Good News Translation (GNB)
14

Joab Arranges for Absalom's Return

141Joab knew that King David missed Absalom very much, 2so he sent for a clever woman who lived in Tekoa. When she arrived, he said to her, “Pretend that you are in mourning; put on your mourning clothes, and don't comb your hair. Act like a woman who has been in mourning for a long time. 3Then go to the king and say to him what I tell you to say.” Then Joab told her what to say.

4The woman went to the king, bowed down to the ground in respect, and said, “Help me, Your Majesty!”

5“What do you want?” he asked her.

“I am a poor widow, sir,” she answered. “My husband is dead. 6Sir, I had two sons, and one day they got into a quarrel out in the fields, where there was no one to separate them, and one of them killed the other. 7And now, sir, all my relatives have turned against me and are demanding that I hand my son over to them, so that they can kill him for murdering his brother. If they do this, I will be left without a son. They will destroy my last hope and leave my husband without a son to keep his name alive.”

8“Go back home,” the king answered, “and I will take care of the matter.”

9“Your Majesty,” she said, “whatever you do, my family and I will take the blame; you and the royal family are innocent.”

10The king replied, “If anyone threatens you, bring him to me, and he will never trouble you again.”

11She said, “Your Majesty, please pray to the LORD your God, so that my relative who is responsible for avenging the death of my son will not commit a greater crime by killing my other son.”

“I promise by the living LORD,” David replied, “that your son will not be harmed in the least.”

12“Please, Your Majesty, let me say just one more thing,” the woman said.

“All right,” he answered.

13She said to him, “Why have you done such a wrong to God's people? You have not allowed your own son to return from exile, and so you have condemned yourself by what you have just said. 14We will all die; we are like water spilt on the ground, which can't be gathered again. Even God does not bring the dead back to life, but the king can at least find a way to bring a man back from exile.14.14 Probable text Even Godfrom exile; Hebrew unclear. 15Now, Your Majesty, the reason I have come to speak to you is that the people threatened me, and so I said to myself that I would speak to you in the hope that you would do what I ask. 16I thought you would listen to me and save me from the one who is trying to kill my son and me and so remove us from the land God gave his people. 17

14.17:
2 Sam 19.27
I said to myself that your promise, sir, would make me safe, because the king is like God's angel and can distinguish good from evil.14.17 can distinguish good from evil; or knows everything. May the LORD your God be with you!”

18The king answered, “I'm going to ask you a question, and you must tell me the whole truth.”

“Ask me anything, Your Majesty,” she answered.

19“Did Joab put you up to this?” he asked her.

She answered, “I swear by all that is sacred, Your Majesty, that there is no way to avoid answering your question.14.19 there isquestion; or you are absolutely right. It was indeed your officer Joab who told me what to do and what to say. 20But he did it in order to straighten out this whole matter. Your Majesty is as wise as the angel of God and knows everything that happens.”

21Later on the king said to Joab, “I have decided to do what you want. Go and get the young man Absalom and bring him back here.”

22Joab threw himself to the ground in front of David in respect, and said, “God bless you, Your Majesty! Now I know that you are pleased with me, because you have granted my request.” 23Then he got up and went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 24The king, however, gave orders that Absalom should not live in the palace. “I don't want to see him,” the king said. So Absalom lived in his own house and did not appear before the king.

Absalom is Reconciled to David

25There was no one in Israel as famous for his good looks as Absalom; he had no defect from head to foot. 26His hair was very thick, and he had to cut it once a year, when it grew too long and heavy. It would weigh more than two kilogrammes according to the royal standard of weights. 27Absalom had three sons and one daughter named Tamar, a very beautiful woman.

28Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem without seeing the king. 29Then he sent for Joab, to ask him to go to the king for him; but Joab would not come. Again Absalom sent for him, and again Joab refused to come. 30So Absalom said to his servants, “Look, Joab's field is next to mine, and it has barley growing in it. Go and set fire to it.” So they went and set the field on fire.

31Joab went to Absalom's house and demanded, “Why did your servants set fire to my field?”

32Absalom answered, “Because you wouldn't come when I sent for you. I wanted you to go to the king and ask him from me: ‘Why did I leave Geshur and come here? It would have been better for me to have stayed there.’ ” And Absalom went on, “I want you to arrange for me to see the king, and if I'm guilty, then let him put me to death.”

33So Joab went to King David and told him what Absalom had said. The king sent for Absalom, who went to him and bowed down to the ground in front of him. The king welcomed him with a kiss.

15

Absalom Plans Rebellion

151After this, Absalom provided a chariot and horses for himself, and an escort of fifty men. 2He would get up early and go and stand by the road at the city gate. Whenever someone came there with a dispute that he wanted the king to settle, Absalom would call him over and ask him where he was from. And after the man had told him what tribe he was from, 3Absalom would say, “Look, the law is on your side, but there is no representative of the king to hear your case.” 4And he would add, “How I wish I were a judge! Then anyone who had a dispute or a claim could come to me, and I would give him justice.” 5When the man approached Absalom to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out, take hold of him, and kiss him. 6Absalom did this with every Israelite who came to the king for justice, and so he won their loyalty.

7After four15.7 Some ancient translations four; Hebrew forty. years Absalom said to King David, “Sir, let me go to Hebron and keep a promise I made to the LORD. 8While I was living in Geshur in Syria, I promised the LORD that if he would take me back to Jerusalem, I would worship him in Hebron.”15.8 One ancient translation in Hebron; Hebrew does not have these words.

9“Go in peace,” the king said. So Absalom went to Hebron. 10But he sent messengers to all the tribes of Israel to say, “When you hear the sound of trumpets, shout, ‘Absalom has become king at Hebron!’ ” 11There were 200 men who at Absalom's invitation had gone from Jerusalem with him; they knew nothing of the plot and went in all good faith. 12And while he was offering sacrifices, Absalom also sent to the town of Gilo for Ahithophel, who was one of King David's advisers. The plot against the king gained strength, and Absalom's followers grew in number.

David Flees from Jerusalem

13A messenger reported to David, “The Israelites are pledging their loyalty to Absalom.”

14So David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “We must get away at once if we want to escape from Absalom! Hurry! Or else he will soon be here and defeat us and kill everyone in the city!”

15“Yes, Your Majesty,” they answered. “We are ready to do whatever you say.” 16So the king left, accompanied by all his family and officials, except for ten concubines, whom he left behind to take care of the palace.

17As the king and all his men were leaving the city, they stopped at the last house. 18All his officials stood15.18 Probable text stood; Hebrew passed. next to him as the royal bodyguard passed by in front of him. The 600 soldiers who had followed him from Gath also passed by, 19and the king said to Ittai, their leader, “Why are you going with us? Go back and stay with the new king. You are a foreigner, a refugee away from your own country. 20You have lived here only a short time, so why should I make you wander round with me? I don't even know where I'm going. Go back and take your fellow-countrymen with you — and may the LORD be kind and faithful to you.”15.20 One ancient translation and may the LORD be kind and faithful to you; Hebrew kindness and faithfulness.

21But Ittai answered, “Your Majesty, I swear to you in the LORD's name that I will always go with you wherever you go, even if it means death.”

22“Fine!” David answered. “March on!” So Ittai went on with all his men and their dependants. 23The people cried loudly as David's followers left. The king crossed the brook of Kidron, followed by his men, and together they went out towards the wilderness.

24Zadok the priest was there, and with him were the Levites, carrying the sacred Covenant Box. They set it down15.24 Probable text set it down; Hebrew poured it out. and didn't pick it up again until all the people had left the city. The priest Abiathar was there too.15.24 Probable text was there too; Hebrew went up. 25Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the Covenant Box back to the city. If the LORD is pleased with me, some day he will let me come back to see it and the place where it stays. 26But if he isn't pleased with me — well, then, let him do to me what he wishes.” 27And he went on to say to Zadok, “Look,15.27 Some ancient translations Look; Hebrew Are you the seer? take your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan and go back to the city in peace. 28Meanwhile, I will wait at the river crossings in the wilderness until I receive news from you.” 29So Zadok and Abiathar took the Covenant Box back into Jerusalem and stayed there.

30David went on up the Mount of Olives weeping; he was barefoot and had his head covered as a sign of grief. All who followed him covered their heads and wept also. 31When David was told15.31 One ancient translation was told; Hebrew told. that Ahithophel had joined Absalom's rebellion, he prayed, “Please, LORD, turn Ahithophel's advice into nonsense!”

32When David reached the top of the hill, where there was a place of worship, his trusted friend Hushai the Archite met him with his clothes torn and with earth on his head. 33David said to him, “You will be of no help to me if you come with me, 34but you can help me by returning to the city and telling Absalom that you will now serve him as faithfully as you served his father. And do all you can to oppose any advice that Ahithophel gives. 35The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be there; tell them everything you hear in the king's palace. 36They have their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan with them, and you can send them to me with all the information you gather.”

37So Hushai, David's friend, returned to the city just as Absalom was arriving.

16

David and Ziba

161

16.1:
2 Sam 9.9–10
When David had gone a little beyond the top of the hill, he was suddenly met by Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, who had with him a couple of donkeys loaded with 200 loaves of bread, a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred bunches of fresh fruit, and a leather bag full of wine. 2King David asked him, “What are you going to do with all that?”

Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for Your Majesty's family to ride, the bread and the fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is for them to drink when they get tired in the wilderness.”

3

16.3:
2 Sam 19.26–27
“Where is Mephibosheth, the grandson of your master Saul?” the king asked him.

“He is staying in Jerusalem,” Ziba answered, “because he is convinced that the Israelites will now restore to him the kingdom of his grandfather Saul.”

4The king said to Ziba, “Everything that belonged to Mephibosheth is yours.”

“I am your servant,” Ziba replied. “May I always please Your Majesty!”

David and Shimei

5When King David arrived at Bahurim, one of Saul's relatives, Shimei son of Gera, came out to meet him, cursing him as he came. 6Shimei started throwing stones at David and his officials, even though David was surrounded by his men and his bodyguard. 7Shimei cursed him and said, “Get out! Get out! Murderer! Criminal! 8You took Saul's kingdom, and now the LORD is punishing you for murdering so many of Saul's family. The LORD has given the kingdom to your son Absalom, and you are ruined, you murderer!”

9Abishai, whose mother was Zeruiah, said to the king, “Your Majesty, why do you let this dog curse you? Let me go over there and cut off his head!”

10“This is none of your business,” the king said to Abishai and his brother Joab. “If he curses me because the LORD told him to, who has the right to ask why he does it?” 11And David said to Abishai and to all his officials, “My own son is trying to kill me; so why should you be surprised at this Benjaminite? The LORD told him to curse; so leave him alone and let him do it. 12Perhaps the LORD will notice my misery16.12 Some ancient translations misery; Hebrew wickedness. and give me some blessings to take the place of his curse.” 13So David and his men continued along the road. Shimei kept up with them, walking on the hillside; he was cursing and throwing stones and earth at them as he went. 14The king and all his men were worn out when they reached the Jordan,16.14 One ancient translation the Jordan; Hebrew does not have these words. and there they rested.

Absalom in Jerusalem

15Absalom and all the Israelites with him entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with them. 16When Hushai, David's trusted friend, met Absalom, he shouted, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”

17“What has happened to your loyalty to your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why didn't you go with him?”

18Hushai answered, “How could I? I am on the side of the one chosen by the LORD, by these people, and by all the Israelites. I will stay with you. 19After all, whom should I serve, if not my master's son? As I served your father, so now I will serve you.”

20Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and said, “Now that we are here, what do you advise us to do?”

21Ahithophel answered, “Go and have intercourse with your father's concubines whom he left behind to take care of the palace. Then everyone in Israel will know that your father regards you as his enemy, and your followers will be greatly encouraged.” 22

16.22:
2 Sam 12.11–12
So they set up a tent for Absalom on the palace roof, and in the sight of everyone Absalom went in and had intercourse with his father's concubines.

23Any advice that Ahithophel gave in those days was accepted as though it were the very word of God; both David and Absalom followed it.