2 Samuel 18
New American Standard Bible►► 

Absalom Killed

1Then David [a]took a count of the people who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2And David sent the people out, a third [b]under the command of Joab, a third [c]under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and a third [d]under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I myself will certainly go out with you also.” 3But the people said, “You should not go out; for if in fact we flee, they will not care about us; and if half of us die, they will not care about us. But [e]you are [f]worth ten thousand of us; so now it is better that you will be ready to help us from the city.” 4Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and thousands. 5But the king commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the people heard when the king commanded all the commanders regarding Absalom.

6Then the people went out to the field against Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 7The people of Israel were [g]defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, twenty thousand men. 8For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

9Now Absalom encountered the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the branches of a massive oak. Then his head caught firmly in the oak, and he was [h]left hanging between the sky and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going. 10When a certain man saw him, he informed Joab and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11Then Joab said to the man who had informed him, “So behold, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? And it would have been [i]my duty to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12But the man said to Joab, “Even if I were to [j]receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put out my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king commanded you, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, ‘[k]Protect the young man Absalom for me!’ 13Otherwise, if I had dealt treacherously against [l]his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have [m]avoided me.14Then Joab said, “I will not [n]waste time here with you.” So he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the [o]midst of the oak. 15And ten young men who carried Joab’s armor gathered around and struck Absalom and killed him.

16Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the people. 17And they took Absalom and threw him into [p]a deep pit in the forest, and erected over him a very large pile of stones. And all Israel fled, each to his own tent. 18Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a memorial stone, which is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to [q]continue my name.” So he named the memorial stone after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

David Is Grief-stricken

19Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Please let me run and bring the king news that the LORD has [r]freed him from the hand of his enemies!” 20But Joab said to him, “You are not the man to bring news this day, but you shall bring news another day; however, you shall bring no news this day, because the king’s son is dead.” 21Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed to Joab and ran. 22However, Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said once more to Joab, “But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why would you run, my son, since you will have no messenger’s reward for going?” 23“But whatever happens,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and passed by the Cushite.

24Now David was sitting between the two gates; and the watchman went to the roof of the gate by the wall, and raised his eyes and looked; and behold, a man was running by himself. 25So the watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is by himself there is good news in his mouth.” And he came nearer and nearer. 26Then the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “Behold, another man is running by himself.” And the king said, “This one also is bringing good news.” 27The watchman said, “I [s]think the running form of the first one is like the running form of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “This is a good man, and he is coming with good news.”

28Then Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “[t]All is well.” And he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, “Blessed is the LORD your God, who has turned over the men who raised their hands against my lord the king.” 29But the king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, and your servant, I saw a great commotion, but I did not know what it was.30Then the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.

31Then behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, “Let my lord the king receive good news, for the LORD has [u]freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you.” 32Then the king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be like that young man!”

33[v]Then the king trembled and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And this is what he said as he walked: “My son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!”



[a] 1 Lit mustered
[b] 2 Lit by the hand of
[c] 2 Lit by the hand of
[d] 2 Lit by the hand of
[e] 3 As in some ancient versions; MT for now there are 10,000 like us
[f] 3 Lit like us by 10,000
[g] 7 Lit struck
[h] 9 Lit placed
[i] 11 Lit And upon me
[j] 12 Lit weigh
[k] 12 As in some mss and ancient versions; MT Protect, whoever you are, the
[l] 13 Another reading is my life; i.e., at the risk of my own life
[m] 13 Lit stood aloof
[n] 14 Lit wait so with
[o] 14 Lit heart
[p] 17 Lit the great
[q] 18 Lit bring to remembrance
[r] 19 Lit vindicated
[s] 27 Lit see
[t] 28 Lit Peace; Heb Shalom
[u] 31 Lit vindicated
[v] 33 Ch 19:1 in Heb

New American Standard Bible
Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020
by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved.
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2 Samuel 17
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