Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 92

Bible text(s)

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.

Absalom Plans Rebellion

1After 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 four 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.”

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 stood 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.”

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 down and didn't pick it up again until all the people had left the city. The priest Abiathar was there too. 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, 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 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.

David and Ziba

1When 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“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 misery 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, 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.” 22So 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.

Hushai Misleads Absalom

1Not long after that, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me choose 12,000 men, and tonight I will set out after David. 2I will attack him while he is tired and discouraged. He will be frightened, and all his men will run away. I will kill only the king 3and then bring back all his men to you, like a bride returning to her husband. You want to kill only one man; the rest of the people will be safe.” 4This seemed like good advice to Absalom and all the Israelite leaders.

5Absalom said, “Now call Hushai, and let us hear what he has to say.” 6When Hushai arrived, Absalom said to him, “This is the advice that Ahithophel has given us; shall we follow it? If not, you tell us what to do.”

7Hushai answered, “The advice Ahithophel gave you this time is no good. 8You know that your father David and his men are hard fighters and that they are as fierce as a mother bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is an experienced soldier and does not stay with his men at night. 9Just now he is probably hiding in a cave or some other place. As soon as David attacks your men, whoever hears about it will say that your men have been defeated. 10Then even the bravest men, as fearless as lions, will be afraid because everyone in Israel knows that your father is a great soldier and that his men are hard fighters. 11My advice is that you bring all the Israelites together from one end of the country to the other, as many as the grains of sand on the seashore, and that you lead them personally in battle. 12We will find David wherever he is, and attack him before he knows what's happening. Neither he nor any of his men will survive. 13If he retreats into a city, our people will all bring ropes and just pull the city into the valley below. Not a single stone will be left there on top of the hill.”

14Absalom and all the Israelites said, “Hushai's advice is better than Ahithophel's.” The LORD had decided that Ahithophel's good advice would not be followed, so that disaster would come on Absalom.

David is Warned and Escapes

15Then Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar what advice he had given to Absalom and the Israelite leaders and what advice Ahithophel had given. 16Hushai added, “Quick, now! Send a message to David not to spend the night at the river crossings in the wilderness, but to cross the Jordan at once, so that he and his men won't all be caught and killed.”

17Abiathar's son Jonathan and Zadok's son Ahimaaz were waiting at the spring of Enrogel, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, because they did not dare to be seen entering the city. A servant woman would regularly go and tell them what was happening, and then they would go and tell King David. 18But one day a boy happened to see them, and he told Absalom; so they hurried off to hide in the house of a certain man in Bahurim. He had a well near his house, and they got down into it. 19The man's wife took a covering, spread it over the opening of the well and scattered grain over it, so that no one would notice anything. 20Absalom's officials came to the house and asked the woman, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”

“They crossed the river,” she answered.

The men looked for them but could not find them, and so they returned to Jerusalem. 21After they left, Ahimaaz and Jonathan came up out of the well and went and reported to King David. They told him what Ahithophel had planned against him and said, “Hurry up and cross the river.” 22So David and his men started crossing the Jordan, and by daybreak they had all gone across.

23When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and went back to his own city. After putting his affairs in order, he hanged himself. He was buried in the family grave.

24David had reached the town of Mahanaim by the time Absalom and the Israelites had crossed the Jordan. 25(Absalom had put Amasa in command of the army in the place of Joab. Amasa was the son of Jether the Ishmaelite; his mother was Abigail, the daughter of Nahash and the sister of Joab's mother Zeruiah.) 26Absalom and his men camped in the land of Gilead.

27When David arrived at Mahanaim, he was met by Shobi son of Nahash, from the city of Rabbah in Ammon, and by Machir son of Ammiel, from Lodebar, and by Barzillai, from Rogelim in Gilead.

2 Samuel 14:25-17:29GNBOpen in Bible reader
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