Table of Contents
The Second Book of Samuelalso called the Second Book of the Kings
The 15th Chapter
After this Absalom got him chariots and horses and fifty men to run before him. And thereto he used to rise up early in the mornings and to stand by the ways side that led to the gate of the city. And all the men of Israel that had complaints and came to the king for Judgement, he called unto him and said: of what city are you? And when the other answered: your servant is of such a tribe of Israel. Then said Absalom unto him: see, your matter is good and righteous, and yet no man is deputed of the king to hear you. Then Absalom said moreover: Oh, that I were a judge in the land, and that all men which have pleas and matter in the law, should come to me. For I would do them justice. And also when any man came near to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand and took him to him and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for Judgement, and therewith stole the hearts of the men of Israel. And at forty years end Absalom said unto the king: let me go I pray you to Hebron, and pay my vow which I have vowed, unto the Lord: for your servant vowed a vow when I was in Gesur in the land of Siria saying: if the Lord shall bring me again to Jerusalem, I will serve the Lord. And the king said: go in peace. And so he arose and went to Hebron.
Then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel saying: as soon as you hear the voice of the trumpet blow, say: Absalom reigns king in Hebron. And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem that were called. And they went with pure hearts and knew nothing of the matter. And Absalom sent also for Ahitophel the Gilonite Davids counsellor, and fetched him out of his city Giloh, when he sacrificed sacrifices. And there was wrought strong treason. And the people drew to Absalom in great multitude. And there came a messenger to David and said: the hearts of the men of Israel are to follow Absalom. Then said David unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem: up and let us flee, for we shall not else escape from Absalom. Make speed to depart: least he come suddenly and catch us and bring some mischief upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword. And the kings servants said to him: behold your servants are ready to whatsoever my Lord the king shall appoint.
And the king and all his household departed afoot. And he left behind him ten wives that were his concubines, to keep the house. And so the king and all the people went out afoot and tarried far from the house. And all his servants went by his side. And all the Cerethites and all the Phelethites, and all the Hethites even six hundred men which were come afoot from Geth, went before the king. Then said the king to Ethai the Gethite, wherefore should you go with us also? Return and abide with the king, for you are a stranger and are removed from your own place. You came but yesterday, and should I unquiet you today to go with us? I will go *whither I go. But return you and carry again your brethren. Mercy and truth be with you. And Ethai answered the king and said: as surely as the Lord lives, and as surely as my Lord the king lives, in what place my Lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there will your servant be. Then said the king to Ethai, I come and go forward. And Ethai the Gethite went forth, and all his men, and all the children that were with him. And all the country wept with a loud voice. And all the people went forward the straight way to the wilderness. And behold, Sadock and all the Levites were with him and bare the ark of the appointment of God. And when they had fetched down the Ark of God, Abiathar came up, until the people were all come over, out of the city. Then said the king unto Sadock: Carry the Ark of God again into the city. If I shall find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and show me both it and the tabernacle thereof also. But and if the Lord thus say: I have no lust unto you. Behold, here am I, let him do with me what seems best in his eyes. *whither=what ever place, result, or condition.
The king said also unto Sadock the priest you are a Sear. Return therefore into the city in peace. And take your two sons with you: Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathas the son of Abiathar. And see, I will tarry in the fields of the wilderness until there come some word from you to be told me. And so Sadock and Abiathar carried the Ark of God again to Jerusalem, and they tarried there. And David went up on mount olivet and wept as he went, and had his head covered and went thereto barefoot. And all the people that was with him, had every man his head covered, and as they went wept also. And one told David saying: Ahitophel is one of them that have conspired with Absalom. Then said David: O' Lord, turn the counsel of Ahitophel unto foolishness.
When David was come to the top of the mount and had bowed himself unto God: behold, Husai the Arachite came against him with his coat torn and earth upon his head. Unto whom David said: if you go with me you shall be a burden unto me. And if you return to the city: then shall you say unto Absalom I will be your servant O king: thus long have I been your fathers servant, and now I am yours. And destroy me the counsel of Ahitophel. And you have there with you Sadock and Abiathar the priests, unto which you shall show all that you can hear out of the kings house. And behold, you have there with you their two sons: Ahimaaz Sadocks son, and Jonathas Abiathars son, by which you shall send me all that you can hear. And so Husai Davids friend got him to the city. And Absalom also entered into Jerusalem.
The 16th Chapter
And when David was a little past the top of the hill: behold Ziba the servant of Miphiboseth came against him with a couple of Asses saddled, and upon them two hundred leaves and one hundred bunches of Resinges (raisins), and an hundred frayls of dried figs, and a bottle of wine. Then said the king to Ziba: what have you there? And Ziba said: Asses for the kings household to ride on, and bread and fruit for the young men to eat, and wine to drink, if any man faint in the wilderness. Then said the king: where is your masters son? and Ziba said unto the king: behold, he tarrys still at Jerusalem. For he said: this day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father. Then said the king to Ziba: behold, your are all that pertained to Miphiboseth. And Ziba answered: I beseech you that I may find grace in your sight my Lord king.
And when king David came to Bahurim: behold, from that place came out a man of the kindred of the house of Saul named Semei the son of Gera, and he came out cursing. And thereto he cast stones at David and at all the servants of king David, all the people and all the men of war going part on his right hand, and part on his left. And thus said this Semei as he cursed: come forth, come forth you blood shedder and you unthrifty man. The Lord has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead you have reigned, and he has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. And you are wrapped about with your own mischief, because you are a blood shedder.
Then said Abisai the son of Zaruiah unto the king: why does this dead dog curse my Lord the king? let me go and take off the head of him. And the king said: what have I to do with you sons of Zaruiah: let him curse: for the Lord has bid him curse David. And who dare presume to say wherefore does he so? And David said to Abisai, and to all his servants: behold, my son which came out of mine own bowels seeks my life. How much more may this son of Jemini do it? Allow him therefore to curse, for the Lord has bidden (moved, invited, called) him: haply the Lord will look on my wretchedness, and do me good for his cursing this day. And thus as David and his men went by the way, Semei went along on the hills side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him and cast dust. And the king and all that were with him came weary, and refreshed themselves there.
And Absalom and all the people of the men of Israel came to Jerusalem and Ahitophel with him. And as soon as he was come: Husai the Arachite went unto Absalom and said unto him: God save the king, God save the king. And Absalom said again to Husai: is this the kindness you owe to your friend? Why went you not with him? And Husai said unto Absalom: no not so, but whom the Lord and this people and all the men of Israel choose, his will I be, and with him will I dwell. And furthermore unto whom shall I do service but even to his son? And as I was servant before with your father, even so shall I be with you. Then spoke Absalom to Ahitophel give counsel what is best for us to do. And Ahitophel said unto Absalom: get you in unto your fathers concubines which he has left to keep the house. For when all Israel shall hear that you have made your father to stink, then shall the hands of all that are with you be strong. And so they pitched Absalom a tent upon the top of the house. And he went in unto his fathers concubines in the sight of all Israel.
And the counsel of Ahitophel which he counselled in those days, was as a man had asked counsel of God: even so was all the counsel of Ahitophel, both unto David and also unto Absalom.
The 17th Chapter
Then Ahitophel said unto Absalom: let me choose out, I pray you, twelve thousand men. And I will up and follow after David by night. And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will fear him, that all the people that are with him shall flee. And so will I smite the king only, and will bring again all the people unto you. And when all these men which you seek are turned to you, all the people shall have rest. And the saying pleased Absalom well and all the elders of Israel. Then said Absalom: call also Husai the Arachite and let us hear his sentence. When Husai was come to Absalom, Absalom spoke unto him saying: Ahitophel has given such counsel: whether it be best we do after his saying or not, tell you.
Then said Husai to Absalom: the counsel that Ahitophel has given is not good at this time. For (said Husai) you know your father and the men that are with him, how that they be strong men. And they be chafed in their minds, even as a bear robbed of her whelps. And your father is a man practiced in war, and will not lie a nights among the common people. Behold he lurks now in some cave or in some other place. And thereto though some of his men be overthrown at the first brunt, yet they that hear it will think the people that follows Absalom be put to the worse. By the reason whereof the best men you have whose hearts are as the hearts of Lions, shall shrink thereat. For all Israel knows that your father is a man, and that they which be with him be children of activity.
But my counsel is, that all Israel be gathered unto you, from Dan to Bersabe, as the sand of the sea in number, and that you go to battle in your own person. And we will come upon him in one place or other, where we shall find him, and we will pitch a field against him, even as thick as the dew falls on the ground. And there shall not one of them be left, neither he nor any of all that are with him. Moreover if he take a town then shall all the men of Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one stone found upon another. And Absalom and all the men of Israel said: that the counsel of Husai the Arachite was better than the counsel of Ahitophel. For it was even the Lords determination to destroy the counsel of Ahitophel: which was good, that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom. Then said Husai unto Sadock and Abiathar the priests: of this and that manner did Ahitophel and the elders of Israel counsel Absalom. And thus and thus have I counselled. Now therefore send quickly and show David saying: tarry not all night in the fields of the wilderness, but get you over, least the king be devoured and all the people that are with him. Now Jonathas and Ahimaaz abode by the well rogell: for they might not be seen to come in to the city. And a wench went and told them. And they to go and showed king David.
Nevertheless there was a lad saw them which told it to Absalom. But they went both of them away quickly and came to a mans house in Bahurim, which had a well in his yard, into which they went down. And the wife took and spread a coverlet on the top of the well and strewed thereon steeped barley to dry. And the thing was not spied. And when Absaloms servants came to the wife to the house and asked where one Ahimaaz and Jonathas were, the wife said unto them: they be gone over the little brook of water. And when they had sought them and could not find them, then they returned to Jerusalem. And as soon as they were departed, the other came out of the well, and went and told king David and said unto him: up and get you quickly over the water for such counsel has Ahitophel given. Then David arose and all the people that were with him, and they were come over Jordan be that it was day, that there lacked not one of them that was not come over Jordan. And when Ahitophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his Ass and arose and got him home to his own house and to his own city, and put his household in order and hanged himself and died, and was buried in the sepulcher of his father.
Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom passed over Jordan, both he and all the men of Israel with him. And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host in the stead of Joab, which Amasa was a mans son named Jethra a Jezrahelite that went into Abigail the daughter of Naah sister to Zaruiah Joabs mother. And Israel and Absalom pitched in the land of Galaad. And when David was come to Mahanaim, Sobi the son of Naah out of Rabath the city of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Amiel out of Lodaber and Berzelai the Galaadite out of Rogelim, brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels: and also corn, barley, flour and parched corn, beans and rice honey, butter, sheep and cheese of kine, for David and all the people that were with him to eat. For they supposed that the people should be hungry, fainty, and thirsty in the wilderness.
The 18th Chapter
And the king numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and of hundreds over them. And he sent one part of them with Joab, and another part with Abisai the son of Zaruiah Joabs brother, and the third part with Ethai the Gethite. And the king said unto the people: shall I go with you? And the people answered: no, for if we flee, our adversaries will not care for us: neither though half of us were slain, shall they regard us. But you were worth ten thousand of us. And therefore it is better that you be ready to secure us out of the city. Then said the king: what seems you best, that will I do.
And the king stood up by the Gates side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands. And the king commanded Joab, Abisai, and Ethai saying: entreat me Jently (Gently) my son Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge over Absalom. And the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim. Where the people of Israel were put to the worse before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter that day, even of twenty thousand men. And the field was fought in divers places, all abroad upon the earth. And the woods devoured more people that day than did the sword. And it chanced Absalom to come before the servants of David riding upon a Mule which carried him under the thick boughs of a great Oak. And his head caught in the Oak, and he was left between heaven and earth, and the Mule that was under him went his way. And one that saw it told Joab saying: behold, I saw Absalom hang in an Oak: and Joab said unto him that told him: lo, saw you him? And why did you not there smite him to the ground, that I should have given you ten sickles of silver and a soldiers girdle.
And the man answered Joab: though I had a thousand sickles of silver told in my hand yet would I not stretch out mine hand against the kings son. For we heard with our ears when the king charged you, Abisai and Ethai, saying: spare me the lad Absalom. Moreover though I had jeopardied my life and done falsely thereto, yet could nought of all the matter have been hid from the king: yea and you yourself would be against me. Then said Joab I may not stand tarrying with you.
And therewith he took three spears in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive on the body of the tree. And ten servants that bare Joabs weapons, turned and smote Absalom and slew him. Then Joab blew a trumpet, and the people returned from following Israel: for Joab spared the people. And they took Absalom and cast him into a great pit that was in the wood, and cast a mighty great heap of stones upon him. And all Israel fled every man to his tent. And this Absalom yet in his lifetime, took and reared up a pillar, which is yet in kings dale. For he said: I have no male child. And therefore to keep my name in remembrance do I it. And he called the pillar after his own name. And it is called unto this day, Absaloms pillar.
Then said Ahimaaz the son of Sadock: let me run I pray you, and bear the king tidings, how that the Lord has judged him quit of the hands of all his enemies. And Joab said unto him: you are no man to bear tidings today: you shall bear tidings another time: but today you shall bear none, because the kings son is dead. Then said Joab to Chusi: go and tell the king what you have seen. And Chusi bowed himself unto Joab and ran. Then said Ahimaaz the son of Sadock again to Joab: come what come will, let me run I pray you after Chusi. And Joab said: wherefore should you run my son? for and you run you get no reward: well come what will let me run. And he said unto him: run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the plain and overran Chusi.
And David sat between the two gates. And the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes and saw: and behold, there came a man running alone. And the watchman called and told the king. And the king said: if he come alone, there is tidings in his mouth. And he came and drew nigh. And the watchman saw another man running, and called unto the porter and said: behold there comes another running alone. And the king answered: he is also a tidings bringer. And the watchman said: me thinks the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Sadock. And the king said: he is a good man and comes with good tidings. And Ahimaaz called and said to the king: good tidings, and bowed himself to the earth upon his face before the king and said: blessed be the Lord your God which has shut up all the men that lifted up their hands against my Lord the king. And the king said: is the lad Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered I saw a great ado, when the kings servant Joab sent me your servant. But I know not what it was. And the king said: turn and stand here. And he turned and stood.
And behold Chusi came and said: tidings my Lord the king, the Lord has quit you this day out of the hands of all that rose against you. And the king said to Chusi: is the lad Absalom safe? And Chusi answered: the enemies of my Lord the king and all that rise against you, to have you, be as your lad is. And the king was moved and went up to a chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went thus he said: my son Absalom, my son, my son, my son Absalom, would to God I had died for you Absalom, my son, my son.
The 19th Chapter
And it was told Joab, how that the king wept and mourned for Absalom. And the victory was turned that day into mourning unto all the people. For the people heard say that day, how the king sorrowed for his son, and the people went stealing into the city, as people confounded steal away, when they flee in battle. And the king hid his face and cried with a loud voice: my son Absalom, Absalom my son my son.
And Joab went into the house to the king and said: you have shamed this day the faces of all your servants, which this day have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, and the lives of your wives and concubines, in that you love your enemies and hate your friends. You have declared this day that you came neither for your Lords nor servants. For this day I do perceive, if Absalom had lived, and all we died this day, that then it had pleased you well. Now therefore up and come out, and speak kindly unto your servants, I swear by the Lord except you come out, there will not tarry one man with you this night. And that will be worse unto you, than all the evil that fell on you from your youth unto this hour. Then the king arose and sat down in the Gate. And it was told unto all the people, how the king sat in the Gate. And then all the people came before the king. But Israel fled every man to his tent.
And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel saying: the king delivered us out of the hand of our enemies. And he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines. And now he is fled out of the land for Absalom. But Absalom whom we anointed over us is dead in battle. Now therefore why are you so still, that you bring not the king again. And king David sent to Sadock and Abiathar the priests saying: speak unto the elders of Juda and say: why should you be the last that should bring again the king to his house, seeing that such tidings is come from all Israel unto the king even to his house? you are my brethren, my bones and my flesh: wherefore then should you be the last that should come to bring the king home again? And say to Amasa: are you not my bone and my flesh? And God do so to me and so thereto: except you be captain of the Host to me for ever in the room of Joab. And he bowed the hearts of all the men of Juda, as a man would bow the heart of one man: so that they sent word to the king, that he should return with all his servants. And the king returned and came to Jordan. And Juda came to Galgal for to go against the king to convey him over Jordan. And Semei the son of Gera the son of Jemini which was of Bahurim, hasted and came with the men of Juda against king David, and a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul and his fifteen sons and twenty servants with him. And they whipt (whipped/weept) over Jordan before the King. And there went over a Boat to carry over the kings household and to do him pleasure.
And Semei the son of Gera fell before the king, as he was come over Jordan and said unto him: let not my Lord impute wickedness unto me, nor let him not remember the wickedness that your servant did, when my Lord the king departed out of Jerusalem that the king should take it to heart. For your servant does know how that I have done amiss. And therefore behold, I am the first this day of all the house of Joseph that am come to meet my Lord the king. But Abisai the son of Zaruiah answered and said: shall Semei not die for that cause: which cursed the Lords anointed? And the king said: what matter is between you and me you sons of Zaruiah, that you should this day be adversaries unto me? There shall no man die this day in Israel: for I know that I am this day king over Israel. And the king said unto Semei: you shall not die, and swore unto him.
And Miphiboseth the son of Saul came to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet nor shaved his beard nor washed his clothes from the time the king departed, until he came again in peace. And when he was come to Jerusalem toward the king, the king said unto him: wherefore went not you with me Miphiboseth? And he said: my Lord king, my servant deceived me. For your servant said: that I would have mine Ass saddled to ride thereon, for to go to the king, because your servant is lame. And he has thereto complained on your servant unto my Lord the king. But my Lord the king is as an Angel of God: do therefore what seems best in your eyes. For all my fathers house were but dead men unto my Lord the king: and yet did you put me among them that eat at your own table. What right therefore have I yet, to cry any more unto the king? And the king said: it needs you not to speak any more, for I have said: that you and Ziba shall divide the lands between you. And Miphiboseth said unto the king: yes let him take all: for so much as my Lord the king is come in peace unto his own house.
And Berselai the Galaadite came from Rogelim and went over Jordan with the king, to accompany him over Jordan: which Berselai was a very aged man, even four score years old, and had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim: for he was a man of very great substance. And the king said unto Berselai: come you with me, that I may feed you with me in Jerusalem. But Berselai said unto the king: of what age am I of, that I should go with the king into Jerusalem. I am this day four score year old: and therefore cannot discern savory from unsavory, neither has your servant pleasure in that he eats or drinks: nor yet delectation in the songs of men or women. It is no need that your servant be a burden unto my Lord the king: let your servant go a little way over Jordan with the king: for why should the king render me such a reward? But let your servant turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, by the grave of my father and mother. But lo here is your servant Chamaam: let him go with my Lord the King, and do to him, what shall please you.
And the king answered: Chamaam shall go with me. And I will do to him that you shall be content with. And thereto whatsoever you shall require of me, that same will I do for you. And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over Jordan, he kissed Berselai and took his leave of him, and he went back again unto his own place. And then the king went to Galgal, and Chamaam went with him. Now all the men of Juda were at the bringing over of the king, and but half the men of Israel.
Wherefore all the men of Israel came to the king and said unto him: why have our brethren the men of Juda stolen you away, and have brought the king and his household and all Davids men with him over Jordan? And all the men of Juda answered the men of Israel: for the king is near of kin to us: wherefore be you angry for that matter? think you that we eat of the kings cost, or that the king gives us any gifts? And the men of Israel answered the men of Juda and said: we have ten parts in the king, and have thereto more right to David than ye. Why then did you despise us, that our advice had not been first had in restoring our king again? And the words of the men of Juda were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
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