2 Samuel 18

1 And David numbered the people that were with him, and he set over them captains of thousands and captains of hundreds.

2 And David sent forth the people a third part under the command of Joab, and a third part under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruyah, Joab’s brother, and a third part under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said unto the people, I myself also will without fail go forth with you.

3 But the people said, Thou shalt not go forth; for if we should have to flee away, they will not care for us; and if half of us die, they will not care for us; for now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou shouldst be a succor to us out of the city.

4 And the king said unto them, What seemeth good in your eyes will I do. And the king placed himself by the side of the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.

5 And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, with Abshalom. And all the people heard when the king charged all the captains with respect to Abshalom.

6 So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim.

7 And the people of Israel were smitten there before David’s servants, and the slaughter was great there on that day––twenty thousand men.

8 And the battle became extended there over the face of all the country: and the forest devoured yet more of the people than the sword had devoured on that day.

9 And Abshalom happened to come before the servants of David. And Abshalom was riding upon a mule, and the mule came under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was left hanging between the heaven and the earth: and the mule that was under him passed on.

10 And a certain man saw, and told it to Joab, and said, Behold, I have seen Abshalom hanging on an oak.

11 And Joab said unto the man that told him, And, behold, thou sawest him: why then didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and it would have been obligatory on me to give thee ten shekels of silver and a girdle.

12 And the man said unto Joab, And though I should weigh on my hands a thousand shekels of silver, I would not stretch forth my hand against the king’s son; for before our ears did the king charge thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Take heed, whoever it be, of the young man, of Abshalom.

13 Or should I even have acted with falsehood against my own life, since there is no matter which can be hidden from the king; thou wouldst surely have placed thyself aloof.

14 Then said Joab, I will not wait thus before thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Abshalom, who was yet alive in the midst of the oak.

15 And ten young men, Joab’s armor–bearers, encompassed and smote Abshalom, and slew him.

16 And Joab blew the cornet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel; for Joab restrained the people.

17 And they took Abshalom, and cast him down in the forest, into the large pit, and erected upon him a very great heap of stones: and all Israel fled, every one, to his tents.

18 Now Abshalom had taken and reared up for himself in his lifetime, the pillar, which is in the king’s dale; for he said, I have no son, so as to keep my name in remembrance; and he called the pillar after his own name: and it was called Abshalom’s monument, even until this day.

19 And Achima’az the son of Zadok said, Do let me run, I pray thee, and bear the king tidings, that the Lord hath done him justice from the power of his enemies.

20 And Joab said unto him, Thou art not the man to bear good tidings this day, and thou shalt bear tidings another day; but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king’s son is dead.

21 Then said Joab to the Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast seen, And Cushi bowed himself unto Joab, and ran.

22 Then said Achima’az the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, Be it as it may, let me, I pray thee, run also after the Cushi. And Joab said, Wherefore is it that thou wilt run, my son, seeing that thou hast no profitable tidings?

23 But be it as it may, let me run. And he said unto him, Run. And Achima’az ran by the way of the plain, and passed the Cushi.

24 And David was sitting between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate, upon the wall, and as he lifted up his eyes, he saw, and behold, a man was running alone.

25 And the watchman cried, and told it to the king. And the king said, If he be alone, there are tidings in his mouth. And he came nearer and nearer continually.

26 And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called unto the gate–keeper, and said, Behold, here is a man running alone. And the king said, Also this one bringeth tidings.

27 And the watchman said, I regard the running of the foremost as the running of Achima’az the son of Zadok. And the king said, That is a good man, and with good tidings must he come.

28 And Achima’az called, and said unto the king, Peace. And he prostrated himself to the king with his face to the earth, and said, Blessed be the Lord thy God, who hath surrendered the men that had lifted up their hand against my Lord the king.

29 And the king said, Is the young man Abshalom safe? And Achima’az answered, I saw the greatest crowd when Joab sent off the king’s servant, and thy servant; but I know not what hath happened.

30 And the king said, Turn aside, place thyself here. And he turned aside, and remained standing.

31 And, behold, the Cushi came next; and the Cushi said, Let my lord the king receive the tidings, that the Lord hath done thee justice this day from the power of all those that had risen up against thee.

32 And the king said unto the Cushi, Is the young man Abshalom safe? And the Cushi answered, May like the young man be the enemies of my Lord the king, and all that have risen up against thee for evil.

33 And the king was much moved, and he went up to the upper chamber of the gate, and wept: and thus he said as he went, O my son Abshalom, my son, my son Abshalom! who would grant that I had died in thy stead, O Abshalom, my son, my son!