2 Samuel 18

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

2 And David divided the people in three [parts], a third part under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, I will surely go forth with you{+} myself also.

3 But the people said, You will not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you are ready to succor us out of the city.

4 And the king said to them, What seems best to you{+} I will do. And the king stood by the gate-side, 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, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.

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

7 And the people of Israel were struck there before the slaves of David, and there was a great slaughter there that day of twenty thousand men.

8 For the battle was spread there over the face of all the country; and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

9 And Absalom chanced to meet the slaves of David. And Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth; and the mule that was under him went on.

10 And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Look, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.

11 And Joab said to the man that told him, And, look, you saw it, and why didn't you strike him there to the ground? And I would have given you ten [pieces of] silver, and a belt.

12 And the man said to Joab, Though I should receive a thousand [pieces of] silver in my hand, yet I would not put forth my hand against the king's son; for in our hearing the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Watch out for whoever is against the young man Absalom.

13 Otherwise if I had dealt falsely against his life (and there is no matter hid from the king), then you yourself would have set yourself against [me].

14 Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with you. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.

15 And ten young men who bore Joab's armor surrounded and struck Absalom, and slew him.

16 And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel; for Joab held back the people.

17 And they took Absalom, and cast him into the great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.

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

19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, Let me now run, and bear the king good news, how that Yahweh has avenged him of his enemies.

20 And Joab said to him, You will not be the bearer of good news this day, but you will bear good news another day; but this day you will bear no good news, because the king's son is dead.

21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, Go, tell the king what you have seen. And the Cushite bowed himself to Joab, and ran.

22 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said yet again to Joab, But come what may, let me, I pray you, also run after the Cushite. And Joab said, Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no good news to deliver?

23 But come what may, [he said], I will run. And he said to him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the Plain, and outran the Cushite.

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

25 And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he is alone, there is good news in his mouth. And he came apace, and drew near.

26 And the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper, and said, Look, [another] man running alone. And the king said, He also brings good news.

27 And the watchman said, I think the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, He is a good man, and comes with good news.

28 And Ahimaaz called, and said to the king, All is well. And he bowed himself before the king with his face to the earth, and said, Blessed be Yahweh your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted up their hand against my lord the king.

29 And the king said, Is it well with the young man Absalom? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king's slave and your slave, I saw a great tumult, but I didn't know what it was.

30 And the king said, Turn aside, and stand here. And he turned aside, and stood still.

31 And, look, the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, good news for my lord the king; for Yahweh has avenged you this day of all those who rose up against you.

32 And the king said to the Cushite, Is it well with the young man Absalom? And the Cushite answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you to do you hurt, be as that young man is.

33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, he said thus, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! O that I had died for you, O Absalom, my son, my son!