Chapter 7

  1. And Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, had come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king. And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this your kindness to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend? And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay, but whom the Lord, and this people, and all the men of Israel choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide. And again, whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so will I be in your presence.
  2. Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do. And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house, and all Israel shall hear that you are abhorred of your father. Then shall the hands of all that are with you be strong. So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. And the counsel of Ahithophel which he counseled in those days was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God; so was all the counsel of Ahithophel, both with David and with Absalom.
  3. Moreover, Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night. And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak-handed, and will make him afraid. And all the people that are with him shall flee, and I will smite the king only. And I will bring back all the people unto you. The man whom you seek is as if all returned, so all the people shall be in peace. And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.
  4. Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he says. And when Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom spoke unto him, saying, Ahithophel has spoken after this manner. Shall we do after his saying? If not, speak. And Hushai said unto Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good at this time. For, said Hushai, you know your father and his men, that they are mighty men, and they are bitter in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field. And your father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people. Behold, he is hidden now in some pit, or in some other place. And it will come to pass, when some of them are overthrown at the first, that whoever hears it will say, There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom. And he also that is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, shall utterly melt. For all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and they who are with him are valiant men.
  5. Therefore, I counsel that all Israel be gathered together unto you, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in your own person. So shall we come upon him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the dew falls on the ground. And of him and of all the men that are with him there shall not be left so much as one. Moreover, if he has gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there is not one small stone found there. And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel; for the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.
  6. Then said Hushai unto Zadok and to Abiathar, the priests, Thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel, and thus and thus have I counseled. Now therefore send quickly and tell David, saying, Lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over, lest the king be swallowed up and all the people that are with him.
  7. Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed by Enrogel, for they might not be seen to come into the city; and a woman servant went and told them, and they went and told king David. Nevertheless, a lad saw them and told Absalom, but they went both of them away quickly, and came to a man’s house in Bahurim which had a well in his court, where they went down. And the woman took and spread a covering over the well’s mouth, and spread ground grain thereon. And the thing was not known. And when Absalom’s servants came to the woman, to the house, they said, Where is Ahimaaz and Jonathan? And the woman said unto them, They have gone, over the brook of water. And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
  8. And it came to pass, after they were departed, that they came up out of the well and went and told king David, and said unto David, Arise, and pass quickly over the water, for thus has Ahithophel counseled against you. Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan. By the morning light there lacked not one of them, that was not gone over Jordan.
  9. And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose and went home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself and died, and was buried in the sepulcher of his father.
  10. Then David came to Mahanaim, and Absalom passed over Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host instead of Joab, which Amasa was a man’s son whose name was Jether, an Israelite, that went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. So Israel and Absalom pitched in the land of Gilead.
  11. And it came to pass, when David had come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash, of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel, of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim, brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched grain, and beans, and lentils, and parched seeds, and honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of cows, for David and for the people that were with him to eat; for they said, The people are hungry, and weary, and thirsty in the wilderness.
  12. And David numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. And David sent forth a third part of the people 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 unto the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also. But the people answered, You shall 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 now you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore, now it is better that you succor us out of the city. And the king said unto them, What seems best to you, I will do. And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands. 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.
  13. So the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim, where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David. And there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men, for the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country. And the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
  14. And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away. And a certain man saw it and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hung in an oak. And Joab said unto the man that told him, And behold, you saw him, and why did you not smite him there to the ground? And I would have given you ten shekels of silver and a belt. And the man said unto Joab, Though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in my hand, yet would I not put forth my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king charged you, and Abishai, and Ittai, saying, Beware that none touch the young man Absalom. Otherwise, I should have wrought falsehood against my own life, for there is no matter hidden from the king; and you yourself would have set yourself against me.
  15. Then said Joab, I may not remain 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. And ten young men that bore Joab’s armor encompassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him. And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel, for Joab held back the people. And they took Absalom and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him. And all Israel fled, everyone to his tent.
  16. Now Absalom, in his lifetime, had taken and reared up for himself a 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 unto this day, Absalom’s place.