Chapter 8

  1. Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run and bear the king tidings, how the Lord has avenged him of his enemies. And Joab said unto him, You shall not bear tidings this day, but you shall bear tidings another day. But this day you shall bear no tidings because the king’s son is dead. Then said Joab to Cushi, Go tell the king what you have seen. And Cushi bowed himself unto Joab and ran. Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, Come what may, let me, I pray you, also run after Cushi. And Joab said, Why will you run, my son, seeing that you have no tidings ready? Come what may, said he, let me run. And he said unto him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and outran Cushi.
  2. 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 looked, and behold, a man running alone. And the watchman cried and told the king. And the king said, If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth. And he came quickly and drew near. And the watchman saw another man running. And the watchman called unto the porter and said, Behold, another man running alone. And the king said, He also brings tidings. 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 tidings.
  3. And Ahimaaz called and said unto the king, All is well. And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king. And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king’s servant, and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was. And the king said unto him, Turn aside and stand here. And he turned aside and stood still.
  4. And behold, Cushi came. And Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king, for the Lord has avenged you this day of all them that rose up against you. And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against you to do you hurt, be as that young man is. And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, thus he said: O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom. Would to God I had died for you, O Absalom, my son, my son.
  5. And it was told to Joab, Behold, the king weeps and mourns for Absalom. And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people, for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son. And the people got themselves by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!
  6. And Joab came into the house, to the king, and said, You have shamed this day the faces of all your servants, who this day have saved your life, and the lives of your sons and of your daughters, and the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines, in that you love your enemies and hate your friends; for you have declared this day that you regard neither princes nor servants. For this day I perceive that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it would have pleased you well. Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak encouragingly unto your servants; for I swear by the Lord, if you go not forth, there will not remain one with you this night, and that will be worse unto you than all the evil that befell you from your youth until now.
  7. Then the king arose and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king does sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king, for Israel had fled every man to his tent. And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved 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. And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why do you not speak a word of bringing the king back?
  8. And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar, the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house? Seeing the speech of all Israel has come to the king, even to his house. You are my brethren, you are my bones and my flesh. Why then are you the last to bring back the king? And say to Amasa, Are you not of my bone and of my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if you are not captain of the host before me continually in the place of Joab. And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man, so that they sent this word unto the king: Return, and all your servants. So the king returned and came to Jordan, and Judah came to Gilgal to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan.
  9. And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite who was of Bahurim, hastened and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David. And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons, and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king.
  10. And there went over a ferryboat to carry over the king’s household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king as he had come over Jordan, and said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do remember that which your servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart; for your servant does know that I have sinned. Therefore, behold, I have come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.
  11. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed? And David said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be adversaries unto me? Shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? For do not I know that I am this day king over Israel? Therefore the king said unto Shimei, You shall not die. And the king swore unto him.
  12. And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace. And it came to pass, when he had come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth? And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me. For your servant said, I will saddle me an ass that I may ride thereon and go to the king, because your servant is lame. And he has slandered your servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God. Do therefore what is good in your eyes; for all of my father’s house were but dead men before my lord the king, yet did you set your servant among them that did eat at your own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?
  13. And the king said unto him, Why do you speak any more of your matters? I have said, You and Ziba divide the land. And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king has come again in peace unto his own house.
  14. And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan. Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even eighty years old. And he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim, for he was a very great man. And the king said unto Barzillai, Come over with me and I will feed you with me in Jerusalem. And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem? I am this day eighty years old. And can I discern between good and evil? Can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear anymore the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king? Your servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king. And why should the king recompense it unto me with such a reward? Let your servant, I pray you, turn back again, that I may die in my own city and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold your servant Chimham, let him go over with my lord the king, and do to him what shall seem good unto you.
  15. And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto you. And whatsoever you shall require of me, that will I do for you. And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king had come over, the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned unto his own place. Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him. And all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel.
  16. And behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen you away, and have brought the king, and his household, and all David’s men with him over Jordan? And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us. Why then are you angry for this matter? Have we eaten at all of the king’s cost? Or has he given us any gift? And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than you. Why then did you despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
  17. And there happened to be there a man of Belial whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite. And he blew a trumpet and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to his tents, O Israel. So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah cleaved unto their king from Jordan even to Jerusalem.
  18. And David came to his house at Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women, his concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and put them under guard and fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood.
  19. Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, and be here present. So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah, but he took longer than the set time which he had appointed him. And David said to Abishai, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom. Take your lord’s servants and pursue after him, lest he get himself fortified cities and escape us. And there went out after him Joab’s men, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men; and they went out of Jerusalem to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
  20. When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa went before them. And Joab’s garment that he had put on was girded unto him, and upon it a belt, with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth, it fell out. And Joab said to Amasa, Are you in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him. But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand, so he smote him with it in the fifth rib, and shed out his inward parts to the ground, and struck him not again, and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.
  21. And one of Joab’s men stood by him and said, He that favors Joab and he that is for David, let him go after Joab. And Amasa wallowed in blood in the middle of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he removed Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a cloth upon him when he saw that everyone that came by him stood still. When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.
  22. And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Bethmaacah, and all the Berites. And they were gathered together, and went also after him. And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaacah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench, and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.
  23. Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near here, that I may speak with you. And when he had come near unto her, the woman said, Are you Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of your handmaid. And he answered, I do hear. Then she spoke, saying, They were accustomed to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel, and so they ended the matter. I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?
  24. And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me that I should swallow up or destroy. The matter is not so. But a man of Mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against the king, even against David. Deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.
  25. Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom, and they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem, unto the king.
  26. Now Joab was over all the host of Israel, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites, and Adoram was over the tribute. And Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder, and Sheva was scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests; and Ira also, the Jairite, was a chief ruler about David.