15After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him.H310H53H6213H4818H5483H2572H376H7323H6440 2He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe.H53H7925H5975H3027H1870H8179H376H7379H935H4428H4941H53H7121H559H335H5892H559H5650H259H7626H3478 3Then Absalom would say, "You've really got a strong case here! It's too bad the king doesn't have anyone to hear it.H53H559H7200H1697H2896H5228H4428H8085 4I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!"H53H559H7760H8199H776H376H7379H4941H935H6663 5When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn't let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them.H376H7126H7812H7971H3027H2388H5401 6Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.H1697H6213H53H3478H935H4428H4941H53H1589H3820H582H3478 7After four years, Absalom said to the king, "Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the LORD and fulfill a vow I made to him.H7093H705H8141H53H559H4428H3212H7999H5088H5087H3068H2275 8For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the LORD in Hebron if he would bring me back to Jerusalem."H5650H5087H5088H3427H1650H758H559H3068H7725H7725H3389H5647H3068 9"All right," the king told him. "Go and fulfill your vow." So Absalom went to Hebron.H4428H559H3212H7965H6965H3212H2275 10But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. "As soon as you hear the ram's horn," his message read, "you are to say, 'Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.'"H53H7971H7270H7626H3478H559H8085H6963H7782H559H53H4427H2275 11He took 200 men from Jerusalem with him as guests, but they knew nothing of his intentions.H53H1980H3967H376H3389H7121H1980H8537H3045H1697 12While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David's counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum.H53H7971H302H1526H1732H3289H5892H1542H2076H2077H7195H533H5971H7227H1980H53 13A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, "All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!"H935H5046H1732H559H3820H376H3478H310H53 14"Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!" David urged his men. "Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster."H1732H559H5650H3389H6965H1272H6413H6440H53H4116H3212H5381H4116H5080H7451H5221H5892H6310H2719 15"We are with you," his advisers replied. "Do what you think is best."H4428H5650H559H4428H5650H113H4428H977 16So the king and all his household set out at once. He left no one behind except ten of his concubines to look after the palace.H4428H3318H1004H7272H4428H5800H6235H802H6370H8104H1004 17The king and all his people set out on foot, pausing at the last houseH4428H3318H5971H7272H5975H1004H4801H1023 18to let all the king's men move past to lead the way. There were 600 men from Gath who had come with David, along with the king's bodyguard.H5650H5674H3027H3774H6432H1663H8337H3967H376H935H7272H1661H5674H6440H4428 19Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, "Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile.H559H4428H863H1663H3212H7725H4725H3427H4428H5237H1540 20You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don't even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the LORD show you his unfailing love and faithfulness."H935H8543H3117H3212H5128H5128H1980H7725H7725H251H2617H571 21But Ittai said to the king, "I vow by the LORD and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens - whether it means life or death."H863H6030H4428H559H3068H2416H113H4428H2416H4725H113H4428H4194H2416H5650 22David replied, "All right, come with us." So Ittai and all his men and their families went along.H1732H559H863H3212H5674H863H1663H5674H582H2945 23Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. They crossed the Kidron Valley and then went out toward the wilderness.H776H1058H1419H6963H5971H5674H4428H5674H5158H6939H5971H5674H6440H1870H4057 24Zadok and all the Levites also came along, carrying the Ark of the Covenant of God. They set down the Ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until everyone had passed out of the city.H6659H3881H5375H727H1285H430H3332H727H430H54H5927H5971H8552H5674H5892 25Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. "If the LORD sees fit," David said, "he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again.H4428H559H6659H7725H727H430H5892H4672H2580H5869H3068H7725H7200H5116 26But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him."H559H2654H6213H5869H2896 27The king also told Zadok the priest, "Look, here is my plan. You and Abiathar should return quietly to the city with your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan.H4428H559H6659H3548H7200H7725H5892H7965H8147H1121H290H1121H3083H1121H54 28I will stop at the shallows of the Jordan River and wait there for a report from you."H7200H4102H6160H5679H4057H935H1697H5046 29So Zadok and Abiathar took the Ark of God back to the city and stayed there.H6659H54H7725H727H430H7725H3389H3427 30David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill.H1732H5927H4608H2132H1058H5927H7218H2645H1980H3182H5971H2645H376H7218H5927H1058H5927 31When someone told David that his adviser Ahithophel was now backing Absalom, David prayed, "O LORD, let Ahithophel give Absalom foolish advice!"H5046H1732H559H302H7194H53H1732H559H3068H6098H302H5528 32When David reached the summit of the Mount of Olives where people worshiped God, Hushai the Arkite was waiting there for him. Hushai had torn his clothing and put dirt on his head as a sign of mourning.H1732H935H7218H7812H430H2365H757H7125H3801H7167H127H7218 33But David told him, "If you go with me, you will only be a burden.H1732H559H5674H4853 34Return to Jerusalem and tell Absalom, 'I will now be your adviser, O king, just as I was your father's adviser in the past.' Then you can frustrate and counter Ahithophel's advice.H7725H5892H559H53H5650H4428H1H5650H227H5650H6565H6098H302 35Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, will be there. Tell them about the plans being made in the king's palace,H6659H54H3548H1697H8085H4428H1004H5046H6659H54H3548 36and they will send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what is going on."H8147H1121H290H6659H3083H54H3027H7971H1697H8085 37So David's friend Hushai returned to Jerusalem, getting there just as Absalom arrived.H2365H1732H7463H935H5892H53H935H3389
New Living Translation (NLT). Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. More details.