18David now mustered the men who were with him and appointed generals and captains to lead them.H1732H6485H5971H7760H8269H505H8269H3967 2He sent the troops out in three groups, placing one group under Joab, one under Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one under Ittai, the man from Gath. The king told his troops, "I am going out with you."H1732H7971H7992H5971H3027H3097H7992H3027H52H1121H6870H3097H251H7992H3027H863H1663H4428H559H5971H3318H3318H589 3But his men objected strongly. "You must not go," they urged. "If we have to turn and run—and even if half of us die—it will make no difference to Absalom's troops; they will be looking only for you. You are worth 10,000 of us, and it is better that you stay here in the town and send help if we need it."H5971H559H3318H5127H5127H7760H3820H2677H4191H7760H3820H3644H6235H505H2896H5826H5826H5892 4"If you think that's the best plan, I'll do it," the king answered. So he stood alongside the gate of the town as all the troops marched out in groups of hundreds and of thousands.H4428H559H5869H3190H6213H4428H5975H8179H3027H5971H3318H3967H505 5And the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: "For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom." And all the troops heard the king give this order to his commanders.H4428H6680H3097H52H863H559H328H5288H53H5971H8085H4428H8269H6680H1697H53 6So the battle began in the forest of Ephraim,H5971H3318H7704H7125H3478H4421H3293H669 7and the Israelite troops were beaten back by David's men. There was a great slaughter that day, and 20,000 men laid down their lives.H5971H3478H5062H6440H5650H1732H1419H4046H3117H6242H505 8The battle raged all across the countryside, and more men died because of the forest than were killed by the sword.H4421H6327H6440H776H3293H398H7235H5971H3117H2719H398 9During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David's men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air.H53H7122H6440H5650H1732H53H7392H6505H6505H935H7730H1419H424H7218H2388H424H5414H8064H776H6505H5674 10One of David's men saw what had happened and told Joab, "I saw Absalom dangling from a great tree."H259H376H7200H5046H3097H559H7200H53H8518H424 11"What?" Joab demanded. "You saw him there and didn't kill him? I would have rewarded you with ten pieces of silver and a hero's belt!"H3097H559H376H5046H7200H5221H776H5414H6235H3701H259H2290 12"I would not kill the king's son for even a thousand pieces of silver," the man replied to Joab. "We all heard the king say to you and Abishai and Ittai, 'For my sake, please spare young Absalom.'H376H559H3097H3863H8254H505H3701H3709H7971H3027H4428H1121H241H4428H6680H52H863H559H8104H5288H53 13And if I had betrayed the king by killing his son—and the king would certainly find out who did it—you yourself would be the first to abandon me."H176H6213H8267H5315H1697H3582H4428H3320 14"Enough of this nonsense," Joab said. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into Absalom's heart as he dangled, still alive, in the great tree.H559H3097H3176H6440H3947H7969H7626H3709H8628H3820H53H2416H424 15Ten of Joab's young armor bearers then surrounded Absalom and killed him.H6235H5288H5375H3097H3627H5437H5221H53H4191 16Then Joab blew the ram's horn, and his men returned from chasing the army of Israel.H3097H8628H7782H5971H7725H7291H310H3478H3097H2820H5971 17They threw Absalom's body into a deep pit in the forest and piled a great heap of stones over it. And all Israel fled to their homes.H3947H53H7993H1419H6354H3293H5324H3966H1419H1530H68H3478H5127H376H168 18During his lifetime, Absalom had built a monument to himself in the King's Valley, for he said, "I have no son to carry on my name." He named the monument after himself, and it is known as Absalom's Monument to this day.H53H2416H3947H5324H4678H4428H6010H559H1121H8034H2142H7121H4678H8034H7121H3117H53H3027 19Then Zadok's son Ahimaaz said, "Let me run to the king with the good news that the LORD has rescued him from his enemies."H559H290H1121H6659H7323H1319H4428H1319H3068H8199H3027H341 20"No," Joab told him, "it wouldn't be good news to the king that his son is dead. You can be my messenger another time, but not today."H3097H559H376H1309H3117H1319H312H3117H3117H1319H4428H1121H4191 21Then Joab said to a man from Ethiopia, "Go tell the king what you have seen." The man bowed and ran off.H559H3097H3569H3212H5046H4428H7200H3569H7812H3097H7323 22But Ahimaaz continued to plead with Joab, "Whatever happens, please let me go, too." "Why should you go, my son?" Joab replied. "There will be no reward for your news."H559H290H1121H6659H3254H3097H4100H7323H310H3569H3097H559H7323H1121H1309H4672 23"Yes, but let me go anyway," he begged. Joab finally said, "All right, go ahead." So Ahimaaz took the less demanding route by way of the plain and ran to Mahanaim ahead of the Ethiopian.H7323H559H7323H290H7323H1870H3603H5674H3569 24While David was sitting between the inner and outer gates of the town, the watchman climbed to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked, he saw a lone man running toward them.H1732H3427H8147H8179H6822H3212H1406H8179H2346H5375H5869H7200H376H7323 25He shouted the news down to David, and the king replied, "If he is alone, he has news." As the messenger came closer,H6822H7121H5046H4428H4428H559H1309H6310H3212H1980H7131 26the watchman saw another man running toward them. He shouted down, "Here comes another one!" The king replied, "He also will have news."H6822H7200H312H376H7323H6822H7121H7778H559H376H7323H4428H559H1319 27"The first man runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok," the watchman said."He is a good man and comes with good news," the king replied.H6822H559H7200H4794H7223H4794H290H1121H6659H4428H559H2896H376H935H2896H1309 28Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, "Everything is all right!" He bowed before the king with his face to the ground and said, "Praise to the LORD your God, who has handed over the rebels who dared to stand against my lord the king."H290H7121H559H4428H7965H7812H776H639H4428H559H1288H3068H430H5462H582H5375H3027H113H4428 29"What about young Absalom?" the king demanded. "Is he all right?" Ahimaaz replied, "When Joab told me to come, there was a lot of commotion. But I didn't know what was happening."H4428H559H5288H53H7965H290H559H3097H7971H4428H5650H5650H7200H1419H1995H3045 30"Wait here," the king told him. So Ahimaaz stepped aside.H4428H559H5437H3320H3541H5437H5975 31Then the man from Ethiopia arrived and said, "I have good news for my lord the king. Today the LORD has rescued you from all those who rebelled against you."H3569H935H3569H559H1319H113H4428H3068H8199H3117H3027H6965 32"What about young Absalom?" the king demanded. "Is he all right?" And the Ethiopian replied, "May all of your enemies, my lord the king, both now and in the future, share the fate of that young man!"H4428H559H3569H5288H53H7965H3569H559H341H113H4428H6965H7451H5288 33The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son."H4428H7264H5927H5944H8179H1058H3212H559H1121H53H1121H1121H53H4191H5414H53H1121H1121
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