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, Thou shalt 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 thou art
worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the
And the king said unto them, What seemeth you best 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.
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.
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
And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in
And Joab said unto the man that told him, And, behold, thou sawest him, and why
didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and I would have given thee ten shekels
of silver, and a girdle.
And the man said unto Joab, Though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in
mine hand, yet would I not put forth mine hand against the king’s son: for in our
hearing the king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware that none touch the
young man Absalom.
Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against mine own life: for there is no
matter hid from the king, and thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against me.
Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. 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 bare Joab’s armour compassed 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 every one to his tent.
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,
Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how
that the LORD hath avenged him of his enemies.
And Joab said unto him, Thou shalt not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt bear
tidings another day: but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king’s
son is dead.
Then said Joab to Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast seen. And Cushi bowed
himself unto Joab, and ran.
Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, But howsoever, let me, I pray
thee, also run after Cushi. And Joab said, Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing that
thou hast no tidings ready?
But howsoever, said he, let me run. And he said unto him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by
the way of the plain, and overran Cushi.
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
And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he be alone, there
is tidings in his mouth. And he came apace, 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 bringeth
And the watchman said, Me thinketh 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 cometh with good
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 thy God, which hath
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 thy 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
And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the LORD
hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee.
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 thee to do thee 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 God I had
died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!