==Chapter 1==1After the death of Saul, David returned from defeating the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days.2On the third day a man arrived from Saul's camp, with his clothes torn and with dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.3"Where have you come from?" David asked him. He answered, "I have escaped from the Israelite camp."4"What happened?" David asked. "Tell me." He said, "The men fled from the battle. Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead."5Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, "How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?"6"I happened to be on Mount Gilboa," the young man said, "and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and riders almost upon him.7When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, 'What can I do?'8"He asked me, 'Who are you?' "'An Amalekite,' I answered.9"Then he said to me, 'Stand over me and kill me! I am in the throes of death, but I'm still alive.'10"So I stood over him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord."11Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them.12They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.13David said to the young man who brought him the report, "Where are you from?" "I am the son of an alien, an Amalekite," he answered.14David asked him, "Why were you not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?"15Then David called one of his men and said, "Go, strike him down!" So he struck him down, and he died.16For David had said to him, "Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, 'I killed the Lord's anointed.'"17David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan,18and ordered that the men of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):19"Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights. How the mighty have fallen!20"Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.21"O mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, nor fields that yield offerings of grain. For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul--no longer rubbed with oil.22From the blood of the slain, from the flesh of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.23"Saul and Jonathan-- in life they were loved and gracious, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.24"O daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.25"How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights.26I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.27"How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war have perished!"==Chapter 2==1In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD. "Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?" he asked. The LORD said, "Go up." David asked, "Where shall I go?" "To Hebron," the LORD answered.2So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.3David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns.4Then the men of Judah came to Hebron and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. When David was told that it was the men of Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul,5he sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead to say to them, "The LORD bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him.6May the LORD now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this.7Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them."8Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul's army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim.9He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.10Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David.11The length of time David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.12Abner son of Ner, together with the men of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon.13Joab son of Zeruiah and David's men went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool and one group on the other side.14Then Abner said to Joab, "Let's have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us." "All right, let them do it," Joab said.15So they stood up and were counted off--twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David.16Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent's side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.17The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by David's men.18The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle.19He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him.20Abner looked behind him and asked, "Is that you, Asahel?" "It is," he answered.21Then Abner said to him, "Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons." But Asahel would not stop chasing him.22Again Abner warned Asahel, "Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?"23But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel's stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.24But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon.25Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill.26Abner called out to Joab, "Must the sword devour forever? Don't you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their brothers?"27Joab answered, "As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued the pursuit of their brothers until morning."28So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the men came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore.29All that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, continued through the whole Bithron and came to Mahanaim.30Then Joab returned from pursuing Abner and assembled all his men. Besides Asahel, nineteen of David's men were found missing.31But David's men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner.32They took Asahel and buried him in his father's tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak.==Chapter 3==1The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.2Sons were born to David in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel;3his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; the third, Absalom the son of Maacah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;4the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;5and the sixth, Ithream the son of David's wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.6During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner had been strengthening his own position in the house of Saul.7Now Saul had had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, "Why did you sleep with my father's concubine?"8Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said and he answered, "Am I a dog's head--on Judah's side? This very day I am loyal to the house of your father Saul and to his family and friends. I haven't handed you over to David. Yet now you accuse me of an offense involving this woman!9May God deal with Abner, be it ever so severely, if I do not do for David what the LORD promised him on oath10and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David's throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba."11Ish-Bosheth did not dare to say another word to Abner, because he was afraid of him.12Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to say to David, "Whose land is it? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you bring all Israel over to you."13"Good," said David. "I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me."14Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, "Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins."15So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish.16Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, "Go back home!" So he went back.17Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, "For some time you have wanted to make David your king.18Now do it! For the LORD promised David, 'By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.'"19Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person. Then he went to Hebron to tell David everything that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin wanted to do.20When Abner, who had twenty men with him, came to David at Hebron, David prepared a feast for him and his men.21Then Abner said to David, "Let me go at once and assemble all Israel for my lord the king, so that they may make a compact with you, and that you may rule over all that your heart desires." So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.22Just then David's men and Joab returned from a raid and brought with them a great deal of plunder. But Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace.23When Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived, he was told that Abner son of Ner had come to the king and that the king had sent him away and that he had gone in peace.24So Joab went to the king and said, "What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone!25You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing."26Joab then left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah. But David did not know it.27Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the gateway, as though to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died.28Later, when David heard about this, he said, "I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the LORD concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner.29May his blood fall upon the head of Joab and upon all his father's house! May Joab's house never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food."30(Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.)31Then David said to Joab and all the people with him, "Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and walk in mourning in front of Abner." King David himself walked behind the bier.32They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner's tomb. All the people wept also.33The king sang this lament for Abner: "Should Abner have died as the lawless die?34Your hands were not bound, your feet were not fettered. You fell as one falls before wicked men." And all the people wept over him again.35Then they all came and urged David to eat something while it was still day; but David took an oath, saying, "May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets!"36All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.37So on that day all the people and all Israel knew that the king had no part in the murder of Abner son of Ner.38Then the king said to his men, "Do you not realize that a prince and a great man has fallen in Israel this day?39And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!"==Chapter 4==1When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed.2Now Saul's son had two men who were leaders of raiding bands. One was named Baanah and the other Recab; they were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite from the tribe of Benjamin--Beeroth is considered part of Benjamin,3because the people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim and have lived there as aliens to this day.4(Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.)5Now Recab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out for the house of Ish-Bosheth, and they arrived there in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest.6They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Recab and his brother Baanah slipped away.7They had gone into the house while he was lying on the bed in his bedroom. After they stabbed and killed him, they cut off his head. Taking it with them, they traveled all night by way of the Arabah.8They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, "Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to take your life. This day the LORD has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring."9David answered Recab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, "As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered me out of all trouble,10when a man told me, 'Saul is dead,' and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news!11How much more--when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed--should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!"12So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner's tomb at Hebron.==Chapter 5==1All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, "We are your own flesh and blood.2In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the LORD said to you, 'You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.'"3When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.4David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.5In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.6The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, "You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off." They thought, "David cannot get in here."7Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.8On that day, David said, "Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those 'lame and blind' who are David's enemies. " That is why they say, "The 'blind and lame' will not enter the palace."9David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the supporting terraces inward.10And he became more and more powerful, because the LORD God Almighty was with him.11Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David.12And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.13After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him.14These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon,15Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia,16Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.17When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold.18Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim;19so David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?" The LORD answered him, "Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you."20So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, "As waters break out, the LORD has broken out against my enemies before me." So that place was called Baal Perazim.21The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.22Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim;23so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, "Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees.24As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army."25So David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.==Chapter 6==1David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all.2He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark.3They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart4with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it.5David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.6When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled.7The Lord's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.8Then David was angry because the Lord's wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.9David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, "How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?"10He was not willing to take the ark of the LORD to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it aside to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.11The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household.12Now King David was told, "The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God." So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing.13When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf.14David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might,15while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.16As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.17They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD.18After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty.19Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.20When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!"21David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord's people Israel--I will celebrate before the LORD.22I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor."23And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.==Chapter 7==1After the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him,2he said to Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent."3Nathan replied to the king, "Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you."4That night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying:5"Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?6I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling.7Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"'8"Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel.9I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth.10And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning11and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. "'The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you:12When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.13He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.14I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men.15But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.16Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me ; your throne will be established forever.'"17Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.18Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: "Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?19And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign LORD, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign LORD?20"What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Sovereign LORD.21For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.22"How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.23And who is like your people Israel--the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt?24You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, O LORD, have become their God.25"And now, LORD God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised,26so that your name will be great forever. Then men will say, 'The LORD Almighty is God over Israel!' And the house of your servant David will be established before you.27"O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, 'I will build a house for you.' So your servant has found courage to offer you this prayer.28O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.29Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, O Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever."==Chapter 8==1In the course of time, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Metheg Ammah from the control of the Philistines.2David also defeated the Moabites. He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. So the Moabites became subject to David and brought tribute.3Moreover, David fought Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah, when he went to restore his control along the Euphrates River.4David captured a thousand of his chariots, seven thousand charioteers and twenty thousand foot soldiers. He hamstrung all but a hundred of the chariot horses.5When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David struck down twenty-two thousand of them.6He put garrisons in the Aramean kingdom of Damascus, and the Arameans became subject to him and brought tribute. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.7David took the gold shields that belonged to the officers of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem.8From Tebah and Berothai, towns that belonged to Hadadezer, King David took a great quantity of bronze.9When Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer,10he sent his son Joram to King David to greet him and congratulate him on his victory in battle over Hadadezer, who had been at war with Tou. Joram brought with him articles of silver and gold and bronze.11King David dedicated these articles to the LORD, as he had done with the silver and gold from all the nations he had subdued:12Edom and Moab, the Ammonites and the Philistines, and Amalek. He also dedicated the plunder taken from Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah.13And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.14He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.15David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.16Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder;17Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary;18Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David's sons were royal advisers.==Chapter 9==1David asked, "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?"2Now there was a servant of Saul's household named Ziba. They called him to appear before David, and the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?" "Your servant," he replied.3The king asked, "Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God's kindness?" Ziba answered the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet."4"Where is he?" the king asked. Ziba answered, "He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar."5So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.6When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, "Mephibosheth!" "Your servant," he replied.7"Don't be afraid," David said to him, "for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table."8Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?"9Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, "I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family.10You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master's grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table." (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)11Then Ziba said to the king, "Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do." So Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of the king's sons.12Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica, and all the members of Ziba's household were servants of Mephibosheth.13And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king's table, and he was crippled in both feet.==Chapter 10==1In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king.2David thought, "I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me." So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father. When David's men came to the land of the Ammonites,3the Ammonite nobles said to Hanun their lord, "Do you think David is honoring your father by sending men to you to express sympathy? Hasn't David sent them to you to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?"4So Hanun seized David's men, shaved off half of each man's beard, cut off their garments in the middle at the buttocks, and sent them away.5When David was told about this, he sent messengers to meet the men, for they were greatly humiliated. The king said, "Stay at Jericho till your beards have grown, and then come back."6When the Ammonites realized that they had become a stench in David's nostrils, they hired twenty thousand Aramean foot soldiers from Beth Rehob and Zobah, as well as the king of Maacah with a thousand men, and also twelve thousand men from Tob.7On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men.8The Ammonites came out and drew up in battle formation at the entrance to their city gate, while the Arameans of Zobah and Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah were by themselves in the open country.9Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans.10He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother and deployed them against the Ammonites.11Joab said, "If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you.12Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight."13Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him.14When the Ammonites saw that the Arameans were fleeing, they fled before Abishai and went inside the city. So Joab returned from fighting the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem.15After the Arameans saw that they had been routed by Israel, they regrouped.16Hadadezer had Arameans brought from beyond the River ; they went to Helam, with Shobach the commander of Hadadezer's army leading them.17When David was told of this, he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan and went to Helam. The Arameans formed their battle lines to meet David and fought against him.18But they fled before Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers. He also struck down Shobach the commander of their army, and he died there.19When all the kings who were vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with the Israelites and became subject to them. So the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore.==Chapter 11==1In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.2One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful,3and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"4Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home.5The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant."6So David sent this word to Joab: "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent him to David.7When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going.8Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him.9But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master's servants and did not go down to his house.10When David was told, "Uriah did not go home," he asked him, "Haven't you just come from a distance? Why didn't you go home?"11Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!"12Then David said to him, "Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next.13At David's invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master's servants; he did not go home.14In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.15In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die."16So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were.17When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David's army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.18Joab sent David a full account of the battle.19He instructed the messenger: "When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle,20the king's anger may flare up, and he may ask you, 'Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn't you know they would shoot arrows from the wall?21Who killed Abimelech son of Jerub-Besheth ? Didn't a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?' If he asks you this, then say to him, 'Also, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.'"22The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say.23The messenger said to David, "The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance to the city gate.24Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king's men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead."25David told the messenger, "Say this to Joab: 'Don't let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.' Say this to encourage Joab."26When Uriah's wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him.27After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.==Chapter 12==1The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor.2The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle,3but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.4"Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him."5David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die!6He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity."7Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.8I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.9Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.10Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.'11"This is what the LORD says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.12You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.'"13Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.14But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die."15After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill.16David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground.17The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.18On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, "While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate."19David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" he asked. "Yes," they replied, "he is dead."20Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.21His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!"22He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.'23But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."24Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and lay with her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him;25and because the LORD loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.26Meanwhile Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal citadel.27Joab then sent messengers to David, saying, "I have fought against Rabbah and taken its water supply.28Now muster the rest of the troops and besiege the city and capture it. Otherwise I will take the city, and it will be named after me."29So David mustered the entire army and went to Rabbah, and attacked and captured it.30He took the crown from the head of their king --its weight was a talent of gold, and it was set with precious stones--and it was placed on David's head. He took a great quantity of plunder from the city31and brought out the people who were there, consigning them to labor with saws and with iron picks and axes, and he made them work at brickmaking. He did this to all the Ammonite towns. Then David and his entire army returned to Jerusalem.==Chapter 13==1In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David.2Amnon became frustrated to the point of illness on account of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.3Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David's brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man.4He asked Amnon, "Why do you, the king's son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won't you tell me?" Amnon said to him, "I'm in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister."5"Go to bed and pretend to be ill," Jonadab said. "When your father comes to see you, say to him, 'I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.'"6So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, "I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special bread in my sight, so I may eat from her hand."7David sent word to Tamar at the palace: "Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him."8So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it.9Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat. "Send everyone out of here," Amnon said. So everyone left him.10Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand." And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom.11But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, "Come to bed with me, my sister."12"Don't, my brother!" she said to him. "Don't force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don't do this wicked thing.13What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you."14But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.15Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, "Get up and get out!"16"No!" she said to him. "Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me." But he refused to listen to her.17He called his personal servant and said, "Get this woman out of here and bolt the door after her."18So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. She was wearing a richly ornamented robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore.19Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing. She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.20Her brother Absalom said to her, "Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother. Don't take this thing to heart." And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's house, a desolate woman.21When King David heard all this, he was furious.22Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.23Two years later, when Absalom's sheepshearers were at Baal Hazor near the border of Ephraim, he invited all the king's sons to come there.24Absalom went to the king and said, "Your servant has had shearers come. Will the king and his officials please join me?"25"No, my son," the king replied. "All of us should not go; we would only be a burden to you." Although Absalom urged him, he still refused to go, but gave him his blessing.26Then Absalom said, "If not, please let my brother Amnon come with us." The king asked him, "Why should he go with you?"27But Absalom urged him, so he sent with him Amnon and the rest of the king's sons.28Absalom ordered his men, "Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, 'Strike Amnon down,' then kill him. Don't be afraid. Have not I given you this order? Be strong and brave."29So Absalom's men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king's sons got up, mounted their mules and fled.30While they were on their way, the report came to David: "Absalom has struck down all the king's sons; not one of them is left."31The king stood up, tore his clothes and lay down on the ground; and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn.32But Jonadab son of Shimeah, David's brother, said, "My lord should not think that they killed all the princes; only Amnon is dead. This has been Absalom's expressed intention ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar.33My lord the king should not be concerned about the report that all the king's sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead."34Meanwhile, Absalom had fled. Now the man standing watch looked up and saw many people on the road west of him, coming down the side of the hill. The watchman went and told the king, "I see men in the direction of Horonaim, on the side of the hill."35Jonadab said to the king, "See, the king's sons are here; it has happened just as your servant said."36As he finished speaking, the king's sons came in, wailing loudly. The king, too, and all his servants wept very bitterly.37Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But King David mourned for his son every day.38After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there three years.39And the spirit of the king longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon's death.==Chapter 14==1Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king's heart longed for Absalom.2So Joab sent someone to Tekoa and had a wise woman brought from there. He said to her, "Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in mourning clothes, and don't use any cosmetic lotions. Act like a woman who has spent many days grieving for the dead.3Then go to the king and speak these words to him." And Joab put the words in her mouth.4When the woman from Tekoa went to the king, she fell with her face to the ground to pay him honor, and she said, "Help me, O king!"5The king asked her, "What is troubling you?" She said, "I am indeed a widow; my husband is dead.6I your servant had two sons. They got into a fight with each other in the field, and no one was there to separate them. One struck the other and killed him.7Now the whole clan has risen up against your servant; they say, 'Hand over the one who struck his brother down, so that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed; then we will get rid of the heir as well.' They would put out the only burning coal I have left, leaving my husband neither name nor descendant on the face of the earth."8The king said to the woman, "Go home, and I will issue an order in your behalf."9But the woman from Tekoa said to him, "My lord the king, let the blame rest on me and on my father's family, and let the king and his throne be without guilt."10The king replied, "If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he will not bother you again."11She said, "Then let the king invoke the LORD his God to prevent the avenger of blood from adding to the destruction, so that my son will not be destroyed." "As surely as the LORD lives," he said, "not one hair of your son's head will fall to the ground."12Then the woman said, "Let your servant speak a word to my lord the king." "Speak," he replied.13The woman said, "Why then have you devised a thing like this against the people of God? When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son?14Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.15"And now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. Your servant thought, 'I will speak to the king; perhaps he will do what his servant asks.16Perhaps the king will agree to deliver his servant from the hand of the man who is trying to cut off both me and my son from the inheritance God gave us.'17"And now your servant says, 'May the word of my lord the king bring me rest, for my lord the king is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil. May the LORD your God be with you.'"18Then the king said to the woman, "Do not keep from me the answer to what I am going to ask you." "Let my lord the king speak," the woman said.19The king asked, "Isn't the hand of Joab with you in all this?" The woman answered, "As surely as you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything my lord the king says. Yes, it was your servant Joab who instructed me to do this and who put all these words into the mouth of your servant.20Your servant Joab did this to change the present situation. My lord has wisdom like that of an angel of God--he knows everything that happens in the land."21The king said to Joab, "Very well, I will do it. Go, bring back the young man Absalom."22Joab fell with his face to the ground to pay him honor, and he blessed the king. Joab said, "Today your servant knows that he has found favor in your eyes, my lord the king, because the king has granted his servant's request."23Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem.24But the king said, "He must go to his own house; he must not see my face." So Absalom went to his own house and did not see the face of the king.25In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him.26Whenever he cut the hair of his head--he used to cut his hair from time to time when it became too heavy for him--he would weigh it, and its weight was two hundred shekels by the royal standard.27Three sons and a daughter were born to Absalom. The daughter's name was Tamar, and she became a beautiful woman.28Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem without seeing the king's face.29Then Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab refused to come to him. So he sent a second time, but he refused to come.30Then he said to his servants, "Look, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire." So Absalom's servants set the field on fire.31Then Joab did go to Absalom's house and he said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?"32Absalom said to Joab, "Look, I sent word to you and said, 'Come here so I can send you to the king to ask, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there!" ' Now then, I want to see the king's face, and if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death."33So Joab went to the king and told him this. Then the king summoned Absalom, and he came in and bowed down with his face to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom.==Chapter 15==1In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him.2He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, "What town are you from?" He would answer, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel."3Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you."4And Absalom would add, "If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice."5Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him.6Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel.7At the end of four years, Absalom said to the king, "Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the LORD.8While your servant was living at Geshur in Aram, I made this vow: 'If the LORD takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the LORD in Hebron.'"9The king said to him, "Go in peace." So he went to Hebron.10Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, 'Absalom is king in Hebron.'"11Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter.12While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom's following kept on increasing.13A messenger came and told David, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom."14Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, "Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin upon us and put the city to the sword."15The king's officials answered him, "Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king chooses."16The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines to take care of the palace.17So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at a place some distance away.18All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.19The king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland.20You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your countrymen. May kindness and faithfulness be with you."21But Ittai replied to the king, "As surely as the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be."22David said to Ittai, "Go ahead, march on." So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.23The whole countryside wept aloud as all the people passed by. The king also crossed the Kidron Valley, and all the people moved on toward the desert.24Zadok was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving the city.25Then the king said to Zadok, "Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord's eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again.26But if he says, 'I am not pleased with you,' then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him."27The king also said to Zadok the priest, "Aren't you a seer? Go back to the city in peace, with your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan son of Abiathar. You and Abiathar take your two sons with you.28I will wait at the fords in the desert until word comes from you to inform me."29So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.30But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up.31Now David had been told, "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." So David prayed, "O LORD, turn Ahithophel's counsel into foolishness."32When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust on his head.33David said to him, "If you go with me, you will be a burden to me.34But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, 'I will be your servant, O king; I was your father's servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,' then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel's advice.35Won't the priests Zadok and Abiathar be there with you? Tell them anything you hear in the king's palace.36Their two sons, Ahimaaz son of Zadok and Jonathan son of Abiathar, are there with them. Send them to me with anything you hear."37So David's friend Hushai arrived at Jerusalem as Absalom was entering the city.==Chapter 16==1When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine.2The king asked Ziba, "Why have you brought these?" Ziba answered, "The donkeys are for the king's household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the desert."3The king then asked, "Where is your master's grandson?" Ziba said to him, "He is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, 'Today the house of Israel will give me back my grandfather's kingdom.'"4Then the king said to Ziba, "All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours." "I humbly bow," Ziba said. "May I find favor in your eyes, my lord the king."5As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul's family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out.6He pelted David and all the king's officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David's right and left.7As he cursed, Shimei said, "Get out, get out, you man of blood, you scoundrel!8The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The LORD has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a man of blood!"9Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head."10But the king said, "What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, 'Curse David,' who can ask, 'Why do you do this?'"11David then said to Abishai and all his officials, "My son, who is of my own flesh, is trying to take my life. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.12It may be that the LORD will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today."13So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt.14The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.15Meanwhile, Absalom and all the men of Israel came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him.16Then Hushai the Arkite, David's friend, went to Absalom and said to him, "Long live the king! Long live the king!"17Absalom asked Hushai, "Is this the love you show your friend? Why didn't you go with your friend?"18Hushai said to Absalom, "No, the one chosen by the LORD, by these people, and by all the men of Israel--his I will be, and I will remain with him.19Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve the son? Just as I served your father, so I will serve you."20Absalom said to Ahithophel, "Give us your advice. What should we do?"21Ahithophel answered, "Lie with your father's concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself a stench in your father's nostrils, and the hands of everyone with you will be strengthened."22So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he lay with his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.23Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel's advice.==Chapter 17==1Ahithophel said to Absalom, "I would choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David.2I would attack him while he is weary and weak. I would strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I would strike down only the king3and bring all the people back to you. The death of the man you seek will mean the return of all; all the people will be unharmed."4This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel.5But Absalom said, "Summon also Hushai the Arkite, so we can hear what he has to say."6When Hushai came to him, Absalom said, "Ahithophel has given this advice. Should we do what he says? If not, give us your opinion."7Hushai replied to Absalom, "The advice Ahithophel has given is not good this time.8You know your father and his men; they are fighters, and as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs. Besides, your father is an experienced fighter; he will not spend the night with the troops.9Even now, he is hidden in a cave or some other place. If he should attack your troops first, whoever hears about it will say, 'There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.'10Then even the bravest soldier, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a fighter and that those with him are brave.11"So I advise you: Let all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba--as numerous as the sand on the seashore--be gathered to you, with you yourself leading them into battle.12Then we will attack him wherever he may be found, and we will fall on him as dew settles on the ground. Neither he nor any of his men will be left alive.13If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it down to the valley until not even a piece of it can be found."14Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel." For the LORD had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.15Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, "Ahithophel has advised Absalom and the elders of Israel to do such and such, but I have advised them to do so and so.16Now send a message immediately and tell David, 'Do not spend the night at the fords in the desert; cross over without fail, or the king and all the people with him will be swallowed up.'"17Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En Rogel. A servant girl was to go and inform them, and they were to go and tell King David, for they could not risk being seen entering the city.18But a young man saw them and told Absalom. So the two of them left quickly and went to the house of a man in Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard, and they climbed down into it.19His wife took a covering and spread it out over the opening of the well and scattered grain over it. No one knew anything about it.20When Absalom's men came to the woman at the house, they asked, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" The woman answered them, "They crossed over the brook." The men searched but found no one, so they returned to Jerusalem.21After the men had gone, the two climbed out of the well and went to inform King David. They said to him, "Set out and cross the river at once; Ahithophel has advised such and such against you."22So David and all the people with him set out and crossed the Jordan. By daybreak, no one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.23When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father's tomb.24David went to Mahanaim, and Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel.25Absalom had appointed Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Jether, an Israelite who had married Abigail, the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah the mother of Joab.26The Israelites and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.27When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim28brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils,29honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows' milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, "The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert."==Chapter 18==1David mustered the men who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.2David sent the troops out--a third under the command of Joab, a third under Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. The king told the troops, "I myself will surely march out with you."3But the men said, "You must not go out; if we are forced to flee, they won't care about us. Even if half of us die, they won't care; but you are worth ten thousand of us. It would be better now for you to give us support from the city."4The king answered, "I will do whatever seems best to you." So the king stood beside the gate while all the men marched out in units of hundreds and of thousands.5The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, "Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake." And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.6The army marched into the field to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim.7There the army of Israel was defeated by David's men, and the casualties that day were great--twenty thousand men.8The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest claimed more lives that day than the sword.9Now Absalom happened to meet David's men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom's head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.10When one of the men saw this, he told Joab, "I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree."11Joab said to the man who had told him this, "What! You saw him? Why didn't you strike him to the ground right there? Then I would have had to give you ten shekels of silver and a warrior's belt."12But the man replied, "Even if a thousand shekels were weighed out into my hands, I would not lift my hand against the king's son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, 'Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.'13And if I had put my life in jeopardy --and nothing is hidden from the king--you would have kept your distance from me."14Joab said, "I'm not going to wait like this for you." So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom's heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree.15And ten of Joab's armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.16Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops stopped pursuing Israel, for Joab halted them.17They took Absalom, threw him into a big pit in the forest and piled up a large heap of rocks over him. Meanwhile, all the Israelites fled to their homes.18During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King's Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, "I have no son to carry on the memory of my name." He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom's Monument to this day.19Now Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, "Let me run and take the news to the king that the LORD has delivered him from the hand of his enemies."20"You are not the one to take the news today," Joab told him. "You may take the news another time, but you must not do so today, because the king's son is dead."21Then Joab said to a Cushite, "Go, tell the king what you have seen." The Cushite bowed down before Joab and ran off.22Ahimaaz son of Zadok again said to Joab, "Come what may, please let me run behind the Cushite." But Joab replied, "My son, why do you want to go? You don't have any news that will bring you a reward."23He said, "Come what may, I want to run." So Joab said, "Run!" Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and outran the Cushite.24While David was sitting between the inner and outer gates, the watchman went up to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked out, he saw a man running alone.25The watchman called out to the king and reported it. The king said, "If he is alone, he must have good news." And the man came closer and closer.26Then the watchman saw another man running, and he called down to the gatekeeper, "Look, another man running alone!" The king said, "He must be bringing good news, too."27The watchman said, "It seems to me that the first one runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok." "He's a good man," the king said. "He comes with good news."28Then Ahimaaz called out to the king, "All is well!" He bowed down before the king with his face to the ground and said, "Praise be to the LORD your God! He has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king."29The king asked, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz answered, "I saw great confusion just as Joab was about to send the king's servant and me, your servant, but I don't know what it was."30The king said, "Stand aside and wait here." So he stepped aside and stood there.31Then the Cushite arrived and said, "My lord the king, hear the good news! The LORD has delivered you today from all who rose up against you."32The king asked the Cushite, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" The Cushite replied, "May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man."33The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you--O Absalom, my son, my son!"==Chapter 19==1Joab was told, "The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom."2And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said, "The king is grieving for his son."3The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle.4The king covered his face and cried aloud, "O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!"5Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, "Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines.6You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead.7Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the LORD that if you don't go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come upon you from your youth till now."8So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, "The king is sitting in the gateway," they all came before him. Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled to their homes.9Throughout the tribes of Israel, the people were all arguing with each other, saying, "The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies; he is the one who rescued us from the hand of the Philistines. But now he has fled the country because of Absalom;10and Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?"11King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests: "Ask the elders of Judah, 'Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his palace, since what is being said throughout Israel has reached the king at his quarters?12You are my brothers, my own flesh and blood. So why should you be the last to bring back the king?'13And say to Amasa, 'Are you not my own flesh and blood? May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if from now on you are not the commander of my army in place of Joab.'"14He won over the hearts of all the men of Judah as though they were one man. They sent word to the king, "Return, you and all your men."15Then the king returned and went as far as the Jordan. Now the men of Judah had come to Gilgal to go out and meet the king and bring him across the Jordan.16Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David.17With him were a thousand Benjamites, along with Ziba, the steward of Saul's household, and his fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed to the Jordan, where the king was.18They crossed at the ford to take the king's household over and to do whatever he wished. When Shimei son of Gera crossed the Jordan, he fell prostrate before the king19and said to him, "May my lord not hold me guilty. Do not remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind.20For I your servant know that I have sinned, but today I have come here as the first of the whole house of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king."21Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, "Shouldn't Shimei be put to death for this? He cursed the Lord's anointed."22David replied, "What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? This day you have become my adversaries! Should anyone be put to death in Israel today? Do I not know that today I am king over Israel?"23So the king said to Shimei, "You shall not die." And the king promised him on oath.24Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, also went down to meet the king. He had not taken care of his feet or trimmed his mustache or washed his clothes from the day the king left until the day he returned safely.25When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, "Why didn't you go with me, Mephibosheth?"26He said, "My lord the king, since I your servant am lame, I said, 'I will have my donkey saddled and will ride on it, so I can go with the king.' But Ziba my servant betrayed me.27And he has slandered your servant to my lord the king. My lord the king is like an angel of God; so do whatever pleases you.28All my grandfather's descendants deserved nothing but death from my lord the king, but you gave your servant a place among those who sat at your table. So what right do I have to make any more appeals to the king?"29The king said to him, "Why say more? I order you and Ziba to divide the fields."30Mephibosheth said to the king, "Let him take everything, now that my lord the king has arrived home safely."31Barzillai the Gileadite also came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan with the king and to send him on his way from there.32Now Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years of age. He had provided for the king during his stay in Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man.33The king said to Barzillai, "Cross over with me and stay with me in Jerusalem, and I will provide for you."34But Barzillai answered the king, "How many more years will I live, that I should go up to Jerusalem with the king?35I am now eighty years old. Can I tell the difference between what is good and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats and drinks? Can I still hear the voices of men and women singers? Why should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?36Your servant will cross over the Jordan with the king for a short distance, but why should the king reward me in this way?37Let your servant return, that I may die in my own town near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant Kimham. Let him cross over with my lord the king. Do for him whatever pleases you."38The king said, "Kimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him whatever pleases you. And anything you desire from me I will do for you."39So all the people crossed the Jordan, and then the king crossed over. The king kissed Barzillai and gave him his blessing, and Barzillai returned to his home.40When the king crossed over to Gilgal, Kimham crossed with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel had taken the king over.41Soon all the men of Israel were coming to the king and saying to him, "Why did our brothers, the men of Judah, steal the king away and bring him and his household across the Jordan, together with all his men?"42All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, "We did this because the king is closely related to us. Why are you angry about it? Have we eaten any of the king's provisions? Have we taken anything for ourselves?"43Then the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, "We have ten shares in the king; and besides, we have a greater claim on David than you have. So why do you treat us with contempt? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?" But the men of Judah responded even more harshly than the men of Israel.==Chapter 20==1Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bicri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted, "We have no share in David, no part in Jesse's son! Every man to his tent, O Israel!"2So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.3When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them, but did not lie with them. They were kept in confinement till the day of their death, living as widows.4Then the king said to Amasa, "Summon the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and be here yourself."5But when Amasa went to summon Judah, he took longer than the time the king had set for him.6David said to Abishai, "Now Sheba son of Bicri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your master's men and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and escape from us."7So Joab's men and the Kerethites and Pelethites and all the mighty warriors went out under the command of Abishai. They marched out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bicri.8While they were at the great rock in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.9Joab said to Amasa, "How are you, my brother?" Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him.10Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab's hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bicri.11One of Joab's men stood beside Amasa and said, "Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!"12Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the road, and the man saw that all the troops came to a halt there. When he realized that everyone who came up to Amasa stopped, he dragged him from the road into a field and threw a garment over him.13After Amasa had been removed from the road, all the men went on with Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bicri.14Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel Beth Maacah and through the entire region of the Berites, who gathered together and followed him.15All the troops with Joab came and besieged Sheba in Abel Beth Maacah. They built a siege ramp up to the city, and it stood against the outer fortifications. While they were battering the wall to bring it down,16a wise woman called from the city, "Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him."17He went toward her, and she asked, "Are you Joab?" "I am," he answered. She said, "Listen to what your servant has to say." "I'm listening," he said.18She continued, "Long ago they used to say, 'Get your answer at Abel,' and that settled it.19We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the Lord's inheritance?"20"Far be it from me!" Joab replied, "Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy!21That is not the case. A man named Sheba son of Bicri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Hand over this one man, and I'll withdraw from the city." The woman said to Joab, "His head will be thrown to you from the wall."22Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bicri and threw it to Joab. So he sounded the trumpet, and his men dispersed from the city, each returning to his home. And Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.23Joab was over Israel's entire army; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites;24Adoniram was in charge of forced labor; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder;25Sheva was secretary; Zadok and Abiathar were priests;26and Ira the Jairite was David's priest.==Chapter 21==1During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the LORD. The LORD said, "It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death."2The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.)3David asked the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? How shall I make amends so that you will bless the Lord's inheritance?"4The Gibeonites answered him, "We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death." "What do you want me to do for you?" David asked.5They answered the king, "As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel,6let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and exposed before the LORD at Gibeah of Saul--the Lord's chosen one." So the king said, "I will give them to you."7The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the LORD between David and Jonathan son of Saul.8But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah's daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite.9He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed and exposed them on a hill before the LORD. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.10Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds of the air touch them by day or the wild animals by night.11When David was told what Aiah's daughter Rizpah, Saul's concubine, had done,12he went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had taken them secretly from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.)13David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.14They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul's father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.15Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted.16And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David.17But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David's rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David's men swore to him, saying, "Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished."18In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha.19In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod.20In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot--twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha.21When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David's brother, killed him.22These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.==Chapter 22==1David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.2He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;3my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent men you save me.4I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.5"The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.6The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.7In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.8"The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry.9Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.10He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.11He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.12He made darkness his canopy around him-- the dark rain clouds of the sky.13Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth.14The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.15He shot arrows and scattered the enemies, bolts of lightning and routed them.16The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils.17"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.18He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.19They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.20He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.21"The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.22For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God.23All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.24I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.25The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.26"To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,27to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.28You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.29You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.30With your help I can advance against a troop ; with my God I can scale a wall.31"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.32For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?33It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.34He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.35He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.36You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great.37You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.38"I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.39I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.40You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.41You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.42They cried for help, but there was no one to save them-- to the LORD, but he did not answer.43I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets.44"You have delivered me from the attacks of my people; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know are subject to me,45and foreigners come cringing to me; as soon as they hear me, they obey me.46They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.47"The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!48He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me,49who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me.50Therefore I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.51He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever."==Chapter 23==1These are the last words of David: "The oracle of David son of Jesse, the oracle of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel's singer of songs :2"The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue.3The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: 'When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God,4he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.'5"Is not my house right with God? Has he not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part? Will he not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire?6But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns, which are not gathered with the hand.7Whoever touches thorns uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear; they are burned up where they lie."8These are the names of David's mighty men: Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.9Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated,10but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.11Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel's troops fled from them.12But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory.13During harvest time, three of the thirty chief men came down to David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim.14At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem.15David longed for water and said, "Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!"16So the three mighty men broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD.17"Far be it from me, O LORD, to do this!" he said. "Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?" And David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty men.18Abishai the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah was chief of the Three. He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three.19Was he not held in greater honor than the Three? He became their commander, even though he was not included among them.20Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.21And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear.22Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty men.23He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.24Among the Thirty were: Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem,25Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,26Helez the Paltite, Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa,27Abiezer from Anathoth, Mebunnai the Hushathite,28Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,29Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin,30Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai from the ravines of Gaash,31Abi-Albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,32Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan33son of Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite,34Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite, Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,35Hezro the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,36Igal son of Nathan from Zobah, the son of Hagri,37Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah,38Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite39and Uriah the Hittite. There were thirty-seven in all.==Chapter 24==1Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah."2So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, "Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are."3But Joab replied to the king, "May the LORD your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?"4The king's word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel.5After crossing the Jordan, they camped near Aroer, south of the town in the gorge, and then went through Gad and on to Jazer.6They went to Gilead and the region of Tahtim Hodshi, and on to Dan Jaan and around toward Sidon.7Then they went toward the fortress of Tyre and all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites. Finally, they went on to Beersheba in the Negev of Judah.8After they had gone through the entire land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.9Joab reported the number of the fighting men to the king: In Israel there were eight hundred thousand able-bodied men who could handle a sword, and in Judah five hundred thousand.10David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing."11Before David got up the next morning, the word of the LORD had come to Gad the prophet, David's seer:12"Go and tell David, 'This is what the LORD says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.'"13So Gad went to David and said to him, "Shall there come upon you three years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me."14David said to Gad, "I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men."15So the LORD sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.16When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was afflicting the people, "Enough! Withdraw your hand." The angel of the LORD was then at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.17When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the LORD, "I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall upon me and my family."18On that day Gad went to David and said to him, "Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite."19So David went up, as the LORD had commanded through Gad.20When Araunah looked and saw the king and his men coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.21Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" "To buy your threshing floor," David answered, "so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped."22Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood.23O king, Araunah gives all this to the king." Araunah also said to him, "May the LORD your God accept you."24But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.25David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.