2 Samuel 15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
15 Now it came about after this that Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men [a]to run ahead of him. 2 And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the road to the gate; and when any man who had a lawsuit was to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call out to him and say, “From what city are you?” And he would say, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” 3 Then Absalom would say to him, “See, your [b]claims are good and right, but you have no one to listen to you on the part of the king.” 4 Moreover, Absalom would say, “Oh that someone would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has a lawsuit or claim could come to me, and I would give him justice!” 5 And whenever a man approached to prostrate himself before him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Absalom dealt this way with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
7 Now it came about at the end of [c]four years that Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow which I have made to the Lord, in Hebron. 8 For your servant made a vow while I was living in Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.’” 9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he got up and went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent spies throughout the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron!’” 11 Then two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem, who were invited and went [d]innocently, for they did not know anything. 12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong, for the people continually increased with Absalom.
David Flees Jerusalem
13 Then a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the people of Israel are [e]with Absalom.” 14 So David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem, “Arise and let’s flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go quickly, or he will hurry and overtake us, and bring disaster on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” 15 Then the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants will do whatever my lord the king chooses.” 16 So the king left, and all his household [f]with him; but the king left ten concubines behind to take care of the house. 17 The king left, and all the people [g]with him, and they stopped at the last house. 18 Now all of his servants passed by beside him, and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had come [h]with him from Gath, passed by before the king.
19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you go with us too? Return and stay with [i]your king, since you are a foreigner and an exile as well; return to your own place. 20 You came only yesterday, so should I make you wander with us today, while I go wherever I go? Return and take your brothers back; mercy and [j]truth be with you.” 21 But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there assuredly shall your servant be!” 22 Then David said to Ittai, “Go and cross over the brook Kidron.” So Ittai the Gittite crossed over with all his men and all the [k]little ones who were with him. 23 While all the country was weeping with a loud voice, all the people were crossing over. The king was also crossing over the brook Kidron, and all the people were crossing over toward the way of the wilderness.
24 Now behold, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him, carrying the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar came up until all the people had finished crossing over from the city. 25 And the king said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the Lord, then He will bring me back and show me both it and His habitation. 26 But if He says this: ‘I have no delight in you,’ then here I am, let Him do to me as seems good [l]to Him.” 27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 See, I am going to wait at the river crossing places of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem and remained there.
30 And David was going up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, and his head was covered, and he was walking barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his own head, and they were going up, weeping as they went. 31 Now someone informed David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “Lord, please make the advice of Ahithophel foolish.”
32 It happened as David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, that behold, Hushai the Archite met him with his [m]coat torn, and [n]dust on his head. 33 And David said to him, “If you go over with me, then you will become a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; even as I was your father’s servant in time past, so now I will also be your servant,’ then you can foil the advice of Ahithophel for me. 35 Are Zadok and Abiathar the priests not with you there? So it shall be that whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall report to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Behold their two sons are there with them, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send me everything that you hear.” 37 So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 15 New International Version (NIV)
15 In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. 2 He 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.” 3 Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.” 4 And 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 they receive justice.”
5 Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
7 At the end of four[a] years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the Lord. 8 While 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.[b]’”
9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he went to Hebron.
10 Then 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.’” 11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter. 12 While 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.
13 A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”
14 Then 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 on us and put the city to the sword.”
15 The king’s officials answered him, “Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king chooses.”
16 The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines to take care of the palace. 17 So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at the edge of the city. 18 All 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.
19 The 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. 20 You 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 people with you. May the Lord show you kindness and faithfulness.”[c]
21 But 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.”
22 David said to Ittai, “Go ahead, march on.” So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.
23 The 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 wilderness.
24 Zadok 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.
25 Then 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. 26 But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.”
27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Do you understand? Go back to the city with my blessing. Take your son Ahimaaz with you, and also Abiathar’s son Jonathan. You and Abiathar return with your two sons. 28 I will wait at the fords in the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
30 But 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. 31 Now David had been told, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” So David prayed, “Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.”
32 When 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. 33 David said to him, “If you go with me, you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘Your Majesty, I will be your servant; 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. 35 Won’t the priests Zadok and Abiathar be there with you? Tell them anything you hear in the king’s palace. 36 Their two sons, Ahimaaz son of Zadok and Jonathan son of Abiathar, are there with them. Send them to me with anything you hear.”
37 So Hushai, David’s confidant, arrived at Jerusalem as Absalom was entering the city.