2 Samuel 18:1-33, NLT
2 Samuel 18
Absalom’s Defeat and Death
1David now mustered the men who were with him and appointed generals and captains*18:1 Hebrew appointed commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. to lead them.
3But his men objected strongly. “You must not go,” they urged. “If we have to turn and run—and even if half of us die—it will make no difference to Absalom’s troops; they will be looking only for you. You are worth 10,000 of us,*18:3 As in two Hebrew manuscripts and some Greek and Latin manuscripts; most Hebrew manuscripts read Now there are 10,000 like us. and it is better that you stay here in the town and send help if we need it.”
4“If you think that’s the best plan, I’ll do it,” the king answered. So he stood alongside the gate of the town as all the troops marched out in groups of hundreds and of thousands.
5And the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom.” And all the troops heard the king give this order to his commanders.
6So the battle began in the forest of Ephraim,
9During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David’s men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair*18:9 Hebrew his head. got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air.
11“What?” Joab demanded. “You saw him there and didn’t kill him? I would have rewarded you with ten pieces of silver*18:11 Hebrew 10 [shekels] of silver, about 4 ounces or 114 grams in weight. and a hero’s belt!”
12“I would not kill the king’s son for even a thousand pieces of silver,*18:12 Hebrew 1,000 [shekels] of silver, about 25 pounds or 11.4 kilograms in weight.” the man replied to Joab. “We all heard the king say to you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake, please spare young Absalom.’
14“Enough of this nonsense,” Joab said. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into Absalom’s heart as he dangled, still alive, in the great tree.
16Then Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men returned from chasing the army of Israel.
18During his lifetime, Absalom had built a monument to himself in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to carry on my name.” He named the monument after himself, and it is known as Absalom’s Monument to this day.
David Mourns Absalom’s Death
19Then Zadok’s son Ahimaaz said, “Let me run to the king with the good news that the Lord has rescued him from his enemies.”
20“No,” Joab told him, “it wouldn’t be good news to the king that his son is dead. You can be my messenger another time, but not today.”
21Then Joab said to a man from Ethiopia,*18:21 Hebrew from Cush; similarly in 18:23, 31, 32. “Go tell the king what you have seen.” The man bowed and ran off.
22But Ahimaaz continued to plead with Joab, “Whatever happens, please let me go, too.”
“Why should you go, my son?” Joab replied. “There will be no reward for your news.”
23“Yes, but let me go anyway,” he begged.
Joab finally said, “All right, go ahead.” So Ahimaaz took the less demanding route by way of the plain and ran to Mahanaim ahead of the Ethiopian.
24While David was sitting between the inner and outer gates of the town, the watchman climbed to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked, he saw a lone man running toward them.
As the messenger came closer,
The king replied, “He also will have news.”
27“The first man runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok,” the watchman said.
“He is a good man and comes with good news,” the king replied.
28Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “Everything is all right!” He bowed before the king with his face to the ground and said, “Praise to the Lord your God, who has handed over the rebels who dared to stand against my lord the king.”
29“What about young Absalom?” the king demanded. “Is he all right?”
Ahimaaz replied, “When Joab told me to come, there was a lot of commotion. But I didn’t know what was happening.”
30“Wait here,” the king told him. So Ahimaaz stepped aside.
31Then the man from Ethiopia arrived and said, “I have good news for my lord the king. Today the Lord has rescued you from all those who rebelled against you.”
32“What about young Absalom?” the king demanded. “Is he all right?”
And the Ethiopian replied, “May all of your enemies, my lord the king, both now and in the future, share the fate of that young man!”
33*18:33 Verse 18:33 is numbered 19:1 in Hebrew text.The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.”