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2 Samuel Contemporary English Version (CEV)
David Finds Out about Saul's Death
1Saul was dead.
Meanwhile, David had defeated the Amalekites and returned to Ziklag. 2Three days later, a soldier came from Saul's army. His clothes were torn, and dirt was on his head. He went to David and knelt down in front of him. 3David asked, "Where did you come from?"
The man answered, "From Israel's army. I barely escaped with my life."
4"Who won the battle?" David asked.
The man said, "Our army turned and ran, but many were wounded and died. Even King Saul and his son Jonathan are dead."
5David asked, "How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?"
6The young man replied:
I was on Mount Gilboa and saw King Saul leaning on his spear. The enemy's war chariots and cavalry were closing in on him. 7When he turned around and saw me, he called me over. I went and asked what he wanted.
8Saul asked me, "Who are you?"
"An Amalekite," I answered.
9Then he said, "Kill me! I'm dying, and I'm in terrible pain." 10So I killed him. I knew he was too badly wounded to live much longer. Then I took his crown and his arm-band, and I brought them to you, Your Majesty. Here they are.
11Right away, David and his soldiers tore their clothes in sorrow. 12They cried all day long and would not eat anything. Everyone was sad because Saul, his son Jonathan, and many of the LORD's people had been killed in the battle.
13David asked the young man, "Where is your home?"
The man replied, "My father is an Amalekite, but we live in Israel."
14-16David said to him, "Why weren't you afraid to kill the LORD's chosen king? And you even told what you did. It's your own fault that you're going to die!"
Then David told one of his soldiers, "Come here and kill this man!"
David Sings in Memory of Saul
17David sang a song in memory of Saul and Jonathan, 18and he ordered his men to teach the song to everyone in Judah. He called it "The Song of the Bow," and it can be found in The Book of Jashar. This is the song: 19Israel, your famous hero
lies dead on the hills,
and your mighty warriors
20Don't tell it in Gath
or spread the news
on the streets of Ashkelon.
The godless Philistine women
will be happy
and jump for joy.
21Don't let dew or rain fall
on the hills of Gilboa.
Don't let its fields
grow offerings for God.
There the warriors' shields
were smeared with mud,
and Saul's own shield
was left unpolished. 22The arrows of Jonathan struck,
and warriors died.
The sword of Saul cut
the enemy apart.
23It was easy to love Saul
Together in life,
together in death,
they were faster than eagles
and stronger than lions.
24Women of Israel, cry for Saul.
He brought you fine red cloth
and jewelry made of gold.
25Our warriors have fallen
in the heat of battle,
and Jonathan lies dead
on the hills of Gilboa.
26Jonathan, I miss you most!
I loved you
like a brother.
You were truly loyal to me,
more faithful than a wife
to her husband. 27Our warriors have fallen,
and their weapons are destroyed.
David Becomes King of Judah
1Later, David asked the LORD, "Should I go back to one of the towns of Judah?"
The LORD answered, "Yes."
David asked, "Which town should I go to?"
"Go to Hebron," the LORD replied.
2David went to Hebron with his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail. Ahinoam was from Jezreel, and Abigail was the widow of Nabal from Carmel. 3David also had his men and their families come and live in the villages near Hebron.
4The people of Judah met with David at Hebron and poured olive oil on his head to show that he was their new king. Then they told David, "The people from Jabesh in Gilead buried Saul."
5David sent messengers to tell them:
The LORD bless you! You were kind enough to bury Saul your ruler, 6and I pray that the LORD will be kind and faithful to you. I will be your friend because of what you have done. 7Saul is dead, but the tribe of Judah has made me their king. So be strong and have courage.
Ishbosheth Becomes King of Israel
8Abner the son of Ner had been the general of Saul's army. He took Saul's son Ishbosheth across the Jordan River to Mahanaim 9and made him king of Israel, including the areas of Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, and Benjamin. 10Ishbosheth was forty years old at the time, and he ruled for two years. But the tribe of Judah made David their king, 11and he ruled from Hebron for seven and a half years.
The War between David and Ishbosheth
12One day, Abner and the soldiers of Ishbosheth left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. 13Meanwhile, Joab the son of Zeruiah was leading David's soldiers, and the two groups met at the pool in Gibeon. Abner and his men sat down on one side of the pool, while Joab and his men sat on the other side. 14Abner yelled to Joab, "Let's have some of our best soldiers get up and fight each other!" Joab agreed, 15and twelve of Ishbosheth's men from the tribe of Benjamin got up to fight twelve of David's men. 16They grabbed each other by the hair and stabbed each other in the side with their daggers. They all died right there! That's why the place in Gibeon is called "Field of Daggers." 17Then everyone started fighting. Both sides fought very hard, but David's soldiers defeated Abner and the soldiers of Israel. 18Zeruiah's three sons were there: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel could run as fast as a deer in an open field, 19and he ran straight after Abner, without looking to the right or to the left.
20When Abner turned and saw him, he said, "Is that you, Asahel?"
Asahel answered, "Yes it is."
21Abner said, "There are soldiers all around. Stop chasing me and fight one of them! Kill him and take his clothes and weapons for yourself."
But Asahel refused to stop.
22Abner said, "If you don't turn back, I'll have to kill you! Then I could never face your brother Joab again."
23But Asahel would not turn back, so Abner struck him in the stomach with the back end of his spear. The spear went all the way through and came out of his back. Asahel fell down and died. Everyone who saw Asahel lying dead just stopped and stood still. 24But Joab and Abishai went after Abner. Finally, about sunset, they came to the hill of Ammah, not far from Giah on the road to Gibeon Desert. 25Abner brought the men of Benjamin together in one group on top of a hill, and they got ready to fight.
26Abner shouted to Joab, "Aren't we ever going to stop killing each other? Don't you know that the longer we keep on doing this, the worse it's going to be when it's all over? When are you going to order your men to stop chasing their own relatives?"
27Joab shouted back, "I swear by the living God, if you hadn't spoken, my men would have chased their relatives all night!" 28Joab took his trumpet and blew the signal for his soldiers to stop chasing the soldiers of Israel. Right away, the fighting stopped.
29Abner and his troops marched through the Jordan River valley all that night. Then they crossed the river and marched all morning until they arrived back at Mahanaim. 30As soon as Joab stopped chasing Abner, he got David's troops together and counted them. There were nineteen missing besides Asahel. 31But David's soldiers had killed 360 of Abner's men from the tribe of Benjamin. 32Joab and his troops carried Asahel's body to Bethlehem and buried him in the family burial place. Then they marched all night and reached Hebron before sunrise.
1This battle was the beginning of a long war between the followers of Saul and the followers of David. Saul's power grew weaker, but David's grew stronger.
David's Sons Born in Hebron
(1 Chronicles 3.1-4)
2-5Several of David's sons were born while he was living in Hebron. His oldest son was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel. David's second son was Chileab, whose mother was Abigail, who had been married to Nabal from Carmel. Absalom was the third. His mother was Maacah, the daughter of King Talmai of Geshur. The fourth was Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith. The fifth was Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital. The sixth was Ithream, whose mother was Eglah, another one of David's wives.
Abner Decides To Help David
6As the war went on between the families of David and Saul, Abner was gaining more power than ever in Saul's family. 7He had even slept with a wife of Saul by the name of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah. But Saul's son Ishbosheth told Abner, "You shouldn't have slept with one of my father's wives!" 8Abner was very angry at what Ishbosheth had said, and he told Ishbosheth:
Am I some kind of worthless dog from Judah? I've always been loyal to your father's family and to his relatives and friends. I haven't turned you over to David. And yet you talk to me as if I've committed a crime with this woman.
9I ask God to punish me if I don't help David get what the LORD promised him! 10God said that he wouldn't let anyone in Saul's family ever be king again and that David would be king instead. He also said that David would rule both Israel and Judah, all the way from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south. 11Ishbosheth was so afraid of Abner that he could not even answer.
12Abner sent some of his men to David with this message: "You should be the ruler of the whole nation. If you make an agreement with me, I will persuade everyone in Israel to make you their king." 13David sent this message back: "Good! I'll make an agreement with you. But before I will even talk with you about it, you must get Saul's daughter Michal back for me."
14David sent a few of his officials to Ishbosheth to give him this message: "Give me back my wife Michal! I killed a hundred Philistines so I could marry her." 15Ishbosheth sent some of his men to take Michal away from her new husband, Paltiel the son of Laish. 16Paltiel followed Michal and the men all the way to Bahurim, crying as he walked. But he went back home after Abner ordered him to leave.
17Abner talked with the leaders of the tribes of Israel and told them, "You've wanted to make David your king for a long time now. 18So do it! After all, God said he would use his servant David to rescue his people Israel from their enemies, especially from the Philistines."
19Finally, Abner talked with the tribe of Benjamin. Then he left for Hebron to tell David everything that the tribe of Benjamin and the rest of the people of Israel wanted to do. 20Abner took twenty soldiers with him, and when they got to Hebron, David gave a big feast for them.
21After the feast, Abner said, "Your Majesty, let me leave now and bring Israel here to make an agreement with you. You'll be king of the whole nation, just as you've been wanting."
David told Abner he could leave, and he left without causing any trouble.
Joab Kills Abner
22Soon after Abner had left Hebron, Joab and some of David's soldiers came back, bringing a lot of things they had taken from an enemy village. 23Right after they arrived, someone told Joab, "Abner visited the king, and the king let him go. Abner even left without causing any trouble."
24Joab went to David and said, "What have you done? Abner came to you, and you let him go. Now he's long gone! 25You know Abner--he came to trick you. He wants to find out how strong your army is and to know everything you're doing."
26Joab left David, then he sent some messengers to catch up with Abner. They brought him back from the well at Sirah, but David did not know anything about it. 27When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab pretended he wanted to talk privately with him. So he took Abner into one of the small rooms that were part of the town gate and stabbed him in the stomach. Joab killed him because Abner had killed Joab's brother Asahel.
28David heard how Joab had killed Abner, and he said, "I swear to the LORD that I am completely innocent of Abner's death! 29Joab and his family are the guilty ones. I pray that Joab's family will always be sick with sores and other skin diseases. May they all be cowards, and may they die in war or starve to death." 30Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.
31David told Joab and everyone with him, "Show your sorrow by tearing your clothes and wearing sackcloth! Walk in front of Abner's body and cry!" David walked behind the stretcher on which Abner's body was being carried. 32Abner was buried in Hebron, while David and everyone else stood at the tomb and cried loudly. 33Then the king sang a funeral song about Abner:
Abner, why should you
have died like an outlaw? 34No one tied your hands
or chained your feet,
yet you died as a victim
Everyone started crying again. 35Then they brought some food to David and told him he would feel better if he had something to eat. It was still daytime, and David said, "I swear to God that I'll not take a bite of bread or anything else until sunset!"
36Everyone noticed what David did, and they liked it, just as they always liked what he did. 37Now the people of Judah and Israel were certain that David had nothing to do with killing Abner.
38David said to his officials, "Don't you realize that today one of Israel's great leaders has died? 39I am the chosen king, but Joab and Abishai have more power than I do. So God will have to pay them back for the evil thing they did."
Ishbosheth Is Killed
1Ishbosheth felt like giving up after he heard that Abner had died in Hebron. Everyone in Israel was terrified. 2Ishbosheth had put the two brothers Baanah and Rechab in charge of the soldiers who raided enemy villages. Rimmon was their father, and they were from the town of Beeroth, which belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. 3The people who used to live in Beeroth had run away to Gittaim, and they still live there. 4Saul's son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth, who had not been able to walk since he was five years old. It happened when someone from Jezreel told his nurse that Saul and Jonathan had died. She hurried off with the boy in her arms, but he fell and injured his legs. 5One day about noon, Rechab and Baanah went to Ishbosheth's house. It was a hot day, and he was resting 6-7in his bedroom. The two brothers went into the house, pretending to get some flour. But once they were inside, they stabbed Ishbosheth in the stomach and killed him. Then they cut off his head and took it with them.
Rechab and Baanah walked through the Jordan River valley all night long. 8Finally they turned west and went to Hebron. They went in to see David and told him, "Your Majesty, here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of your enemy Saul who tried to kill you! The LORD has let you get even with Saul and his family."
I swear that only the LORD rescues me when I'm in trouble! 10When a man came to Ziklag and told me that Saul was dead, he thought he deserved a reward for bringing good news. But I grabbed him and killed him.
11You evil men have done something much worse than he did. You've killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed. I'll make you pay for that. I'll wipe you from the face of the earth!
12Then David said to his troops, "Kill these two brothers! Cut off their hands and feet and hang their bodies by the pool in Hebron. But bury Ishbosheth's head in Abner's tomb near Hebron." And they did.
David Becomes King of Israel
(1 Chronicles 11.1-3)
1Israel's leaders met with David at Hebron and said, "We are your relatives. 2Even when Saul was king, you led our nation in battle. And the LORD promised that someday you would rule Israel and take care of us like a shepherd."
3During the meeting, David made an agreement with the leaders and asked the LORD to be their witness. Then the leaders poured olive oil on David's head to show that he was now the king of Israel.
4David was thirty years old when he became king, and he ruled for forty years. 5He lived in Hebron for the first seven and a half years and ruled only Judah. Then he moved to Jerusalem, where he ruled both Israel and Judah for thirty-three years.
How David Captured Jerusalem
(1 Chronicles 11.4-9; 14.1,2)
6The Jebusites lived in Jerusalem, and David led his army there to attack them. The Jebusites did not think he could get in, so they told him, "You can't get in here! We could run you off, even if we couldn't see or walk!"
7-9David told his troops, "You will have to go up through the water tunnel to get those Jebusites. I hate people like them who can't walk or see." That's why there is still a rule that says, "Only people who can walk and see are allowed in the temple." David captured the fortress on Mount Zion, then he moved there and named it David's City. He had the city rebuilt, starting with the landfill to the east. 10David became a great and strong ruler, because the LORD All-Powerful was on his side.
11King Hiram of Tyre sent some officials to David. Carpenters and stone workers came with them, and they brought cedar logs so they could build David a palace.
12David knew that the LORD had made him king of Israel and that he had made him a powerful ruler for the good of his people.
David's Sons Born in Jerusalem
(1 Chronicles 14.3-7)
13After David left Hebron and moved to Jerusalem, he married many women from Jerusalem, and he had a lot of children. 14His sons who were born there were Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.
David Fights the Philistines
(1 Chronicles 14.8-17)
17The Philistines heard that David was now king of Israel, and they came into the hill country to try and capture him. But David found out and went into his fortress. 18So the Philistines camped in Rephaim Valley. 19David asked the LORD, "Should I attack the Philistines? Will you let me win?"
The LORD told David, "Attack! I will let you win."
20David attacked the Philistines and defeated them. Then he said, "I watched the LORD break through my enemies like a mighty flood." So he named the place "The Lord Broke Through. " 21David and his troops also carried away the idols that the Philistines had left behind. 22Some time later, the Philistines came back into the hill country and camped in Rephaim Valley. 23David asked the LORD what he should do, and the LORD answered:
Don't attack them from the front. Circle around behind and attack from among the balsam trees. 24Wait until you hear a sound like troops marching through the tops of the trees. Then attack quickly! That sound will mean I have marched out ahead of you to fight the Philistine army. 25David obeyed the LORD and defeated the Philistines. He even chased them all the way from Geba to the entrance to Gezer.
David Brings the Sacred Chest Back to Jerusalem
(1 Chronicles 13.1-14; 15.1--16.3,43)
1David brought together thirty thousand of Israel's best soldiers and 2led them to Baalah in Judah, which was also called Kiriath-Jearim. They were going there to get the sacred chest and bring it back to Jerusalem. The throne of the LORD All-Powerful is above the winged creatures on top of this chest, and he is worshiped there. 3They put the sacred chest on a new ox cart and started bringing it down the hill from Abinadab's house. Abinadab's sons Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the ox cart, 4with Ahio walking in front of it. 5Some of the people of Israel were playing music on small harps and other stringed instruments, and on tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. David and the others were happy, and they danced for the LORD with all their might. 6But when they came to Nacon's threshing-floor, the oxen stumbled, so Uzzah reached out and took hold of the sacred chest. 7The LORD God was very angry at Uzzah for doing this, and he killed Uzzah right there beside the chest.
8David got angry at God for killing Uzzah. He named that place "Bursting Out Against Uzzah," and that's what it's still called. 9David was afraid of the LORD and thought, "Should I really take the sacred chest to my city?" 10He decided not to take it there. Instead, he turned off the road and took it to the home of Obed Edom, who was from Gath. 11-12The chest stayed there for three months, and the LORD greatly blessed Obed Edom, his family, and everything he owned. Then someone told King David, "The LORD has done this because the sacred chest is in Obed Edom's house."
Right away, David went to Obed Edom's house to get the chest and bring it to David's City. Everyone was celebrating. 13The people carrying the chest walked six steps, then David sacrificed an ox and a choice cow. 14He was dancing for the LORD with all his might, but he wore only a linen cloth. 15He and everyone else were celebrating by shouting and blowing horns while the chest was being carried along. 16Saul's daughter Michal looked out her window and watched the chest being brought into David's City. But when she saw David jumping and dancing for the LORD, she was disgusted.
17They put the chest inside a tent that David had set up for it. David worshiped the LORD by sacrificing animals and burning them on an altar, 18then he blessed the people in the name of the LORD All-Powerful. 19He gave all the men and women in the crowd a small loaf of bread, some meat, and a handful of raisins, and everyone went home.
Michal Talks to David
20David went home so he could ask the LORD to bless his family. But Saul's daughter Michal went out and started yelling at him. "You were really great today!" she said. "You acted like a dirty old man, dancing around half-naked in front of your servants' slave-girls."
21David told her, "The LORD didn't choose your father or anyone else in your family to be the leader of his people. The LORD chose me, and I was celebrating in honor of him. 22I'll show you just how great I can be! I'll even be disgusting to myself. But those slave-girls you talked about will still honor me!"
23Michal never had any children.
The LORD's Message to David
(1 Chronicles 17.1-15)
1King David moved into his new palace, and the LORD let his kingdom be at peace. 2Then one day, as David was talking with Nathan the prophet, David said, "Look around! I live in a palace made of cedar, but the sacred chest has to stay in a tent."
3Nathan replied, "The LORD is with you, so do what you want!"
4That night, the LORD told Nathan 5to go to David and give him this message:
David, you are my servant, so listen to what I say. Why should you build a temple for me? 6I didn't live in a temple when I brought my people out of Egypt, and I don't live in one now. A tent has always been my home wherever I have gone with them. 7I chose leaders and told them to be like shepherds for my people Israel. But did I ever say anything to even one of them about building a cedar temple for me?
8David, this is what I, the LORD All-Powerful, say to you. I brought you in from the fields where you took care of sheep, and I made you the leader of my people. 9Wherever you went, I helped you and destroyed your enemies right in front of your eyes. I have made you one of the most famous people in the world.
10I have given my people Israel a land of their own where they can live in peace, and they won't have to tremble with fear any more. Evil nations won't bother them, as they did 11when I let judges rule my people. And I have kept your enemies from attacking you.
Now I promise that you and your descendants will be kings. 12I'll choose one of your sons to be king when you reach the end of your life and are buried in the tomb of your ancestors. I'll make him a strong ruler, 13and no one will be able to take his kingdom away from him. He will be the one to build a temple for me. 14I will be his father, and he will be my son.
When he does wrong, I'll see that he is corrected, just as children are corrected by their parents. 15But I will never put an end to my agreement with him, as I put an end to my agreement with Saul, who was king before you. 16I will make sure that one of your descendants will always be king.
17Nathan told David exactly what he had heard in the vision.
David Gives Thanks to the LORD
(1 Chronicles 17.16-27)
18David went into the tent he had set up for the sacred chest. Then he sat there and prayed:
LORD All-Powerful, my family and I don't deserve what you have already done for us, 19and yet you have promised to do even more. Is this the way you usually treat people? 20I am your servant, and you know my thoughts, so there is nothing more that I need to say. 21You have done this wonderful thing, and you have let me know about it, because you wanted to keep your promise. 22LORD All-Powerful, you are greater than all others. No one is like you, and you alone are God. Everything we have heard about you is true. 23And there is no other nation on earth like Israel, the nation you rescued from slavery in Egypt to be your own. You became famous by using great and wonderful miracles to force other nations and their gods out of your land, so your people could live here. 24You have chosen Israel to be your people forever, and you have become their God. 25And now, LORD God, please do what you have promised me and my descendants. 26Then you will be famous forever, and everyone will say, "The LORD God All-Powerful rules Israel, and David's descendants are his chosen kings." 27After all, you really are Israel's God, the LORD All-Powerful. You've told me that you will let my descendants be kings. That's why I have the courage to pray to you like this, even though I am only your servant.
28LORD All-Powerful, you are God. You have promised me some very good things, and you can be trusted to do what you promise. 29Please bless my descendants and let them always be your chosen kings. You have already promised, and I'm sure that you will bless my family forever.
A List of David's Victories in War
(1 Chronicles 18.1-13)
1Later, David attacked and badly defeated the Philistines. Israel was now free from their control. 2David also defeated the Moabites. Then he made their soldiers lie down on the ground, and he measured them off with a rope. He would measure off two lengths of the rope and have those men killed, then he would measure off one length and let those men live. The people of Moab had to accept David as their ruler and pay taxes to him.
3David set out for the Euphrates River to build a monument there. On his way, he defeated the king of Zobah, whose name was Hadadezer the son of Rehob. 4In the battle, David captured seventeen hundred cavalry and twenty thousand foot soldiers. He also captured war chariots, but he destroyed all but one hundred of them. 5When troops from the Aramean kingdom of Damascus came to help Hadadezer, David killed twenty thousand of them. 6He left some of his soldiers in Damascus, and the Arameans had to accept David as their ruler and pay taxes to him. Everywhere David went, the LORD helped him win battles.
7Hadadezer's officers had carried their arrows in gold cases hung over their shoulders, but David took these cases and brought them to Jerusalem. 8He also took a lot of bronze from the cities of Betah and Berothai, which had belonged to Hadadezer. 9-10King Toi of Hamath and King Hadadezer had been enemies. So when Toi heard that David had attacked and defeated Hadadezer's whole army, he sent his son Joram to praise and congratulate David. Joram also brought him gifts made of silver, gold, and bronze. 11David gave these to the LORD, just as he had done with the silver and gold that he had captured from 12Edom, Moab, Ammon, Philistia, and from King Hadadezer of Zobah. 13David fought the Edomite army in Salt Valley and killed eighteen thousand of their soldiers. When he returned, he built a monument. 14David left soldiers all through Edom, and the people of Edom had to accept him as their ruler. Wherever David went, the LORD helped him.
A List of David's Officials
(1 Chronicles 18.14-17)
15David ruled all Israel with fairness and justice.
16Joab the son of Zeruiah was the commander in chief of the army.
Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud kept the government records.
17Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Abiathar the son of Ahimelech, were the priests. Seraiah was the secretary.
18Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was the commander of David's bodyguard. David's sons were priests.
David Is Kind to Mephibosheth
1One day, David thought, "I wonder if any of Saul's family are still alive. If they are, I will be kind to them, because I made a promise to Jonathan." 2David called in Ziba, one of the servants of Saul's family. David said, "So you are Ziba."
"Yes, Your Majesty, I am."
3David asked, "Are any of Saul's family still alive? If there are, I want to be kind to them."
Ziba answered, "One of Jonathan's sons is still alive, but he can't walk."
4"Where is he?" David asked.
Ziba replied, "He lives in Lo-Debar with Machir the son of Ammiel."
5-6David sent some servants to bring Jonathan's son from Lo-Debar. His name was Mephibosheth, and he was the grandson of Saul. He came to David and knelt down. David asked, "Are you Mephibosheth?"
"Yes, I am, Your Majesty."
7David said, "Don't be afraid. I'll be kind to you because Jonathan was your father. I'm going to give you back the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul. Besides that, you will always eat with me at my table."
8Mephibosheth knelt down again and said, "Why should you care about me? I'm worth no more than a dead dog."
9David called in Ziba, Saul's chief servant, and told him, "Since Mephibosheth is Saul's grandson, I've given him back everything that belonged to your master Saul and his family. 10You and your fifteen sons and twenty servants will work for Mephibosheth. You will farm his land and bring in his crops, so that Saul's family and servants will have food. But Mephibosheth will always eat with me at my table." 11-13Ziba replied, "Your Majesty, I will do exactly what you tell me to do." So Ziba's family and servants worked for Mephibosheth.
Mephibosheth was lame, but he lived in Jerusalem and ate at David's table, just like one of David's own sons. And he had a young son of his own, named Mica.
Israel Fights Ammon
(1 Chronicles 19.1-19)
1Some time later, King Nahash of Ammon died, and his son Hanun became king. 2David said, "Nahash was kind to me, and I will be kind to his son." So he sent some officials to the country of Ammon to tell Hanun how sorry he was that his father had died.
3But Hanun's officials told him, "Do you really believe David is honoring your father by sending these people to comfort you? He probably sent them to spy on our city, so he can destroy it." 4Hanun arrested David's officials and had their beards shaved off on one side of their faces. He had their robes cut off just below the waist, and then he sent them away. 5They were terribly ashamed.
When David found out what had happened to his officials, he sent a message and told them, "Stay in Jericho until your beards grow back. Then you can come home."
6The Ammonites realized that they had made David very angry, so they hired more foreign soldiers. Twenty thousand of them were foot soldiers from the Aramean cities of Beth-Rehob and Zobah, one thousand were from the king of Maacah, and twelve thousand were from the region of Tob. 7David heard what they had done, and he sent out Joab with all of his well-trained soldiers.
8The Ammonite troops came out and got ready to fight in front of the gate to their city. The Arameans from Zobah and Rehob and the soldiers from Tob and Maacah formed a separate group in the nearby fields.
9Joab saw that he had to fight in front and behind at the same time, and he picked some of the best Israelite soldiers to fight the Arameans. 10He put his brother Abishai in command of the rest of the army and had them fight the Ammonites. 11Joab told his brother, "If the Arameans are too much for me to handle, you can come and help me. If the Ammonites are too strong for you, I'll come and help you. 12Be brave and fight hard to protect our people and the cities of our God. I pray that the LORD will do whatever pleases him."
13Joab and his soldiers attacked the Arameans, and the Arameans ran from them. 14When the Ammonite soldiers saw that the Arameans had run away, they ran from Abishai's soldiers and went back into their own city. Joab stopped fighting the Ammonites and returned to Jerusalem.
15The Arameans realized they had lost the battle, so they brought all their troops together again. 16Hadadezer sent messengers to call in the Arameans who were on the other side of the Euphrates River. Then Shobach, the commander of Hadadezer's army, led them to the town of Helam.
17David found out what the Arameans were doing, and he brought Israel's whole army together. They crossed the Jordan River and went to Helam, where the Arameans were ready to meet them. 18The Arameans attacked, but then they ran from Israel. David killed seven hundred chariot drivers and forty thousand cavalry. He also killed Shobach, their commander. 19When the kings who had been under Hadadezer's rule saw that Israel had beaten them, they made peace with Israel and accepted David as their ruler. The Arameans were afraid to help Ammon any more.
David and Bathsheba
(1 Chronicles 20.1a)
1It was now spring, the time when kings go to war. David sent out the whole Israelite army under the command of Joab and his officers. They destroyed the Ammonite army and surrounded the capital city of Rabbah, but David stayed in Jerusalem. 2-4Late one afternoon, David got up from a nap and was walking around on the flat roof of his palace. A beautiful young woman was down below in her courtyard, bathing as her religion required. David happened to see her, and he sent one of his servants to find out who she was. The servant came back and told David, "Her name is Bathsheba. She is the daughter of Eliam, and she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite."
David sent some messengers to bring her to his palace. She came to him, and he slept with her. Then she returned home. 5But later, when she found out that she was going to have a baby, she sent someone to David with this message: "I'm pregnant!"
6David sent a message to Joab: "Send Uriah the Hittite to me."
Joab sent Uriah 7to David's palace, and David asked him, "Is Joab well? How is the army doing? And how about the war?" 8Then David told Uriah, "Go home and clean up." Uriah left the king's palace, and David had dinner sent to Uriah's house. 9But Uriah didn't go home. Instead, he slept outside the entrance to the royal palace, where the king's guards slept. 10Someone told David that Uriah had not gone home. So the next morning David asked him, "Why didn't you go home? Haven't you been away for a long time?"
11Uriah answered, "The sacred chest and the armies of Israel and Judah are camping out somewhere in the fields with our commander Joab and his officers and troops. Do you really think I would go home to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? I swear by your life that I would not!" 12Then David said, "Stay here in Jerusalem today, and I will send you back tomorrow."
Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day. Then the next day, 13David invited him for dinner. Uriah ate with David and drank so much that he got drunk, but he still did not go home. He went out and slept on his mat near the palace guards. 14Early the next morning, David wrote a letter and told Uriah to deliver it to Joab. 15The letter said: "Put Uriah on the front line where the fighting is the worst. Then pull the troops back from him, so that he will be wounded and die."
16Joab had been carefully watching the city of Rabbah, and he put Uriah in a place where he knew there were some of the enemy's best soldiers. 17When the men of the city came out, they fought and killed some of David's soldiers--Uriah the Hittite was one of them.
18Joab sent a messenger to tell David everything that was happening in the war. 19He gave the messenger these orders:
When you finish telling the king everything that has happened, 20he may get angry and ask, "Why did you go so near the city to fight? Didn't you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21Don't you know how Abimelech the son of Gideon was killed at Thebez? Didn't a woman kill him by dropping a large rock from the top of the city wall? Why did you go so close to the city walls?" Then you tell him, "One of your soldiers who was killed was Uriah the Hittite."
22The messenger went to David and reported everything Joab had told him. 23He added, "The enemy chased us from the wall and out into the open fields. But we pushed them back as far as the city gate. 24Then they shot arrows at us from the top of the wall. Some of your soldiers were killed, and one of them was Uriah the Hittite."
25David replied, "Tell Joab to cheer up and not to be upset about what happened. You never know who will be killed in a war. Tell him to strengthen his attack against the city and break through its walls." 26When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27Then after the time for mourning was over, David sent someone to bring her to the palace. She became David's wife, and they had a son.
The LORD was angry at what David had done,
The LORD's Message for David
1and he sent Nathan the prophet to tell this story to David:
A rich man and a poor man lived in the same town. 2The rich man owned a lot of sheep and cattle, 3but the poor man had only one little lamb that he had bought and raised. The lamb became a pet for him and his children. He even let it eat from his plate and drink from his cup and sleep on his lap. The lamb was like one of his own children.
4One day someone came to visit the rich man, but the rich man didn't want to kill any of his own sheep or cattle and serve it to the visitor. So he stole the poor man's little lamb and served it instead.
5David was furious with the rich man and said to Nathan, "I swear by the living LORD that the man who did this deserves to die! 6And because he didn't have any pity on the poor man, he will have to pay four times what the lamb was worth."
7Then Nathan told David:
You are that rich man! Now listen to what the LORD God of Israel says to you: "I chose you to be the king of Israel. I kept you safe from Saul 8and even gave you his house and his wives. I let you rule Israel and Judah, and if that had not been enough, I would have given you much more. 9Why did you disobey me and do such a horrible thing? You murdered Uriah the Hittite by having the Ammonites kill him, so you could take his wife.
10"Because you wouldn't obey me and took Uriah's wife for yourself, your family will never live in peace. 11Someone from your own family will cause you a lot of trouble, and I will take your wives and give them to another man before your very eyes. He will go to bed with them while everyone looks on. 12What you did was in secret, but I will do this in the open for everyone in Israel to see."
13-14David said, "I have disobeyed the LORD."
"Yes, you have!" Nathan answered. "You showed you didn't care what the LORD wanted. He has forgiven you, and you won't die. But your newborn son will." 15Then Nathan went back home. The LORD made David's young son very sick.
David's Young Son Dies
16So David went without eating to show his sorrow, and he begged God to make the boy well. David would not sleep on his bed, but spent each night lying on the floor. 17His officials stood beside him and tried to talk him into getting up. But he would not get up or eat with them.
18After the child had been sick for seven days, he died, but the officials were afraid to tell David. They said to each other, "Even when the boy was alive, David wouldn't listen to us. How can we tell him his son is dead? He might do something terrible!"
19David noticed his servants whispering, and he knew the boy was dead. "Did my son die?" he asked his servants.
"Yes, he did," they answered.
20David got up off the floor; he took a bath, combed his hair, and dressed. He went into the LORD's tent and worshiped, then he went back home. David asked for something to eat, and when his servants brought him some food, he ate it.
21His officials said, "What are you doing? You went without eating and cried for your son while he was alive! But now that he's dead, you're up and eating."
While he was still alive, I went without food and cried because there was still hope. I said to myself, "Who knows? Maybe the LORD will have pity on me and let the child live." 23But now that he's dead, why should I go without eating? I can't bring him back! Someday I will join him in death, but he can't return to me.
Solomon Is Born
24David comforted his wife Bathsheba and slept with her. Later on, she gave birth to another son and named him Solomon. The LORD loved Solomon 25and sent Nathan the prophet to tell David, "The LORD will call him Jedidiah."
The End of the War with Ammon
(1 Chronicles 20.1b-3)
26Meanwhile, Joab had been in the country of Ammon, attacking the city of Rabbah. He captured the royal fortress 27and sent a messenger to tell David:
I have attacked Rabbah and captured the fortress guarding the city water supply. 28Call the rest of the army together. Then surround the city, and capture it yourself. If you don't, everyone will remember that I captured the city.
29David called the rest of the army together and attacked Rabbah. He captured the city 30and took the crown from the statue of their god Milcom. The crown was made of seventy-five pounds of gold, and there was a valuable jewel on it. David put the jewel on his own crown. He also carried off everything else of value. 31David made the people of Rabbah tear down the city walls with iron picks and axes, and then he put them to work making bricks. He did the same thing with all the other Ammonite cities. David went back to Jerusalem, and the people of Israel returned to their homes.
Amnon Disgraces Tamar
1David had a beautiful daughter named Tamar, who was the sister of Absalom. She was also the half sister of Amnon, who fell in love with her. 2But Tamar was a virgin, and Amnon could not think of a way to be alone with her. He was so upset about it that he made himself sick. 3Amnon had a friend named Jonadab, who was the son of David's brother Shimeah. Jonadab always knew how to get what he wanted, 4and he said to Amnon, "What's the matter? You're the king's son! You shouldn't have to go around feeling sorry for yourself every morning."
Amnon said, "I'm in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister."
5Jonadab told him, "Lie down on your bed and pretend to be sick. When your father comes to see you, ask him to send Tamar, so you can watch her cook something for you. Then she can serve you the food."
6So Amnon went to bed and pretended to be sick. When the king came to see him, Amnon said, "Please, ask Tamar to come over. She can make some special bread while I watch, and then she can serve me the bread." 7David told Tamar, "Go over to Amnon's house and fix him some food." 8When she got there, he was lying in bed. She mixed the dough, made the loaves, and baked them while he watched. 9Then she took the bread out of the pan and put it on his plate, but he refused to eat it.
Amnon said, "Send the servants out of the house." After they had gone, 10he said to Tamar, "Serve the food in my bedroom."
Tamar picked up the bread that she had made and brought it into Amnon's bedroom. 11But as she was taking it over to him, he grabbed her and said, "Come to bed with me!"
12She answered, "No! Please don't force me! This sort of thing isn't done in Israel. It's too disgusting! 13Think of me. I'll be disgraced forever! And think of yourself. Everyone in Israel will say you're nothing but trash! Just ask the king, and he will let you marry me."
14But Amnon would not listen to what she said. He was stronger than she was, so he overpowered her and raped her. 15Then Amnon hated her even more than he had loved her before. So he told her, "Get up and get out!"
16She said, "Don't send me away! That would be worse than what you have already done."
But Amnon would not listen. 17He called in his servant and said, "Throw this woman out and lock the door!"
18The servant made her leave, and he locked the door behind her.
The king's unmarried daughters used to wear long robes with sleeves. 19Tamar tore the robe she was wearing and put ashes on her head. Then she covered her face with her hands and cried loudly as she walked away.
Absalom Kills Amnon
20Tamar's brother Absalom said to her, "How could Amnon have done such a terrible thing to you! But since he's your brother, don't tell anyone what happened. Just try not to think about it."
Tamar soon moved into Absalom's house, but she was always sad and lonely. 21When David heard what had happened to Tamar, he was very angry. But Amnon was his oldest son and also his favorite, and David would not do anything to make Amnon unhappy. 22Absalom treated Amnon as though nothing had happened, but he hated Amnon for what he had done to his sister Tamar.
23Two years later, Absalom's servants were cutting wool from his sheep in Baal-Hazor near the town of Ephraim, and Absalom invited all of the king's sons to be there. 24Then he went to David and said, "My servants are cutting the wool from my sheep. Please come and join us!" 25David answered, "No, my son, we won't go. It would be too expensive for you." Absalom tried to get him to change his mind, but David did not want to go. He only said that he hoped they would have a good time.
26Absalom said, "If you won't go, at least let my brother Amnon come with us."
David asked, "Why should he go with you?" 27But Absalom kept on insisting, and finally David let Amnon and all his other sons go with Absalom.
Absalom prepared a banquet fit for a king. 28But he told his servants, "Keep an eye on Amnon. When he gets a little drunk from the wine and is feeling good, I'll give the signal. Then kill him! I've commanded you to do it, so don't be afraid. Be strong and brave." 29Absalom's servants killed Amnon, just as Absalom had told them. The rest of the king's sons quickly rode away on their mules to escape from Absalom.
30While they were on their way to Jerusalem, someone told David, "Absalom has killed all of your sons! Not even one is left." 31David got up, and in his sorrow he tore his clothes and lay down on the ground. His servants remained standing, but they tore their clothes too.
32Then David's nephew Jonadab said, "Your Majesty, not all of your sons were killed! Only Amnon is dead. On the day that Amnon raped Tamar, Absalom decided to kill him. 33Don't worry about the report that all your sons were killed. Only Amnon is dead, 34and Absalom has run away." One of the guards noticed a lot of people coming along the hillside on the road to Horonaim. He went and told the king, "I saw some men coming along Horonaim Road." 35Jonadab said, "Your Majesty, look! Here come your sons now, just as I told you."
36No sooner had he said it, than David's sons came in. They were weeping out loud, and David and all his officials cried just as loudly. 37-38David was sad for a long time because Amnon was dead.
Absalom had run away to Geshur, where he stayed for three years with King Talmai the son of Ammihud.
David Lets Absalom Come Home
39David still felt so sad over the loss of Amnon that he wanted to take his army there and capture Absalom.
1Joab knew that David couldn't stop thinking about Absalom, 2-3and he sent someone to bring in the wise woman who lived in Tekoa. Joab told her, "Put on funeral clothes and don't use any makeup. Go to the king and pretend you have spent a long time mourning the death of a loved one." Then he told her what to say.
4The woman from Tekoa went to David. She bowed very low and said, "Your Majesty, please help me!"
5David asked, "What's the matter?"
My husband is dead, and I'm a widow. 6I had two sons, but they got into a fight out in a field where there was no one to pull them apart, and one of them killed the other. 7Now all of my relatives have come to me and said, "Hand over your son! We're going to put him to death for killing his brother." But what they really want is to get rid of him, so they can take over our land.
Please don't let them put out my only flame of hope! There won't be anyone left on this earth to carry on my husband's name.
8"Go on home," David told her. "I'll take care of this matter for you."
9The woman said, "I hope your decision doesn't cause any problems for you. But if it does, you can blame me." 10He said, "If anyone gives you any trouble, bring them to me, and it won't happen again!"
11"Please," she replied, "swear by the LORD your God that no one will be allowed to kill my son!"
He said, "I swear by the living LORD that no one will touch even a hair on his head!"
12Then she asked, "Your Majesty, may I say something?"
"Yes," he answered.
13The woman said:
Haven't you been hurting God's people? Your own son had to leave the country. And when you judged in my favor, it was the same as admitting that you should have let him come back. 14We each must die and disappear like water poured out on the ground. But God doesn't take our lives. Instead, he figures out ways of bringing us back when we run away. 15Your Majesty, I came here to tell you about my problem, because I was afraid of what someone might do to me. I decided to come to you, because I thought you could help. 16In fact, I knew that you would listen and save my son and me from those who want to take the land that God gave us. 17I can rest easy now that you have given your decision. You know the difference between right and wrong just like an angel of God, and I pray that the LORD your God will be with you.
18Then David said to the woman, "Now I'm going to ask you a question, and don't try to hide the truth!"
The woman replied, "Please go ahead, Your Majesty."
19David asked, "Did Joab put you up to this?"
The woman answered, "Your Majesty, I swear by your life that no one can hide the truth from you. Yes, Joab did tell me what to say, 20but only to show you the other side of this problem. You must be as wise as the angel of God to know everything that goes on in this country."
21David turned to Joab and said, "It seems that I have already given my decision. Go and bring Absalom back."
22Joab bowed very low and said, "Your Majesty, I thank you for giving your permission. It shows that you approve of me."
23Joab went to Geshur to get Absalom. But when they came back to Jerusalem, 24David told Joab, "I don't want to see my son Absalom. Tell him to stay away from me." So Absalom went to his own house without seeing his father.
Absalom Was Handsome
25No one in all Israel was as handsome and well-built as Absalom. 26He got his hair cut once a year, and when the hair was weighed, it came to about five pounds.
27Absalom had three sons. He also had a daughter named Tamar, who grew up to be very beautiful.
Absalom Finally Sees David
28Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years without seeing his father. 29He wanted Joab to talk to David for him. So one day he sent a message asking Joab to come over, but Joab refused. Absalom sent another message, but Joab still refused. 30Finally, Absalom told his servants, "Joab's barley field is right next to mine. Go set it on fire!" And they did.
31Joab went to Absalom's house and demanded, "Why did your servants set my field on fire?"
32Absalom answered, "You didn't pay any attention when I sent for you. I want you to ask my father why he told me to come back from Geshur. I was better off there. I want to see my father now! If I'm guilty, let him kill me."
33Joab went to David and told him what Absalom had said. David sent for Absalom, and Absalom came. He bowed very low, and David leaned over and kissed him.
Absalom Rebels against David
1Some time later, Absalom got himself a chariot with horses to pull it, and he had fifty men run in front. 2He would get up early each morning and wait by the side of the road that led to the city gate. Anyone who had a complaint to bring to King David would have to go that way, and Absalom would ask each of them, "Where are you from?" If they said, "I'm from a tribe in the north," 3Absalom would say, "You deserve to win your case. It's too bad the king doesn't have anyone to hear complaints like yours. 4I wish someone would make me the judge around here! I would be fair to everyone."
5Whenever anyone would come to Absalom and start bowing down, he would reach out and hug and kiss them. 6That's how he treated everyone from Israel who brought a complaint to the king. Soon everyone in Israel liked Absalom better than they liked David.
7Four years later, Absalom said to David, "Please, let me go to Hebron. I have to keep a promise that I made to the LORD, 8when I was living with the Arameans in Geshur. I promised that if the LORD would bring me back to live in Jerusalem, I would worship him in Hebron." 9David gave his permission, and Absalom went to Hebron. 10-12He took two hundred men from Jerusalem with him, but they had no idea what he was going to do. Absalom offered sacrifices in Hebron and sent someone to Gilo to tell David's advisor Ahithophel to come.
More and more people were joining Absalom and supporting his plot. Meanwhile, Absalom had secretly sent some messengers to the northern tribes of Israel. The messengers told everyone, "When you hear the sound of the trumpets, you must shout, `Absalom now rules as king in Hebron!' "
David Has To Leave Jerusalem
13A messenger came and told David, "Everyone in Israel is on Absalom's side!"
14David's officials were in Jerusalem with him, and he told them, "Let's get out of here! We'll have to leave soon, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Hurry! If he moves fast, he could catch us while we're still here. Then he will kill us and everyone else in the city."
15The officials said, "Your Majesty, we'll do whatever you say."
16-17David left behind ten of his wives to take care of the palace, but the rest of his family and his officials and soldiers went with him. They stopped at the last house at the edge of the city. 18Then David stood there and watched while his regular troops and his bodyguards marched past. The last group was the six hundred soldiers who had followed him from Gath. Their commander was Ittai. 19David spoke to Ittai and said, "You're a foreigner from the town of Gath. You don't have to leave with us. Go back and join the new king! 20You haven't been with me very long, so why should you have to follow me, when I don't even know where I'm going? Take your soldiers and go back. I pray that the Lord will be kind and faithful to you." 21Ittai answered, "Your Majesty, just as surely as you and the LORD live, I will go where you go, no matter if it costs me my life."
22"Then come on!" David said.
So Ittai and all his men and their families walked on past David.
David Sends the Sacred Chest Back to Jerusalem
23The people of Jerusalem were crying and moaning as David and everyone with him passed by. He led them across Kidron Valley and along the road toward the desert. 24Zadok and Abiathar the priests were there along with several men from the tribe of Levi who were carrying the sacred chest. They set the chest down, and left it there until David and his followers had gone out of the city.
25Then David said:
Zadok, take the sacred chest back to Jerusalem. If the LORD is pleased with me, he will bring me back and let me see it and his tent again. 26But if he says he isn't pleased with me, then let him do what he knows is best.
27Zadok, you are a good judge of things, so return to the city and don't cause any trouble. Take your son Ahimaaz with you. Abiathar and his son Jonathan will also go back. 28I'll wait at the river crossing in the desert until I hear from you. 29Zadok and Abiathar took the sacred chest back into Jerusalem and stayed there. 30David went on up the slope of the Mount of Olives. He was barefoot and crying, and he covered his head to show his sorrow. Everyone with him was crying, and they covered their heads too.
31Someone told David, "Ahithophel is helping Absalom plot against you!"
David said, "Please, LORD, keep Ahithophel's plans from working!"
David Sends Hushai Back as a Spy
32When David reached the top of the Mount of Olives, he met Hushai the Archite at a place of worship. Hushai's robe was torn, and dust was on his head. 33David told him: If you come with me, you might slow us down. 34Go back into the city and tell Absalom, "Your Majesty, I am your servant. I will serve you now, just as I served your father in the past." Hushai, if you do that, you can help me ruin Ahithophel's plans. 35Zadok and Abiathar the priests will be there with you, and you can tell them everything you hear in the palace. 36Then have them send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what you've heard.
37David's advisor Hushai slipped back into Jerusalem, just about the same time that Absalom was coming in.
Ziba Gives Food to David
1David had started down the other side of the Mount of Olives, when he was met by Ziba, the chief servant of Mephibosheth. Ziba had two donkeys that were carrying two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred handfuls of raisins, a hundred figs, and some wine. 2"What's all this?" David asked.
Ziba said, "The donkeys are for your family to ride. The bread and fruit are for the people to eat, and the wine is for them to drink in the desert when they are tired out."
3"And where is Mephibosheth?" David asked.
Ziba answered, "He stayed in Jerusalem, because he thinks the people of Israel want him to rule the kingdom of his grandfather Saul."
4David then told him, "Everything that used to belong to Mephibosheth is now yours."
Ziba said, "Your Majesty, I am your humble servant, and I hope you will be pleased with me."
Shimei Curses David
5David was near the town of Bahurim when a man came out and started cursing him. The man was Shimei the son of Gera, and he was one of Saul's distant relatives. 6He threw stones at David, at his soldiers, and at everyone else, including the bodyguards who walked on each side of David.
7Shimei was yelling at David, "Get out of here, you murderer! You good-for-nothing, 8the LORD is paying you back for killing so many in Saul's family. You stole his kingdom, but now the LORD has given it to your son Absalom. You're a murderer, and that's why you're in such big trouble!"
9Abishai said, "Your Majesty, this man is as useless as a dead dog! He shouldn't be allowed to curse you. Let me go over and chop off his head."
10David replied, "What will I ever do with you and your brother Joab? If Shimei is cursing me because the LORD has told him to, then who are you to tell him to stop?"
11Then David said to Abishai and all his soldiers:
My own son is trying to kill me! Why shouldn't this man from the tribe of Benjamin want me dead even more? Let him curse all he wants. Maybe the LORD did tell him to curse me. 12But if the LORD hears these curses and sees the trouble I'm in, maybe he will have pity on me instead.
13David and the others went on down the road. Shimei went along the hillside by the road, cursing and throwing rocks and dirt at them. 14When David and those with him came to the Jordan River, they were tired out. But after they rested, they felt much better.
Hushai Meets Absalom
15By this time, Absalom, Ahithophel, and the others had reached Jerusalem. 16David's friend Hushai came to Absalom and said, "Long live the king! Long live the king!"
17But Absalom asked Hushai, "Is this how you show loyalty to your friend David? Why didn't you go with him?"
18Hushai answered, "The LORD and the people of Israel have chosen you to be king. I can't leave. I have to stay and serve the one they've chosen. 19Besides, it seems right for me to serve you, just as I served your father."
20Absalom turned to Ahithophel and said, "Give us your advice! What should we do?"
21Ahithophel answered, "Some of your father's wives were left here to take care of the palace. You should have sex with them. Then everyone will find out that you have publicly disgraced your father. This will make you and your followers even more powerful." 22Absalom had a tent set up on the flat roof of the palace, and everyone watched as he went into the tent with his father's wives.
23Ahithophel gave such good advice in those days that both Absalom and David thought it came straight from God.
1Ahithophel said to Absalom:
Let me choose twelve thousand men and attack David tonight, 2while he is tired and discouraged. He will panic, and everyone with him will run away. I won't kill anyone except David, 3since he's the one you want to get rid of. Then I'll bring the whole nation back to you like a bride coming home to her husband. This way there won't be a civil war.
Hushai Fools Absalom
4Absalom and all the leaders of the tribes of Israel agreed that Ahithophel had a good plan. 5Then Absalom said, "Bring in Hushai the Archite. Let's hear what he has to say."
6Hushai came in, and Absalom told him what Ahithophel had planned. Then Absalom said, "Should we do what he says? And if we shouldn't, can you come up with anything better?"
This time Ahithophel's advice isn't so good. 8You know that your father and his followers are real warriors. Right now they are as fierce as a mother bear whose cubs have just been killed. Besides, your father has a lot of experience in fighting wars, and he won't be spending the night with the others. 9He has probably already found a hiding place in a cave or somewhere else.
As soon as anyone hears that some of your soldiers have been killed, everyone will think your whole army has been destroyed. 10Then even those who are as brave as a lion will lose their courage. All Israel knows what a great warrior your father is and what brave soldiers he has.
11My advice is to gather all the fighting men of Israel from the town of Dan in the north down to the town of Beersheba in the south. You will have more soldiers than there are grains of sand on the seashore. Absalom, you should lead them yourself, 12and we will all go to fight David wherever he is. We will fall on him just as dew falls and covers the ground. He and all his soldiers will die! 13If they go into a walled town, we will put ropes around that town and drag it into the river. We won't leave even one small piece of a stone.
14Absalom and the others liked Hushai's plan better than Ahithophel's plan. This was because the LORD had decided to keep Ahithophel's plan from working and to cause trouble for Absalom.
Jonathan and Ahimaaz Tell David the News
15Right away, Hushai went to Zadok and Abiathar. He told them what advice Ahithophel had given to Absalom and to the leaders of Israel. He also told them about the advice he had given. 16Then he said, "Hurry! Send someone to warn David not to spend the night on this side of the river. He must get across the river, so he and the others won't be wiped out!"
17Jonathan and Ahimaaz had been waiting at Rogel Spring because they did not want to be seen in Jerusalem. A servant girl went to the spring and gave them the message for David. 18But a young man saw them and went to tell Absalom. So Jonathan and Ahimaaz left and hurried to the house of a man who lived in Bahurim. Then they climbed down into a well in the courtyard. 19The man's wife put the cover on the well and poured grain on top of it, so the well could not be seen. 20Absalom's soldiers came to the woman and demanded, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?"
The woman answered, "They went across the stream."
The soldiers went off to look for the two men. But when they did not find the men, they went back to Jerusalem.
21After the soldiers had gone, Jonathan and Ahimaaz climbed out of the well. They went to David and said, "Hurry! Get ready to cross the river!" Then they told him about Ahithophel's plan.
22David and the others got ready and started crossing the Jordan River. By sunrise all of them were on the other side.
Ahithophel Kills Himself
23When Ahithophel saw that Absalom and the leaders of Israel were not going to follow his advice, he saddled his donkey and rode back to his home in Gilo. He told his family and servants what to do. Then he hanged himself, and they buried him in his family's burial place.
Absalom Puts Amasa in Charge of the Army
24David went to the town of Mahanaim, and Absalom crossed the Jordan River with the army of Israel. 25Absalom put Amasa in Joab's place as commander of the army. Amasa's father was Ithra from the family of Ishmael, and his mother was Abigal, the daughter of Nahash and the sister of Joab's mother Zeruiah. 26The Israelites under Absalom's command set up camp in the region of Gilead.
Friends Bring Supplies to David
27After David came to the town of Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash came from Rabbah in Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel came from Lo-Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite came from Rogelim. 28-29Here is a list of what they brought: sleeping mats, blankets, bowls, pottery jars, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, yogurt, sheep, and cheese.
They brought the food for David and the others because they knew that everyone would be hungry, tired, and thirsty from being out in the desert.
David Gets Ready for Battle
1David divided his soldiers into groups of a hundred and groups of a thousand. Then he chose officers to be in command of each group. 2He sent out one-third of his army under the command of Joab, another third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, and the rest under the command of Ittai from Gath. He told the soldiers, "I'm going into battle with you."
3But the soldiers said, "No, don't go into battle with us! It won't matter to our enemies if they make us all run away, or even if they kill half of us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. It would be better for you to stay in town and send help if we need it."
4-6David said, "All right, if you think I should."
Then in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, he said, "Joab! Abishai! Ittai! For my sake, be sure that Absalom comes back unharmed."
David stood beside the town gate as his army marched past in groups of a hundred and in groups of a thousand.
The war with Israel took place in Ephraim Forest.
Joab Kills Absalom
7-8Battles were being fought all over the forest, and David's soldiers were winning. Twenty thousand soldiers were killed that day, and more of them died from the dangers of the forest than from the fighting itself. 9Absalom was riding his mule under a huge tree when his head caught in the branches. The mule ran off and left Absalom hanging in midair. Some of David's soldiers happened by, 10and one of them went and told Joab, "I saw Absalom hanging in a tree!" 11Joab said, "You saw Absalom? Why didn't you kill him? I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a special belt."
12The man answered, "Even if you paid me a thousand pieces of silver here and now, I still wouldn't touch the king's son. We all heard King David tell you and Abishai and Ittai not to harm Absalom. 13He always finds out what's going on. I would have been risking my life to kill Absalom, because you would have let me take the blame."
14Joab said, "I'm not going to waste any more time on you!"
Absalom was still alive, so Joab took three spears and stuck them through Absalom's chest. 15Ten of Joab's bodyguards came over and finished him off. 16Then Joab blew a trumpet to signal his troops to stop chasing Israel's soldiers. 17They threw Absalom's body into a deep pit in the forest and put a big pile of rocks over it.
Meanwhile, the people of Israel had all run back to their own homes.
18When Absalom was alive, he had set up a stone monument for himself in King's Valley. He explained, "I don't have any sons to keep my name alive." He called it Absalom's Monument, and that is the name it still has today.
Ahimaaz Wants To Tell David
19Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, "Joab, let me run and tell King David that the LORD has rescued him from his enemies."
20Joab answered, "You're not the one to tell the king that his son is dead. You can take him a message some other time, but not today."
21Someone from Ethiopia was standing there, and Joab told him, "Go and tell the king what you have seen." The man knelt down in front of Joab and then got up and started running. 22Ahimaaz spoke to Joab again, "No matter what happens, I still want to run. And besides, the Ethiopian has already left."
Joab said, "Why should you run? You won't get a reward for the news you have!"
23"I'll run no matter what!" Ahimaaz insisted.
"All right then, run!" Joab said.
Ahimaaz took the road through the Jordan Valley and outran the Ethiopian.
24Meanwhile, David was sitting between the inner and outer gates in the city wall. One of his soldiers was watching from the roof of the gate-tower. He saw a man running toward the town 25and shouted down to tell David. David answered, "If he's alone, he must have some news."
The runner was getting closer, 26when the soldier saw someone else running. He shouted down to the gate, "Look! There's another runner!"
David said, "He must have some news too."
27The soldier on the roof shouted, "The first one runs just like Ahimaaz the son of Zadok."
This time David said, "He's a good man. He must have some good news."
28Ahimaaz called out, "We won! We won!" Then he bowed low to David and said, "Your Majesty, praise the LORD your God! He has given you victory over your enemies."
29"Is my son Absalom all right?" David asked.
Ahimaaz said, "When Joab sent your personal servant and me, I saw a noisy crowd. But I don't know what it was all about."
30David told him, "Stand over there and wait."
Ahimaaz went over and stood there. 31The Ethiopian came and said, "Your Majesty, today I have good news! The LORD has rescued you from all your enemies!"
32"Is my son Absalom all right?" David asked.
The Ethiopian replied, "I wish that all Your Majesty's enemies and everyone who tries to harm you would end up like him!"
David Cries for Absalom
33David started trembling. Then he went up to the room above the city gate to cry. As he went, he kept saying, "My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! I wish I could have died instead of you! Absalom, my son, my son!"
1Someone told Joab, "The king is crying because Absalom is dead."
2David's army found out he was crying because his son had died, and their day of victory suddenly turned into a day of sadness. 3The troops were sneaking into Mahanaim, just as if they had run away from a battle and were ashamed.
4David held his hands over his face and kept on crying loudly, "My son, Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!"
5Joab went to the house where David was staying and told him:
You've made your soldiers ashamed! Not only did they save your life, they saved your sons and daughters and wives as well. 6You're more loyal to your enemies than to your friends. What you've done today has shown your officers and soldiers that they don't mean a thing to you. You would be happy if Absalom was still alive, even if the rest of us were dead.
7Now get up! Go out there and thank them for what they did. If you don't, I swear by the LORD that you won't even have one man left on your side tomorrow morning. You may have had a lot of troubles in the past, but this will be the worst thing that has ever happened to you!
8David got up and went to the town gate and sat down. When the people heard that he was sitting there, they came to see him.
After Israel's soldiers had all returned home,
Israel and Judah Want David Back
9-10everyone in Israel started arguing. They were saying to each other, "King David rescued us from the Philistines and from our other enemies. But then we chose Absalom to be our new leader, and David had to leave the country to get away. Absalom died in battle, so why hasn't something been done to bring David back?"
11When David found out what they were saying, he sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. It said:
Say to the leaders of Judah, "Why are you the last tribe to think about bringing King David back home? 12He is your brother, your own relative! Why haven't you done anything to bring him back?"
13And tell Amasa, "You're my nephew, and with God as a witness, I swear I'll make you commander of my army instead of Joab."
14Soon the tribe of Judah again became followers of David, and they sent him this message: "Come back, and bring your soldiers with you."
David Starts Back for Jerusalem
15David started back and had gone as far as the Jordan River when he met the people of Judah. They had gathered at Gilgal and had come to help him cross the river.
16Shimei the son of Gera was there with them. He had hurried from Bahurim to meet David. Shimei was from the tribe of Benjamin, and 17a thousand others from Benjamin had come with him. Ziba, the chief servant of Saul's family, also came to the Jordan River. He and his fifteen sons and twenty servants waded across to meet David. 18Then they brought David's family and servants back across the river, and they did everything he wanted them to do. Shimei crossed the Jordan River and bowed down in front of David.
Shimei Meets with David
19He said, "Your Majesty, I beg you not to punish me! Please, forget what I did when you were leaving Jerusalem. Don't even think about it. 20I know I was wrong. That's why I wanted to be the first one from the northern tribes to meet you."
21But Abishai shouted, "You should be killed for cursing the LORD's chosen king!"
22David said, "Abishai, what will I ever do with you and your brother Joab? Is it your job to tell me who has done wrong? I've been made king of all Israel today, and no one will be put to death!" 23Then David promised Shimei that he would not be killed.
Mephibosheth Meets with David
24Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul, also came to meet David. He had missed David so much that he had not taken a bath or trimmed his beard or washed his clothes the whole time David was gone.
25After they had gone back to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth came to see David, who asked him, "Why didn't you go with me?"
26He answered, "Your Majesty, you know I can't walk. I told my servant to saddle a donkey for me so I could go with you. But my servant left without me, and 27then he lied about me. You're as wise as an angel of God, so do what you think is right. 28After all, you could have killed my whole family and me. But instead, you let me eat at your own table. Your Majesty, what more could I ask?" 29David answered, "You've said enough! I've decided to divide the property between you and Ziba." 30Mephibosheth replied, "He can have it all! I'm just glad you've come home safely."
Barzillai Returns Home
31Barzillai came from Rogelim in Gilead to meet David at the Jordan River and go across with him. 32Barzillai was eighty years old. He was very rich and had sent food to David in Mahanaim.
33David said to him, "Cross the river and go to Jerusalem with me. I will take care of you."
Your Majesty, why should I go to Jerusalem? I don't have much longer to live. 35I'm already eighty years old, and my body is almost numb. I can't taste my food or hear the sound of singing, and I would be nothing but a burden. 36I'll cross the river with you, but I'll only go a little way on the other side. You don't have to be so kind to me. 37Just let me return to my hometown, where I can someday be buried near my father and mother. My servant Chimham can go with you, and you can treat him as your own. 38David said, "I'll take Chimham with me, and whatever you ask me to do for him, I'll do. And if there's anything else you want, I'll also do that."
39David's soldiers went on across the river, while he stayed behind to tell Barzillai good-by and to wish him well. Barzillai returned home, but 40Chimham crossed the river with David.
All of Judah's army and half of Israel's army were there to help David cross the river.
Israel and Judah Argue
41The soldiers from Israel came to him and said, "Why did our relatives from Judah sneak you and your family and your soldiers across the Jordan?"
42The people of Judah answered, "Why are you so angry? We are the king's relatives. He didn't give us any food, and we didn't take anything for ourselves!"
43Those from Israel said, "King David belongs to us ten times more than he belongs to you. Why didn't you think we were good enough to help you? After all, we were the first ones to think of bringing him back!" The people of Judah spoke more harshly than the people of Israel.
Sheba Rebels against David
1A troublemaker from the tribe of Benjamin was there. His name was Sheba the son of Bichri, and he blew a trumpet to get everyone's attention. Then he said, "People of Israel, David the son of Jesse doesn't belong to us! Let's go home."
2So they stopped following David and went off with Sheba. But the people of Judah stayed close to David all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
David's Ten Wives
3David had left ten of his wives in Jerusalem to take care of his palace. But when he came back, he had them taken to another house, and he placed soldiers there to guard them. He gave them whatever they needed, but he never slept with any of them again. They had to live there for the rest of their lives as if they were widows.
The Army Goes after Sheba
4David said to Amasa, "Three days from now I want you and all of Judah's army to be here!"
5Amasa started bringing the army together, but it was taking him more than three days. 6So David said to Abishai, "Sheba will hurt us more than Absalom ever did. Take my best soldiers and go after him. We don't want him to take over any walled cities and get away from us."
Joab Kills Amasa
7Abishai left Jerusalem to try and capture Sheba. He took along Joab and his soldiers, as well as David's bodyguard and best troops. 8They had gone as far as the big rock at Gibeon when Amasa caught up with them. Joab had a dagger strapped around his waist over his military uniform, but it fell out as he started toward Amasa. 9Joab said, "Amasa, my cousin, how are you?" Then Joab took hold of Amasa's beard with his right hand, so that he could greet him with a kiss. 10Amasa did not see the dagger in Joab's other hand. Joab stuck it in Amasa's stomach, and his insides spilled out on the ground. Joab only struck him once, but Amasa was dying.
Joab and his brother Abishai went off to chase Sheba. 11One of Joab's soldiers stood by Amasa and shouted, "If any of you like Joab, and if you are for David, then follow Joab!"
12Amasa was still rolling in his own blood in the middle of the road. The soldier who had shouted noticed that everyone who passed by would stop, so he dragged Amasa off the road and covered him with a blanket. 13After this, no one else stopped. They all walked straight past him on their way to help Joab capture Sheba.
Sheba Hides Out in the Town of Abel
14Sheba had gone through all of the tribes of Israel when he came to the town of Abel Beth-Maacah. All of his best soldiers met him there and followed him into the town. 15Joab and his troops came and surrounded Abel, so that no one could go in or come out. They made a dirt ramp up to the town wall and then started to use a battering ram to knock the wall down.
A Wise Woman Saves the Town
16A wise woman shouted from the top of the wall, "Listen to me! Listen to me! I have to talk to Joab! Tell him to come here!" 17When he came, the woman said, "Are you Joab?" "Yes, I am," he answered.
She said, "Please, listen to what I have to say."
"All right," he said. "I'll listen."
18She said, "Long ago people used to say, `If you want good advice, go to the town of Abel to get it.' The answers they got here were all that was needed to settle any problem. 19We are Israelites, and we want peace! You can trust us. Why are you trying to destroy a town that's like a mother in Israel? Why do you want to wipe out the LORD's people?"
20Joab answered, "No, no! I'm not trying to wipe you out or destroy your town! 21That's not it at all. There's a man in your town from the hill country of Ephraim. His name is Sheba, and he is the leader of a rebellion against King David. Turn him over to me, and we will leave your town alone."
The woman told Joab, "We will throw his head over the wall."
22She went to the people of the town and talked them into doing it. They cut off Sheba's head and threw it to Joab.
Joab blew a signal on his trumpet, and the soldiers returned to their homes. Joab went back to David in Jerusalem.
Another List of David's Officials (20.23 <i>Another List of David's Officials</i>: See also the list in 8.16,17.)
23Joab was the commander of Israel's entire army.
Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was in command of David's bodyguard. 24Adoram was in charge of the slave-labor force. Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud kept government records.
25Sheva was the secretary.
Zadok and Abiathar were the priests.
26Ira from Jair was David's priest.
The Gibeonites Hang Saul's Descendants
1While David was king, there were three years in a row when the nation of Israel could not grow enough food. So David asked the LORD for help, and the LORD answered, "Saul and his family are guilty of murder, because he had the Gibeonites killed."
2The Gibeonites were not Israelites; they were descendants of the Amorites. The people of Israel had promised not to kill them, but Saul had tried to kill them because he wanted Israel and Judah to control all the land. David had the Gibeonites come, and he talked with them. 3He said, "What can I do to make up for what Saul did, so that you'll ask the LORD to be kind to his people again?" 4The Gibeonites answered, "Silver and gold from Saul and his family are not enough. On the other hand, we don't have the right to put any Israelite to death."
David said, "I'll do whatever you ask." 5They replied, "Saul tried to kill all our people so that none of us would be left in the land of Israel. 6Give us seven of his descendants. We will hang these men near the place where the LORD is worshiped in Gibeah, the hometown of Saul, the LORD's chosen king." "I'll give them to you," David said.
7David had made a promise to Jonathan with the LORD as his witness, so he spared Jonathan's son Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul. 8But Saul and Rizpah the daughter of Aiah had two sons named Armoni and Mephibosheth. Saul's daughter Merab had five sons whose father was Adriel the son of Barzillai from Meholah. David took Rizpah's two sons and Merab's five sons and 9turned them over to the Gibeonites, who hanged all seven of them on the mountain near the place where the LORD was worshiped. This happened right at the beginning of the barley harvest.
Rizpah Takes Care of the Bodies
10Rizpah spread out some sackcloth on a nearby rock. She wouldn't let the birds land on the bodies during the day, and she kept the wild animals away at night. She stayed there from the beginning of the harvest until it started to rain.
The Burial of Saul and His Descendants
11-12Earlier the Philistines had killed Saul and Jonathan on Mount Gilboa and had hung their bodies in the town square at Beth-Shan. The people of Jabesh in Gilead had secretly taken the bodies away, but David found out what Saul's wife Rizpah had done, and he went to the leaders of Jabesh to get the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan. 13-14David had their bones taken to the land of Benjamin and buried in a side room in Saul's family burial place. Then he gave orders for the bones of the men who had been hanged to be buried there. It was done, and God answered prayers to bless the land.
The Descendants of the Rephaim
(1 Chronicles 20.4-8)
15One time David got very tired when he and his soldiers were fighting the Philistines. 16One of the Philistine warriors was Ishbibenob, who was a descendant of the Rephaim, and he tried to kill David. Ishbibenob was armed with a new sword, and his bronze spearhead alone weighed seven and a half pounds. 17But Abishai came to the rescue and killed the Philistine. David's soldiers told him, "We can't let you risk your life in battle anymore! You give light to our nation, and we want that flame to keep burning."
18There was another battle with the Philistines at Gob, where Sibbecai from Hushah killed a descendant of the Rephaim named Saph.
19There was still another battle with the Philistines at Gob. A soldier named Elhanan killed Goliath from Gath, whose spear shaft was like a weaver's beam. Elhanan's father was Jari from Bethlehem. 20There was another war, this time in Gath. One of the enemy soldiers was a descendant of the Rephaim. He was as big as a giant and had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. 21But when he made fun of Israel, David's nephew Jonathan killed him. Jonathan was the son of David's brother Shimei.
22David and his soldiers killed these four men who were descendants of the Rephaim from Gath.
David Sings to the LORD
1David sang a song to the LORD after the LORD had rescued him from his enemies, especially Saul. These are the words to David's song:
2Our LORD and our God,
you are my mighty rock, my fortress, my protector.
3You are the rock
where I am safe.
You are my shield,
my powerful weapon, and my place of shelter.
You rescue me and keep me
from being hurt.
4I praise you, our LORD!
I prayed to you,
and you rescued me
from my enemies.
5Death, like ocean waves,
and I was almost swallowed
by its flooding waters.
6Ropes from the world
of the dead
had coiled around me,
and death had set a trap
in my path.
7I was in terrible trouble
when I called out to you,
but from your temple
you heard me
and answered my prayer.
8Earth shook and shivered!
The columns supporting the sky rocked back and forth.
You were angry
9and breathed out smoke.
Scorching heat and fiery flames
spewed from your mouth.
10You opened the heavens
and you came down
with storm clouds
under your feet.
11You rode on the backs
of flying creatures. You appeared with the wind as wings.
12Darkness was your tent!
Thunderclouds filled the sky,
hiding you from sight.
13Fiery coals lit up the sky
in front of you.
14LORD Most High, your voice
thundered from the heavens.
15You scattered your enemies
with arrows of lightning.
16You roared at the sea,
and its deepest channels
could be seen.
and the earth shook
to its foundations.
17You reached down from heaven,
and you lifted me
from deep in the ocean.
18You rescued me from enemies
who were hateful
and too powerful for me.
19On the day disaster struck,
they came and attacked,
but you defended me.
20When I was fenced in,
you freed and rescued me
because you love me.
21You are good to me, LORD,
because I do right,
and you reward me
because I am innocent.
22I do what you want
and never turn to do evil.
23I keep your laws in mind
and never turn away
from your teachings.
24I obey you completely
and guard against sin.
25You have been good to me
because I do right;
you have rewarded me
for being innocent
by your standards.
26You are always loyal
to your loyal people,
and you are faithful
to the faithful.
27With all who are sincere
you are sincere,
but you treat the unfaithful
as their deeds deserve.
28You rescue the humble,
but you look for ways
to put down the proud.
29Our LORD and God,
you are my lamp.
You turn darkness to light.
30You help me defeat armies
and capture cities.
31Your way is perfect, LORD,
and your word is correct.
You are a shield for those
who run to you for help.
32You alone are God!
Only you are a mighty rock. 33You are my strong fortress,
and you set me free.
34You make my feet run as fast
as those of a deer,
and you help me stand
on the mountains.
35You teach my hands to fight
and my arms to use
a bow of bronze.
36You alone are my shield,
and by coming to help me,
you have made me famous.
37You clear the way for me,
and now I won't stumble.
38I kept chasing my enemies
until I caught them
and destroyed them.
39I destroyed them!
I stuck my sword
through my enemies,
and they were crushed
under my feet.
40You helped me win victories
and forced my attackers
to fall victim to me.
41You made my enemies run,
and I killed them.
42They cried out for help,
but no one saved them;
they called out to you,
but there was no answer.
43I ground them to dust,
and I squashed them
like mud in the streets.
44You rescued me
from my stubborn people
and made me the leader
of foreign nations,
who are now my slaves.
45They obey and come crawling.
46They have lost all courage
and from their fortresses
they come trembling.
47You are the living LORD!
I will praise you!
You are a mighty rock. I will honor you
for keeping me safe.
48You took revenge for me,
and you put nations
in my power.
49You protected me
from violent enemies,
and you made me much greater
than all of them.
50I will praise you, LORD,
and I will honor you
among the nations.
51You give glorious victories
to your chosen king.
Your faithful love for David
and for his descendants
will never end.
David's Last Words
1These are the last words
of David the son of Jesse.
The God of Jacob chose David
and made him a great king.
The Mighty God of Israel
loved him. When God told him to speak,
2The Spirit of the LORD
has told me what to say.
3Our Mighty Rock, the God of Jacob, told me,
"A ruler who obeys God
and does right
4is like the sunrise
on a cloudless day,
or like rain that sparkles
on the grass." 5I have ruled this way,
and God will never break
his promise to me.
God's promise is complete
he will always help me
and give me what I hope for.
6But evil people are pulled up
They are not dug up by hand,
7but with a sharp spear
and are burned on the spot.
The Three Warriors
(1 Chronicles 11.10-19)
8These are the names of David's warriors:
Ishbosheth the son of Hachmon was the leader of the Three Warriors. In one battle, he killed eight hundred men with his spear. 9The next one of the Three Warriors was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite. One time when the Philistines were at war with Israel, he and David dared the Philistines to fight them. Every one of the Israelite soldiers turned and ran, 10except Eleazar. He killed Philistines until his hand was cramped, and he couldn't let go of his sword. When Eleazar finished, all the Israelite troops had to do was come back and take the enemies' weapons and armor. The LORD gave Israel a great victory that day.
11Next was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. One time the Philistines brought their army together to destroy a crop of peas growing in a field near Lehi. The rest of Israel's soldiers ran away from the Philistines, 12but Shammah stood in the middle of the field and killed the Philistines. The crops were saved, and the LORD gave Israel a great victory.
13One year at harvest time, the Three Warriors went to meet David at Adullam Cave. The Philistine army had set up camp in Rephaim Valley 14and had taken over Bethlehem. David was in his fortress, 15and he was very thirsty. He said, "I wish I had a drink from the well by the gate at Bethlehem." 16The Three Warriors sneaked into the Philistine camp and got some water from the well near Bethlehem's gate. But after they brought the water back to David, he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as a sacrifice 17and said to the LORD, "I can't drink this water! It's like the blood of these men who risked their lives to get it for me." The Three Warriors did these brave deeds.
The Thirty Warriors
(1 Chronicles 11.20-47)
18Joab's brother Abishai was the leader of the Thirty Warriors, and in one battle he killed three hundred men with his spear. He was as famous as the Three Warriors 19and certainly just as famous as the rest of the Thirty Warriors. He was the commander of the Thirty Warriors, but he still did not become one of the Three Warriors. 20Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a brave man from Kabzeel who did some amazing things. He killed two of Moab's best fighters, and on a snowy day he went down into a pit and killed a lion. 21Another time, he killed an Egyptian, as big as a giant. The Egyptian was armed with a spear, but Benaiah only had a club. Benaiah grabbed the spear from the Egyptian and killed him with it. 22-23Benaiah did these things. He never became one of the Three Warriors, but he was just as famous as they were and certainly just as famous as the rest of the Thirty Warriors. David made him the leader of his bodyguard. 24-39Some of the Thirty Warriors were:
Asahel the brother of Joab
Elhanan the son of Dodo from Bethlehem
Shammah from Harod
Elika from Harod
Helez the Paltite
Ira the son of Ikkesh from Tekoa
Abiezer from Anathoth
Mebunnai the Hushathite Zalmon the Ahohite
Maharai from Netophah
Heleb the son of Baanah from Netophah
Ittai the son of Ribai from Gibeah of the tribe of Benjamin
Benaiah from Pirathon
Hiddai from the streams on Mount Gaash
Abialbon from Beth-Arabah
Azmaveth from Bahurim Eliahba from Shaalbon
Jashen Jonathan the son of Shammah the Hararite Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite
Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai from Maacah
Eliam the son of Ahithophel from Gilo
Hezro from Carmel
Paarai the Arbite
Igal the son of Nathan from Zobah
Bani the Gadite
Zelek from Ammon
Naharai from Beeroth, who carried the weapons of Joab the son of Zeruiah
Ira the Ithrite
Gareb the Ithrite
Uriah the Hittite
There were thirty-seven in all.
David Counts the People
(1 Chronicles 21.1-6)
1The LORD was angry at Israel again, and he made David think it would be a good idea to count the people in Israel and Judah. 2So David told Joab and the army officers, "Go to every tribe in Israel, from the town of Dan in the north all the way south to Beersheba, and count everyone who can serve in the army. I want to know how many there are." 3Joab answered, "I hope the LORD your God will give you a hundred times more soldiers than you already have. I hope you will live to see that day! But why do you want to do a thing like this?"
4But when David refused to change his mind, Joab and the army officers went out and started counting the people. 5They crossed the Jordan River and began with Aroer and the town in the middle of the river valley. From there they went toward Gad and on as far as Jazer. 6They went to Gilead and to Kadesh in Syria. Then they went to Dan, Ijon, and on toward Sidon. 7They came to the fortress of Tyre, then went through every town of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Finally, they went to Beersheba in the Southern Desert of Judah. 8After they had gone through the whole land, they went back to Jerusalem. It had taken them nine months and twenty days. 9Joab came and told David, "In Israel there are eight hundred thousand who can serve in the army, and in Judah there are five hundred thousand."
The LORD Punishes David
(1 Chronicles 21.7-17)
10After David had everyone counted, he felt guilty and told the LORD, "What I did was stupid and terribly wrong. LORD, please forgive me."
11Before David even got up the next morning, the LORD had told David's prophet Gad 12-13to take a message to David. Gad went to David and told him:
You must choose one of three ways for the LORD to punish you: Will there be seven years when the land won't grow enough food for your people? Or will your enemies chase you and make you run from them for three months? Or will there be three days of horrible disease in your land? Think about it and decide, because I have to give your answer to God, who sent me. 14David was really frightened and said, "It's a terrible choice to make! But the LORD is kind, and I'd rather have him punish us than for anyone else to do it."
15-16So that morning, the LORD sent an angel to spread a horrible disease everywhere in Israel, from Dan to Beersheba. And before it was over, seventy thousand people had died.
When the angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD felt sorry for all the suffering he had caused and told the angel, "That's enough! Don't touch them." This happened at the threshing place that belonged to Araunah the Jebusite.
17David saw the angel killing everyone and told the LORD, "These people are like sheep with me as their shepherd. I have sinned terribly, but they have done nothing wrong. Please, punish me and my family instead of them!"
David Buys Araunah's Threshing Place
(1 Chronicles 21.18--22.1)
18-19That same day the prophet Gad came and told David, "Go to the threshing place that belongs to Araunah and build an altar there for the LORD."
So David went.
20Araunah looked and saw David and his soldiers coming up toward him. He went over to David, bowed down low, 21and said, "Your Majesty! Why have you come to see me?"
David answered, "I've come to buy your threshing place. I have to build the LORD an altar here, so this disease will stop killing the people."
22Araunah said, "Take whatever you want and offer your sacrifice. Here are some oxen for the sacrifice. You can use the threshing-boards and the wooden yokes for the fire. 23Take them--they're yours! I hope the LORD your God will be pleased with you." 24But David answered, "No! I have to pay you what they're worth. I can't offer the LORD my God a sacrifice that I got for nothing." So David bought the threshing place and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. 25Then he built an altar for the LORD. He sacrificed animals and burned them on the altar.
The LORD answered the prayers of the people, and no one else died from the terrible disease.