1And it came to pass after this that Absalom prepared for himself chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
2And Absalom rose early, and stood by the side of the way of the gate: and it came to pass that every man who had a cause, came to the king for judgment, and Absalom cried to him, and said to him, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.
3And Absalom said to him, See, thy affairs are right and clear, yet thou hast no one appointed of the king to hear thee.
4And Absalom said, O that one would make me a judge in the land; then every man who had a dispute or a cause would come to me, and I would judge him!
5And it came to pass when a man came near to do him obeisance, that he stretched out his hand, and took hold of him, and kissed him.
6And Absalom did after this manner to all Israel that came to the king for judgment; and Absalom gained the hearts of the men of Israel.
7And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said to his father, I will go now, and pay my vows, which I vowed to the Lord in Hebron.
8For thy servant vowed a vow when I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord should indeed restore me to Jerusalem, then will I serve the Lord.
9And the king said to him, Go in peace. And he arose and went to Hebron.
10And Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, When ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then shall ye say, Absalom is become king in Hebron.
11And there went with Absalom two hundred chosen men from Jerusalem; and they went in their simplicity, and knew not anything.
12And Absalom sent to Ahithophel the Theconite, the counselor of David, from his city, from Giloh, where he was sacrificing: and there was a strong conspiracy; and the people with Absalom were increasingly numerous.
13And there came a messenger to David, saying, The heart of the men of Israel is gone after Absalom.
14And David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem, Rise, and let us flee, for we have no refuge from Absalom: make haste and go, lest he overtake us speedily, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.
15And the king’s servants said to the king, In all things which our lord the king chooses, behold we are thy servants.
16And the king and all his house went out on foot: and the king left ten women of his concubines to keep the house.
17And the king and all his servants went out on foot; and abode in a distant house.
18And all his servants passed on by his side, and every Cherethite, and every Pelethite, and they stood by the olive tree in the wilderness: and all the people marched near him, and all his court, and all the men of might, and all the men of war, six hundred: and they were present at his side: and every Cherethite, and every Pelethite, and all the six hundred Gittites that came on foot out of Gath, and they went on before the king.
19And the king said to Ittai the Gittite, Why dost thou also go with us? return, and dwell with the king, for thou art a stranger, and thou hast come forth as a sojourner out of thy place.
20Whereas thou camest yesterday, shall I today cause thee to travel with us, and shalt thou thus change thy place? thou didst come forth yesterday, and today shall I set thee in motion to go along with us? I indeed will go whithersoever I may go: return then, and cause thy brethren to return with thee, and may the Lord deal mercifully and truly with thee.
21And Ittai answered the king and said, As the Lord lives and as my lord the king lives, in the place wheresoever my lord shall be, whether it be for death or life, there shall thy servant be.
22And the king said to Ittai, Come and pass over with me. So Ittai the Gittite and the king passed over, and all his servants, and all the multitude with him.
23And all the country wept with a loud voice. And all the people passed by over the brook of Kidron; and the king crossed the brook Kidron: and all the people and the king passed on toward the way of the wilderness.
24And behold also Zadok, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Baethar: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had passed out of the city.
25And the king said to Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I should find favor in the eyes of the Lord, then will he bring me back, and he will show me it and its beauty.
26But if he should say thus, I have no pleasure in thee; behold, here I am, let him do to me according to that which is good in his eyes.
27And the king said to Zadok the priest, Behold, thou shalt return to the city in peace, and Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar, your two sons with you.
28Behold, I continue in arms in Araboth of the desert, until there come tidings from you to report to me.
29So Zadok and Abiathar brought back the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem, and it continued there.
30And David went up by the ascent of the mount of Olives, ascending and weeping, and had his head covered, and went barefooted: and all the people that were with him covered every man his head; and they went up, ascending and weeping.
31And it was reported to David, saying, Ahithophel also is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O Lord my God, disconcert, I pray thee, the counsel of Ahithophel.
32And David came as far as Ros, where he worshiped God: and behold, Hushai the chief friend of David came out to meet him, having rent his garment, and earth was upon his head.
33And David said to him, If thou shouldest go over with me, then wilt thou be a burden to me;
34but if thou shall return to the city, and shalt say to Absalom, Thy brethren are passed over, and the king thy father is passed over after me: and now I am thy servant, O king, suffer me to live: at one time even of late I was the servant of thy father, and now I am thy humble servant—so shalt thou disconcert for me the counsel of Ahithophel.
35And, behold, there are there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests; and it shall be that every word that thou shalt hear of the house of the king, thou shalt report it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
36Behold, there are there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar; and by them ye shall report to me every word which ye shall hear.
37So Hushai the friend of David went into the city, and Absalom was lately gone into Jerusalem.