1 And David numbered the people that were with him, and set over them captains of thousands and captains of hundreds.
2 And David sent forth a third part of the people under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also.
3 But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou shouldest help us out of the city.
4 And the king said to them, What seemeth to you best I will do. And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands.
5 And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.
6 So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the forest of Ephraim;
7 Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men.
8 For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
9 And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.
10 And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.
11 And Joab said to the man that told him, And, behold, thou sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and I would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and a belt.
12 And the man said to Joab, Though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in my hand, yet would I not put forth my hand against the king’s son: for in our hearing the king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware that none touch the young man Absalom.
13 Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against my own life: for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against me.
14 Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three spears in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.
15 And ten young men that bore Joab’s armour surrounded and smote Absalom, and slew him.
16 And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel: for Joab restrained the people.
17 And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the forest, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.
18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and built for himself a pillar, which is in the king’s dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called to this day, Absalom’s place.
19 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and inform the king, how the LORD hath avenged himself of his enemies.
20 And Joab said to him, Thou shalt not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt bear tidings another day: but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king’s son is dead.
21 Then said Joab to Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast seen. And Cushi bowed himself to Joab, and ran.
22 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, But however, let me also, I pray thee, run after Cushi. And Joab said, Why wilt thou run, my son, seeing that thou hast no tidings ready?
23 But however, said he, let me run. And he said to him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and outran Cushi.
24 And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate to the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone.
25 And the watchman called, and told the king. And the king said, If he is alone, there is tidings in his mouth. And he came apace, and drew near.
26 And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called to the porter, and said, Behold another man running alone. And the king said, He also bringeth tidings.
27 And the watchman said, I think the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good news.
28 And Ahimaaz called, and said to the king, All is well. And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, Blessed be the LORD thy God, who hath delivered up the men that raised their hand against my lord the king.
29 And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king’s servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was.
30 And the king said to him, Turn aside, and stand here. And he turned aside, and stood still.
31 And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the LORD hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee.
32 And the king said to Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, May the enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee harm, be as that young man is.
33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! O that I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!