¶ AND after this, Absalom prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.
And Absalom rose up early and stood beside the king’s gate;
and it was so that when any man had a case to be tried before the king, then Absalom called him to him, and said, Of what city are you?
And he said, Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.
And Absalom said to him, I see your arguments are good and just;
but there is no man deputed by the king to hear you.
Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made a judge in the land, that every man who has a lawsuit or a cause might come to me, and I would do him justice!
And whenever a man arose to do him obeisance, he held him by his hand and kissed him.
And in this manner did Absalom to all the Israelites who came to the king for judgment;
so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
¶ And it came to pass after four years Absalom said to the king, Let me go and fulfil my vow which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron;
For your servant made a vow while I abode at Geshur and in Aram, saying.
If the LORD will bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.
And the king said to him, Go in peace.
So he arose and went to Hebron.
But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, Absalom reigns in Hebron.
And with Absalom went two hundred men from Jerusalem, but they went innocently, not knowing anything of the plot.
And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, and brought him from his city, from Giloh, while he was offering sacrifices.
And the conspiracy grew strong;
and the people increased continually on the side of Absalom.
¶ And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.
And David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, Arise and let us flee;
for we shall not else escape from Absalom;
make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring evil upon us and smite the city with the edge of the sword.
And the king’s servants said to the king, Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king wants to do.
So the king went forth and all his household after him.
And the king left ten women who were concubines to keep his house.
And the king went forth and all the people after him, and they halted in a place at a distance from the city.
And all his servants passed on beside him;
and all his noblemen and all his army and all the Gittites who had followed him from Gath passed on before the king.
Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Why do you also go with us?
Depart from the king;
for you are a stranger, and also you were brought captive from your country.
You came but yesterday, and shall I trouble you today to go with us, seeing I go wherever I may?
Return, and make your brethren to settle down;
it will be well with you.
But Ittai answered the king and said, As the LORD lives and as the king lives, wherever my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there will your servant be also.
And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over.
So Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men and all the little ones that were with him.
And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over;
then the king also passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over toward the way of the wilderness.
¶ And behold, Zadok the priest went also and all the Levites who were with him, bearing the ark of God;
and Abiathar went up and stood until all the people had finished passing over from the city.
Then the king said to Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city;
perhaps I shall find favor in the eyes of the LORD, and he will bring me back again and show me both it and his habitation;
But if he shall say, I have no delight in you;
behold, here I am, let him do to me as seems good in his sight.
The king said also to Zadok the priest, Return, go to the city in peace, you and your sons with you, Ahimaaz your son and Nathan the son of Abiathar.
See, I will wait in the plain of the wilderness until there come a man from you to inform me.
Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem;
and they remained there.
And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet and wept as he went up and had his head covered and all the people who were with him also covered their heads, and they went up on foot, weeping as they went.
¶ And they told David, saying, Ahithophel has conspired with Absalom.
And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, nullify the counsel of Ahithophel.
And when David came to a place where he used to worship God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and earth upon his head;
And David said to him, If you pass on with me, then you will be a burden to me;
But if you return to the city, say to Absalom, I am your servant, O king, as I was your father’s servant hitherto.
And now, I the king, want you to go and defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.
Behold, there are with you in the city Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
Therefore it shall be that every word you hear from the king’s house, you shall tell to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
Behold, they have there with them their two sons Ahimaaz Zadok’s son and Nathan Abiathar’s son;
and by them you shall send to me everything that you can hear.
So Hushai, David’s friend, came to the city, just as Absalom entered Jerusalem.