|2 Samuel 15 |
1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate; and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom would call to him, saying, "Of what city are you?" And the man would reply, "Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel."
3 [After listening to the man's claim], Absalom would say to him, "I see that your claims are good and just, but there is no man authorized by the king as his agent to hear you."
4 Absalom also said, "I wish that I were made a judge in the land, so that every man who has any suit or cause might come to me, and I would do him justice!"
5 And it was so, that when any man came near to him to show him respect, he would reach out, take hold of him, and kiss him.
6 Absalom acted in this manner to all of Israel that came to the king for judgment. In this manner Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
7 Four years later Absalom said to the king, "I beg of you, let me go to Hebron and pay my vow that I vowed to the LORD."
8 For your servant made a vow while I was staying in Geshur of Syria, saying, "Indeed, if the LORD again brings me to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD."
9 And the king said to him, "Go in peace." So he arose, and went to Hebron.
10 But Absalom had sent secret agents 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.'"
11 Accompanying Absalom were two hundred men out of Jerusalem, who were invited and who went in their innocence, knowing nothing [of Absalom's true intent].1
12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices [at Hebron], he also summoned Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city of Giloh. The conspiracy became stronger because the number of people with Absalom was continually increasing.
13 A messenger came to David, saying, "The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom."
14 And David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, "Arise, we must flee; otherwise we will not escape from Absalom. Let us quickly depart, or he will suddenly overtake us, bring destruction upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword."
15 And the king's servants said to the king, "Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king decides."
16 And the king went forth, and all his household after him. King David left ten of his concubines behind to keep the house.
17 And the king departed with all the people after him, and they stayed in a place that was some distance away.
18 And all his servants traveled on beside him along with all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and six hundred Gittites who had come with him from Gath; they all traveled with the king.
19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why do you also go with us? Return to your place, and stay with the king for you are a stranger and also an exile.
20 You arrived only yesterday; should I make you travel about with us this day, seeing that my destination is uncertain. Return with your brothers, and may mercy and truth be with you."
21 And Ittai answered the king, and said, "As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there your servant will also be."
22 And David said to Ittai, "Go and pass over." And Ittai the Gittite passed over [the Kidron brook and valley] with all his men and all the little ones that were with him.
23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over; the king also himself passed over the Kidron brook and valley, all proceeding toward the desert wilderness.
24 Zadok with all the Levites were there too, bearing the ark of the covenant of God; and they set down the ark of God while Abiathar [the priest] and went up, until all the people had finished passing out of the city.
25 And the king said to Zadok, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I should find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and show me both it and His house.
26 But if he were to say, 'I have no delight in you;' behold, here am I, let him do to me as seems good to him."
27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, "Are you not a seer [prophet]? Return into the city in peace, along with your two sons: Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
28 See, I will stay in Jordan's fords to the wilderness, until your word comes from you to inform me.
29 Therefore Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back into Jerusalem, and they stayed there.
30 David went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet, he wept as he went up, his head was covered, and he walked barefoot; and all the people that were with him also covered their heads; and as they went up, they too were weeping.
31 One told David, saying, "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." And David said, "O LORD, I pray you, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness."
32 And it came to pass, that when David had come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and earth upon his head.
33 David said to him, "If you continue on with me, then you shall be a burden to me;
34 But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, 'I will be your servant, O king, as I have been your father's servant till now, so will I now also be your servant;' then perhaps you will be able to deflect the counsel of Ahithophel for me.
35 And will you not have there [as secret allies] with you the priests Zadok and Abiathar? Therefore whatever you hear regarding the king's house, you shall pass it on to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
36 There they have with them their two sons: Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, and Jonathan, Abiathar's son; and by them you shall send to me everything that you can hear."
37 So Hushai, David's friend, went back into the city; and Absalom entered Jerusalem.
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1 So Absalom plotted to seize the throne and kill his father. This was the work of the Lord as part of David's punishment for adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite; further having Uriah deliberately placed in the most fierce battle to be killed. The Lord said: Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house; because you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house , and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.2 Sam 12:10-11.
This is a great example of how the Lord can, when if fits with his plans for those chosen by him, move even evil men around to his purpose without violating their free wills. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose. Rom 8:28. The world is a gigantic chess board with billions of pieces, effortlessly moved to the Lord's purpose. (See Life's purpose for more.)
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