15:1 Some time later Absalom managed to acquire 1 a chariot and horses, as well as fifty men to serve as his royal guard. 2 15:2 Now Absalom used to get up early and stand beside the road that led to the city gate. Whenever anyone came by who had a complaint to bring to the king for arbitration, Absalom would call out to him, “What city are you from?” The person would answer, “I, your servant, 3 am from one of the tribes of Israel.” 15:3 Absalom would then say to him, “Look, your claims are legitimate and appropriate. 4 But there is no representative of the king who will listen to you.” 15:4 Absalom would then say, “If only they would make me 5 a judge in the land! Then everyone who had a judicial complaint 6 could come to me and I would make sure he receives a just settlement.”
15:5 When someone approached to bow before him, Absalom 7 would extend his hand and embrace him and kiss him. 15:6 Absalom acted this way toward everyone in Israel who came to the king for justice. In this way Absalom won the loyalty 8 of the citizens 9 of Israel.
15:7 After four 10 years Absalom said to the king, “Let me go and repay my vow that I made to the Lord while I was in Hebron. 15:8 For I made this vow 11 when I was living in Geshur in Aram: ‘If the Lord really does allow me to return to Jerusalem, 12 I will serve the Lord.’” 15:9 The king replied to him, “Go in peace.” So Absalom 13 got up and went to Hebron.
15:10 Then Absalom sent spies through all the tribes of Israel who said, “When you hear the sound of the horn, you may assume 14 that Absalom rules in Hebron.” 15:11 Now two hundred men had gone with Absalom from Jerusalem. Since they were invited, they went naively and were unaware of what Absalom was planning. 15 15:12 While he was offering sacrifices, Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s adviser, 16 to come from his city, Giloh. 17 The conspiracy was gaining momentum, and the people were starting to side with Absalom.
15:13 Then a messenger came to David and reported, “The men of Israel are loyal to Absalom!” 18
1 tn Heb “acquired for himself.”
2 tn Heb “to run ahead of him.”
3 tn Heb “your servant.” So also in vv. 8, 15, 21.
4 tn Heb “good and straight.”
5 tn Heb “Who will make me?”
6 tn Heb “a complaint and a judgment.” The expression is a hendiadys.
7 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Absalom) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
8 tn Heb “stole the heart.”
9 tn Heb “the men.”
10 tc The MT has here “forty,” but this is presumably a scribal error for “four.” The context will not tolerate a period of forty years prior to the rebellion of Absalom. The Lucianic Greek recension (τέσσαρα ἔτη, tessara ete), the Syriac Peshitta (’arba’ sanin), and Vulgate (post quattuor autem annos) in fact have the expected reading “four years.” Most English translations follow the versions in reading “four” here, although some (e.g. KJV, ASV, NASB, NKJV), following the MT, read “forty.”
11 tn Heb “for your servant vowed a vow.” The formal court style of referring to one’s self in third person (“your servant”) has been translated here as first person for clarity.
12 map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.
13 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Absalom) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
14 tn Heb “say.”
15 tn Heb “being invited and going naively and they did not know anything.”
16 tn Traditionally, “counselor,” but this term is more often associated with psychological counseling today, so “adviser” was used in the translation instead.
17 tn Heb “Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, the adviser of David, from his city, from Giloh, while he was sacrificing.” It is not entirely clear who (Absalom or Ahithophel) was offering the sacrifices.
18 tn Heb “the heart of the men of Israel is with Absalom.”