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2 Samuel 15:13-37

David Flees from Jerusalem

15:13 Then a messenger came to David and reported, “The men of Israel are loyal to Absalom!” 1  15:14 So David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem, 2  “Come on! 3  Let’s escape! 4  Otherwise no one will be delivered from Absalom! Go immediately, or else he will quickly overtake us and bring 5  disaster on us and kill the city’s residents with the sword.” 6  15:15 The king’s servants replied to the king, “We will do whatever our lord the king decides.” 7 

15:16 So the king and all the members of his royal court 8  set out on foot, though the king left behind ten concubines 9  to attend to the palace. 15:17 The king and all the people set out on foot, pausing 10  at a spot 11  some distance away. 15:18 All his servants were leaving with him, 12  along with all the Kerethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites – some six hundred men who had come on foot from Gath. They were leaving with 13  the king.

15:19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you come with us? Go back and stay with the new 14  king, for you are a foreigner and an exile from your own country. 15  15:20 It seems like you arrived just yesterday. Today should I make you wander around by going with us? I go where I must go. But as for you, go back and take your men 16  with you. May genuine loyal love 17  protect 18  you!”

15:21 But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the Lord lives and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king is, whether dead or alive, 19  there I 20  will be as well!” 15:22 So David said to Ittai, “Come along then.” 21  So Ittai the Gittite went along, 22  accompanied by all his men and all the dependents 23  who were with him.

15:23 All the land was weeping loudly 24  as all these people were leaving. 25  As the king was crossing over the Kidron Valley, all the people were leaving 26  on the road that leads to the desert. 15:24 Zadok and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. When they positioned the ark of God, Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving 27  the city.

15:25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back to the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s sight he will bring me back and enable me to see both it and his dwelling place again. 15:26 However, if he should say, ‘I do not take pleasure in you,’ then he will deal with me in a way that he considers appropriate.” 28 

15:27 The king said to Zadok the priest, “Are you a seer? 29  Go back to the city in peace! Your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan may go with you and Abiathar. 30  15:28 Look, I will be waiting at the fords of the desert until word from you 31  reaches me.” 15:29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and remained there.

15:30 As David was going up the Mount of Olives, he was weeping as he went; his head was covered and his feet were bare. All the people who were with him also had their heads covered and were weeping as they went up. 15:31 Now David 32  had been told, “Ahithophel has sided with the conspirators who are with Absalom. So David prayed, 33  “Make the advice of Ahithophel foolish, O Lord!”

15:32 When David reached the summit, where he used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite met him with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. 15:33 David said to him, “If you leave 34  with me you will be a burden to me. 15:34 But you will be able to counter the advice of Ahithophel if you go back to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king! Previously I was your father’s servant, and now I will be your servant.’ 15:35 Zadok and Abiathar the priests will be there with you. 35  Everything you hear in the king’s palace 36  you must tell Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 15:36 Furthermore, their two sons are there with them, Zadok’s son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan. You must send them to me with any information you hear.” 37 

15:37 So David’s friend Hushai arrived in the city, just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.

1 tn Heb “the heart of the men of Israel is with Absalom.”

2 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

3 tn Heb “Arise!”

4 tn Heb “let’s flee.”

5 tn Heb “thrust.”

6 tn Heb “and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”

7 tn Heb “according to all that my lord the king will choose, behold your servants!”

8 tn Heb “and all his house.”

9 tn Heb “women, concubines.”

10 tn Heb “and they stood.”

11 tn Heb “house.”

12 tn Heb “crossing over near his hand.”

13 tn Heb “crossing over near the face of.”

14 tn The word “new” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation to make it clear that David refers to Absalom, not himself.

15 tn Heb “place.”

16 tn Heb “brothers,” but see v. 22.

17 tn Heb “loyal love and truth.” The expression is a hendiadys.

18 tn Heb “be with.”

19 tn Heb “whether for death or for life.”

20 tn Heb “your servant.”

21 tn Heb “Come and cross over.”

22 tn Heb “crossed over.”

23 tn Heb “all the little ones.”

24 tn Heb “with a great voice.”

25 tn Heb “crossing over.”

26 tn Heb “crossing near the face of.”

27 tn Heb “crossing from.”

28 tn Heb “as [is] good in his eyes.”

29 tn The Greek tradition understands the Hebrew word as an imperative (“see”). Most Greek mss have ἴδετε (idete); the Lucianic recension has βλέπε (blepe). It could just as well be taken as a question: “Don’t you see what is happening?” The present translation takes the word as a question, with the implication that Zadok is a priest and not a prophet (i.e., “seer”) and therefore unable to know what the future holds.

30 tn Heb “And Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar, two of your sons, with you.” The pronominal suffix on the last word is plural, referring to Zadok and Abiathar.

31 tn The pronoun is plural, referring to Zadok and Abiathar.

32 tc The translation follows 4QSama, part of the Greek tradition, the Syriac Peshitta, Targum, and Vulgate uldavid in reading “and to David,” rather than MT וְדָוִד (vÿdavid, “and David”). As Driver points out, the Hebrew verb הִגִּיד (higgid, “he related”) never uses the accusative for the person to whom something is told (S. R. Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text and the Topography of the Books of Samuel, 316).

33 tn Heb “said.”

34 tn Heb “cross over.”

35 tn Heb “Will not Zadok and Abiathar the priests be there with you?” The rhetorical question draws attention to the fact that Hushai will not be alone.

36 tn Heb “from the house of the king.”

37 tn Heb “and you must send by their hand to me every word which you hear.” Both of the second person verb forms are plural with Zadok, Abiathar, and Hushai being the understood subjects.

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