1It was after this that Absalom prepared a chariot and horses for himself, and 50 men to run before him.
2And Absalom would rise up early and stand beside the road leading to the gate. And when anyone had a dispute to bring before the king for judgment, then Absalom would call to him and say, “What city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.”
3Then Absalom would say to him, “Behold, your claims are good and right, but there is no one appointed by the king to listen to you.”
4And Absalom would say, “Oh who would make me a judge in the land, so that everyone with a dispute or cause could come to me, and I would give him justice!”
5And it would be that when any man came near to prostrate himself before him, he stretched out his hand and took hold of him and kissed him.
6And Absalom did this to all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
7And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and fulfill my vow that I have vowed to Yahweh in Hebron.
8For your servant vowed a vow while I stayed at Geshur in Syria, saying, ‘If Yahweh will bring, yes, bring me back again to Jerusalem, then I will serve Yahweh.’”
9And the king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron.
10But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the shofar, then you are to say, ‘Absalom reigns as king in Hebron!’”
11Now 200 men who were invited guests went with Absalom out of Jerusalem, and they went innocently and did not know anything.
12And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city, from Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. Now the conspiracy was strong, and the people increased continually with Absalom.
13A messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.”
14So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise and let’s flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtakes us quickly and brings down evil upon us and strikes the city with the mouth of the sword.”
15And the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses.”
16So the king went out, and all his household after him. The king left ten women who were concubines to take care of the house.
17So the king went out, and all the people after him, and they stopped at the Last House.
18All his servants passed by near him, and all the Cherethites and all the Pelethites and also all the Gittites (600 men who came after him from Gath), passed by before the face of the king.
19Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why are you also going with us? Return and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile from your own place.
20You came only yesterday, so today should I make you go up and down with us, since I go wherever I can go? Return and have your brothers return, faithfulness and truth be with you.”
21But Ittai answered the king and said, “As Yahweh lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king is, whether for death or for life, indeed, there will your servant be!”
22So David said to Ittai, “Go and cross over.” So Ittai the Gittite crossed over, and all his men and all the little ones who were with him.
23And all the land wept with a loud voice as all the people crossed over and the king also himself crossed over the Brook Kidron and all the people crossed over toward the road of the wilderness.
24Behold, Zadok also, and all the Levites with him, were carrying the ark of the covenant of God, and they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar came up until all the people finished crossing out of the city.
25But the king said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the eyes of Yahweh, he will bring me back and show me it and his dwelling place.
26But if he says this, ‘I have no delight in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me as is good in his eyes.”
27And the king said to Zadok the priest, “Are you a seer? Return into the city in peace, Ahimaaz your son and Jonathan the son of Abiathar, both your sons with you.
28Behold, I will stay at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to tell me something.”
29So Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem, and they stayed there.
30And David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went up. And he had his head covered and went barefoot, and all the people who were with him—every one—covered his own head, and was going up, going up and weeping.
31And someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” Then David said, “O Yahweh, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”
32And when David had come as far as the top where they worshiped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and dirt on his head.
33David said to him, “If you cross over with me, then you will be a burden to me,
34but if you return to the city and tell Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king. As I have been your father’s servant in time past, so I will now be your servant,’ then you may defeat the counsel of Ahithophel for me.
35Aren’t Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? So whatever things you hear out of the king’s house, you are to tell to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
36Behold, Ahimaaz son of Zadok and Jonathan son of Abiathar are there with them; and by them you are to send to me everything that you all hear.”
37So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city just as Absalom was coming into Jerusalem.