1David counted the people who were with him and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.
2David sent forth the people, a third part under the hand of Joab and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the people, “I will surely go out with you myself also.”
3But the people said, “You must not go out; for if we flee away, they will not care for us, neither if half of us die will they care for us. But you are worth 10,000 of us. Therefore now it is better that you are ready to help us out of the city.”
4The king said to them, “I will do what seems best to you.” The king stood beside the gate and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.
5The king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.” All the people heard when the king commanded all the captains concerning Absalom.
6So the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was in the forest of Ephraim.
7The people of Israel were struck there before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter there that day of 20,000 men.
8For the battle was there spread over the surface of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
9Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak and he was taken up between the sky and earth and the mule that was under him went on.
10A certain man saw it and told Joab and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.”
12The man said to Joab, “Though I should receive 1,000 pieces of silver in my hand, I still would not put forth my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Beware that none touch the young man Absalom.’
13Otherwise if I had dealt falsely against his life (and there is no matter hidden from the king), then you yourself would have set yourself against me.”
14Then Joab said, “I‘m not going to wait like this with you.” He took three darts in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the heart of the oak.
15Ten young men who carried Joab’s armor surrounded and struck Absalom and killed him.
16Joab blew the shofar and the people returned from pursuing after Israel, for Joab held back the people.
17They took Absalom and cast him into the great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones. Then all Israel fled everyone to his tent.
18Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in memory.” He called the pillar after his own name and it is called Absalom’s monument to this day.
20Joab said to him, “You are not to be the one to carry news this day, but you may bear news another day. But today you are not to carry news, because the king’s son is dead.”
21Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen!” The Cushite bowed himself to Joab and ran.
Joab said, “Why do you want to run, my son, since that you will have no reward for the news?”
He said to him, “Run!” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the Plain and outran the Cushite.
24Now David was sitting between the two gates, and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate to the wall and lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, a man running alone.
25The watchman cried out and told the king.
The king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” He came closer and closer.
26The watchman saw another man running, and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “Behold, a man running alone!”
The king said, “He also brings news.”
The king said, “He is a good man and comes with good news.”
28Ahimaaz called and said to the king, “All is well.” He bowed himself before the king with his face to the earth and said, “Blessed is Yahweh your God who has given over the men who lifted up their hand against my lord the king!”
Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, even me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I do not know what it was.”
The Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you to do you harm be as that young man is.”