JB 2 SAMUEL Chapter 1

David learns of Saul’s Death

1:1 After the death of Saul, David returned from his rout of the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag.

1:2 On the third day a man came from the camp where Saul had been, his garments torn and earth on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground and did homage.

1:3 ‘Where do you come from?’ David asked him. ‘I have escaped from the Israelite camp’ he said.

1:4 David said to him, ‘What happened? Tell me.’ He replied, ‘The people have fled from the battlefield and many of them have fallen. Saul and his son Jonathan are dead too.’

1:5 David then asked the young soldier who brought the news, ‘How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?’

1:6 ‘I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,’ the young soldier replied ‘and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and the cavalry pressing him hard.

1:7 Then he turned round and saw me, and shouted to me. I answered, “Here I am”.

1:8 He said, “Who are you?” “An Amalekite” I replied.

1:9 Then he said, “Stand over me and kill me, for a giddiness has come on me, though my life is wholly in me still”.

1:10 So I stood over him and killed him, because I knew that once he fell he could not survive. Then I took the crown he wore on his head and the bracelet on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.’

1:11 Then David took hold of his garments and tore them, and all the men with him did the same.

1:12 They mourned and wept and fasted until the evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, for the people of Yahweh and for the House of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

1:13 David said to the young soldier who had brought the news, ‘Where are you from?’ ‘I am the son of a resident alien,’ he answered ‘an Amalekite.’

1:14 David said, ‘How is it you were not afraid to lift your hand to destroy Yahweh’s anointed?’

1:15 Then David called one of his soldiers. ‘Come here,’ he said ‘strike him down.’ The man struck him and he died.

1:16 ‘Your blood be on your own head,’ David said ‘for your own lips gave evidence against you when you said, “I killed Yahweh’s anointed”.’

David’s elegy over Saul and Jonathan

1:17 Then David made this lament over Saul and his son Jonathan.

1:18 It is written in the Book of the Just,[*a] so that it may be taught to the sons of Judah. It runs:

1:19 Alas, the glory of Israel has been slain on your heights! How did the heroes fall?

1:20 Do not speak of it in Oath, nor announce it in the streets of Ashkelon, or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, the daughters of the uncircumcised will gloat.

1:21 O mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew or rain on you; treacherous fields, for there the hero’s shield was dishonoured! The shield of Saul was anointed not with oil

1:22 but with blood of the wounded, fat of the warriors; the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, nor the sword of Saul return idle.

1:23 Saul and Jonathan, loved and lovely, neither in life, nor in death, were divided. Swifter than eagles were they, stronger were they than lions.

1:24 O daughters of Israel, weep for Saul who clothed you in scarlet and fine linen, who set brooches of gold on your garments.

1:25 How did the heroes fall in the thick of the battle?

1:26 O Jonathan, in your death I am stricken, I am desolate for you, Jonathan my brother. Very dear to me you were, your love to me more wonderful than the love of a woman.

1:27 How did the heroes fall and the battle armour fail?

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 2



David consecrated king at Hebron

2:1 After this David consulted Yahweh. ‘Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?’ he asked. Yahweh answered, ‘Go up’. ‘Which shall I go to?’ David asked. ‘To Hebron’ was the reply.

2:2 So David went up, with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the wife of Nabal from Carmel.

2:3 The men who were with him, David made go up too, each with his family, and they settled in the towns of Hebron.

2:4 There the men of Judah came and anointed David king over the House of Judah.

David’s message to Jabesh

2:5 They told David that the people of Jabesh-gilead had given Saul burial, so David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead. ‘May you be blessed by Yahweh’ he said ‘for doing this kindness to Saul your lord, and for burying him.

2:6 And now may Yahweh show kindness and faithfulness to you! I too shall treat you well because you have done this.

2:7 And now take courage and be men of valour. Saul your lord is dead, but the House of Judah has anointed me to be their king.’

Abner makes Ishbaal king over Israel

2:8 Abner son of Ner, Saul’s army commander, had taken Ishbaal son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim.

2:9 He had made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel and Ephraim and Benjamin, and indeed over all Israel.

2:10 Ishbaal son of Saul was forty years old when he became king of Israel, and he reigned for two years. Only the House of Judah supported David.

2:11 The length of David’s reign over Judah in Hebron was seven years and six months.

War between Israel and Judah. The battle of Gibeon

2:12 Abner son of Ner with Ishbaal’s followers marched out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.

2:13 Joab son of Zeruiah with David’s followers also marched out, encountering them by the Pool of Gibeon. There they halted, one party on one side of the pool, and the other opposite.

2:14 Then Abner said to Joab, ‘Let the young soldiers come forward and hold a contest before us’. ‘Let them come forward’ Joab replied.

2:15 So they came forward and were numbered off, twelve from Benjamin for Ishbaal son of Saul, and twelve of David’s followers.

2:16 Each caught his adversary by the head and drove his sword into his side so that they all fell together. Hence the place was called the Field of Sides; it is at Gibeon.

2:17 That day a very fierce battle took place, and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten by David’s followers.

2:18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Now Asahel was as swift-footed as a wild gazelle.

2:19 Asahel set off in pursuit of Abner turning neither to right nor to left as he went in pursuit of him.

2:20 Abner turned. ‘Asahel,’ he said ‘is that you?’ He answered, ‘It is’.

2:21 ‘Turn to your right or your left,’ Abner said ‘catch one of the soldiers and take his spoil.’ But Asahel would not break off the pursuit.

2:22 Again Abner spoke to Asahel, ‘Stop pursuing me, unless you want me to strike you to the ground; and then how could I look your brother Joab in the face again?’

2:23 But he refused to turn away, so Abner struck him in the belly with the butt of his spear so that the spear came out at his back; and he fell there and died on the spot. On coming to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, everyone halted.

2:24 Joab and Abishai took up the pursuit of Abner and at sunset reached the Hill of Ammah, which is to the east of the valley, on the road to Giah.

2:25 The Benjaminites gathered behind Abner in close formation and halted at the top of the Hill of Ammah.

2:26 Abner called out to Joab, ‘Is the sword to go on eating its fill for ever?’ he said. ‘Do you not know that this will end in disaster? How long will it be before you order these people to stop pursuing their brothers?’

2:27 ‘As Yahweh lives,’ Joab replied ‘if you had not spoken, these men would not have given up the pursuit of their brothers until morning.’

2:28 Joab then sounded the trumpet and all the troops halted; they pursued Israel no further and fought no more.

2:29 All that night Abner and his men made their way through the Arabah;[*a] they crossed the Jordan and, marching throughout the morning, came to Mahanaim.

2:30 Joab, giving up the pursuit of Abner, mustered his whole force; David’s followers had lost nineteen men in addition to Asahel,

2:31 but had killed three hundred and sixty of Benjamin, Abner’s men.

2:32 They took up Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb, which is at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched throughout the night and day dawned as they reached Hebron.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 3

3:1 So the war dragged on between the House of Saul and the House of David, but David grew steadily stronger, and the House of Saul ever weaker.

The sons horn to David at Hebron

3:2 Sons were born to David at Hebron: his first-born Amnon, by Ahinoam of Jezreel;

3:3 his second Chileab, by Abigail the wife of Nabal from Carmel; the third Absalom the son of Maacah, daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;

3:4 the fourth Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth Shephatiah the son of Abital;

3:5 the sixth Ithream, by Eglah wife of David. These were born to David at Hebron.

The rift between Abner and Ishbaal

3:6 This is what took place during the war between the House of Saul and the House of David. Abner took complete control in the House of Saul.

3:7 Now there was a concubine of Saul’s named Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, and Abner took her. Ishbaal said to Abner, ‘Why have you slept with my father’s concubine?’

3:8 At these words of Ishbaal Abner flew into a rage. ‘Am I a dog’s head?’ he shouted. ‘Here am I full of goodwill towards the House of Saul your father, his brothers and his friends, not leaving you to the hands of David, and now you find fault with me about a woman!

3:9 May God do this to Abner and more if I do not bring about what Yahweh has promised on oath to David,

3:10 to take the sovereignty from the House of Saul, and set up the throne of David over Israel and Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.’

3:11 Ishbaal dared not say a single word in answer to Abner, because he was afraid of him.

Abner negotiates with David

3:12 Abner sent messengers to say to David, ‘…Come to an agreement with me and I will give you my support to win all Israel over to you’.

3:13 ‘Very well,’ David said ‘I will come to an agreement with you. I impose one condition however; you will not be admitted to my presence unless you bring me Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see me.’

3:14 David then sent messengers to Ishbaal son of Saul. ‘Give me back my wife Michal,’ he said ‘whom I won with a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.’

3:15 So Ishbaal sent for her to be taken from her husband Paltiel son of Laish.

3:16 Her husband set off with her and followed her, weeping, as far as Bahurim; but Abner said to him, ‘Go back’, and he went.

3:17 Now Abner had conferred with the elders of Israel. ‘For a long time now’ he said ‘you have wanted David for your king.

3:18 Now you must take action; Yahweh has given this promise about David, “By the hand of my servant David I will deliver my people Israel from the hands of the Philistines and all their enemies’.”

3:19 Abner also spoke to the men of Benjamin, and then went to Hebron to tell David all that had been agreed by Israel and the House of Benjamin.

3:20 Abner accompanied by twenty men came to David at Hebron, and David held a feast for Abner and the men who were with him.

3:21 Then Abner said to David, ‘I must be off. I am going to rally all Israel to my lord the king. They will make an alliance with you, and you will reign over all that you desire.’ So David allowed Abner to go, and he went unmolested.

The murder of Abner

3:22 The followers of David were just then coming back with Joab from a raid, bringing a great amount of booty with them. Abner was no longer with David at Hebron, since David had allowed him to go, and he had gone unmolested.

3:23 When Joab arrived and the whole force that was with him, Joab was told, ‘Abner son of Ner has been to the king and he has allowed Abner to go away unmolested’.

3:24 Then Joab went to the king. ‘What have you done?’ he said. ‘Abner comes to you and you allow him to go unmolested? Why?

3:25 Do you not know Abner son of Ner? He came to trick you, to know your every move, to find out what you are doing.’

3:26 Joab left David’s presence and sent messengers after Abner and these, unknown to David, brought him back from the Well of Sirah.

3:27 When Abner reached Hebron, Joab drew him apart to the side of the gate as if to have a word with him in private, and there struck him in the belly. And so, for the blood of Joab’s brother Asahel, he died.

3:28 Afterwards when David heard of this, he said, ‘I and my kingdom are innocent for ever before Yahweh of the blood of Abner son of Ner;

3:29 may it fall on the head of Joab and on all his family! May the House of Joab never lack men with the discharge or the leprosy, or only fit to hold a distaff, or falling by the sword, or short of bread!’

3:30 (Joab and his brother Abishai had murdered Abner because he killed their brother Asahel at the battle of Gibeon.)

3:31 David then said to Joab and all the troops who were with him, ‘Tear your garments, put on sackcloth, and mourn before Abner’; and King David walked behind the bier.

3:32 They buried Abner at Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner’s grave, and the people all wept too.

3:33 The king made this lament over Abner: ‘Should Abner have died as a fool dies?

3:34 Your hands were not tied, your feet not chained; you fell as a man falls at the hands of criminals.’ And all the people wept once more over him.

3:35 They all tried then to persuade David to have some food while it was still daylight, but David took this oath, ‘May God do this to me and more if I taste bread or anything whatever until the sun is down!’

3:36 All the people took note of this and it pleased them; indeed, everything the king did pleased the people.

3:37 That day all the people and all Israel understood that the king had no part in the death of Abner son of Ner.

3:38 The king said to his officers, ‘Do you not know that in Israel a prince, a great man, has fallen today?

3:39 I, though I am king by anointing, am weak at this present time, and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too ruthless for me. May Yahweh pay back the wrong-doer in proportion to the wrong he has done.’

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 4

The murder of Ishbaal

4:1 When Ishbaal son of Saul heard the news that Abner had died at Hebron, his heart failed him, and the whole of Israel was alarmed.

4:2 Now Ishbaal son of Saul had two freebooting chieftains; one was called Baanah, the other Rechab. They were the sons of Rimmon of Beeroth, and Benjaminites-for Beeroth is regarded as belonging to Benjamin.

4:3 The people of Beeroth had taken refuge in Gittaim where they have remained to this day as resident aliens.

4:4 Jonathan son of Saul had a son with crippled feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried away he fell and was lamed. His name was Meribbaal.

4:5 The sons of Rimmon of Beeroth, Rechab and Baanah, set out; they came to Ishbaal’s house at the hottest part of the day when he was taking his midday rest.

4:6 The woman who kept the door had been cleaning wheat, and she had drowsed off to sleep. Rechab and his brother Baanah stole by

4:7 and entered the house where Ishbaal was lying in his bedroom on his bed. They struck and killed him and cut off his head; and taking the head with them, they travelled all night by the road of the Arabah.

4:8 They brought Ishbaal’s head to David at Hebron. ‘Here’ they said to the king ‘is the head of Ishbaal son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life. Yahweh has avenged my lord the king today on Saul and on his offspring.’

4:9 But David answered Rechab and his brother Baanah by saying, ‘As Yahweh lives, who has delivered me from all adversity,

4:10 the man who thought to bring me good news when he told me Saul was dead, this man I seized and killed at Ziklag, rewarding him for his good news.

4:11 How much more when bandits have killed an honest man in his house, and on his bed! Am I not bound to demand account of his blood from you, and wipe you from the earth?’

4:12 Then David gave an order to his soldiers, who put them to death, cut off their hands and feet, and hung them up beside the Pool of Hebron. Ishbaal’s head they took and buried in Abner’s grave at Hebron.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 5


David is anointed king of Israel

5:1 All the tribes of Israel then came to David at Hebron. ‘Look’ they said ‘we are your own flesh and blood.

5:2 In days past when Saul was our king, it was you who led Israel in all their exploits; and Yahweh said to you, “You are the man who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you shall be the leader of Israel”.’

5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a pact with them at Hebron in the presence of Yahweh, and they anointed David king of Israel.

5:4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty years.

5:5 He reigned in Hebron over Judah for seven years and six months; then he reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years.

The capture of Jerusalem

5:6 David and his men marched on Jerusalem against the Jebusites living there. These said to David, ‘You will not get in here. The blind and the lame will hold you off.’ (That is to say: David will never get in here.)

5:7 But David captured the fortress of Zion, that is, the Citadel of David.

5:8 That day David said, ‘Whoever strikes the Jebusites and goes up by the conduit. . .’ As for the blind and the lame, David hated them in his soul. (Hence the saying: the blind and the lame shall not enter the Temple.)

5:9 David went to live in the fortress and called it the Citadel of David. David then built a wall round it, from the Millo going inwards.

5:10 David grew greater and greater, and Yahweh, God of Sabaoth, was with him.

5:11 Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David with cedar wood and carpenters and stonemasons, who built David a palace.

5:12 David then knew that Yahweh had confirmed him as king over Israel, and for the sake of his people Israel was making his reign glorious.

The sons horn to David in Jerusalem

5:13 After coming from Hebron, David took other concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and sons and daughters were born to him.

5:14 These are the names of those born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon,

5:15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia,

5:16 Elishama, Eliada, Eliphelet.

Victory over the Philistines

5:17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king of all Israel, they all marched up to seek him out. On hearing this, David went down to the stronghold[*a]

5:18 When the Philistines arrived they deployed in the Valley of the Rephaim.

5:19 David consulted Yahweh; ‘Shall I attack the Philistines?’ he asked. ‘Will you deliver them into my power?’ Yahweh answered David, ‘Attack! I will most surely deliver the Philistines into your power.’

5:20 Accordingly David went to Baal-perazim and there defeated them. David said, ‘Yahweh has made a breach in my enemies for me like a breach the waters make’. For this reason that place was called Baal-perazim.

5:21 They had left their gods behind them there, and David and his men carried them off.

5:22 Again the Philistines marched up and deployed in the Valley of the Rephaim.

5:23 David consulted Yahweh, who answered, ‘Do not attack them from the front; go round to their rear and engage them opposite the balsam trees.

5:24 When you hear the sound of steps in the tops of the balsam trees, advance, for that will be Yahweh going out ahead of you to rout the army of the Philistines.’

5:25 David did as Yahweh had ordered and routed the Philistines from Gibeon as far as the Pass of Gezer.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 6

The ark in Jerusalem

6:1 David again mustered all the picked troops of Israel, thirty thousand men.

6:2 Setting off with the whole force then with him, David went to Baalah of Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God which bears the name of Yahweh Sabaoth who is seated on the cherubs.

6:3 They placed the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it from Abinadab’s house which is on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the cart,

6:4 Uzzah walked alongside the ark of God and Ahio went in front.

6:5 David and all the House of Israel danced before Yahweh with all their might, singing to the accompaniment of lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals.

6:6 When they came to the threshing-floor of Nacon, Uzzah stretched his hand out to the ark of God and steadied it, as the oxen were making it tilt.

6:7 Then the anger of Yahweh blazed out against Uzzah, and for this crime God struck him down on the spot, and he died there beside the ark of God.

6:8 David was displeased that Yahweh had broken out against Uzzah, and that place was called Perez-uzzah, as it still is now.

6:9 David went in fear of Yahweh that day. ‘However can the ark of Yahweh come to me?’ he said.

6:10 So David decided not to take the ark into the Citadel of David and took it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath.

6:11 The ark of Yahweh remained in the house of Obed-edom of Gath for three months, and Yahweh blessed Obed-edom and his whole family.

6:12 Word was brought to King David that Yahweh had blessed the family of Obed-edom and all that belonged to him on account of the ark of God. David accordingly went and brought the ark of God up from Obed-edom’s house to the Citadel of David with great rejoicing.

6:13 When the bearers of the ark of Yahweh had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fat sheep.

6:14 And David danced whirling round before Yahweh with all his might, wearing a linen loincloth round him.

6:15 Thus David and all the House of Israel brought up the ark of Yahweh with acclaim and the sound of the horn.

6:16 Now as the ark of Yahweh entered the Citadel of David, Michal the daughter of Saul was watching from the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before Yahweh; and she despised him in her heart.

6:17 They brought the ark of Yahweh in and put it in position inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered holocausts before Yahweh, and communion sacrifices.

6:18 And when David had finished offering holocausts and communion sacrifices, he blessed the people in the name of Yahweh Sabaoth.

6:19 He then distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israelites, men and women, a roll of bread to each, a portion of dates, and a raisin cake. Then they all went away, each to his own house.

6:20 As David was coming back to bless his household Michal, the daughter of Saul, went out to meet him. ‘What a fine reputation the king of Israel has won himself today,’ she said ‘displaying himself under the eyes of his servantmaids, as any buffoon might display himself.’

6:21 David answered Michal, ‘I was dancing for Yahweh, not for them. As Yahweh lives, who chose me in preference to your father and his whole House to make me leader of Israel, Yahweh’s people, I shall dance before Yahweh

6:22 and demean myself even more. In your eyes I may be base, but by the maids you speak of I shall be held in honour.’

6:23 And to the day of her death Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no children.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 7

The prophecy of Nathan

7:1 Once David had settled into his house and Yahweh had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him,

7:2 the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent’.

7:3 Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for Yahweh is with you’.

7:4 But that very night the word of Yahweh came to Nathan:

7:5 ‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus Yahweh speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in?

7:6 I have never stayed in a house from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until today, but have always led a wanderer’s life in a tent.

7:7 In all my journeying with the whole people of Israel, did I say to any one of the judges of Israel, whom I had appointed as shepherds of Israel my people: Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”

7:8 This is what you must say to my servant David, “Yahweh Sabaoth says this: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel;

7:9 I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth.

7:10 I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did,

7:11 in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. Yahweh will make you great; Yahweh will make you a House.

7:12 And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure.

7:13 (It is he who shall build a house for my name, and I will make his royal throne secure for ever.)

7:14 I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives.

7:15 Yet I will is not withdraw my favour from him, as I withdrew it from your predecessor.

7:16 Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”‘

7:17 Nathan related all these words to David and this whole revelation.

David’s prayer

7:18 King David then went in and, seated before Yahweh, said: ‘Who am I, Lord Yahweh, and what is my House, that you have led me as far as this?

7:19 Yet in your sight, Lord Yahweh, this is still not far enough, and you make your promises extend to the House of your servant for a far-distant future…

7:20 What more can David say to you, when you yourself have singled out your servant, Lord Yahweh?

7:21 For your servant’s sake, this dog of yours, you have done so great a thing by revealing this to your servant.

7:22 In this is your greatness, Lord Yahweh; there is none like you, no God but you alone, as our own ears have heard.

7:23 Is there another people on the earth like your people Israel, with a God setting out to redeem them and make them his people, make them renowned, work great and terrible things on their behalf, drive nations out and gods before his people?

7:24 You have constituted your people Israel to be your own people for ever; and you, Yahweh, have become their God.

7:25 Now, Lord Yahweh, always keep the promise you have made your servant and his House, and do as you have said.

7:26 Your name will be exalted for ever and men will say, “Yahweh Sabaoth is God over Israel.” The House of your servant David will be made secure in your presence,

7:27 since you yourself, Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, “I will build you a House”; hence your servant has ventured to offer this prayer to you.

7:28 Yes, Lord Yahweh, you are God indeed, your words are true and you have made this fair promise to your servant.

7:29 Be pleased, then, to bless the House of your servant, that it may continue for ever in your presence; for you, Lord Yahweh, have spoken; and with your blessing the House of your servant will be for ever blessed.’

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 8

The wars of David

8:1 After this, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them. From the hands of the Philistines he took. . .

8:2 He also defeated the Moabites, and making them lie down on the ground measured them off by the line; he measured out two lines to be put to death and one full line to have their lives spared. The Moabites became subject to David, paying him tribute.

8:3 David defeated Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah, on his way to extend his power over the river.[*a]

8:4 David captured one thousand seven hundred charioteers and twenty thousand foot soldiers from him; David hamstrung all the chariot teams, keeping only a hundred of them.

8:5 The Aramaeans of Damascus came to the help of Hadadezer king of Zobah, but David killed twenty-two thousand men of the Aramaeans.

8:6 Then David imposed governors on Aram of Damascus, and the Aramaeans became subject to David, paying him tribute. Wherever David went, Yahweh gave him victory.

8:7 David took the golden shields carried by the guards of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem.

8:8 From Betah and Berothai, towns belonging to Hadadezer, King David took a great quantity of bronze.

8:9 When Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated Hadadezer’s entire army,

8:10 he sent his son Hadoram to King David to greet him and to congratulate him on fighting and defeating Hadadezer, since Hadadezer was the enemy of Tou. Hadoram brought with him articles of silver, gold and bronze,

8:11 which King David also consecrated to Yahweh as he had already consecrated the silver and gold taken from all the nations he had subjugated:

8:12 Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, Amalek; from the spoil, too, of Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah.

8:13 Thus David won fame for himself. On his return he defeated the Edomites in the Valley of Salt,[*b] eighteen thousand of them.

8:14 He imposed governors on Edom and all the Edomites became subject to David. Wherever David went, Yahweh gave him victory.

The administration of the kingdom

8:15 David ruled over all Israel, administering law and justice to all his people.

8:16 Joab son of Zeruiah was in command of the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder;

8:17 Zadok son of Ahitub and Abiathar son of Ahimelech were priests; Seraiah was secretary;

8:18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was in command of the Cherethites and Pelethites;[*c] David’s sons were priests.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 9



David’s kindness to Jonathan’s son

9:1 David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of Saul’s family so that I can show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’

9:2 Now there was a servant of Saul’s household whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. ‘You are Ziba?’ the king asked. ‘At your service’ he answered.

9:3 The king said, ‘Is there no one still left of Saul’s family for me to show him God’s kindness?’ ‘There is still one of Jonathan’s sons,’ Ziba answered the king ‘a man with crippled feet.’

9:4 ‘Where is he?’ the king asked. Ziba replied, ‘He is living in the household of Machir son of Ammiel at Lo-debar’.

9:5 So King David sent to have him brought from the house of Machir son of Ammiel at Lo-debar.

9:6 On entering David’s presence, Meribbaal son of Jonathan, son of Saul, fell on his face and did homage. David said, ‘Meribbaal!’ He answered, ‘I am at your service’.

9:7 Then David said, ‘Do not be afraid; I intend to show you kindness for your father Jonathan’s sake. I will restore all the land of Saul your father to you and you shall always eat at my table.’

9:8 And Meribbaal did homage. ‘What is your servant’ he said ‘that you should show favour to a dead dog like me?’

9:9 Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said, ‘Everything belonging to Saul and his family I give to your master’s son.

9:10 You must work the land for him, you and your sons and your slaves; you must harvest the produce to provide food for your master’s family to eat. But Meribbaal, your master’s son, shall always take his meals at my table.’ Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty slaves.

9:11 Ziba said to the king, ‘Your servant will do everything my lord the king has ordered his servant’. So Meribbaal ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.

9:12 Meribbaal had a young son whose name was Mica. All those who lived in Ziba’s house became Meribbaal’s servants.

9:13 Meribbaal lived in Jerusalem, since he always ate at the king’s table. He was crippled in both feet.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 10


David’s ambassadors are insulted

10:1 After this, the king of the Ammonites died and his son Hanun succeeded him.

10:2 David thought, ‘I will show the same kindness for Hanun son of Nahash as his father showed me’. And through his servants David sent him his condolences on his father’s death. But when David’s servants reached the land of the Ammonites,

10:3 the Ammonite leaders said to Hanun their master, ‘Do you imagine David means to honour your father when he sends you messengers of sympathy? On the contrary, the reason why David has sent his servants to you is to explore the city,[*a] to reconnoitre it and so overthrow it.’

10:4 Whereupon Hanun seized David’s servants, shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut their clothes half-way up to the buttocks, and sent them away.

10:5 When David was told, he sent someone to meet them, for the men were covered with shame. ‘Stay in Jericho’ the king said ‘until your beards have grown again, and come back then.’

The first Ammonite campaign

10:6 The Ammonites saw that they had incurred the enmity of David and accordingly sent messengers to hire the Aramaeans of Beth-rehob and the Aramaeans of Zobah, twenty thousand foot; also the king of Maacah with one thousand men, and the men of Tob, twelve thousand men.

10:7 When David heard this, he sent Joab with all the common soldiers and the champions.[*b]

10:8 The Ammonites marched out and drew up their line of battle at the approaches to the gate, while the Aramaeans of Zobah and of Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah kept their distance in the open country.

10:9 Joab, seeing that he had to fight on two fronts, to his front and to his rear, chose the best of Israel’s picked men and drew them up in line facing the Aramaeans.

10:10 He entrusted the rest of the army to his brother Abishai, and drew them up in line facing the Ammonites.

10:11 ‘If the Aramaeans prove too strong for me,’ he said ‘you must come to my help; if the Ammonites prove too strong for you, I will go to yours.

10:12 Take courage and stand firm for the sake of our people and the towns of our God. And may Yahweh do as he thinks right.’

10:13 Joab and the force with him joined battle with the Aramaeans, who fled before him.

10:14 When the Ammonites saw that the Aramaeans had taken flight, they too fled before Abishai and withdrew into their town. Then Joab returned from the war with the Ammonites and came back to Jerusalem.

Victory over the Aramaeans

10:15 Seeing that they had been defeated by Israel, the Aramaeans consolidated their forces.

10:16 Hadadezer sent messengers and mobilised the Aramaeans from beyond the river. They came to Helam with Shobach, commander of Hadadezer’s army, at their head.

10:17 Word of this was brought to David, who mustered all Israel, crossed the Jordan and reached Helam. The Aramaeans drew up in line facing David and engaged him.

10:18 But the Aramaeans gave ground before Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their chariot teams and forty thousand men; he also struck down Shobach their general, who died then and there.

10:19 When all the vassal kings of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with the Israelites and became subject to them. The Aramaeans were afraid to give any more help to the Ammonites.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 11

The second Ammonite campaign. David’s sin

11:1 At the turn of the year,[*a] the time when kings go campaigning, David sent Joab and with him his own guards and the whole of Israel. They massacred the Ammonites and laid siege to Rabbah. David however remained in Jerusalem.

11:2 It happened towards evening when David had risen from his couch and was strolling on the palace roof, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful.

11:3 David made inquiries about this woman and was told, ‘Why, that is Bathsheba, Eliam’s daughter, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.'[*b]

11:4 Then David sent messengers and had her brought. She came to him, and he slept with her; now she had just purified herself from her courses. She then went home again.

11:5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, ‘I am with child’.

11:6 Then David sent Joab a message, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite’, whereupon Joab sent Uriah to David.

11:7 When Uriah came into his presence, David asked after Joab and the army and how the war was going.

11:8 David then said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house and enjoy yourself’. Uriah left the palace, and was followed by a present from the king’s table.

11:9 Uriah however slept by the palace door with his master’s bodyguard and did not go down to his house.

11:10 This was reported to David; ‘Uriah’ they said ‘did not go down to his house’. So David asked Uriah, ‘Have you not just arrived from a journey? Why do you not go to your home?’

11:11 But Uriah answered, ‘Are not the ark and the men of Israel and Judah lodged in tents; and my master Joab and the bodyguard of my lord, are they not in the open fields? Am I to go to my house, then, and eat and drink and sleep with my wife?[*c] As Yahweh lives, and as you yourself live, I will do no such thing!’

11:12 Then David said to Uriah, ‘Stay on here today; tomorrow I shall send you back’. So Uriah stayed that day in Jerusalem.

11:13 The next day David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk. In the evening Uriah went out and lay on his couch with his master’s bodyguard, but he did not go down to his house.

11:14 Next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by Uriah.

11:15 In the letter he wrote, ‘Station Uriah in the thick of the fight and then fall back behind him so that he may be struck down and die’.

11:16 Joab, then besieging the town, posted Uriah in a place where he knew there were fierce fighters.

11:17 The men of the town sallied out and engaged Joab; the army suffered casualties, including some of David’s bodyguard; and Uriah the Hittite was killed too.

11:18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle.

11:19 To the messenger he gave this order: ‘When you have finished telling the king all the details of the battle,

11:20 the king’s anger may be provoked; he may say, “Why did you go so near the town to fight? Did you not know they would shoot from the ramparts?

11:21 Who killed Abimelech son of Jerubbaal? Was it not a woman who dropped a millstone on him from the ramparts, causing his death at Thebez? Why did you go so near the ramparts?” If so, you are to say, “Your servant Uriah the Hittite has been killed too”.’

11:22 So the messenger left, and on his arrival told David all that Joab had instructed him to say. David was angry with Joab. ‘Why did you go so near the ramparts?’ he said to the messenger. ‘Who killed Abimelech son of Jerubbaal? Was it not a woman who dropped a millstone on him from the ramparts, causing his death at Thebez? Why did you go so near the ramparts?’

11:23 The messenger answered David, ‘Because their men made a show of force against us and sallied out against us in the open. We drove them back to the approaches of the gate,

11:24 but the bowmen shot at your bodyguard from the ramparts; some of the king’s bodyguard perished, and your servant Uriah the Hittite was killed too.’

11:25 Then David said to the messenger, ‘Say this to Joab, “Do not take the matter to heart; the sword devours now one and now another. Storm the town in greater force and overthrow it.” That is the way to encourage him.’

11:26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she mourned for her husband.

11:27 When the period of mourning was over, David sent to have her brought to his house; she became his wife and bore him a son. But what David had done displeased Yahweh.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 12

David is rebuked by Nathan. His repentance

12:1 Yahweh sent Nathan the prophet to David. He came to him and said: ‘In the same town were two men, one rich, the other poor.

12:2 The rich man had flocks and herds in great abundance;

12:3 the poor man had nothing but a ewe lamb, one only, a small one he had bought. This he fed, and it grew up with him and his children, eating his bread, drinking from his cup, sleeping on his breast; it was like a daughter to him.

12:4 When there came a traveller to stay, the rich man refused to take one of his own flock or herd to provide for the wayfarer who had come to him. Instead he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest.’

12:5 David’s anger flared up against the man. ‘As Yahweh lives,’ he said to Nathan ‘the man who did this deserves to die!

12:6 He must make fourfold restitution for the lamb, for doing such a thing and showing no compassion.’

12:7 Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man. Yahweh the God of Israel says this, “I anointed you king over Israel; I delivered you from the hands of Saul;

12:8 I gave your master’s house to you, his wives into your arms; I gave you the House of Israel and of Judah; and if this were not enough, I would add as much again for you.

12:9 Why have you shown contempt for Yahweh, doing what displeases him? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, taken his wife for your own, and killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.

12:10 So now the sword will never be far from your House, since you have shown contempt for me and taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.”

12:11 ‘Thus Yahweh speaks, “I will stir up evil for you out of your own House. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.

12:12 You worked in secret, I will work this in the face of all Israel and in the face of the sun.”‘

12:13 David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against Yahweh’. Then Nathan said to David, ‘Yahweh, for his part, forgives your sin; you are not to die.

12:14 Yet because you have outraged Yahweh by doing this, the child that is born to you is to die.’

12:15 Then Nathan went home.

The death of Bathsheba’s child. The birth of Solomon

Yahweh struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David and it fell gravely ill.

12:16 David pleaded with Yahweh for the child; he kept a strict fast and went home and spent the night on the bare ground, covered with sacking.

12:17 The officials of his household came and stood round him to get him to rise from the ground, but he refused, nor would he take food with them.

12:18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s officers were afraid to tell him the child was dead. ‘Even when the child was alive’ they thought ‘we reasoned with him and he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He will do something desperate.’

12:19 David, however, noticed that his officers were whispering among themselves, and realised that the child was dead. ‘Is the child dead?’ he asked the officers. They answered, ‘He is dead’.

12:20 David got up from the ground, bathed and anointed himself and put on fresh clothes. Then he went into the sanctuary of Yahweh and prostrated himself. On returning to his house he asked for food to be set before him, and ate.

12:21 His officers said, ‘Why are you acting like this? When the child was alive you fasted and wept; now the child is dead you get up and take food.’

12:22 ‘When the child was alive’ he answered ‘I fasted and wept because I kept thinking, “Who knows? Perhaps Yahweh will take pity on me and the child will live.”

12:23 But now he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him but he cannot come back to me.’

12:24 David consoled his wife Bathsheba. He went to her and slept with her. She conceived and gave birth to a son whom she named Solomon. Yahweh loved him

12:25 and made this known through the prophet Nathan who named him Jedidiah in accordance with the word of Yahweh.[*a]

The capture of Rabbah

12:26 Joab attacked Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the water town.

12:27 He then sent messengers to tell David, ‘I have stormed Rabbah and captured the water town.

12:28 So now muster the rest of the troops and pitch camp against the town and take it, unless you want me to capture the town and give it my name.’

12:29 So David mustered the whole army and marched on Rabbah; he stormed the town and captured it.

12:30 He took the crown from the head of Milcom;[*b] it weighed one talent of gold, and in it was set a precious stone which made an ornament for David’s head. He carried off great quantities of spoil from the town.

12:31 He brought away its population and set them to work with saws, iron picks and iron axes, and employed them in brickmaking. He treated all the Ammonite towns in the same way. Then David and the whole army returned to Jerusalem.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 13


Amnon violates Tamar his sister

13:1 After this, the following events took place. Absalom son of David had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar; Amnon son of David fell in love with her.

13:2 Amnon was so obsessed with his sister Tamar that it made him ill, for she was a virgin and it seemed to Amnon impossible to do anything to her.

13:3 But Amnon had a friend called Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother, and Jonadab was a very shrewd man.

13:4 ‘Son of the king,’ he said ‘tell me why, morning after morning, you look so worn? Will you not tell me?’ Amnon answered, ‘I am in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister’.

13:5 Then Jonadab said, ‘Lie down on your bed, pretend to be ill and when your father comes to visit you, say, “Let my sister Tamar come and give me something to eat; let her prepare the food before my eyes for me to see; only at her hands will I eat”‘.

13:6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. Then the king came to visit him and Amnon said to the king, ‘Let my sister Tamar come and make a cake or two; I will eat at her hands’.

13:7 David then sent word to Tamar at the palace, ‘Go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare some food for him’.

13:8 Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon who was lying there in bed. She took dough and kneaded it, and she made cakes there before his eyes and baked the cakes.

13:9 Then she took the pan and dished them up in front of him, but he refused to eat. ‘Let everyone leave me’ he said; so they all withdrew.

13:10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, ‘Bring the food to the inner room so that I can eat at your hands’. So Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them to her brother Amnon in the inner room.

13:11 And as she was offering the food to him, he caught hold of her and said, ‘Come; lie with me, my sister’.

13:12 But she answered, ‘No, my brother! Do not violate me. This is not a thing men do in Israel. Do not commit such an outrage.

13:13 Wherever should I go, bearing my shame? While you would become an outcast in Israel. Go now and speak to the king; he will not refuse to give me to you.’

13:14 But he would not listen to her; he overpowered her and, raping her, lay with her.

13:15 Then Amnon was seized with extreme hatred for her; the hatred he now felt for her was greater than his earlier love. ‘Get up and go’ he said.

13:16 ‘No, my brother,’ she said ‘to send me away would be a greater wrong than the other you have done me.’ But he would not listen to her.

13:17 He called the soldier who was his servant. ‘Get rid of this woman for me,’ he said ‘throw her out and bolt the door after her.’

13:18 (She was wearing a long-sleeved gown, for this was what the king’s unmarried daughters wore in days gone by.) So the servant put her out and bolted the door after her.

13:19 Tamar took dust and put it on her head, tore the long-sleeved gown she was wearing, laid her hand on her head, and went away uttering cries as she went.

13:20 Her brother Absalom said to her, ‘Has Amnon your brother been with you? Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother; do not take this so much to heart.’ But Tamar remained disconsolate in her brother Absalom’s house.

13:21 When King David heard the whole story, he was very angry; but he had no wish to harm his son Amnon, since he loved him; he was his first-born.

13:22 Absalom however would not so much as speak to Amnon, for he hated Amnon for having raped his sister Tamar.

Absalom kills Amnon and flees

13:23 Two years later, when Absalom had the sheep-shearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, he invited the entire royal household.

13:24 Absalom went to the king and said, ‘At this moment your servant has the sheep-shearers. Will the king and his officers be pleased to come with your servant?’

13:25 ‘No, my son,’ the king replied ‘we must not all come and be a burden to you.’ And though Absalom was insistent, he would not go but dismissed him.

13:26 Absalom persisted, ‘Then at least let my brother Amnon come with us’. The king said, ‘Why should he go with you?’

13:27 But Absalom insisted, so he allowed Amnon and all the king’s sons to go with him. Absalom prepared a royal banquet

13:28 and then gave this order to his servants: ‘Listen carefully; when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine and I say, “Strike Amnon down”, then kill him. Have no fear. I myself have given you the order. Take courage, be brave.’

13:29 Absalom’s servants treated Amnon as Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons started up, mounted their mules and took flight.

13:30 While they were on the road, a rumour reached David, ‘Absalom has killed all the king’s sons; not one of them is left’.

13:31 The king rose and tore his garments and lay down on the ground. All his officers in attendance tore their garments too.

13:32 But Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother, spoke up. ‘Let not my lord imagine’ he said ‘that they have killed all the young men, the sons of the king; Amnon alone is dead, for Absalom’s face gave warning of this ever since Amnon violated his sister Tamar.

13:33 Let not my lord the king imagine that all the king’s sons are dead; Amnon alone is dead

13:34 and Absalom has taken flight.’ The soldier on sentry duty looked up and saw a large troop advancing down the slope on the Bahurim road. The sentry came to tell the king. ‘I saw men’ he said ‘coming down the Bahurim road on the mountainside.’

13:35 Then Jonadab said to the king, ‘Here come the king’s sons; it has turned out just as your servant said’.

13:36 He had scarcely finished speaking when the king’s sons arrived, and they cried aloud and wept; the king and all his officers wept bitterly too.

13:37a Absalom a however had taken flight and gone to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur,

13:38b where he stayed for three years.

13:37b And all that time the king observed mourning for his son.

Joab negotiates the return of Absalom

13:39 The king’s heart was now no longer set against Absalom, once he had recovered from Amnon’s death.

13:13 a. By ancient custom, Ammon could have married his half-sister. Such marriages were

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 14

forbidden by the laws of Lv 18 and Dt 27.

14:1 Now Joab son of Zeruiah observed that the heart of the king was again turning to Absalom,

14:2 so he sent to Tekoa[*a] for a quick-witted woman. ‘Pretend to be in mourning’ he said. ‘Put on mourning garments; do not anoint yourself with oil; act like a woman who has long been mourning for the dead.

14:3 Go then to the king and say this to him.’ And Joab put into her mouth the words she had to say.

14:4 So the woman of Tekoa went to the king and fell with her face to the ground and did homage. ‘Help, O king!’ she said.

14:5 The king said, ‘What is the matter?’ ‘Alas,’ she replied ‘I am a widow; my husband is dead.

14:6 Your servant had two sons and out in the fields, where there was no one to intervene, they quarrelled with each other. And one of them struck the other and killed him.

14:7 And now the whole clan has risen against your servant. “Give up the man who killed his brother” they say. “For the life of the brother he murdered we will have his death, and so destroy the heir too.” By this means they will put out what embers remain to me, and leave my husband neither name nor survivor on the face of the earth.’

14:8 The king then said to the woman, ‘Go to your house; I myself will give orders concerning your case’.

14:9 The woman of Tekoa said to the king, ‘My lord king! May the guilt be on me and on my family; the king and his throne are innocent of it.’

14:10 ‘Bring me the man who threatened you,’ the king replied ‘and he shall never hurt you again.’

14:11 Then she said, ‘Let the king be pleased to pronounce the name of Yahweh his God, so that the avenger of blood may not do greater harm and destroy my son’. ‘As Yahweh lives,’ he said ‘not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.’

14:12 Then the woman said, ‘Permit your servant to say something else to my lord the king.’ ‘Go on’ he said.

14:13 ‘Why then’ the woman said ‘has the king – who in making this decision convicts himself – so conspired against God’s people by not bringing back home the one he has banished?

14:14 We must all die; we are like water spilt on the ground that can never be gathered up again, nor does God raise up a corpse; let the king make plans then for the one who has been banished not to remain far away from him in exile.

14:15 ‘Now the reason why I have come to speak about this to my lord the king is because people have frightened me, and your servant thought, “I will speak to the king; perhaps the king will do what his servant asks.

14:16 For the king will consent to deliver his servant from the hands of the man who would cut us off, myself and my son with me, from God’s heritage.

14:17 May the word of my lord the king” your servant thought “set me at rest. For my lord the king is like the angel of God for discerning good and evil.” May Yahweh your God be with you!’

14:18 Answering her the king said, ‘Please do not evade the question I am about to ask you’. The woman said, ‘Let my lord the king ask his question’.

14:19 ‘Is not the hand of Joab behind you in all this?’ the king asked. The woman replied, ‘As surely as you live, my lord king, I cannot get away from the things which my lord the king has said. Yes, it was your servant Joab who asked me to do this; he put all these words into your servant’s mouth.

14:20 Your servant Joab acted in this way to disguise the matter, but my lord has the wisdom of the angel of God; he knows all that takes place on earth.’

14:21 The king then said to Joab, ‘Very well, the suit is granted. Go and bring the young man Absalom back.’

14:22 Joab fell with his face to the ground, did homage and blessed the king. ‘My lord king,’ Joab said ‘your servant knows now that he has won your favour, since the king has done what his servant asked.’

14:23 Joab then set off and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem.

14:24 The king, however, said, ‘Let him retire to his own house; he is not to appear in my presence’. So Absalom retired to his own house and was not received by the king.

Some details about Absalom

14:25 In the whole of Israel there was no man who could be praised for his beauty as much as Absalom; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was not a blemish on him.

14:26 When he cut the hair of his head-and he would cut it every year; he would cut it then because it grew too heavy for him-he would weigh the hair; two hundred shekels, king’s weight.

14:27 To Absalom were born three sons and one daughter called Tamar; she was a beautiful woman.

Absalom obtains his pardon

14:28 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years without being received by the king.

14:29 Then Absalom sent for Joab to send him to the king, but Joab would not come to him. He sent for him a second time, but Joab would not come.

14:30 So he said to his servants, ‘Look, Joab’s field is next to mine and he has barley in it; go and set fire to it’. Absalom’s servants set fire to the field.

14:31 At this, Joab went off to Absalom at his house. ‘Why’ he asked him ‘have your servants set fire to the field belonging to me?’

14:32 Absalom answered Joab, ‘Look now, I sent word to you to say I wanted you to go to the king with this message, “Why did I come back from Geshur? Better for me to be there still. Now I wish to be received by the king, and if I am guilty, let him put me to death.” ‘

14:33 Joab went to the king and told him this. He then summoned Absalom who went to the king and bowed low before him, throwing himself on his face to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 15

Absalom’s intrigues

15:1 After this, Absalom procured a chariot and horses, with fifty men to run ahead of him.

15:2 He would rise early and stand beside the road leading to the gate; and whenever a man with some lawsuit had to come before the king’s court, Absalom would call out to him and ask, ‘What town are you from?’ He would answer, ‘Your servant is from one of the tribes in Israel’.

15:3 Then Absalom would say, ‘Look, your case is sound and just, but there is not one deputy of the king’s who will listen to you’.

15:4 Absalom would go on to say, ‘Oh, who will appoint me judge in the land? Then anyone with a lawsuit or a plea could come to me and I would see he had justice.’

15:5 And whenever anyone came up to do homage to him, he would stretch out his hand and take him and kiss him.

15:6 Absalom acted in this way with all the Israelites who came to the king for justice, and so Absalom seduced the hearts of the men of Israel.

Absalom’s rebellion

15:7 At the end of four years Absalom said to the king, ‘Allow me to go to Hebron[*a] to fulfil the vow I made to Yahweh;

15:8 for when I was at Geshur in Aram, your servant made this vow: “If Yahweh brings me back to Jerusalem,” I said “I will offer worship to Yahweh in Hebron”.’

15:9 The king said to him, ‘Go in peace’. So he set off and went to Hebron.

15:10 Absalom sent couriers throughout the tribes of Israel saying, ‘When you hear the trumpet sound you are to say, “Absalom is king at Hebron!”‘

15:11 With Absalom there went two hundred men from Jerusalem; they were invited guests and came in all innocence, quite unaware.

15:12 Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from Giloh his town, and had him with him while he was offering the sacrifices. The conspiracy grew in strength and Absalom’s supporters grew in number.

David’s flight

15:13 A messenger came to tell David, ‘The hearts of the men of Israel are now with Absalom.’

15:14 So David said to all his officers who were with him in Jerusalem, ‘Let us be off, let us fly, or we shall never escape from Absalom. Leave as quickly as you can in case he mounts a surprise attack and worsts us and puts the city to the sword.’

15:15 The king’s officers answered, ‘Whatever my lord the king decides, we are at your service’.

15:16 The king left on foot with all his household, leaving ten concubines to look after the palace.

15:17 The king left on foot with all the people and stopped at the last house.

15:18 All his officers stood at his side. All the Cherethites and all the Pelethites, with Ittai and all the six hundred Gittites who had come in his retinue from Gath, marched past the king.

15:19 The king said to Ittai the Gittite, ‘You, why are you coming with us? Go back and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner, an exile too from your homeland.

15:20 You came only yesterday; should I take you wandering today with us, when I do not know myself where I am going? Go back, take your fellow countrymen with you, and may Yahweh show you kindness and faithfulness.’

15:21 But Ittai answered the king, ‘As Yahweh lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, for death or life, there will your servant be too’.

15:22 So David said to Ittai, ‘Go then, pass on’. And Ittai of Gath passed on with all his men and retinue.

15:23 All the people wept aloud. The king took his stand in the wadi Kidron, and all the people marched past him towards the wilderness.

The ark leaves the city

15:24 Zadok was there too and all the Levites carrying the ark of God. They set down the ark of God beside Abiathar until the people had all passed out of the city.

15:25 Then the king said to Zadok, ‘Take the ark of God back to the city. Should I win the favour of Yahweh, he will bring me back and permit me to see it and its dwelling place again.

15:26 But should he say, “I take no pleasure in you”, then here I am, let him deal with me as he likes.’

15:27 The king said to Zadok the priest, ‘Look, you and Abiathar go back in peace to the city, with your two sons, your own son and Jonathan son of Abiathar.

15:28 I intend to wait in the plains of the wilderness until word comes from you bringing me news.’

15:29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and remained there.

Hushai undertakes to work for David

15:30 David then made his way up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, his head covered and his feet bare. And all the people with him had their heads covered and made their way up, weeping as they went.

15:31 Then David was told that Ahitophel was among the conspirators with Absalom. David said, ‘Yahweh, turn Ahithophel’s counsels to folly’.

15:32 As David reached the summit, where God is worshipped, he saw Hushai the Archite, the companion of David, coming to meet him with his tunic torn and with earth on his head.

15:33 David said, ‘If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me.

15:34 But if you go back to the city and say to Absalom, “I will be your servant, my lord king; once I was in your father’s service, but now I will serve you”, you will be able to thwart the counsels of Ahithophel for me.

15:35 Will not the priests Zadok and Abiathar be with you? Anything you hear from the palace you must report to the priests Zadok and Abiathar.

15:36 With them, you will find, are their two sons, Zadok’s son Ahimaaz, and Abiathar’s son Jonathan; through them you are to send me word of all you hear.’

15:37 Hushai, the companion of David, re-entered the city just as Absalom was reaching Jerusalem.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 16

David and Ziba

16:1 When David had passed a little beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Meribbaal came to meet him with a pair of donkeys, saddled and laden with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred of the season’s fruits, and a skin of wine.

16:2 The king said to Ziba, ‘What are you going to do with that?’ ‘The donkeys’ Ziba replied ‘are for the king’s family to ride, the bread and the fruit for the soldiers to eat, the wine is for drinking by those who grow weary in the wilderness.’

16:3 ‘And where is your master’s son?’ the king asked. Ziba answered the king, ‘Why, he has stayed in Jerusalem because, he says, “The House of Israel will give me back my father’s kingdom today”‘.

16:4 Then the king said to Ziba, ‘All that Meribbaal owns is now yours’. Ziba said, ‘My homage, lord king! May I deserve your favour!’

Shimei curses David

16:5 As David was reaching Bahurim, out came a man of the same clan as Saul’s family. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and as he came he uttered curse after curse

16:6 and threw stones at David and at all King David’s officers, though the whole army and all the champions flanked the king right and left.

16:7 The words of his curse were these, ‘Be off, be off, man of blood, scoundrel!

16:8 Yahweh has brought on you all the blood of the House of Saul[*a] whose sovereignty you have usurped; and Yahweh has transferred that same sovereignty to Absalom your son. Now your doom has overtaken you, man of blood that you are.’

16:9 Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Is this dead dog to curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut his head off.’

16:10 But the king replied, ‘What business is it of mine and yours, sons of Zeruiah? Let him curse. If Yahweh said to him, “Curse David”, what right has anyone to say, “Why have you done this?”‘

16:11 David said to Abishai and all his officers, ‘Why, my own son, sprung from my body, is now seeking my life; so now how much the more this Benjaminite? Let him curse on if Yahweh has told him to.

16:12 Perhaps Yahweh will look on my misery and repay me with good for his curse today.’

16:13 So David and his men went on their way. But Shimei continued along the mountainside opposite him, cursing as he went, throwing stones and flinging earth.

16:14 The king and all the people who were with him arrived exhausted at…[*b] where he refreshed himself.

Hushai with Absalom

16:15 Absalom entered Jerusalem with all the men of Israel; with him was Ahithophel.

16:16 When Hushai the Archite, the companion of David, came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, ‘Long live the king! Long live the king!’

16:17 ‘Is this your affection for your friend?’ Absalom said to Hushai. ‘Why did you not leave with your friend?’

16:18 Hushai answered Absalom, ‘No, I belong to the man whom Yahweh and these people and all the men of Israel have chosen, and on his side I will remain.

16:19 Besides, whom should I serve, if not his son? As I served your father, so I shall serve you.’

Absalom and David’s concubines

16:20 Absalom said to Ahithophel, ‘Think carefully. What shall we do?’

16:21 Ahithophel answered Absalom, ‘Go to your father’s concubines whom he left to look after the palace; then all Israel will hear that you have incurred your father’s enmity, and the resolution of all your supporters will be strengthened’.

16:22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the housetop and in the sight of all Israel Absalom went to his father’s concubines.

16:23 In those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like an oracle asked from God; and so was all Ahithophel’s advice respected, as by David, so by Absalom.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 17

Hushai thwarts Ahithophel’s plans

17:1 Ahithophel said to Absalom, ‘Let me choose twelve thousand men and set off this very night in pursuit of David.

17:2 I shall fall on him while he is tired and dispirited; I shall strike terror into him, and all the people who are with him will take flight. Then I shall strike down the king alone

17:3 and bring all the people back to you, as a bride returns to her husband. You seek the life of only one man; the rest of the people will go unharmed.’

17:4 The suggestion appealed to Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

17:5 ‘Next call Hushai the Archite’ Absalom said. ‘Let us hear what he too has to say.’

17:6 When Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said, ‘This is what Ahithophel says. Are we to do as he suggests? If not, say something yourself.’

17:7 Hushai answered Absalom, ‘On this occasion the advice Ahithophel has offered is not good.

17:8 You know’ Hushai went on ‘that your father and his men are champions and as angry as a wandering bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is used to warfare; he will not let the army rest during the night.

17:9 At this very moment he is hiding in a hollow or somewhere else. If at the outset there are casualties among our troops, word will go round of disaster to the army supporting Absalom.

17:10 And then even the valiant, with a heart like the heart of a lion, will be quite unmanned; for all Israel knows that your father is a champion and that the men with him are valiant.

17:11 For my part, I offer this advice: Let all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, muster round you, numerous as the sand on the seashore, with your royal person marching in their midst.

17:12 We shall come up with him wherever he is to be found; we shall fall on him as the dew falls on the ground, and not leave him or one of the men with him alive.

17:13 Should he retire into a town, all Israel will bring ropes to that town, and we will drag it into the wadi until not a pebble of it is to be found.’

17:14 Then Absalom and all the people of Israel said, ‘The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel’. Yahweh had determined to thwart Ahithophel’s shrewd advice and so to bring disaster on Absalom.

17:15 Hushai then told the priests Zadok and Abiathar, ‘Ahithophel gave such and such advice to Absalom and the elders of Israel, but I advised so and so.

17:16 Now send quickly and tell David this, “Do not camp in the plains of the wilderness tonight but cross to the other side as fast as you can, or the king and all the army with him will be annihilated”.’

David is warned and crosses the Jordan

17:17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were stationed at the Fuller’s Spring; a maidservant was to go and warn them and they in turn were to warn King David, for they dared not let themselves be seen entering the town.

17:18 A young man saw them nonetheless and told Absalom. Then both of them hastily made off and came to the house of a man of Bahurim. In his courtyard was a cistern and they got down into it.

17:19 The woman took a covering and, spreading it over the mouth of the cistern, scattered crushed grain on it so that nothing showed.

17:20 Absalom’s servants came to the woman in the house and said, ‘Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?’ ‘They have gone further on towards the water’ the woman answered. They searched, but finding nothing went back to Jerusalem.

17:21 When they had gone, the men climbed out of the cistern and went to warn King David. ‘Be on your way’ they told David ‘and cross the water quickly, for Ahithophel has given such and such advice about you.’

17:22 So David and all the troops with him set off and crossed the Jordan. By dawn no one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.

17:23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set off and went home to his own town. Then having set his house in order, he strangled himself and so died. He was buried in his father’s tomb.

Absalom crosses the Jordan. David at Mahanaim

17:24 David had reached Mahanaim when Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel.

17:25 Absalom had put Amasa in command of the army in place of Joab. This Amasa was the son of a man called Ithra the Ishmaelite, who had married Abigail the daughter of Jesse and sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother.

17:26 Israel and Absalom pitched camp in the land of Gilead.

17:27 When David reached Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, Machir son of Ammiel from Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim

17:28 brought mattresses, rugs, bowls and crockery, wheat, barley, meal, roasted grain, beans, lentils,

17:29 honey, curds and cheese, sheep and oxen, which they presented to David and the people with him for them to eat. ‘The army’ they said ‘has been hungry and tired and thirsty in the wilderness.’

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 18

The defeat of Absalom’s party

18:1 David reviewed the troops that were with him, and appointed commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds to lead them.

18:2 David divided the army into three groups, one under the command of Joab, another under the command of Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and the third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. Then David said to the troops, ‘I too will march with you in person’.

18:3 But the troops replied, ‘You must not go. If we are routed, they will not give us a thought; and if half of us die, they will not give us a thought; but you, you are the equal of ten thousand of us. Besides, it is better for you to be ready to reinforce us from the town.’

18:4 David said, ‘I will do as you think best’. And the king stood by the gate as the troops marched out by their hundreds and their thousands.

18:5 The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake treat young Absalom gently’. And all the troops heard that the king had given these orders about Absalom to all the commanders.

18:6 So the troops marched out to take the field against Israel, and battle was joined in the Forest of Ephraim.

18:7 There Israel’s army was beaten by David’s followers; it was a great defeat that day, with twenty thousand casualties.

18:8 The fighting spread throughout the region and, of the troops, the forest claimed more victims that day than the sword.

The death of Absalom

18:9 Absalom happened to run into some of David’s followers. Absalom was riding a mule and the mule passed under the thick branches of a great oak. Absalom’s head caught fast in the oak and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule he was riding went on.

18:10 Someone saw this and told Joab. ‘I have just seen Absalom’ he said ‘hanging from an oak.’

18:11 Joab said to the man who told him, ‘If you saw him, why did you not strike him to the ground then and there? I would have taken it on myself to give you ten silver shekels and a belt too.’

18:12 But the man answered Joab, ‘Even were I to feel the weight of a thousand silver shekels in my hand, I would not lift my hand against the king’s son. In our own hearing the king gave you and Abishai and Ittai these orders, “For my sake spare young Absalom”.

18:13 Had I acted treacherously, thus endangering my life, nothing is hidden from the king, and you yourself would have stood by idle.’

18:14 Then Joab said, ‘I cannot waste my time with you like this’. And he took three lances in his hand and thrust them into Absalom’s heart while he was still alive there in the oak tree.

18:15 Then ten soldiers, Joab’s armour-bearers, stepped forward, cut Absalom down and finished him off.

18:16 Then Joab had the trumpet sounded and the troops stopped pursuing Israel, for Joab held the troops back.

18:17 They took Absalom, flung him into a deep pit in the forest and reared a great cairn over him. All the Israelites had fled, each man to his tent.

18:18 Now Absalom during his lifetime had undertaken the erection of the pillar to himself which is in the Valley of the King. ‘I have no son’ he said ‘to preserve the memory of my name.’ So he had given the pillar his name, and it is called to this day the Pillar of Absalom.

The news is brought to David

18:19 Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, ‘I must run and tell the good news to the king that Yahweh has vindicated his cause by ridding him of his enemies’.

18:20 But Joab said, ‘Today you would be no bearer of good news, some other day you will be; but today you would not be bringing good news, for the king’s son is dead’.

18:21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, ‘Go and tell the king what you have seen’. The Cushite bowed to Joab and ran off.

18:22 But Ahimaaz son of Zadok persisted. ‘Come what may,’ he said to Joab ‘I must myself run after the Cushite.’ ‘My son,’ Joab said ‘why run? You will get no reward for your news.’

18:23 But he replied, ‘Come what may, I am going to run.’ ‘Then run’ Joab said. And Ahimaaz set off to run by way of the plain and passed the Cushite.

18:24 David was sitting between the two gates. The lookout had gone up to the roof of the gate, on the ramparts; he looked up and saw a man running all by himself.

18:25 The watch called out to the king and told him. The king said, ‘If he is by himself, he has good news to tell’. As the man drew still nearer,

18:26 the watch saw another man running, and the watch who was on top of the gate called out, ‘Here comes another man running by himself’. David said, ‘He too is a bearer of good news’.

18:27 The watchman said, ‘I recognise the way the first man runs; Ahimaaz son of Zadok runs like that’. ‘He is a good man’ the king said ‘and he comes with good news.’

18:28 Ahimaaz approached the king. ‘All hail!’ he said, and bowed down before the king with his face to the earth. ‘Blessed be Yahweh your God’ he said ‘who has handed over the men who rebelled against my lord the king!’

18:29 ‘Is all well with young Absalom?’ the king asked. Ahimaaz replied, ‘I saw there was a great uproar when Joab despatched your servant, but I do know what it was’.

18:30 The king said, ‘Move aside and stand there’. He moved aside and stood waiting.

18:31 Then the Cushite arrived. ‘Good news for my lord the king!’ cried the Cushite. ‘Yahweh has vindicated your cause today by ridding you of all who rebelled against you.’

18:32 ‘Is all well with young Absalom?’ the king asked the Cushite. ‘May the enemies of my lord the king’ the Cushite answered ‘and all who rebelled against you to your hurt, share the lot of that young man.’

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 19

David mourns for Absalom

19:1 <33 The king shuddered. He went up to the room over the gate and burst into tears, and weeping said, ‘My son Absalom! My son! My son Absalom! Would I had died in your place! Absalom, my son, my son!’

19:2 <1 Word was brought to Joab, ‘The king is now weeping and mourning for Absalom’.

19:3 <2 And the day’s victory was turned to mourning for all the troops, because they learned that the king was grieving for his son.

19:4 <3 And the troops returned stealthily that day to the town, as troops creep back ashamed when routed in battle.

19:5 <4 The king had veiled his face and was crying aloud, ‘My son Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!’

19:6 <5 Then Joab went indoors to the king. ‘Today’ he said ‘you are covering the faces of all your servants with shame when they have saved your life today, and the lives of your sons and daughters, of your wives too and your concubines,

19:7 <6 all because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. Today you have made it plain that commanders and soldiers mean nothing to you, since now I see that if Absalom were alive today and we all dead, you would be pleased.

19:8 <7 Now get up, come out and reassure your soldiers, for if you do not come I swear by Yahweh not one man will stay with you tonight; and this will be a worse misfortune for you than all that has happened you from your youth until now.’

19:9 <8 So the king rose and took his seat at the gate. All the troops soon heard the news: ‘The king’ they say ‘has taken his seat at the gate’. And the whole army assembled in front of the king.

Preparations for David’s return

Israel had fled, each man to his tent.

19:10 <9 Throughout the tribes of Israel all were quarrelling. ‘The king’ they said ‘delivered us from the power of our enemies, he saved us from the hands of the Philistines, and now he himself has had to flee the country to escape from Absalom;

19:11 <10 while Absalom, whom we had anointed to reign over us, has now died in battle. So now why not do something about bringing the king back?’

19:12a Word of what was being said throughout Israel reached the king.

19:12b Then King David sent word to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, ‘Say to the elders of Judah, “why should you be the last to bring the king home?

19:13 <12 You are my brothers, you are my own flesh and blood, why should you be the last to bring the king back?”

19:14 <13 Say to Amasa[*a] too, “Are you not my own flesh and blood? May God do this to me and more, if you are not my army commander from now on, in place of Joab.”‘

19:15 <14 Then all the men of Judah were won over as one man, sending word to the king, ‘Come back, you and all who serve you.’

Episodes connected with David’s return: Shimei

19:16 <15 So the king turned about and reached the Jordan. Judah, coming to meet the king to escort the king across the Jordan, had arrived at Gilgal.

19:17 <16 Shimei son of Gera the Benjaminite from Bahurim hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David.

19:18 <17 With him were a thousand men from Benjamin. Ziba, the servant of the House of Saul, with his fifteen sons and twenty servants, arrived at the Jordan before the king

19:19 <18 and worked manfully ferrying the king’s family across and doing whatever he wanted. While the king was crossing the Jordan, Shimei son of Gera fell at his feet

19:20 <19 and said to the king, ‘Let not my lord hold me guilty. Do not remember the wrong your servant did, the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. Put it out of your mind.

19:21 <20 For your servant admits that he has sinned, and here I am today, first of all the House of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king.’

19:22 <21 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah spoke out. ‘Does not Shimei deserve death for cursing Yahweh’s anointed?’

19:23 <22 But David said, ‘What is there between me and you, sons of Zeruiah, for you to be my enemies today? On such a day, could anyone in Israel be put to death? Today I know for sure that I am king over Israel.

19:24 <23 Your life is spared’ the king said. And the king gave him his oath.[*b]


19:25 <24 Meribbaal son of Saul had also gone down to meet the king. He had not cared for his feet or his hands, he had neither trimmed his moustache nor washed his clothes from the day the king left to the day he came back in peace.

19:26 <25 When he arrived from Jerusalem to greet the king, the king asked him, ‘Why did you not come with me, Meribbaal?’

19:27 <26 ‘My lord king,’ he answered ‘my servant deceived me. Your servant said to him, “Saddle my donkey; I shall ride it and go with the king”, for your servant is lame.

19:28 <27 He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like the angel of God; do as you think right.

19:29 <28 For all my father’s family earned no better than death from the hands of my lord the king, and yet you have admitted your servant among those who eat at your table. What right have I to make further appeal to the king?’

19:30 <29 The king said, ‘Why say any more? I rule that you and Ziba are to share the property.’

19:31 <30 ‘Let him take it all,’ Meribbaal said to the king ‘since my lord the king has come home in peace.’


19:32 <31 Barzillai the Gileadite, too, had gone down from Rogelim and had stayed with the king to escort him as far as the Jordan.

19:33 <32 Barzillai was a man of great age; he was eighty years old. He had kept the king in provisions during his stay at Mahanaim, for he was a very rich man.

19:34 <33 ‘Come with me’ the king said to Barzillai ‘and I will provide for your old age in Jerusalem with me.’

19:35 <34 But Barzillai answered the king, ‘How many years have I left to live, for me to go up to Jerusalem with the king?

19:36 <35 I am eighty years old now; can I tell the good from the bad? Has your servant any taste for his food and drink? Can I still hear the voices of men and women singers? Why should your servant be a further burden to my lord the king?

19:37 <36 Your servant will just cross the Jordan with the king; why should the king grant me such reward?

19:38 <37 Allow your servant to go back to die in my own town near the grave of my father and mother. But here is your servant Chimham[*c]; let him go with my lord the king; treat him as you think right.’

19:39 <38 The king said, ‘Let Chimham go with me then; I will do things for him that will please you, and anything you request I will do for him for your sake’.

19:40 <39 All the people then crossed the Jordan and the king crossed too; he kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and the latter returned to his home.

Judah and Israel dispute over the king

19:41 <40 The king went on to Gilgal and Chimham stayed with him. All the people of Judah accompanied the king and half the people of Israel too.

19:42 <41 Then all the men of Israel came to the king. ‘Why’ they asked the king ‘have our brothers,

the men of Judah, carried you off and brought the king and his family across the Jordan, and all David’s men with him?’

19:43 <42 All the men of Judah retorted to the men of Israel, ‘Because the king is more closely related to us. Why do you take offence at this? Have we eaten at the king’s expense or levied portions for ourselves?’

19:44 <43 The men of Israel replied to the men of Judah, ‘We have ten shares in the king. We are your elder too. Why have you despised us then? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back the king?’ But the language of the men of Judah was more vehement than that of the men of Israel.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 20

The revolt of Sheba

20:1 Now there happened to be a scoundrel there called Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjaminite, who sounded the trumpet and cried: ‘We have no share in David, we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to his tents, Israel!’

20:2 At this all the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba son of Bichri. But the men of Judah stayed with their king on his way from Jordan to Jerusalem.

20:3 So David came to his palace at Jerusalem. He took the ten concubines he had left to look after the palace and put them under guard. He provided for their upkeep but never went to them again; they were shut away until the day they died, widows, as it were, of a living man.

The assassination of Amasa

20:4 The king said to Amasa, ‘Summon the men of Judah to me, and be here yourself within three days’.

20:5 Amasa went to summon Judah, but he delayed beyond the time David had fixed.

20:6 David then said to Abishai, ‘Sheba son of Bichri is more dangerous to us than ever Absalom was, so take your master’s guards and be after him, or he may reach fortified towns and elude us’.

20:7 Behind Abishai marched Joab, the Cherethites, the Pelethites and all the champions, marching from Jerusalem in pursuit of Sheba son of Bichri.

20:8 They were near the great stone at Gibeon when Amasa came face to face with them. Joab was wearing his uniform, over which he had buckled on a sword hanging from his waist in its scabbard; the sword came out and fell.

20:9 Joab said to Amasa, ‘Are you well, my brother?’ And with his right hand he took Amasa by the beard to kiss him.

20:10 Amasa paid no attention to the sword Joab was holding, and Joab struck him with it in the belly and spilled his entrails on the ground. He did not need to strike a second blow; and so Amasa died. Joab and Abishai hurried on in pursuit of Sheba son of Bichri.

20:11 One of Joab’s soldiers stood on guard beside Amasa. ‘Whoever is on Joab’s side,’ he said ‘whoever is for David, let him follow Joab.’

20:12 Meanwhile Amasa lay in the middle of the road in pools of his blood. Seeing that everyone was stopping, the man dragged Amasa off the road into the field and threw a cloak over him, because he saw that everyone stopped on reaching him.

20:13 When Amasa had been taken off the road, the men all went on their way, following Joab in pursuit of Sheba son of Bichri.

The rebellion ends

20:14 The latter went all through the tribes of Israel as far as Abel of Beth-maacah and all the Bichrites. . . . They mustered and went in after him.

20:15 Besieging him in Abel of Beth-maacah, they threw up earthworks against the city.

20:16 As all the troops who were with Joab were sapping the wall to bring it down, a quick-witted woman stood on the outer wall and shouted from the town, ‘Listen! Listen! Say to Joab, “Come here, I want to speak to you”.’

20:17 He came forward, and the woman said, ‘Are you Joab?’ ‘I am’ he answered. She said to him, ‘Listen to what your servant says’. ‘I am listening’ he replied.

20:18 Then she spoke. ‘In olden days’ she said ‘they used to say, “Let them ask in Abel and in Dan if all is over

20:19 with what Israel’s faithful ones have laid down”. Yet you are trying to destroy a town, yes a mother city, in Israel. Why do you wish to devour the heritage of Yahweh?’

20:20 ‘Far, far be it from me’ Joab said. ‘I neither wish to devour nor to destroy.

20:21 This is not the issue; but a man of the highlands of Ephraim called Sheba son of Bichri has revolted against the king, against David. Hand that one man over and I will raise the siege of the town.’ ‘Very well,’ the woman said to Joab ‘his head shall be thrown over the wall to you.’

20:22 The woman went back into the town and spoke to all the people as her intelligence dictated. They cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and threw it down to Joab. He had the trumpet sounded and they withdrew from the town, each man to his tents. Joab himself returned to the king in Jerusalem.

David’s officials

20:23 Joab commanded the whole army; Benaiah son of Jehoiada commanded the Cherethites and Pelethites;

20:24 Adoram was in charge of forced labour; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder;

20:25 Sheva, secretary; Zadok and Abiathar, priests.

20:26 Ira the Jairite was also a priest of David.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 21


The great famine and the execution of Saul’s descendants[*a]

21:1 In the time of David there was a famine lasting for three whole years. David consulted Yahweh, and Yahweh said, ‘There is blood on Saul and his family because he put the Gibeonites to death’.

21:2 The king then summoned the Gibeonites and said to them – now the Gibeonites were not Israelites, they were a remnant of the Amorites to whom the Israelites had bound themselves by oath; but Saul in his zeal for the Israelites and for Judah had tried to crush them –

21:3 ‘What must I do for you?’ David therefore asked the Gibeonites, ‘how make amends, for you to call down a blessing on the heritage of Yahweh?’

21:4 The Gibeonites answered, ‘It is no mere matter of silver or gold between ourselves and Saul and his family; nor is it for us to have any man in Israel put to death’. David said, ‘Say what you want and I will do it for you’.

21:5 So they told the king, ‘It is about the man who decimated us and planned to annihilate us so that we should no longer exist anywhere in Israelite territory.

21:6 Let seven of his sons be handed over to us, for us to impale them before Yahweh at Gibeon on the mountain of Yahweh.’ ‘I will band them over’ the king said.

21:7 The king spared Meribbaal son of Jonathan, son of Saul, on account of the oath by Yahweh that bound them together, David and Jonathan son of Saul.

21:8 But the king took the two sons that Rizpah the daughter of Aiah had borne Saul, Armoni and Meribbaal; also the five sons that Merab the daughter of Saul had borne Adriel son of Barzillai, of Meholah.

21:9 He handed these over to the Gibeonites who impaled them on the mountain before Yahweh. The seven of them perished together; they were put to death in the first days of the harvest, at the beginning of the barley harvest.

21:10 Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock from the beginning of the barley harvest until the rain fell from the sky on them;[*b] she did not allow the birds of heaven to come at them by day nor the wild beasts by night.

21:11 David was told what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Saul’s concubine, had done.

21:12 David went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the chief men of Jabesh-gilead. These had stolen them from the square in Beth-shan where the Philistines had hung them when the Philistines had defeated Saul at Gilboa.

21:13 David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there and put them together with the bones of those who had been impaled.

21:14 They buried the bones of Saul, of his son Jonathan, and of those who had been impaled, in the land of Benjamin at Zela in the tomb of Saul’s father, Kish. They did all that the king ordered; and after that, God took pity on the country.

Various exploits against the Philistines

21:15 Once again the Philistines made war on Israel. David went down with his guards; they pitched camp at Gob and fought the Philistines. Then there arose Dodo

21:16 son of Joash, a descendant of Rapha. His spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze; he was wearing a new sword and was confident he could kill David.

21:17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah went to his rescue; he struck down the Philistine and killed him. It was then that David’s men urged him, ‘You must never again go into battle with us’ they said ‘in case you put out the lamp of Israel.’

21:18 After this, war with the Philistines broke out at Gob again. This was when Sibbecai of Hushah killed Saph, a descendant of Rapha.

21:19 Again war with the Philistines broke out at Gob, and Elhanan son of Jair from Bethlehem killed Goliath of Gath, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

21:20 There was another battle at Gath, where there was a man of huge stature with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all. He too was a descendant of Rapha.

21:21 Jonathan, son of David’s brother, Shimeah, killed him when he defied Israel.

21:22 These four were descended from Rapha of Gath and fell at the hands of David and his guards.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 22

A psalm of David

22:1 David addressed the words of this song to Yahweh when Yahweh had delivered him from all his enemies and from the hands of Saul.

22:2 He said: Yahweh is my rock and my bastion,

22:3 my deliverer is my God. I take refuge in him, my rock, my shield, my horn of salvation, my stronghold and my refuge. From violence you rescue me.

22:4 He is to be praised; on Yahweh I call and am saved from my enemies.

22:5 The waves of death encircled me, the torrents of Belial burst on me;

22:6 the cords of Sheol girdled me, the snares of death were before me.

22:7 In my distress I called to Yahweh and to my God I cried; from his Temple he heard my voice, my cry came to his ears.

22:8 Then the earth quivered and quaked, the foundations of the heavens trembled (they quivered because he was angry);

22:9 from his nostrils a smoke ascended, and from his mouth a fire that consumed (live embers were kindled at it).

22:10 He bent the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet;

22:11 he mounted a cherub and flew, and soared on the wings of the wind.

22:12 Darkness he made a veil to surround him, his tent a watery darkness, dense cloud;

22:13 before him a flash enkindled hail and fiery embers.

22:14 Yahweh thundered from heaven, the Most High made his voice heard;

22:15 he let his arrows fly and scattered them, launched the lightnings and routed them.

22:16 The bed of the seas was revealed, the foundations of the world were laid bare at Yahweh’s muttered threat, at the blast of his nostrils’ breath.

22:17 He sends from on high and takes me, he draws me from deep waters,

22:18 he delivers me from my powerful enemy, from foes too strong for me.

22:19 They assailed me on my day of disaster, but Yahweh was my support;

22:20 he freed me, set me at large, he rescued me, since he loves me.

22:21 Yahweh requites me as I act justly, as my hands are pure so he repays me,

22:22 since I have kept the ways of Yahweh, and not fallen away from my God.

22:23 His judgements are all before me, his statutes I have not put from me;

22:24 I am blameless in his presence, I keep sin at arm’s length.

22:25 And Yahweh repays me as I act justly, as my purity is in his sight.

22:26 Faithful you are with the faithful, blameless with the blameless,

22:27 pure with the one who is pure, but crafty with the devious,

22:28 you save a people that is humble and humiliate eyes that are haughty.

22:29 Yahweh, you yourself are my lamp, my God lights up my darkness;

22:30 with you I storm the barbican, with my God I leap the rampart.

22:31 This God, his way is blameless, the word of Yahweh is without dross. He it is who is the shield of all who take refuge in him.

22:32 Who else is God but Yahweh, who else a rock save our God?

22:33 This God who girds me with strength and makes my way without blame,

22:34 who makes my feet like the hinds’ and holds me from falling on the heights,

22:35 who trains my hands for battle, my arms to bend a bow of bronze.

22:36 You give me your saving shield and your armour covers me over.

22:37 Wide room you have made for my steps under me; my feet have never faltered.

22:38 I pursue my enemies and destroy them, nor turn back till an end is made of them;

22:39 I strike them down, and they do not rise, they fall, they are under my feet.

22:40 You have girt me with strength for the fight, bent down my assailants beneath me,

22:41 made my enemies turn their backs to me; and those who hate me I destroy.

22:42 They cry out, there is no one to save, to Yahweh, but there is no reply;

22:43 I crush them fine as the dust of the squares, trample them like the mud of the streets.

22:44 You deliver me from a people in revolt, you place me at the head of the nations, a people I did not know are now my servants,

22:45 foreigners come wooing my favour, no sooner do they hear than they obey me,

22:46 foreigners grow faint of heart, they come trembling out of their fastnesses.

22:47 Life to Yahweh! Blessed be my rock! Exalted be the God of my salvation,

22:48 the God who gives me vengeance and crushes the peoples beneath me,

22:49 who rescues me from my enemies. You lift me high above those who attack me, you deliver me from the man of violence.

22:50 For this I will praise you, Yahweh, among the heathen, and sing praise to your name.

22:51 His king he saves and saves again, displays his love for his anointed, for David and his heirs for ever.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 23

The last words of David

23:1 These are the last words of David: Oracle of David son of Jesse, oracle of the man raised to eminence, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the singer of the songs of Israel.

23:2 The spirit of Yahweh speaks through me, his word is on my tongue;

23:3 the God of Jacob has spoken the Rock of Israel has said to me: He who rules men with justice, who rules in the fear of God,

23:4 is like morning light at sunrise (on a cloudless morning) making the grass of the earth sparkle after rain.

23:5 Yes, my House stands firm with God: he has made an everlasting covenant with me, all in order, well assured; does he not bring to flower all that saves me, all I desire?

23:6 But godless men are all like desert thorns, for these are never gathered by hand:

23:7 no one touches them unless with iron or the shaft of a spear, and then they are burnt in the fire.

David’s champions

23:8 These are the names of David’s champions: Ishbaal the Hachmonite, leader of the three; it was he who wielded his battle-axe against eight hundred whom he killed at one time.

23:9 After him there was Eleazar son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three champions. He was with David at Pas-dammim when the Philistines mustered for battle there and the men of Israel retreated before them.

23:10 But he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines until his hand was so numb that it stuck to the sword. Yahweh brought about a great victory that day, and though the army rallied behind Eleazar it was only to plunder.

23:11 After him there was Shamma son of Elah, the Hararite. The Philistines had mustered at Lehi. There was a field full of lentils there; the army took flight before the Philistines,

23:12 but he positioned himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and struck down the Philistines. So Yahweh brought about a great victory.

23:13 Three out of the thirty went down at the beginning of the harvest and came to David at the Cave of Adullam while a company of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of the Rephaim.

23:14 David was then in the stronghold, and there was a Philistine garrison in Bethlehem.

23:15 ‘Oh,’ David sighed ‘if someone would fetch me a drink of water from the well that stands by the gate at Bethlehem!’

23:16 At this the three champions, forcing their way through the Philistine camp, drew water from the well that stands by the gate of Bethlehem, and bringing it away presented it to David. But he would drink none of it and poured it out as a libation to Yahweh.

23:17 ‘Yahweh keep me’ he said ‘from drinking this! This is the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives.’ And so he would not drink. Such were the deeds of the three champions.

23:18 Abishai, the brother of Joab and son of Zeruiah, was leader of the thirty. It was he who wielded his spear against three hundred whom he killed, winning himself a name among the thirty.

23:19 He was more famous than the thirty and became their captain, but he was no rival for the three.

23:20 Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a hero from Kabzeel, a man of many exploits, struck down the two champions of Moab and, one snowy day, went down and killed the lion in the cistern.

23:21 He was also the man who killed an Egyptian of great stature. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but he went down against him with a staff, tore the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed the man with it.

23:22 Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada, winning him a name among the thirty champions.

23:23 He was more famous than the thirty, but he was no rival for the three. David put him in command of his bodyguard.

23:24 Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan son of Dodo, from Bethlehem;

23:25 Shammah from Harod; Elika from Harod;

23:26 Helez from Beth-pelet; Ira son of Ikkesh, from Tekoa;

23:27 Abiezer from Anathoth; Sibbecai from Hushah;

23:28 Zalmon from Ahoh; Maharai from Netophah;

23:29 Heled son of Baanah, from Netophah; Ittai son of Ribai, from Gibeah of Benjamin;

23:30 Benaiah from Pirathon; Hiddai from the wadis of Gaash;

23:31 Abialbon from Beth-arabah; Azmaveth from Bahurim;

23:32 Eliahba from Shaalbon; Jashen from Gimzo; Jonathan

23:33 son of Shammah, from Harar; Ahiam son of Sharar, from Harar;

23:34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai, from Beth-maacah; Eliam son of Ahithophel, from Gilo;

23:35 Hezro from Carmel; Paarai from Arab;

23:36 Igal son of Nathan, from Zobah; Bani the Gadite;

23:37 Zelek the Ammonite; Naharai, from Beeroth, armour-bearer to Joab son of Zeruiah;

23:38 Ira from Jattir; Gareb from Jattir;

23:39 Uriah the Hittite – thirty-seven in all.

JB 2 SAMEUL Chapter 24

The census

24:1 The anger of Yahweh once again blazed out against the Israelites and he incited David against them. ‘Go,’ he said ‘take a census of Israel and Judah.’

24:2 The king said to Joab and to the senior army officers who were with him, ‘Now go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and take a census of the people; I wish to know the size of the population.’

24:3 Joab said to the king, ‘May Yahweh your God multiply the people a hundred times while my lord the king still has eyes to see it, but why should my lord the king be so set on this?’

24:4 But the king enforced his order on Joab and the senior officers, and Joab and the senior officers went from the king’s presence to take a census of the people of Israel.

24:5 They crossed the Jordan and made a start with Aroer and the town that is in the middle of the wadi, moving on to the Gadites and towards Jazer.

24:6 They then went to Gilead and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites; next they went on to Dan and from Dan made their way round towards Sidon.

24:7 They then came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites, ending up in the Negeb of Judah at Beersheba.

24:8 Having covered the whole country, they returned to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.

24:9 Joab gave the king the figures for the census of the people; Israel numbered eight hundred thousand armed men capable of drawing sword, and Judah five hundred thousand men.

The Pestilence. God’s forgiveness

24:10 But afterwards David’s heart misgave him for having taken a census of the people. ‘I have committed a grave sin’ David said to Yahweh. ‘But now, Yahweh, I beg you to forgive your servant for this fault. I have been very foolish.’

24:11 But when David got up next morning, the following message had come from Yahweh to the prophet Gad, David’s seer,

24:12 ‘Go and say to David, “Yahweh says this: I offer you three things; choose one of them for me to do to you”.’

24:13 So Gad went to David and told him. ‘Are three years of famine to come on you in your country’ he said ‘or will you flee for three months before your pursuing enemy, or would you rather have three days’ pestilence in your country? Now think, and decide how I am to answer him who sends me.’

24:14 David said to Gad, ‘This is a hard choice. But let us rather fall into the power of Yahweh, since his mercy is great, and not into the power of men.’

24:15 So David chose pestilence. It was the time of the wheat harvest. Yahweh sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning till the time appointed and plague ravaged the people, and from Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of them died.

24:16 The angel stretched out his hand towards Jerusalem to destroy it, but Yahweh thought better of this evil, and he said to the angel who was destroying the people, ‘Enough! Now withdraw your hand.’ The angel of Yahweh was beside the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

24:17 When David saw the angel who was ravaging the people, he spoke to Yahweh. ‘It was I who sinned;’ he said ‘I who did this wicked thing. But these, this flock, what have they done? Let your hand lie heavy on me then, and on my family.’

An altar is built

24:18 Gad went to David that day and said, ‘Go up and erect an altar to Yahweh on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite’.

24:19 So at Gad’s bidding David went up as Yahweh had ordered him.

24:20 When Araunah looked down and saw the king and his officers advancing towards him – Araunah was threshing the wheat – he came forward and with his face to the ground did the king homage.

24:21 ‘Why has my lord the king come to his servant?’ Araunah asked. David answered, ‘To buy the threshing-floor from you, in order to build an altar to Yahweh, so that the plague may leave the people’.

24:22 ‘Let my lord the king take it’ Araunah said to David ‘and offer up what he thinks right. Here are the oxen for the holocaust, the threshing-sled and the oxen’s yoke for the wood.

24:23 The servant of my lord the king gives all this to the king. And’ Araunah said to the king ‘may Yahweh your God accept your offering.’

24:24 But the king said to Araunah, ‘No, I must pay you money for it; I will not offer Yahweh my God holocausts that have cost me nothing’. So David paid fifty shekels in silver for the threshing-floor and Oxen.

24:25 David built an altar to Yahweh there and offered holocausts and communion sacrifices. Then Yahweh took pity on the country and the plague was turned away from Israel.

END OF JB 2 SAMEUL [24 Chapters].

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