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2 Samuel Chapter 18 | Parsha:

1David mustered the troops who were with him and set over them captains of thousands and captains of hundreds. 2David sent out the troops, one-third under the command of Joab, one-third under the command of Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one-third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And David said to the troops, “I myself will march out with you.” 3But the troops replied, “No! For if some of us flee, the rest will not be concerned about us; even if half of us should die, the others will not be concerned about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore, it is better for you to support us from the town.” 4And the king said to them, “I will do whatever you think best.”
So the king stood beside the gate as all the troops marched out by their hundreds and thousands.
5The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “Deal gently with my boy Absalom, for my sake.” All the troops heard the king give the order about Absalom to all the officers.

6The troops marched out into the open to confront the Israelites, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7The Israelite troops were routed by David’s followers, and a great slaughter took place there that day—twenty thousand men. 8The battle spread out over that whole region, and the forest devoured more troops that day than the sword.

9Absalom encountered some of David’s followers. Absalom was riding on a mule, and as the mule passed under the tangled branches of a great terebinth, his hair got caught in the terebinth; he was held between heaven and earth as the mule under him kept going. 10One of the men saw it and told Joab, “I have just seen Absalom hanging from a terebinth.” 11Joab said to the man who told him, “You saw it! Why didn’t you kill him then and there? I would have owed you ten shekels of silver and a belt.” 12But the man answered Joab, “Even if I had a thousand shekels of silver in my hands, I would not raise a hand against the king’s son. For the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai in our hearing, ‘Watch over my boy Absalom, for my sake.’[cb1.5][cf11,11]-h [cb0] 13If I betrayed myself—and nothing is hidden from the king—you would have stood aloof.” 14Joab replied, “Then I will not wait for you.” He took three darts in his hand and drove them into Absalom’s chest. [Absalom] was still alive in the thick growth of the terebinth, 15when ten of Joab’s young arms-bearers closed in and struck at Absalom until he died. 16Then Joab sounded the horn, and the troops gave up their pursuit of the Israelites; for Joab held the troops in check. 17They took Absalom and flung him into a large pit in the forest, and they piled up a very great heap of stones over it. Then all the Israelites fled to their homes.— 18Now Absalom, in his lifetime, had taken the pillar which is in the Valley of the King and set it up for himself; for he said, “I have no son to keep my name alive.” He had named the pillar after himself, and it has been called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

19Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, “Let me run and report to the king that the Lord has vindicated him against his enemies.” 20But Joab said to him, “You shall not be the one to bring tidings today. You may bring tidings some other day, but you’ll not bring any today; for the king’s son is dead!” 21And Joab said to a Cushite, “Go tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed to Joab and ran off. 22But Ahimaaz son of Zadok again said to Joab, “No matter what, let me run, too, behind the Cushite.” Joab asked, “Why should you run, my boy, when you have no news worth telling?” 23“I am going to run anyway.” “Then run,” he said. So Ahimaaz ran by way of the Plain, and he passed the Cushite.

24David was sitting between the two gates. The watchman on the roof of the gate walked over to the city wall. He looked up and saw a man running alone. 25The watchman called down and told the king; and the king said, “If he is alone, he has news to report.” As he was coming nearer, 26the watchman saw another man running; and he called out to the gatekeeper, “There is another man running alone.” And the king said, “That one, too, brings news.” 27The watchman said, “I can see that the first one runs like Ahimaaz son of Zadok”; to which the king replied, “He is a good man, and he comes with good news.” 28Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “All is well!” He bowed low with his face to the ground and said, “Praised be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.” 29The king asked, “Is my boy Absalom safe?” And Ahimaaz answered, “I saw a large crowd when Your Majesty’s servant Joab was sending your servant off, but I don’t know what it was about.” 30The king said, “Step aside and stand over there”; he stepped aside and waited.

31Just then the Cushite came up; and the Cushite said, “Let my lord the king be informed that the Lord has vindicated you today against all who rebelled against you!” 32The king asked the Cushite, “Is my boy Absalom safe?” And the Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rose against you to do you harm fare like that young man!”

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