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2 Samuel Chapter 15 | Parsha:

1Sometime afterward, Absalom provided himself with a chariot, horses, and fifty outrunners. 2Absalom used to rise early and stand by the road to the city gates; and whenever a man had a case that was to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?” And when he answered, “Your servant is from such and such a tribe in Israel,” 3Absalom would say to him, “It is clear that your claim is right and just, but there is no one assigned to you by the king to hear it.” 4And Absalom went on, “If only I were appointed judge in the land and everyone with a legal dispute came before me, I would see that he got his rights.” 5And if a man approached to bow to him, [Absalom] would extend his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6Absalom did this to every Israelite who came to the king for judgment. Thus Absalom won away the hearts of the men of Israel.

7After a period of forty years had gone by, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow that I made to the Lord. 8For your servant made a vow when I lived in Geshur of Aram: If the Lord ever brings me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the Lord.” 9The king said to him, “Go in peace”; and so he set out for Hebron.

10But Absalom sent agents to all the tribes of Israel to say, “When you hear the blast of the horn, announce that Absalom has become king in Hebron.” 11Two hundred men of Jerusalem accompanied Absalom; they were invited and went in good faith, suspecting nothing. 12Absalom also sent [to fetch] Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his town, Giloh, when the sacrifices were to be offered. The conspiracy gained strength, and the people supported Absalom in increasing numbers.

13Someone came and told David, “The loyalty of the men of Israel has veered toward Absalom.” 14Whereupon David said to all the courtiers who were with him in Jerusalem, “Let us flee at once, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must get away quickly, or he will soon overtake us and bring down disaster upon us and put the city to the sword.” 15The king’s courtiers said to the king, “Whatever our lord the king decides, your servants are ready.” 16So the king left, followed by his entire household, except for ten concubines whom the king left to mind the palace.

17The king left, followed by all the people, and they stopped at the last house. 18All his followers marched past him, including all the Cherethites and all the Pelethites; and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had accompanied him from Gath, also marched by the king. 19And the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you too go with us? Go back and stay with the [new] king, for you are a foreigner and you are also an exile from your country. 20You came only yesterday; should I make you wander about with us today, when I myself must go wherever I can? Go back, and take your kinsmen with you, [in] true faithfulness.” 21Ittai replied to the king, “As the Lord lives and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, there your servant will be, whether for death or for life!” 22And David said to Ittai, “Then march by.” And Ittai the Gittite and all his men and all the children who were with him marched by.

23The whole countryside wept aloud as the troops marched by. The king crossed the Kidron Valley, and all the troops crossed by the road to the wilderness. 24Then Zadok appeared, with all the Levites carrying the Ark of the Covenant of God; and they set down the Ark of God until all the people had finished marching out of the city. Abiathar also came up. 25But the king said to Zadok, “Take the Ark of God back to the city. If I find favor with the Lord, He will bring me back and let me see it and its abode. 26And if He should say, ‘I do not want you,’ I am ready; let Him do with me as He pleases.” 27And the king said to the priest Zadok, “Do you understand? You return to the safety of the city with your two sons, your own son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan. 28Look, I shall linger in the steppes of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29Zadok and Abiathar brought the Ark of God back to Jerusalem, and they stayed there.

30David meanwhile went up the slope of the [Mount of] Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he walked barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they went up. 31David [was] told that Ahithophel was among the conspirators with Absalom, and he prayed, “Please, O Lord, frustrate Ahithophel’s counsel!”

32When David reached the top, where people would prostrate themselves to God, Hushai the Archite was there to meet him, with his robe torn and with earth on his head. 33David said to him, “If you march on with me, you will be a burden to me. 34But if you go back to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; I was your father’s servant formerly, and now I will be yours,’ then you can nullify Ahithophel’s counsel for me. 35You will have the priests Zadok and Abiathar there, and you can report everything that you hear in the king’s palace to the priests Zadok and Abiathar. 36Also, their two sons are there with them, Zadok’s son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan; and through them you can report to me everything you hear.” 37And so Hushai, the friend of David, reached the city as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.

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