2 Samuel 18:1-19:10
The Death of Absalom
18 David assembled the army that was with him. He appointed leaders of thousands and leaders of hundreds. 2 David then sent out the army—a third under the leadership of Joab, a third under the leadership of Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under the leadership of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the troops, “I too will indeed march out with you.”
3 But the soldiers replied, “You should not do this! For if we should have to make a rapid retreat, they won’t be too concerned about us. Even if half of us should die, they won’t be too concerned about us. But you are like ten thousand of us! So it is better if you remain in the city for support.” 4 Then the king said to them, “I will do whatever seems best to you.”
So the king stayed beside the city gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands. 5 The king gave this order to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake deal gently with the young man Absalom.” Now the entire army was listening when the king gave all the leaders this order concerning Absalom.
6 Then the army marched out to the field to fight against Israel. The battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 7 The army of Israel was defeated there by David’s men. The slaughter there was great that day—20,000 soldiers were killed. 8 The battle there was spread out over the whole area, and the forest consumed more soldiers than the sword devoured that day.
9 Then Absalom happened to come across David’s men. Now as Absalom was riding on his mule, it went under the branches of a large oak tree. His head got caught in the oak and he was suspended in midair, while the mule he had been riding kept going.
10 When one of the men saw this, he reported it to Joab saying, “I saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree. 11 Joab replied to the man who was telling him this, “What! You saw this? Why didn’t you strike him down right on the spot? I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a commemorative belt!”
12 The man replied to Joab, “Even if I were receiving a thousand pieces of silver, I would not strike the king’s son! In our very presence the king gave this order to you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.’ 13 If I had acted at risk of my own life—and nothing is hidden from the king!—you would have abandoned me.”
14 Joab replied, “I will not wait around like this for you!” He took three spears in his hand and thrust them into the middle of Absalom while he was still alive in the middle of the oak tree. 15 Then ten soldiers who were Joab’s armor bearers struck Absalom and finished him off.
16 Then Joab blew the trumpet and the army turned back from chasing Israel, for Joab had called for the army to halt. 17 They took Absalom, threw him into a large pit in the forest, and stacked a huge pile of stones over him. In the meantime all the Israelite soldiers fled to their homes.
18 Prior to this Absalom had set up a monument and dedicated it to himself in the King’s Valley, reasoning “I have no son who will carry on my name.” He named the monument after himself, and to this day it is known as Absalom’s Memorial.
David Learns of Absalom’s Death
19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run and give the king the good news that the Lord has vindicated him before his enemies.” 20 But Joab said to him, “You will not be a bearer of good news today. You will bear good news some other day, but not today, for the king’s son is dead.”
21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go and tell the king what you have seen.” After bowing to Joab, the Cushite ran off. 22 Ahimaaz the son of Zadok again spoke to Joab, “Whatever happens, let me go after the Cushite.” But Joab said, “Why is it that you want to go, my son? You have no good news that will bring you a reward.” 23 But he said, “Whatever happens, I want to go!” So Joab said to him, “Then go!” So Ahimaaz ran by the way of the Jordan plain, and he passed the Cushite.
24 Now David was sitting between the inner and outer gates, and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate at the wall. When he looked, he saw a man running by himself. 25 So the watchman called out and informed the king. The king said, “If he is by himself, he brings good news.” The runner came ever closer.
26 Then the watchman saw another man running. The watchman called out to the gatekeeper, “There is another man running by himself.” The king said, “This one also is bringing good news.” 27 The watchman said, “It appears to me that the first runner is Ahimaaz son of Zadok.” The king said, “He is a good man, and he comes with good news.”
28 Then Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “Greetings!” He bowed down before the king with his face toward the ground and said, “May the Lord your God be praised because he has defeated the men who opposed my lord the king!”
29 The king replied, “How is the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz replied, “I saw a great deal of confusion when Joab was sending the king’s servant and me, your servant, but I don’t know what it was all about.” 30 The king said, “Turn aside and take your place here.” So he turned aside and waited.
31 Then the Cushite arrived and said, “May my lord the king now receive the good news! The Lord has vindicated you today and delivered you from the hand of all who have rebelled against you!” 32 The king asked the Cushite, “How is the young man Absalom?” The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who have plotted against you be like that young man!”
33 (19:1) The king then became very upset. He went up to the upper room over the gate and wept. As he went he said, “My son, Absalom! My son, my son, Absalom! If only I could have died in your place! Absalom, my son, my son!”
19 (19:2) Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning over Absalom.” 2 So the victory of that day was turned to mourning as far as all the people were concerned. For the people heard on that day, “The king is grieved over his son.” 3 That day the people stole away to go to the city the way people who are embarrassed steal away in fleeing from battle. 4 The king covered his face and cried out loudly, “My son, Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!”
5 So Joab visited the king at his home. He said, “Today you have embarrassed all your servants who have saved your life this day, as well as the lives of your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your concubines. 6 You seem to love your enemies and hate your friends! For you have as much as declared today that leaders and servants don’t matter to you. I realize now that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, it would be all right with you. 7 So get up now and go out and give some encouragement to your servants. For I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out there, not a single man will stay here with you tonight! This disaster will be worse for you than any disaster that has overtaken you from your youth right to the present time!”
8 So the king got up and sat at the city gate. When all the people were informed that the king was sitting at the city gate, they all came before him.
David Goes Back to Jerusalem
But the Israelite soldiers had all fled to their own homes. 9 All the people throughout all the tribes of Israel were arguing among themselves saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies. He rescued us from the hand of the Philistines, but now he has fled from the land because of Absalom. 10 But Absalom, whom we anointed as our king, has died in battle. So now why do you hesitate to bring the king back?”
20 Now very early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance. 2 So she went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out to go to the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down and saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who had been following him, arrived and went right into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been around Jesus’ head, not lying with the strips of linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, came in, and he saw and believed. 9 (For they did not yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead.)
Jesus’ Appearance to Mary Magdalene
10 So the disciples went back to their homes. 11 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she bent down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’ body had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary replied, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Because she thought he was the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus replied, “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene came and informed the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what Jesus had said to her.
Jesus’ Appearance to the Disciples
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the disciples had gathered together and locked the doors of the place because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 22 And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.”
The Response of Thomas
24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “Unless I see the wounds from the nails in his hands, and put my finger into the wounds from the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe it!”
26 Eight days later the disciples were again together in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and examine my hands. Extend your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe.” 28 Thomas replied to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are the people who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Now Jesus performed many other miraculous signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
153 See my pain and rescue me!
For I do not forget your law.
154 Fight for me and defend me!
Revive me with your word!
155 The wicked have no chance for deliverance,
for they do not seek your statutes.
156 Your compassion is great, O Lord.
Revive me, as you typically do!
157 The enemies who chase me are numerous.
Yet I do not turn aside from your rules.
158 I take note of the treacherous and despise them,
because they do not keep your instructions.
159 See how I love your precepts!
O Lord, revive me with your loyal love!
160 Your instructions are totally reliable;
all your just regulations endure.
161 Rulers pursue me for no reason,
yet I am more afraid of disobeying your instructions.
162 I rejoice in your instructions,
like one who finds much plunder.
163 I hate and despise deceit;
I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
because of your just regulations.
165 Those who love your law are completely secure;
nothing causes them to stumble.
166 I hope for your deliverance, O Lord,
and I obey your commands.
167 I keep your rules;
I love them greatly.
168 I keep your precepts and rules,
for you are aware of everything I do.
169 Listen to my cry for help, O Lord!
Give me insight by your word!
170 Listen to my appeal for mercy!
Deliver me, as you promised.
171 May praise flow freely from my lips,
for you teach me your statutes.
172 May my tongue sing about your instructions,
for all your commands are just.
173 May your hand help me,
for I choose to obey your precepts.
174 I long for your deliverance, O Lord;
I find delight in your law.
175 May I live and praise you!
May your regulations help me!
176 I have wandered off like a lost sheep.
Come looking for your servant,
for I do not forget your commands.
14 A king’s wrath is like a messenger of death,
but a wise person appeases it.
15 In the light of the king’s face there is life,
and his favor is like the clouds of the spring rain.