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And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.
And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.
Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!
And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.
And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron.
For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.
And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron.
But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.
And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.
And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.
And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.
And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.
And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house.
And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off.
And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.
Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile.
Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.
And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.
And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him.
And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.
And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city.
And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and show me both it, and his habitation:
But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.
The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
See, I will tarry in the plain ° of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.
Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.
And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.
And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.
And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head:
Unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me:
But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father's servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.
And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king's house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok's son, and Jonathan Abiathar's son; and by them ye shall send unto me every thing that ye can hear.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

15:6 stole the hearts. Absalom was handsome and charming, but also cruel and ambitious. David, even with his faults, was God’s chosen leader for Israel, and certainly the greatest king Israel ever had. Absalom was treading on dangerous ground, therefore, when he attempted to undermine David’s authority in this way, and it eventually cost him his life. This should be an example to those today who would seek to displace God-called leaders from their positions. God can remove those in leadership, if it is needed, without human intervention.

15:7 forty. The number “forty” here seems to be a copyist error, since David’s entire reign lasted just forty years. The Septuagint and Syriac translations, as well as Josephus, all agree that it was “four” years, a period which fits more realistically in the account. On the other hand, the “forty years” might conceivably refer to the period of David’s popularity since slaying Goliath, rather than the length of his reign.

15:18 all the Gittites. The Cherethites, Pelethites and Gittites all seem to have been foreign soldiers who had chosen to serve David. They were apparently of Philistine background. The name Chereth probably was related to Crete, the ancestral home of the Philistines. The Gittites were from Gath, where David had spent some time while in exile from Saul. David gave them the opportunity to stay in Jerusalem, to continue in service to any future kings there, but they elected to stay with David. Benaiah was captain over the Cherethites and Pelethites (see II Samuel 20:23), and Ittai over the Gittites. The six hundred men who had served with David in Gath (I Samuel 27:2), many of whom probably were estranged Israelites, were still with David.

15:30 Mount Olivet. David wept as he ascended the Mount of Olives: a thousand years later, Jesus wept as He descended it unto Jerusalem (Luke 19:37,41). It was there He gave His great prophetic discourse (Matthew 24:3) and there He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:26,32). It was from the Mount of Olives that He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:10-12), and to the Mount of Olives that He will descend from heaven when He returns (Zechariah 14:1,4).

15:31 Ahithophel. Ahithophel, a wise counselor for both King David and Prince Absalom (II Samuel 16:23), had apparently been waiting for many years for an opportunity to take revenge against the king. Ahithophel was the father of Eliam, Bathsheba’s father (II Samuel 23:34; 11:3). Bathsheba had been the wife of Uriah before David committed adultery with her and then arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle (II Samuel 11:4,15). Furthermore, both Uriah and Eliam were among David’s “mighty men” (II Samuel 23:8,34,39), and thus close friends of David. David had foolishly and presumptuously committed adultery with Ahithophel’s granddaughter and, in effect, murdered his granddaughter’s brave and honorable husband. This also helps explain Ahithophel’s counsel to Absalom that he should commit adultery with “his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel” (II Samuel 16:21).

15:32 Hushai the Archite. Hushai was apparently of the tribe of Ephraim (the town of Archi was in Ephraim’s territory—Joshua 16:1,2).

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