David And Absalom
IN all Israel there was no handsomer man than Absalom the king's favourite son.
From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head,
there was no blemish in him.
He cut his hair every year when it became too heavy for his head,
and his hair weighed two hundred shekels on the king's scales.
And king David loved Absalom very dearly.
Absalom had chariots and horses and fifty men to attend him.
He would rise early in the morning and wait at the gate near the place of judgment,
and if anybody came with a case to lay before the king,
Absalom would call unto him and ask where he came from.
If the man said that he was an Israelite,
Absalom would say: "You are certainly in the right,
but there is nobody here to represent you.
If I were judge, any man could come to me with his cause and I would do him justice."
If any man came to bow down to Absalom he would have none of it,
but took him by the hand and kissed him.
And so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
One day he said to the king: "Let me go to Hebron to fulfil a vow which I made to the Lord while I was in Syria."
King David said: "Go in peace."
So Absalom went to Hebron, and he sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying: "As soon as you hear the sound of a trumpet,
then you must proclaim that Absalom rules in Hebron."
Absalom had with him two hundred men from Jerusalem who knew nothing of the conspiracy, and more and more people turned to Absalom.
Then a messenger came to David and warned him and he said to all his servants: "We must flee, or otherwise we shall not be able to escape from Absalom."
So he fled from Jerusalem with all his household,
but the ark of the Lord and Zadok the priest remained in the city.
So there was war between David and his son Absalom.
David divided his army into three parts and he was prepared to go forth with it,
but his people said: "You must not go forth, for nobody cares about us except you.
You are worth ten thousand of us,
so it is better that you should lead us from inside the city."
David said: "I will do whatever you think best."
He stood by the gate and the people came out by the hundreds and thousands.
He spoke to his commanders,
Joab and Abishai and lttai, and said:"Deal gently, for my sake,
with the young man, Absalom."
And all the people heard what he said about Absalom.
A great battle was fought in the wood of Ephraim,
and the people of Israel were defeated by the armies of David,
and twenty thousand men were killed.
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