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may collect from the immediate determination of David to abandon Jerusalem, refusing even to take the ark along with him. Taking with him his household, the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and the Gittites, and accompanied by Ittai, the Gittite, who refused to quit his sovereign, David took his way over the brook Kidron, toward the wilderness, all the country weeping with a loud voice, as the people passed
David ordered Zadok, the priest, to remain with the ark in Jerusalem, and keep his son Ahimaaz, and Jonathan, the son of Abiathar, with him; purposing to stay in the plain until he received information from them. 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.
On the top of the mount, and whilst performing an act of solemn worship to God, Hushai, the Archite, came to meet him, with his coat rent, and earth upon his head; but David sent him also back to Jerusalem, to feign submission to Absalom, in order that he might counteract the influence of Ahithophel, who was amongst the conspirators, and whose counsel David earnestly prayed Jehovah that he would turn into foolishness.
On his arrival at Bahurim, Shimei, the son of Gera, a Benjamite, of the family of Saul, cursed David as he passed by, and cast stones and dust at him and his people, saying,
. 2 Sam. xv. 30.
Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial. Jehovah hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and Jehovah hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom, thy son: and behold thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man. Abishai would have instantly slain him, but David forbid him, saying, let him curse, because Jehovah hath said unto him, curse David; who shall then say, wherefore hast thou done so ? Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it: let him alone, and let him curse; for Jehovah hath bidden him. It may be that Jehovah will look on mine affliction, and that Jehovah will requite me good for his cursing this day.f
In the mean time, Absalom, with Ahithophel and all the men of Israel, entered into Jerusalem; and Hushai was received into the young prince's counsel. David had left behind him ten of his 'concubines to take care of the royal palace; and upon Absalom's demanding advice what course he should pursue, in order to secure himself in the throne, Ahithophel advised that he should connect himself with his father's concubines, in order that all Israel might hear that he was abhorred of his father; so that the hands of all that were with Absalom might be strong: thus giving full evidence that the prayers of David I had been heard.
The unhappy youth followed this profligate advice, and that the scandal might be the greater, a tent was spread on
The badges of his grief and patience ;
RICHARD II.-YORK. * Sam. xvi. 8. + 2 Sam. xvi. 11, 12.
1 2 Sam. xv. 31.
the top of the house, and the abominable act committed in the sight of all Israel; and thus was fulfilled, in a remarkable manner, the judgment of God in the matter of Uriah, as pronounced by Nathan, the prophet. *
Abithophel having demanded of Absalom 12,000 men, in order to pursue David whilst he and his men were weary and weak handed, the prince consulted Hushai, who gave opposite advice; recommending him first to strengthen himself in the throne, and collect an army sufficient to overpower all resistance, alleging that David and his companions were men of valour, and, if made desperate, were not likely to yield to an inferior force.
Absalom yielded to the advice of Hushai, wliose only object was delay, that he might have time to apprize David of the prince's proceedings. He immediately, therefore, despatched Jonathan and Ahimaaz, who were concealed at Enrogel, to David, saying, lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over ; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him.t
When Abithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, and probably forming a right conclusion as to the probable result, he saddled his ass, and returned to his house and city, and, putting his household in order, deliberately hanged himself.
The departure of Jonathan and Ahimaaz having been reported to Absalom, he sent messengers to apprehend them; but being concealed in a well by a woman of Bahurim, they evaded their pursuers, and arrived safely where David sojourned, who immediately arose, and all the people that were with him, and passed over Jordan, and came to Mahanaim.
2 Sam. xii. 11, 12. On David's return he committed these women to close confinement, to the day of their deaths, and had no further communication with them. 2 Sam, xx. 3.
† 2 Sam. xvii. 16. 2 Sam. xvii. 24
Whilst waiting in this place, Shobi, an Ammonite, Machir, the son of Ammiel, of Lodebar, and Barzillai, the Gileadite, brought beds, and basons, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentiles, and parched pulse, and honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, the people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness. *
Absalom having made Amasa, the son of Ithra, an Israelite, captain of his host, pitched with all Israel in the land of Gilead. And David having numbered the people that were with him, and set officers over hundreds and thousands, placed a third of his force under the command of Joab, another third under that of Abishai, and the remaining third under that of Ittai, the Gittite, proposing to command the whole in person; but the people answered, thou shalt not go forth : for if we fee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us : but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore, now, it is better that thou succour us out of the city. +
The king having yielded to their affectionate remonstrance, performed his last duty of reviewing the troops as they passed through the gate ; and confident in the fidelity and bravery of his army, and in the skill of his officers, he was, probably, much less anxious about the success of the battle, than the safety of his guilty, but still dearly beloved child ; for the last orders of this tender-hearted parent, to his commanders, were “ Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.”
The battle took place in the wood of Ephraim, and, as David most likely foresaw, terminated in the defeat of Absa
• 2 Sain. xvii. 27-29. + 2 Sam. xviii. 3.
2 Sam, xyiii. 5.
lom, with the loss of 20,000 men. In bis flight Absalom was caught by the hair of his head, by the boughs of an oak, and his mule galloping from under him, he was left suspended in the air. Information being brought to Joab, he reproved the messenger for not killing him; but he replied, though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in mine hand, yet would I not put forth mine hand against the king's son: for in our hearing the king charged thee, and Abishai, and Ittai, saying, beware that none touch the young man Absalom. Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against mine own life : for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against me.* Joab then took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the vak. Absalom, in his life, bad erected a pillar in the king's dale, having no son to keep his name in remembrance; and it is called unto this day Absalom's place.t
When the news came to David that Absalom was slain, he was much moved, and went up to his chamber to weep, exclaiming, O my son Absalom, my son, my son, Absalom ; would to God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son ! # Upon Joab's return, he remonstrated with the monarch for exhibiting such excessive grief, and pointed out to him, in no very respectful terms, how probable it was that the troops would take offence at his thus slighting them after so important a service; declaring, “I swear by the Lord, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befel thee from thy youth until now. Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, , saying, behold, the king doth sit in the gate, And all the
• 2 Sam. xviii. 12, 13. + 1 Sam. xviii. 18.
# 2 Sam. xviii. 33.