2 Samuel 16-18
When David had gone a short distance away from Jerusalem, Ziba the steward of Mephibosheth met him with a number of donkeys carrying provisions. David asked what this was for and Ziba told him the donkeys were for him and his household to ride on and the provisions were to provide sustenance as they spent time in the wilderness.
As David approached Bahurim, a man from the family and clan of Saul came out to meet David. This man was named Shimei and he cursed and pelted David and David’s officials with stones, calling him a murderer and declaring that God was now repaying David for all the wrong done to the house of Saul. Abishai asked David why he was putting up with the cursing and stone throwing and David responded by asking Abishai what any of this had to do with him. If he is cursing David because God told him to, who were they to respond? David also told his officials that perhaps God will look on his misery and remember and restore his covenant blessings.
Absalom and the men of Israel came to Jerusalem along with Ahitophel. Hushai who was David’s confidant came to greet Absalom who asked why he had not accompanied David. Hushai responded by saying he served the Lord’s anointed, the individual chosen by the people. Since that appeared to be Absalom, he would serve him.
Absalom asked Ahitophel what the next step should be and Ahitophel advised Absalom to sleep with David’s concubines. This would make him obnoxious in the eyes of David and all Israel would know. So a tent was pitched and Absalom slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.
The next piece of advice Ahitophel gave Absalom was to choose 12,000 men and set them in immediate pursuit of David to attack him while he was weary and weak. Only the king should be killed and the rest of David’s men should be brought back to Jerusalem unharmed.
Absalom summoned Hushai to get his advice who responded by noting that what Ahitophel had stated was unwise for David was a fierce fighter and he had with him the most valiant men in all of Israel. To attack a hidden warrior would result in the slaughter of Absalom’s men. Hushai instead advised to gather all the men of Israel with Absalom leading the battle. Doing so would place the odds in his favor. Absalom told the men of Israel that he would follow the advice of Hushai. This was according to the plan of God in order to bring disaster upon Absalom. When Ahitophal saw his advice was not heeded, he hung himself.
The men of David and the men of Absalom faced off. David desired to go to battle with his troops, but his men advised against it and David agreed to follow their advice. The men of Israel were routed by David’s men and the causalities were great – 20,000 men of Israel were killed by David’s men.
Absalom happened to meet the men of David and the mule Absalom was riding went under a tree causing his hair to get caught in the branches leaving him hanging in mid-air as the mule rode off. When the men of Israel say this, they told Joab who asked why they had not killed Absalom. The men told Joab that no amount of money would entice them to lay a hand on the king’s son. Joab went and threw three javelins, plunging them into Absalom’s heart and he took the body of Absalom and threw it in a big pit, piling big stones on top of the body.
Ahimaaz son of Zadok wanted to take the news of Absalom’s death to David but Joab told him a Cushite would relay the news. Ahimaaz asked if he could run behind the Cushite and Joab allowed him to do that. Ahimaaz outran the Cushite and came to David while he sat by the gates of the city. When David saw both runners, he hoped they were bringing good news. The news he received was not good as he was told his son Absalom was dead.