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Новое небо над новой землей (размышления над Библией)

В.В. Сорокин

Небо и бездна

Понятие о помазаннике во времена Давида, как это видно из псалма 2, не выходило за рамки представления о правителе, имеющем особое благословение Божие (Пс 2:5-6). Помазание правителя рассматривается как дарование ему Богом особой харизмы царствования, как духовное усыновление его Богом (Пс 2:7). Такое благословение Божие не имеет, разумеется, ничего общего с традиционным для древнего Ближнего Востока обожествлением правителя; помазание было пророческим актом, который и совершал пророк по особенному всякий раз указанию Божию (1 Цар 10:1; 1 Цар 16:13), причём никаких особенных, «сверхчеловеческих» свойств и качеств помазанник не обретал и Мессией в позднейшем смысле этого слова не становился. Однако в духовном опыте Давида есть нечто такое, из чего вырастет столетия спустя представление о Мессии. Политик и воин, человек резкий и горячий, Давид порою отдавался обуревавшим его страстям, доходя даже до преступления (2 Цар 11:1-27), но и покаяние его было глубоким и искренним (2 Цар 12:1-15). Этот покаянный опыт отражён в написанных им псалмах. Здесь и мгновенная, при посещении Божием, перемена духовных состояний (Пс 30:6), столь напоминающая опыт «бедняков Господних» (Пс 6:8-9), и та самонадеянность, которая посреди полного благополучия заслоняет Лик Божий (Пс 30:7-8), и просьба о милости на краю могилы (Пс 30:9-11), и переживаемое после подлинного покаяния и обращения излияние благодати (Пс 30:12-13). Он впервые упоминает о «прямом сердце» праведника (Пс 30:11), и он же говорит о тяжести нераскаянного греха и о плодах покаяния (Пс 32:3-5).

Но главное место среди псалмов Давида занимает, безусловно, псалом 18. Важность его подчеркивается ещё и тем, что он приведен в св. Писании дважды (второй раз — 2 Цар 22:2-51). Псалом этот отличается от других псалмов Давида и по объёму, и по композиции. Начинается он достаточно традиционно — призыванием и восхвалением Господа (Пс 18:2-4), за которым следует описание того, как Господь избавил Давида от совершенно, казалось бы, безвыходной ситуации, в которой он очутился (Пс 18:5-20). И сразу же после этого повествования об избавлении следует прославление судов Божиих (Пс 18:21-31). Это прославление мы встретим позднее в псалмах «бедняков Господних» (Пс 9:8-11); естественно, что ни сам Давид, ни его последователи не считали себя безгрешными, но в данном случае речь идёт именно о таком духовном состоянии, когда мера благодати Божией превышает и покрывает всякий человеческий грех, так, что Давид явственно чувствует это (о переживаниях подобного рода уже шла речь выше). После такого духовного экстаза следует медитация о покрове Божием, которая и завершает псалом (Пс 18:32-51). Естественно было бы предположить, что вознесение духом к Престолу Божию и ожидание суда Божия представляет собою духовный и композиционный центр псалма; однако не следует забывать, что этому откровению предшествует медитация об избавлениях Божиих.

Само собою напрашивается предположение о неслучайности такой последовательности; но для исследования этого вопроса необходимо вникнуть в смысл упомянутой медитации. На первый взгляд, она представляет собою столь типичное для духовно-мистической традиции Израиля откровение Божие в грозе и буре (Пс 18:8-16; ср. Пс 29:3-9). Но можно все же указать на некоторые оттенки смысла, которые свидетельствуют о более глубоком семантическом пласте этого текста. Обращает на себя внимание прежде всего «мрак» (евр. хошех), окружающий Бога (Пс 18:10-12). «Мрак» этот можно, разумеется, понимать и как тьму надвигающейся грозовой тучи, однако показательно, что словом хошех вместе с другим, связанным с ним по смыслу словом тхом («бездна») автор первой главы Книги Бытия обозначает хаос, существующий до сотворения Богом космоса (Быт 1:2; евр. хошех аль-фней тхом; в синодальном тексте — «тьма над бездною»). Такое словоупотребление можно было бы считать авторским приёмом священнописателя; однако появление слова тхом именно в космогоническом смысле в одном из достаточно ранних псалмов (Пс 104:6) позволяет предположить, что и употребление слова хошех в смысле, который придаёт ему автор Пролога Книги Бытия, имеет значительно более раннюю традицию. Не менее показательным является упоминание «источников вод» (вариант: «источников моря») и «оснований вселенной», которые становятся видимыми (Пс 18:16; ср. 2 Цар 20:16).

»Источники моря» (евр. эфикей ям, собств., «основания моря») напоминают изначальные воды, над которыми носился Дух Божий (Быт 1:2; евр. майим). Замечательно, что «источники великой бездны» (Быт 7:11) отворяются за всю историю человечества лишь однажды, во время потопа, и Господь обещает Ною, что впредь ничего подобного не повторится до конца времён (Быт 8:21-22). Но в конце времён, при «трубах ангельских», бездна вновь открывается (Откр 9:1-2). Очевидно, без этого невозможно преображение мира; однако открывается бездна лишь при звуке «ангельской трубы», то есть голоса Божия. Голос же этот раздаётся тогда, когда Господь являет Себя миру, как бы непосредственно входя в космос и в историю, тем самым полагая им предел. Но ведь и в псалме мы видим совершенно ту же картину (Пс 18:10-11) — Господь неба и земли сходит с небес, как бы «наклоняя» их, и мчится на керубах, несомый «крыльями ветра» (или «крыльями духа»? Соответствующее евр. аль канфей руах допускает возможность и такого перевода) — видение, достойное Илии (4 Цар 2:11-12) или Иезекииля (Иез 1:4-14). Но здесь речь идёт не просто о видении меркабы — «колесницы Господней»; Давиду открывается поистине эсхатологическая картина, конец времён, когда земля и небо сотрясаются оттого, что рушатся их основания и приходит к концу незыблемый дотоле порядок вещей (Пс 18:8; ср. 2 Цар 22:8). Эту открывшуюся Давиду картину можно было бы с полным правом назвать «Апокалипсисом Давида», и прославление судов Божиих (Пс 18:21-31) — лишь естественное продолжение этого видения, как естественно упоминание Страшного Суда в Апокалипсисе Иоанна.

Примечательно также и то, что Апокалипсис Давида является как бы ответом Божиим на крик верующей души, которой не к кому больше обратиться (Пс 18:5-7). Мы не знаем точно, какое именно событие подвигло Давида на написание этого псалма: можно лишь с известной долей вероятности предположить, что, судя по месту его во Второй Книге Царств, появился он в конце жизни псалмопевца, когда все перипетии и кризисы его бурного пути были уже позади. Вероятно, этот псалом — воспоминание о некоем событии в жизни автора, которого он не забудет до конца своих дней. В политической и военной жизни Давида было немало крутых поворотов, но одним из самых опасных было, наверное, восстание Авессалома (2 Цар 15:1 — 18:18), когда власть Давида висела на волоске и он вынужден был бежать из Иерусалима (2 Цар 15:13-18), так, что власть его удержалась лишь чудом. Вероятно, в это именно время Давид переживает серьёзнейший духовный кризис, что видно прежде всего из того глубокого покаянного чувства, которое овладевает им в этот момент (2 Цар 15:30; 2 Цар 16:5-14).

В таком состоянии из сердца Давида вполне могли вырваться те слова, которые находим мы в разбираемом нами псалме (Пс 18:5-7); однако ясно и то, что речь в этом случае должна идти не только о внешних перипетиях: под ногами Давида действительно разверзлась бездна, та бездна, у края которой неизбежно оказывается всякий в конце своего земного пути или в иной критической ситуации, когда вдруг рушатся привычные устои знакомого мира. Тогда и спасение воспринимается уже не просто как выход из положения в конкретной жизненной ситуации, хотя бы и очень тяжелой, но как избавление от адской бездны (Пс 18:17-20). Это состояние, при котором одновременно открывается небо над головой и разверзается бездна под ногами, в полноте познаётся духом лишь на Голгофе, у подножия Креста Христова, а тайна Креста, в свою очередь, становится явной лишь в конце времён, когда видимо для всех открывается и небо, и бездна; но и в ходе истории, и до Пришествия Христова тайна эта может, очевидно, приоткрываться избранным, к числу коих, как видно из написанного им псалма, принадлежал и Давид, духовная жизнь которого началась встречей с пророком Самуилом, помазавшим его на царство (1 Цар 16:3), а завершилась откровением, приобщившим его к тайне иного Помазанника, Которому надлежит явить миру Свою полноту в конце времён. А псалом, повествующий об этом откровении, стал первым мессианским псалмом в истории Израиля.

Отрывки к тексту:
Sa2 11-12
Psa 6
Psa 29
Sa2 22
Psa 17
Eze 1
Sa2 15-18
1
Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
2
Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.
3
So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”
4
David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house.
5
The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, “I am pregnant.”
6
Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David.
7
When Uriah came to him, David asked concerning the welfare of Joab and the people and the state of the war.
8
Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and a present from the king was sent out after him.
9
But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.
10
Now when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?”
11
Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.”
12
Then David said to Uriah, “Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you go.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next.
13
Now David called him, and he ate and drank before him, and he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with his lord’s servants, but he did not go down to his house.
14
Now in the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
15
He had written in the letter, saying, “Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”
16
So it was as Joab kept watch on the city, that he put Uriah at the place where he knew there were valiant men.
17
The men of the city went out and fought against Joab, and some of the people among David’s servants fell; and Uriah the Hittite also died.
18
Then Joab sent and reported to David all the events of the war.
19
He charged the messenger, saying, “When you have finished telling all the events of the war to the king,
20
and if it happens that the king’s wrath rises and he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall?
21
Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’—then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’”
22
So the messenger departed and came and reported to David all that Joab had sent him to tell.
23
The messenger said to David, “The men prevailed against us and came out against us in the field, but we pressed them as far as the entrance of the gate.
24
Moreover, the archers shot at your servants from the wall; so some of the king’s servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.”
25
Then David said to the messenger, “Thus you shall say to Joab, ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another; make your battle against the city stronger and overthrow it’; and so encourage him.”
26
Now when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
27
When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD.
1
Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said, “There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor.
2
“The rich man had a great many flocks and herds.
3
“But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him.
4
“Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
5
Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die.
6
He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”
7
Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.
8
I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!
9
Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.
10
Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’
11
Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.
12
Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’”
13
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.
14
However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”
15
So Nathan went to his house. Then the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick.
16
David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground.
17
The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.
18
Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!”
19
But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.”
20
So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate.
21
Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”
22
He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’
23
But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
24
Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. Now the LORD loved him
25
and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah for the LORD’S sake.
26
Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the sons of Ammon and captured the royal city.
27
Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I have fought against Rabbah, I have even captured the city of waters.
28
Now therefore, gather the rest of the people together and camp against the city and capture it, or I will capture the city myself and it will be named after me.”
29
So David gathered all the people and went to Rabbah, fought against it and captured it.
30
Then he took the crown of their king from his head; and its weight was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone; and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city in great amounts.
31
He also brought out the people who were in it, and set them under saws, sharp iron instruments, and iron axes, and made them pass through the brickkiln. And thus he did to all the cities of the sons of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
Скрыть
1
O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger, Nor chasten me in Your wrath.
2
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am pining away; Heal me, O LORD, for my bones are dismayed.
3
And my soul is greatly dismayed; But You, O LORD—how long?
4
Return, O LORD, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your lovingkindness.
5
For there is no mention of You in death; In Sheol who will give You thanks?
6
I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears.
7
My eye has wasted away with grief; It has become old because of all my adversaries.
8
Depart from me, all you who do iniquity, For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping.
9
The LORD has heard my supplication, The LORD receives my prayer.
10
All my enemies will be ashamed and greatly dismayed; They shall turn back, they will suddenly be ashamed.
Скрыть
1
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2
Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty,
2
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in holy array.
3
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters.
4
The voice of the LORD is powerful, The voice of the LORD is majestic.
5
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, And Sirion like a young wild ox.
7
The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire.
8
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; The LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9
The voice of the LORD makes the deer to calve And strips the forests bare; And in His temple everything says, “Glory!”
10
The LORD sat as King at the flood; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.
11
The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.
Скрыть
1
And David spoke the words of this song to the LORD in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.
2
He said, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
3
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.
4
“I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.
5
“For the waves of death encompassed me; The torrents of destruction overwhelmed me;
6
The cords of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.
7
“In my distress I called upon the LORD, Yes, I cried to my God; And from His temple He heard my voice, And my cry for help came into His ears.
8
“Then the earth shook and quaked, The foundations of heaven were trembling And were shaken, because He was angry.
9
“Smoke went up out of His nostrils, Fire from His mouth devoured; Coals were kindled by it.
10
“He bowed the heavens also, and came down With thick darkness under His feet.
11
“And He rode on a cherub and flew; And He appeared on the wings of the wind.
12
“And He made darkness canopies around Him, A mass of waters, thick clouds of the sky.
13
“From the brightness before Him Coals of fire were kindled.
14
“The LORD thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice.
15
“And He sent out arrows, and scattered them, Lightning, and routed them.
16
“Then the channels of the sea appeared, The foundations of the world were laid bare By the rebuke of the LORD, At the blast of the breath of His nostrils.
17
“He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.
18
“He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.
19
“They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my support.
20
“He also brought me forth into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
21
“The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
22
“For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not acted wickedly against my God.
23
“For all His ordinances were before me, And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them.
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“I was also blameless toward Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity.
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“Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to my cleanness before His eyes.
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“With the kind You show Yourself kind, With the blameless You show Yourself blameless;
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With the pure You show Yourself pure, And with the perverted You show Yourself astute.
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“And You save an afflicted people; But Your eyes are on the haughty whom You abase.
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“For You are my lamp, O LORD; And the LORD illumines my darkness.
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“For by You I can run upon a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall.
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“As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
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“For who is God, besides the LORD? And who is a rock, besides our God?
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“God is my strong fortress; And He sets the blameless in His way.
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“He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, And sets me on my high places.
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“He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
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“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your help makes me great.
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“You enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped.
38
“I pursued my enemies and destroyed them, And I did not turn back until they were consumed.
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“And I have devoured them and shattered them, so that they did not rise; And they fell under my feet.
40
“For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.
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“You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, And I destroyed those who hated me.
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“They looked, but there was none to save; Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them.
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“Then I pulverized them as the dust of the earth; I crushed and stamped them as the mire of the streets.
44
“You have also delivered me from the contentions of my people; You have kept me as head of the nations; A people whom I have not known serve me.
45
“Foreigners pretend obedience to me; As soon as they hear, they obey me.
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“Foreigners lose heart, And come trembling out of their fortresses.
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“The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; And exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,
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The God who executes vengeance for me, And brings down peoples under me,
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Who also brings me out from my enemies; You even lift me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from the violent man.
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“Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the nations, And I will sing praises to Your name.
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“He is a tower of deliverance to His king, And shows lovingkindness to His anointed, To David and his descendants forever.”
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1
Give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips.
2
Hear a just cause, O LORD, give heed to my cry;
2
Let my judgment come forth from Your presence; Let Your eyes look with equity.
3
You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
4
As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept from the paths of the violent.
5
My steps have held fast to Your paths. My feet have not slipped.
6
I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.
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Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand From those who rise up against them.
8
Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings
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From the wicked who despoil me, My deadly enemies who surround me.
10
They have closed their unfeeling heart, With their mouth they speak proudly.
11
They have now surrounded us in our steps; They set their eyes to cast us down to the ground.
12
He is like a lion that is eager to tear, And as a young lion lurking in hiding places.
13
Arise, O LORD, confront him, bring him low; Deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword,
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From men with Your hand, O LORD, From men of the world, whose portion is in this life, And whose belly You fill with Your treasure; They are satisfied with children, And leave their abundance to their babes.
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As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.
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1
Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
2
(On the fifth of the month in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile,
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the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and there the hand of the LORD came upon him.)
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As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire.
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Within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form.
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Each of them had four faces and four wings.
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Their legs were straight and their feet were like a calf’s hoof, and they gleamed like burnished bronze.
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Under their wings on their four sides were human hands. As for the faces and wings of the four of them,
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their wings touched one another; their faces did not turn when they moved, each went straight forward.
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As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle.
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Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above; each had two touching another being, and two covering their bodies.
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And each went straight forward; wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go, without turning as they went.
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In the midst of the living beings there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches darting back and forth among the living beings. The fire was bright, and lightning was flashing from the fire.
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And the living beings ran to and fro like bolts of lightning.
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Now as I looked at the living beings, behold, there was one wheel on the earth beside the living beings, for each of the four of them.
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The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship was like sparkling beryl, and all four of them had the same form, their appearance and workmanship being as if one wheel were within another.
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Whenever they moved, they moved in any of their four directions without turning as they moved.
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As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about.
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Whenever the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. And whenever the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also.
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Wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go in that direction. And the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.
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Whenever those went, these went; and whenever those stood still, these stood still. And whenever those rose from the earth, the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.
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Now over the heads of the living beings there was something like an expanse, like the awesome gleam of crystal, spread out over their heads.
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Under the expanse their wings were stretched out straight, one toward the other; each one also had two wings covering its body on the one side and on the other.
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I also heard the sound of their wings like the sound of abundant waters as they went, like the voice of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army camp; whenever they stood still, they dropped their wings.
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And there came a voice from above the expanse that was over their heads; whenever they stood still, they dropped their wings.
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Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man.
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Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him.
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As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.
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1
Now it came about after this that Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses and fifty men as runners before him.
2
Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way to the gate; and when any man had a suit to come to the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And he would say, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.”
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Then Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but no man listens to you on the part of the king.”
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Moreover, Absalom would say, “Oh that one would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has any suit or cause could come to me and I would give him justice.”
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And when a man came near to prostrate himself before him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him.
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In this manner Absalom dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel.
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Now it came about at the end of forty years that Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron.
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For your servant vowed a vow while I was living at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the LORD shall indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.’”
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The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron.
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But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’”
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Then two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem, who were invited and went innocently, and they did not know anything.
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And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong, for the people increased continually with Absalom.
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Then a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.”
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David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise and let us flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go in haste, or he will overtake us quickly and bring down calamity on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”
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Then the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses.”
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So the king went out and all his household with him. But the king left ten concubines to keep the house.
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The king went out and all the people with him, and they stopped at the last house.
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Now all his servants passed on beside him, all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had come with him from Gath, passed on before the king.
19
Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why will you also go with us? Return and remain with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile; return to your own place.
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You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander with us, while I go where I will? Return and take back your brothers; mercy and truth be with you.”
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But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.”
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Therefore David said to Ittai, “Go and pass over.” So Ittai the Gittite passed over with all his men and all the little ones who were with him.
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While all the country was weeping with a loud voice, all the people passed over. The king also passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over toward the way of the wilderness.
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Now behold, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him carrying the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar came up until all the people had finished passing from the city.
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The king said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the LORD, then He will bring me back again and show me both it and His habitation.
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But if He should say thus, ‘I have no delight in you,’ behold, here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.”
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The king said also to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace and your two sons with you, your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
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See, I am going to wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.”
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Therefore Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem and remained there.
30
And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and his head was covered and he walked barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went.
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Now someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O LORD, I pray, make the counsel of Ahithophel foolishness.”
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It happened as David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, that behold, Hushai the Archite met him with his coat torn and dust on his head.
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David said to him, “If you pass over with me, then you will be a burden to me.
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But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so I will now be your servant,’ then you can thwart the counsel of Ahithophel for me.
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Are not Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? So it shall be that whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall report to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
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Behold their two sons are with them there, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send me everything that you hear.”
37
So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.
1
Now when David had passed a little beyond the summit, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him with a couple of saddled donkeys, and on them were two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred clusters of raisins, a hundred summer fruits, and a jug of wine.
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The king said to Ziba, “Why do you have these?” And Ziba said, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride, and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine, for whoever is faint in the wilderness to drink.”
3
Then the king said, “And where is your master’s son?” And Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he is staying in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me.’”
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So the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” And Ziba said, “I prostrate myself; let me find favor in your sight, O my lord, the king!”
5
When King David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out from there a man of the family of the house of Saul whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he came out cursing continually as he came.
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He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left.
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Thus Shimei said when he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow!
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The LORD has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are taken in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!”
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Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and cut off his head.”
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But the king said, “What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah? If he curses, and if the LORD has told him, ‘Curse David,’ then who shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’”
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Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my son who came out from me seeks my life; how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him.
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Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.”
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So David and his men went on the way; and Shimei went along on the hillside parallel with him and as he went he cursed and cast stones and threw dust at him.
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The king and all the people who were with him arrived weary and he refreshed himself there.
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Then Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.
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Now it came about when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
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Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?”
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Then Hushai said to Absalom, “No! For whom the LORD, this people, and all the men of Israel have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain.
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Besides, whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so I will be in your presence.”
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Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your advice. What shall we do?”
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Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. The hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.”
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So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.
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The advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one inquired of the word of God; so was all the advice of Ahithophel regarded by both David and Absalom.
1
Furthermore, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Please let me choose 12,000 men that I may arise and pursue David tonight.
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I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted and terrify him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone,
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and I will bring back all the people to you. The return of everyone depends on the man you seek; then all the people will be at peace.”
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So the plan pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.
5
Then Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say.”
6
When Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “Ahithophel has spoken thus. Shall we carry out his plan? If not, you speak.”
7
So Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the advice that Ahithophel has given is not good.”
8
Moreover, Hushai said, “You know your father and his men, that they are mighty men and they are fierce, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. And your father is an expert in warfare, and will not spend the night with the people.
9
Behold, he has now hidden himself in one of the caves or in another place; and it will be when he falls on them at the first attack, that whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’
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And even the one who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will completely lose heart; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man and those who are with him are valiant men.
11
But I counsel that all Israel be surely gathered to you, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea in abundance, and that you personally go into battle.
12
So we shall come to him in one of the places where he can be found, and we will fall on him as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and of all the men who are with him, not even one will be left.
13
If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it into the valley until not even a small stone is found there.”
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Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring calamity on Absalom.
15
Then Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, “This is what Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and this is what I have counseled.
16
Now therefore, send quickly and tell David, saying, ‘Do not spend the night at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means cross over, or else the king and all the people who are with him will be destroyed.’”
17
Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En-rogel, and a maidservant would go and tell them, and they would go and tell King David, for they could not be seen entering the city.
18
But a lad did see them and told Absalom; so the two of them departed quickly and came to the house of a man in Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard, and they went down into it.
19
And the woman took a covering and spread it over the well’s mouth and scattered grain on it, so that nothing was known.
20
Then Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” And the woman said to them, “They have crossed the brook of water.” And when they searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
21
It came about after they had departed that they came up out of the well and went and told King David; and they said to David, “Arise and cross over the water quickly for thus Ahithophel has counseled against you.”
22
Then David and all the people who were with him arose and crossed the Jordan; and by dawn not even one remained who had not crossed the Jordan.
23
Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and arose and went to his home, to his city, and set his house in order, and strangled himself; thus he died and was buried in the grave of his father.
24
Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him.
25
Absalom set Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man whose name was Ithra the Israelite, who went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother.
26
And Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.
27
Now when David had come to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the sons of Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim,
28
brought beds, basins, pottery, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans, lentils, parched seeds,
29
honey, curds, sheep, and cheese of the herd, for David and for the people who were with him, to eat; for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”
1
Then David numbered the people who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.
2
David sent the people out, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I myself will surely go out with you also.”
3
But the people said, “You should not go out; for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us; even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city.”
4
Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and thousands.
5
The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom.
6
Then the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim.
7
The people of Israel were defeated there before the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, 20,000 men.
8
For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
9
Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. For Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. And his head caught fast in the oak, so he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going.
10
When a certain man saw it, he told Joab and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.”
11
Then Joab said to the man who had told him, “Now behold, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? And I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt.”
12
The man said to Joab, “Even if I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put out my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Protect for me the young man Absalom!’
13
Otherwise, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.”
14
Then Joab said, “I will not waste time here with you.” So he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.
15
And ten young men who carried Joab’s armor gathered around and struck Absalom and killed him.
16
Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the people.
17
They took Absalom and cast him into a deep pit in the forest and erected over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled, each to his tent.
18
Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar which is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to preserve my name.” So he named the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.
19
Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Please let me run and bring the king news that the LORD has freed him from the hand of his enemies.”
20
But Joab said to him, “You are not the man to carry news this day, but you shall carry news another day; however, you shall carry no news today because the king’s son is dead.”
21
Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed to Joab and ran.
22
Now Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said once more to Joab, “But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why would you run, my son, since you will have no reward for going?”
23
“But whatever happens,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and passed up the Cushite.
24
Now David was sitting between the two gates; and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and raised his eyes and looked, and behold, a man running by himself.
25
The watchman called and told the king. And the king said, “If he is by himself there is good news in his mouth.” And he came nearer and nearer.
26
Then the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “Behold, another man running by himself.” And the king said, “This one also is bringing good news.”
27
The watchman said, “I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “This is a good man and comes with good news.”
28
Ahimaaz called and said to the king, “All is well.” And he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, “Blessed is the LORD your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king.”
29
The king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, and your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was.”
30
Then the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.
31
Behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, “Let my lord the king receive good news, for the LORD has freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you.”
32
Then the king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “Let the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be as that young man!”
33
The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
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