2 Samuel 16–18

1 When David had passed a little beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of saddled donkeys carrying two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred clusters of raisins, one hundred summer fruits, and one skin of wine.

2 The king said to Ziba, “Why do you have these things?”

Ziba replied, “The donkeys are for the household of the king to ride. The bread and the summer fruit are for the servants to eat. The wine is for those who become weary in the wilderness to drink.”

3 The king said, “And where is your master’s son?”

Ziba said to the king, “He is staying in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today they will return to me the house of Israel and my father’s kingdom.’”

4 Then David said to Ziba, “Everything that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.”

Ziba replied, “I bow before you. May I find favor in your sight, my lord the king.”

5 When King David came to Bahurim, a man of the family of the house of Saul came out. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he came out continuously cursing. 6 He threw stones at David and all of the servants of King David, as well as all of the people and all of the warriors who were at his right and left. 7 Shimei said when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you scoundrel! 8 The Lord has returned upon you all the blood 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. You are taken in your own evil, because you are a man of blood.”

9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “How can this dead dog curse my lord the king! Let me go over and remove his head.”

10 The king responded, “What do you have against me, sons of Zeruiah? Suppose that he curses because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ Who shall then say, ‘Why do you do so?’”

11 David then said to Abishai and to all of his servants, “My son who came from my own body seeks my life, and now also this Benjamite. Leave him alone and let him curse if the Lord has so instructed him. 12 Perhaps today the Lord will look upon my guilt and return kindness instead of his cursing.”

13 So David and his men continued on the road, and Shimei went along on the hillside beside them, cursing, throwing stones, and flinging dust at them as he went. 14 The king and all of the people who were with him arrived at their destination exhausted, but he refreshed himself there.

15 Now Absalom and all of the Israelite people entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him. 16 When Hushai the Arkite, the friend of David, came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”

17 Then Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this the extent of your commitment to your friend? Why have you not gone with your friend?”

18 Hushai said to Absalom, “No! For whom the Lord, this people, and all men of Israel have chosen, his I will be and with him I will remain. 19 Furthermore, whom shall I serve? Should it not be his son? As I served your father, so shall I be with you.”

20 Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your advice. What shall we do?”

21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Lie with your father’s concubines, whom he left to watch over the palace. When all Israel hears that you have made yourself abhorred by your father, then the hands of all who are with you will be strong.” 22 So they set up a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all of Israel.

23 In those days, the advice that Ahithophel gave was as when one inquired a word from God. Such was all of the advice of Ahithophel, whether that which he gave to David or to Absalom.

Chapter 17

1 Ahithophel also said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men so that I may arise and pursue David tonight. 2 I will overtake him while he is weary and weak and strike him with terror; all of the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike only the king, 3 and I will return all of the people to you. When all return except the man whom you are seeking, all of the people will be at peace.” 4 The advice pleased Absalom and all of the elders of Israel.

5 So Absalom said, “Summon Hushai the Arkite so that we may hear what he has to say as well.” 6 When Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “This is what Ahithophel had advised. Should we do this thing? If not, you should tell us.”

7 Hushai said to Absalom, “At this time, the advice that Ahithophel has given is not good.” 8 Moreover, Hushai said, “You know that your father and his men are warriors, and they have been provoked like a bear robbed of her cubs. Your father is a veteran of warfare. He will not spend the night with the people. 9 Even now, he has hidden himself in a ravine or some other place, and when one of them falls in the first attack, whoever hears will say, ‘It was a defeat for the people who follow Absalom.’ 10 Then even the valiant one, whose heart is like that of a lion, will completely despair, for all of Israel knows that your father is a warrior, and those who are with him are brave.

11 “Therefore my advice is for all of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, to be completely gathered to you like the multitude of the sand along the shoreline and for you to go to battle in person. 12 We will come upon him in one of the places where he may be found, and we will fall upon him like the dew upon the ground. Neither he nor any of the men who are with him will remain, not a single one. 13 If he withdraws into a city, then all of Israel will bring ropes to that city. We will raze it until it is a valley, until there cannot be found there even a pebble.”

14 Then Absalom and all of the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than the advice of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had decided to undermine the prudent advice of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring calamity to Absalom.

15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, “Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel to do one thing, but I advised them to do another thing. 16 Now quickly send someone to report to David, ‘Do not spend the night at the fords of the wilderness, but instead cross over. Otherwise, the king and all of the people who are with him will be swallowed up.’”

17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at En Rogel. A servant girl would go report to them, and they would go report to King David, because they could not be seen entering the city. 18 But a young man saw them and reported this to Absalom. So the two of them went quickly and came to the house of a man in Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard, and they went down into it. 19 The wife took a covering and spread it over the opening of the well. Then she scattered grain over it so that nothing could be discerned.

20 The servants of Absalom came to the woman at the house and said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”

She said, “They crossed over the brook of water.” When they searched, they could not find them. So they returned to Jerusalem.

21 After they left, they came up from the well, went, and reported to King David. They said to David, “Arise and quickly cross over the water because thus has Ahithophel advised against you.” 22 So David and all of the people who were with him arose and crossed over the Jordan. By daybreak, there was not one left who had not crossed over the Jordan.

23 When Ahithophel realized that his advice was not followed, he saddled his donkey and returned to his house in his own city. He gave instruction to his household, then he hanged himself and died; he was interred in the tomb of his father.

24 David came to Mahanaim as Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and every Israelite with him. 25 Now Absalom had placed Amasa over the army in the place of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man named Jether the Ishmaelite, who went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah, the mother of Joab. 26 Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.

27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, Makir the son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 28 brought bedding, metal bowls, ceramic vessels, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, 29 honey, curds, sheep, and cheese from the livestock for David and the people who were with him to eat and use. For they said, “The people are hungry, exhausted, and thirsting in the wilderness.”

Chapter 18

1 David mustered the people who were with him, and he set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 Then David dispatched the people, one-third under the command of Joab, one-third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah and brother of Joab, and one-third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. Then David said to the people, “I myself will go out with you.”

3 But the people said, “You should not go, for if we retreat, they will not be concerned about us. Even if half of us die, they will not be concerned about us. But now you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore, it would be better to assist us from the city.”

4 The king said to them, “I will do what seems best to you.”

So the king stood beside the gate while all of the people went out by hundreds and thousands. 5 The king commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, “Deal gently with the young man Absalom.” All of the people heard the king instruct the commanders concerning Absalom.

6 So the people went out toward Israel in the field, but the fighting occurred in the forest of Ephraim. 7 The people of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David. That day the defeat was extensive, twenty thousand men. 8 The fighting spread across the land, and the people consumed by the forest were more numerous than those consumed by the sword that day.

9 Absalom was encountered by some of the servants of David. Now Absalom was riding on his mule. When the mule went under the branches of a very large tree, his head was caught in the tree. He was left in midair while the mule that was under him kept going.

10 One man saw him and reported it to Joab, saying, “I saw Absalom hanging in a tree.”

11 Joab said to the man who was reporting to him, “What? You saw him? Why did you not strike him on the spot, sending him to the ground? I would have given you ten shekels of silver and a belt.”

12 The man said to Joab, “Not even if I had felt the weight of a thousand shekels of silver in my hand would I have laid a hand on the king’s son. In our hearing the king commanded you, Abishai, and Ittai saying: Beware lest anyone touch the young man Absalom! 13 Otherwise, I would have worked falsehood against my own life. For nothing is hidden from the king, and you yourself would have set yourself against me.”

14 Then Joab said, “I will not waste any more time with you.” He took three spears in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the midst of the tree. 15 Then ten young men, armor bearers for Joab, gathered around and struck down Absalom, killing him.

16 When Joab blew the horn, the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab held back the people. 17 Then they took Absalom, disposed of him in a large pit in the forest, and piled over him a very large heap of stones. Then all Israel fled, everyone to his home.

18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a memorial stone in the Valley of the King, for he said, “I have no son by whom my name may be remembered.” So he named the memorial stone after himself; and to this day, it is called the monument of Absalom.

19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Allow me to run and bring the news to the king that the Lord has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.”

20 But Joab said to him, “You will not be a man who bears news today; you may bear news another day. Today you will not bear news because the king’s son is dead.”

21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, report to the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed to Joab, then ran off.

22 Ahimaaz again said to Joab, “Whatever may happen, let me run also, after the Cushite.”

Then Joab said, “Why is it that you want to run, my son? There is no messenger’s reward for you to obtain.”

23 “Whatever happens, I want to run.”

So he said to him, “Run.” So Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and passed the Cushite.

24 Now David was sitting between the two gates when the watchman went up to the roof of the gate, to the city wall. He lifted his eyes and saw a man running by himself. 25 The watchman called and told the king.

The king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he came ever closer.

26 Then the watchman saw another man running. The watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “Look there is another man running alone.”

The king said, “He also is bringing news.”

27 The watchman said, “I think that the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz.”

The king said, “He is a good man and comes with good news.”

28 Then Ahimaaz called to the king and said, “All is well.” He bowed down to the ground before the king and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God who has handed over the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.”

29 The king said, “Is it well for the young man Absalom?”

Ahimaaz said, “I saw a great commotion when Joab sent the servant of the king, your servant, but I do not know what it was.”

30 The king said, “Step aside and stand here.” So he stepped aside and stood in position.

31 Then the Cushite came and said, “Good news for my lord the king, for today the Lord has delivered you from those who rose up against you.”

32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well for the young man Absalom?”

The Cushite said, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who would rise up against you to do harm become as the young man is.”

33 The king was deeply moved and went up to the upper chamber of the gate and wept. As he went he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! If only I could have given my death in your stead, Absalom, my son, my son!”

Luke 17:20–37

20 When He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation. 21 Nor will they say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For remember, the kingdom of God is within you.”

22 Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 They will say to you, ‘Look here,’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not follow after them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the heavens from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating, drinking, marrying, and were given in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

28 “Likewise as it was in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built. 29 But on the day that Lot departed from Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from heaven and destroyed them all.

30 “So will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away. And likewise let him who is in the field not return to the things behind. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two men will be in one bed; the one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; the one will be taken and the other will be left. 36 Two men will be in the field; the one will be taken and the other will be left.”

37 They asked, “Where, Lord?”

He replied, “Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”