1. The king shuddered. He went up to the room over the gate and burst into tears; and, as he wept, he kept saying, 'Oh, my son Absalom! My son! My son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! Oh, Absalom my son, my son!'
2. Word was brought to Joab, 'The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.'
3. And for the entire army that day, victory was turned to mourning, the troops having learnt that the king was grieving for his son.
4. And that day the troops came furtively back into town, like troops creeping shamefacedly away when deserting in battle.
5. The king had covered his face and kept crying aloud, 'My son Absalom! Oh, Absalom my son, my son!'
6. Joab went inside to the king and said, 'Today you have made all your servants feel ashamed-today, when they have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines!-because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you.
7. Today you have made it plain that commanders and soldiers mean nothing to you -- for today I can see that you would be content if we were all dead, provided that Absalom was alive!
8. Now get up, come out and reassure your soldiers; for if you do not come out, I swear by Yahweh, not one man will stay with you tonight; and this will be a worse misfortune for you than anything that has happened to you from your youth until now!'
9. The king got up and took his seat at the gate. An announcement was made to the whole army: 'The king is sitting at the gate.' And the whole army assembled in front of the king.
10. Israel had fled, dispersing to their homes. Throughout the tribes of Israel all was dissension and people began saying, 'The king, having freed us from the clutches of our enemies, having saved us from the clutches of the Philistines, has himself had to flee the country to escape form Absalom;
11. and now Absalom, whom we had anointed to reign over us, has died in battle. Why does no one suggest that the king should be brought back?'What was being said throughout Israel reached the king.
12. King David then sent word to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, 'Say to the elders of Judah, "Why should you be the last to bring the king home?
13. You are my brothers, you are my own flesh and bone: why should you be the last to bring the king back?"
14. And say to Amasa, "Are you not my own flesh and bone? May God bring unnameable ills on me and worse ills, too, if you do not become my permanent army commander instead of Joab!" '
15. Thus he rallied the hearts of the men of Judah to a man and, as a result, they sent word to the king, 'Come back, you and all who serve you.'
16. So the king started home and reached the Jordan. Judah, coming to meet the king to escort him across the Jordan, had arrived at Gilgal.
17. Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite of Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David.
18. With him were a thousand men from Benjamin. Ziba, servant of the House of Saul, with his fifteen sons and twenty servants, arrived at the Jordan before the king
19. and worked manfully ferrying the king's family across and doing whatever he required. While the king was crossing the Jordan, Shimei son of Gera fell at the king's feet
20. and said to the king, 'I hope my lord does not regard me as guilty of a crime! Forget about the wrong your servant did on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. Let my lord not hold my guilt against me.
21. For your servant is aware of having sinned, and that is why I have come today -- the first member of the whole House of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.'
22. At this, Abishai son of Zeruiah spoke up and said, 'Does Shimei not deserve death for having cursed Yahweh's anointed?'
23. To which David replied, 'What concern is my business to you, sons of Zeruiah, that you should oppose my wishes today? Could anyone be put to death in Israel today? Today I know for sure that I am king of Israel?'
24. 'Your life is spared,' the king said. And the king gave him his oath.
25. Meribbaal son of Saul also went down to meet the king. He had not cared for his feet or hands, he had not trimmed his moustache or washed his clothes from the day of the king's departure till the day of his peaceful return.
26. When he arrived from Jerusalem to greet the king, the king asked him, 'Why did you not come with me, Meribbaal?'
27. 'My lord king,' he replied, 'my retainer deceived me. Your servant said to him, "Saddle the donkey for me to ride, so that I can go with the king," your servant being lame.
28. He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. My lord the king, however, is like the Angel of God, so do as you think right.
29. My father's entire family deserved no better than death from my lord the king, and yet you admitted your servant to the ranks of those who eat at your table. What right have I to make any further appeal to the king?'
30. The king said, 'You need say no more. I rule that you and Ziba divide the property between you.'
31. 'Let him take it all,' Meribbaal said to the king, 'since my lord the king has come back home in peace!'
32. Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim and accompanied the king towards the Jordan, intending to take leave of him at the Jordan.
33. Barzillai was a man of great age; he was eighty years old. He had kept the king in provisions during his stay at Mahanaim, being a very wealthy man.
34. 'Come with me', the king said to Barzillai, 'and I will provide for you at my side in Jerusalem.'
35. Barzillai replied to the king, 'How many years have I left to live, for me to go up to Jerusalem with the king?
36. I am now eighty years old; can I tell the good from the bad? Has your servant any taste for his food and drink? Can I still hear the voices of men and women singers? Why should your servant be a further burden to my lord the king?
37. Your servant will go a little way across the Jordan with the king; but why should the king reward me so generously for that?
38. Please allow your servant to go home again, so that I can die in my own town near the grave of my father and mother. But here is your servant Chimham; let him go with my lord the king; treat him as you think right.'
39. The king said, 'Let Chimham come along with me then; I shall do whatever you wish for him, and anything you request I shall do for your sake.'
40. The people then all crossed the Jordan, and the king, having crossed, kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and the latter went home.
41. The king went on to Gilgal and Chimham went with him. All the people of Judah accompanied the king, and also half the people of Israel.
42. All the men of Israel then came to the king. 'Why', they asked the king, 'have our brothers, the men of Judah, carried you off and brought the king and his family across the Jordan, and all David's men with him?'
43. All the men of Judah retorted to the men of Israel, 'Because the king is more closely related to us. Why do you take offence at this? Have we been eating at the king's expense? Have we taken any position for ourselves?'
44. The men of Israel replied to the men of Judah, 'We have ten shares in the king and, what is more, we are your elder brothers, so why have you slighted us? Were we not the first to suggest bringing back our king?' The men of Judah's words were even more intemperate than those of the men of Israel.