Day 162 of the Holy Bible One Year Challenge. David battles Israel for the throne. Absalom gets caught in a tree. Stephen recounts the days of Moses.
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2 Samuel 16:15-23
2 Samuel 17
2 Samuel 18:1-18
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2 Samuel 16:15-23
15 Meanwhile, Absalom, Ahithophel and all the Israelites came to Jerusalem. 16 David’s friend, Hushai the Arkite, came to Absalom and told him, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
17 Absalom answered, “Why are you not loyal to your friend David? Why did you not leave Jerusalem with your friend?”
18 Hushai said, “I belong to the one that the LORD chooses. These people and the people of Israel chose you. I will stay with you. 19 In the past I served your father. So now I will serve you, David’s son.”
Absalom Asks Ahithophel for Advice
20 Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Please tell us what we should do.”
21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Your father left some of his slave women here to take care of the house. Go and have sex with them. Then all the Israelites will hear how you humiliated your father, and they will be encouraged to give you more support.”
22 Then they put up a tent for Absalom on the roof of the house. Absalom had sex with his father’s wives* where all the Israelites could see. 23 In those days, Ahithophel’s advice was accepted as though it were the word of God. So Absalom gladly followed his advice, just as David had done.
2 Samuel 17
Ahithophel’s Advice About David
Ahithophel also said to Absalom, “Now, let me choose 12,000 men
to chase David tonight. 2 I will catch him while he is tired and weak. I will frighten him, and all his people will run away. But I will kill only King David. 3 Then I will bring all the people back to you. If David is dead, all the people will come back in peace.”
4 This plan seemed good to Absalom and all the leaders of Israel. 5 But Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Arkite. I also want to hear what he says.”
Hushai Ruins Ahithophel’s Advice
6 When Hushai arrived, Absalom said to him, “This is the plan Ahithophel gave us. Should we follow it? If not, tell us.”
7 Hushai said to Absalom, “Ahithophel’s advice is not good this time.” 8 Hushai added, “You know that your father and his men are strong men. They are as dangerous as a wild bear when something has taken its cubs. Your father is a skilled fighter. He will not stay all night with the people. 9 He is probably already hiding in a cave or some other place. If your father attacks your men first, people will hear the news and think, ‘Absalom’s followers are losing!’ 10 Then even your bravest men will be frightened because all the Israelites know that your father is a powerful soldier and that his men are very brave.
11 “This is what I suggest: gather all the Israelites from Dan to Beersheba.† Then there will be many people, like the sand by the sea. Then you yourself must go into the battle. 12 We will catch David wherever he is hiding and attack him with so many soldiers that they will be like the dew that covers the ground. We will kill David and all his men—no one will be left alive. 13 But if David escapes into a city, all the Israelites can bring ropes to that city and pull its walls down into the valley. Not even a small stone will be left in that city.”
14 Absalom and all the Israelites said, “Hushai’s advice is better than Ahithophel’s.” Actually, Ahithophel’s advice was good, but they said this because the LORD had decided to make Ahithophel’s advice useless. He did this to punish Absalom.
Hushai Sends a Warning to David
15 Hushai told the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, what was said. He told them what Ahithophel had suggested to Absalom and the leaders of Israel. Hushai also told them what he himself had suggested. He said, 16 “Send a message to David now! Tell him not to spend the night at the places where people cross into the desert. Tell him to go across the Jordan River at once. If he crosses the river, the king and all his people will not be caught.”
17 The priests’ sons, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, did not want to be seen going into the city, so they waited at En Ro- gel. A servant girl went out to them and gave them the message. Then Jonathan and Ahimaaz took the message to King David.
18 But a boy saw Jonathan and Ahimaaz and ran to tell Absalom. Jonathan and Ahimaaz ran away quickly. They arrived at a man’s house in Bahurim. The man had a well in his courtyard. Jonathan and Ahimaaz climbed down into this well. 19 The man’s wife spread a sheet over the mouth of the well and covered it with grain. The well looked like a pile of grain, so no one would know to look there. 20 Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house. They asked, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”
The woman said to Absalom’s servants, “They have already crossed over the brook.”
Absalom’s servants then went to look for Jonathan and Ahimaaz, but they could not find them. So Absalom’s servants went back to Jerusalem.
21 After Absalom’s servants left, Jonathan and Ahimaaz climbed out of the well and went to King David. They said to David, “Hurry and go across the river. Ahithophel has planned something against you.”
22 So David and his people crossed over the Jordan River. By sunrise, all of David’s people had crossed the Jordan River. No one was left behind.
Ahithophel Kills Himself
23 When Ahithophel saw that the Israelites did not do what he suggested, he saddled his donkey and went back to his hometown. He made plans for his family and then hanged himself. They buried him in his father’s tomb.
Absalom Crosses the Jordan River
24 David arrived at Mahanaim just as Absalom and the Israelites who were with him crossed over the Jordan River. 25–26 Absalom and the Israelites set up camp in the land of Gilead. Absalom had made Amasa the new commander of the army. He took Joab’s place.* Amasa was the son of Ithra the Ishmaelite.† His mother was Abigail, the daughter of Nahash, the sister of Joab’s mother Zeruiah.‡
Shobi, Makir and Barzillai
27 When David arrived at Mahanaim, Shobi, Makir, and Barzillai were there. Shobi son of Nahash was from the Am- monite town of Rabbah. Makir son of Ammiel was from Lo Debar. Barzillai was from Rogelim in Gilead. 28–29 These three men said, “The people are tired, hungry, and thirsty from the desert.” So they brought many things to David and those with him. They brought beds, bowls and other kinds of dishes. They also brought wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, dried seeds, honey, butter, sheep, and cheese made from cow’s milk.
2 Samuel 18:1-18
David Gets Ready for Battle
David counted his men and chose commanders* and captains† to lead them. 2 He separated the people into three groups and sent them out. Joab led a third of the men. Joab’s brother, Abishai son of Zeruiah, led an- other third. And Ittai from Gath led the last third.
King David said to the people, “I will also go with you.”
3 But they said, “No! You must not go with us. If we run away in the battle, Absalom’s men will not care. No, even if only half of us are killed, Absalom’s men will not care. But you are worth 10,000 of us!‡ It is better for you to stay in the city. Then, if we need help, you can come to help us.”
4 The king said to them, “I will do what you think is best.”
Then the king stood by the gate as the army went out in groups of 100 and 1000.
5 The king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “Do this for me: Be gentle with young Absalom!” Everyone heard the king’s orders to the captains about Absalom.
David’s Army Defeats Absalom’s Army
6 David’s army went out into the field against Absalom’s Israelites. They fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7–8 The fighting spread throughout the area, and David’s army defeated the Israelites. It was a great defeat because 20,000 soldiers died that day. But more of them died from the dangers in the forest than were killed in battle.
9 Some of David’s men happened to see Absalom riding on a mule. Absalom tried to escape through the forest. But the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak tree, and Absalom’s head got caught in the branches. The mule kept on running, so Absalom was left hanging in the air.
10 One of David’s men saw what had happened and told Joab, “I saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree.”
11 Joab said to the man, “Why didn’t you kill him and let him fall to the ground? I would have given you a belt and ten pieces of silver!”
12 The man said to Joab, “I would not harm the king’s son even if you gave me 1000 pieces of silver. We heard the king’s command to you, Abishai and Ittai. The king said, ‘Be careful not to hurt young Absalom.’ 13 If I had killed Absalom, the king himself would find out, and you would punish me.”
14 Joab said, “I will not waste my time here with you!”
Absalom was still alive and hanging in the oak tree. Joab took three sticks in his hand and stabbed him in the heart.
15 Ten of Joab’s young helpers gathered around Absalom and killed him.
16 Joab blew the trumpet and called the people to stop chasing the Israelites. 17 Then Joab’s men took Absalom’s body and threw it into a large hole in the for- est and covered it with stones.
All the Israelites ran away and went home.
18 While Absalom was alive he put up a stone monument in King’s Valley. He said, “I have no son to keep my name alive.” So he named that monument after himself. It is called “Absalom’s Monument” even today.
20 “This was the time when Moses was
born. He was a very beautiful child, and for three months his parents took care of him at home. 21 When they put him outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him. She raised him as her own son. 22 The Egyptians taught Moses everything they knew. He was powerful in all he said and did.
23 “When Moses was about 40 years old, he decided to visit his own people, the people of Israel. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he defended him. Moses hit the Egyptian to pay him back for hurting the man. He hit him so hard that it killed him. 25 Moses thought that his people would understand that God was using him to save them. But they did not understand. 26 “The next day, Moses saw two of his
own people fighting. He tried to make peace between them. He said, ‘Men, you are brothers! Why are you trying to hurt each other?’ 27 The man who was hurt- ing the other one pushed Moses away and said to him, ‘Did anyone say you could be our ruler and judge? 28 Will you kill me just as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’* 29 When Moses heard him say this, he ran away from Egypt. He went to live in the land of Midian, where he was a stranger. During the time he lived there, he had two sons.
30 “Forty years later Moses was in the desert near Mount Sinai. An angel appeared to him in the flame of a burning bush. 31 When Moses saw this, he was amazed. He went near to look closer at it. He heard a voice; it was the Lord’s. 32 The Lord said, ‘I am the same God your ancestors worshipped, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses be- gan to shake with fear. He was afraid to look at the bush.
33 “The Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals because the place where you are now standing is holy ground. 34 I have seen my people suffer much in Egypt. I have heard my people cry- ing and have come down to save them. Come now, Moses, I am sending you back to Egypt.’
35 “This Moses was the one his people said they did not want. They said, ‘Did anyone say you could be our ruler and judge?’¶ But he is the one God sent to be a ruler and savior. God sent him with the help of an angel, the one Moses saw in the burning bush. 36 So Moses led the people out of Egypt. He worked wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and then in the desert for 40 years.
37 “This is the same Moses who said these words to the people of Israel: ‘God will give you a prophet. That prophet will come from among your own people. He will be like me.’§ 38 This same Moses was with the gathering of God’s people in the desert. He was with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and he was with our ancestors. He received life-giving words from God to give to us.
39 “But our ancestors did not want to obey Moses. They rejected him. They wanted to go back to Egypt. 40 They said to Aaron, ‘Moses led us out of the country of Egypt. But we don’t know what has happened to him. So make some gods to go before us and lead us.’ 41 So the people made an idol that looked like a calf. Then they brought sacrifices to it. They were very happy with what they had made with their own hands. 42 But God turned against them and let them continue worshipping the stars and planets. This is what God says in the book that contains what the prophets wrote: ‘People of Israel, you did not bring me animal sacrifices and offerings in the desert for 40 years;
43 You carried with you the tent for worshipping Moloch and the image of the star of your god Rephan. These were the idols you made to worship. So I will send you away beyond Babylon.'
God, help the king to be like you and make fair decisions.
Help the king’s son know what justice is. 2 Help the king judge your people fairly and make wise decisions for your poor people.
3 Let there be peace and justice throughout the land,
known on every mountain and hill.
4 May the king be fair to the poor and help the helpless
and punish those who hurt them.
5 May people always fear and respect you, God,
as long as the sun shines and the moon is in the sky.
6 Help the king be like rain falling on the fields,
like showers falling on the land.
7 Let goodness grow everywhere while he is king.
Let peace continue as long as there is a moon.
8 Let his kingdom grow from sea to sea,
to the edge of the waters surrounding the earth.
9 May all the people living in the desert bow down to him
and all his enemies bow before him with their faces in the dirt.
10 May the kings of Tarshish and the far-
away islands pay taxes to him
and the kings of Sheba and Seba bring him gifts.
11 May all kings bow down to our king
and all nations serve him.
12 Our king rescues the poor who cry out to him—
those in need who have no one to help them.
13 He feels sorry for all who are weak and poor.
He protects their lives.
14 He saves them from the cruel people who try to hurt them.
Their lives are important to him.
15 Long live the king!
Let him receive gold from Sheba. Always pray for the king.
Ask God to bless him every day.
16 May the fields grow plenty of grain and the hills be covered with crops.
May the fields be as fertile as Lebanon, and may people fill the cities as grass covers a field.
17 May the king be famous forever,
and may people remember his name as long as the sun shines.
May all nations be blessed through him, and may they all bless him.
18 Praise the LORD God, the God of Israel!
Only he can do such amazing things. 19 Praise his glorious name forever! Let his glory fill the whole world.
Amen and Amen!
20 This ends the prayers of David son of Jesse.
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