NOW Absalom, upon this his success with the king, procured to himself a great many horses, and many chariots, and that in a little time also. When he had made himself so popular among the multitude, he thought he had already the good-will of the people secured to him; but when four years had passed since his father's reconciliation to him, he came to him, and besought him to give him leave to go to Hebron. So when David had granted his request, he went thither.
Among them came Ahithophel the Gilonite, a counsellor of David's,and two hundred men out of Jerusalem itself, who knew not his intentions, but were sent for as to a sacrifice. So he was appointed King by all of them, which he obtained by this stratagem. As soon as this news was brought to David, and he was informed of what he did not expect from his son, he was affrighted at this his impious and bold undertaking, and wondered that he was so far from remembering how his offense had been so lately forgiven him, that he undertook much worse and more wicked enterprises; first, to deprive him of that kingdom which was given him of God; and secondly, to take away his own father's life. He therefore resolved to fly to the parts beyond Jordan: so he called his most intimate friends together, and communicated to them all that he had heard of his son's madness.
Biblical Reference of Josephus' Comments
13 A messenger came and told David, “Everyone in Israel is on Absalom’s side!” 14 David’s officials were in Jerusalem with him, and he told them, “Let’s get out of here! We’ll have to leave soon, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Hurry! If he moves fast, he could catch us while we’re still here. Then he will kill us and everyone else in the city.” 15 The officials said, “Your Majesty, we’ll do whatever you say.”
16-17 David left behind ten of his wives to take care of the palace, but the rest of his family and his officials and soldiers went with him. They stopped at the last house at the edge of the city. 18 Then David stood there and watched while his regular troops and his bodyguards marched past. The last group was the six hundred soldiers who had followed him from Gath. Their commander was Ittai.
19 David spoke to Ittai and said, “You’re a foreigner from the town of Gath. You don’t have to leave with us. Go back and join the new king! 20 You haven’t been with me very long, so why should you have to follow me, when I don’t even know where I’m going? Take your soldiers and go back. I pray that the Lord will be kind and faithful to you.” 21 Ittai answered, “Your Majesty, just as surely as you and the Lord live, I will go where you go, no matter if it costs me my life.” 22 “Then come on!” David said. So Ittai and all his men and their families walked on past David.
23 The people of Jerusalem were crying and moaning as David and everyone with him passed by. He led them across Kidron Valley and along the road toward the desert. 24 Zadok and Abiathar the priests were there along with several men from the tribe of Levi who were carrying the sacred chest. They set the chest down, and left it there until David and his followers had gone out of the city.
25 Then David said: Zadok, take the sacred chest back to Jerusalem. If the Lord is pleased with me, he will bring me back and let me see it and his tent again.
29 Zadok and Abiathar took the sacred chest back into Jerusalem and stayed there. 30 David went on up the slope of the Mount of Olives. He was barefoot and crying, and he covered his head to show his sorrow. Everyone with him was crying, and they covered their heads too. 31 Someone told David, “Ahithophel is helping Absalom plot against you!” David said, “Please, Lord, keep Ahithophel’s plans from working!” (2 Samuel 15:13-25, 29-31CEV)
He committed himself to God, to judge between them about all their actions; and left the care of his royal palace to his ten concubines, and went away from Jerusalem, being willingly accompanied by the rest of the multitude, who went hastily away with him, and particularly by those six hundred armed men, who had been with him from his first flight in the days of Saul. But he persuaded Abiathar and Zadok, the high priests, who had determined to go away with him, as also all the Levites, who were with the ark, to stay behind, as hoping that God would deliver him without its removal; but he charged them to let him know privately how all things went on; and he had their sons, Ahimmaz the son of Zadok, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar, for faithful ministers in all things; but Ittai the Gitrite went out with him whether David would let him or not, for he would have persuaded him to stay, and on that account he appeared the more friendly to him. But as he was ascending the Mount of Olives barefooted, and all his company were in tears, it was told him that Ahithophel was with Absalom, and was of his side.
This hearing augmented his grief; and he besought God earnestly to alienate the mind of Absalom from Ahithophel, for he was afraid that he should persuade him to follow his pernicious counsel, for he was a prudent man, and very sharp in seeing what was advantageous. When David was gotten upon the top of the mountain, he took a view of the city; and prayed to God with abundance of tears, as having already lost his kingdom; and here it was that a faithful friend of his, whose name was Hushai, met him. When David saw him with his clothes rent, and having ashes all over his head, and in lamentation for the great change of affairs, he comforted him, and exhorted him to leave off grieving; nay, at length he besought him to go back to Absalom, and appear as one of his party, and to fish out the secretest counsels of his mind, and to contradict the counsels of Ahithophel, for that he could not do him so much good by being with him as he might by being with Absalom. So he was prevailed on by David, and left him, and came to Jerusalem, whither Absalom himself came also a little while afterward.
But when Absalom, and Ahithophel his counselor, were come to Jerusalem, with all the people, David's friend, Hushai, came to them; and when he had worshipped Absalom, he withal wished that his kingdom might last a long time, and continue for all ages.
This speech persuaded Absalom, who before suspected Hushai. And now he called Ahithophel, and consulted with him what he ought to do: he persuaded him to go in unto his father's concubines.
Accordingly, Absalom was prevailed on by this advice, and commanded his servants to pitch him a tent upon the top of the royal palace, in the sight of the multitude; and he went in and lay with his father's concubines. Now this came to pass according to the prediction of Nathan, when he prophesied and signified to him that his son would rise up in rebellion against him.
So Hushai made haste to the high priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and told them the opinion of Ahithophel, and his own, and that the resolution was taken to follow this latter advice. He therefore bade them send to David, and tell him of it, and to inform him of the counsels that had been taken; and to desire him further to pass quickly over Jordan, lest his son should change his mind, and make haste to pursue him, and so prevent him, and seize upon him before he be in safety. Now the high priests had their sons concealed in a proper place out of the city, that they might carry news to David of what was transacted. Accordingly, they sent a maid-servant, whom they could trust, to them, to carry the news of Absalom's counsels, and ordered them to signify the same to David with all speed. So they made no excuse nor delay, but taking along with them their fathers' injunctions, because pious and faithful ministers, and judging that quickness and suddenness was the best mark of faithful service, they made haste to meet with David.
Now, as for David, he passed over Jordan, as we have said already, and came to Mahanaim, every fine and very strong city; and all the chief men of the country received him with great pleasure, both out of the shame they had that he should be forced to flee away [from Jerusalem], and out of the respect they bare him while he was in his former prosperity.
Biblical Reference of Josephus' Comments
24 David went to the town of Mahanaim, and Absalom crossed the Jordan River with the army of Israel. 25 Absalom put Amasa in Joab’s place as commander of the army. Amasa’s father was Ithra from the family of Ishmael, and his mother was Abigal, the daughter of Nahash and the sister of Joab’s mother Zeruiah. 26 The Israelites under Absalom’s command set up camp in the region of Gilead.
7-8 Battles were being fought all over the forest, and David’s soldiers were winning. Twenty thousand soldiers were killed that day, and more of them died from the dangers of the forest than from the fighting itself. 9 Absalom was riding his mule under a huge tree when his head caught in the branches. The mule ran off and left Absalom hanging in midair. Some of David’s soldiers happened by, 10 and one of them went and told Joab, “I saw Absalom hanging in a tree!” 11 Joab said, “You saw Absalom? Why didn’t you kill him? I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a special belt.” 12 The man answered, “Even if you paid me a thousand pieces of silver here and now, I still wouldn’t touch the king’s son. We all heard King David tell you and Abishai and Ittai not to harm Absalom. 13 He always finds out what’s going on. I would have been risking my life to kill Absalom, because you would have let me take the blame.” 14 Joab said, “I’m not going to waste any more time on you!” Absalom was still alive, so Joab took three spears and stuck them through Absalom’s chest. 15 Ten of Joab’s bodyguards came over and finished him off. 16 Then Joab blew a trumpet to signal his troops to stop chasing Israel’s soldiers. 17 They threw Absalom’s body into a deep pit in the forest and put a big pile of rocks over it. Meanwhile, the people of Israel had all run back to their own homes. (2 Samuel 17:24-26, 18:7-17, CEV)
Absalom catches hair in tree and is killed
AND this was the state of David and his followers: but Absalom got together a vast army of the Hebrews to oppose his father, and passed therewith over the river Jordan, and sat down not far off Mahanaim, in the country of Gilead. He appointed Amasa to be captain of all his host, instead of Joab his kinsman: his father was Ithra and his mother Abigail: now she and Zeruiah, the mother of Joab, were David's sisters. But when David had numbered his followers, and found them to be about four thousand, he resolved not to tarry till Absalom attacked him, but set over his men captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, and divided his army into three parts; the one part he committed to Joab, the next to Abishai, Joab's brother, and the third to Ittai, David's companion and friend, but one that came from the city Gath; and when he was desirous of fighting himself among them, his friends would not let him: and this refusal of theirs was founded upon very wise reasons.
So David was pleased with this their advice, and resolved himself to tarry at Mahanaim; and as he sent his friends and commanders to the battle, he desired them to show all possible alacrity and fidelity, and to bear in mind what advantages they had received from him, which, though they had not been very great, yet had they not been quite inconsiderable; and he begged of them to spare the young man Absalom, lest some mischief should befall himself, if he should be killed; and thus did he send out his army to the battle, and wished them victory therein.
Then did Joab put his army in battle-array over against the enemy in the Great Plain, where he had a wood behind him. Absalom also brought his army into the field to oppose him. Upon the joining of the battle, both sides showed great actions with their hands and their boldness; the one side exposing themselves to the greatest hazards, and using their utmost alacrity, that David might recover his kingdom; and the other being no way deficient, either in doing or suffering, that Absalom might not be deprived of that kingdom, and be brought to punishment by his father for his impudent attempt against him. Those also that were the most numerous were solicitous that they might not be conquered by those few that were with Joab, and with the other commanders, because that would be the greater disgrace to them; while David's soldiers strove greatly to overcome so many ten thousands as the enemy had with them.
But all David's men ran violently upon Absalom, for he was easily known by his beauty and tallness. He was himself also afraid lest his enemies should seize on him, so he got upon the king's mule, and fled; but as he was carried with violence, and noise, and a great motion, as being himself light, he entangled his hair greatly in the large boughs of a knotty tree that spread a great way, and there he hung, after a surprising manner. Now when one of David's soldiers saw this, he informed Joab of it.
But Joab bade him show him where it was that he saw Absalom hang; whereupon he shot him to the heart, and slew him, and Joab's armor-bearers stood round the tree, and pulled down his dead body, and cast it into a great chasm that was out of sight, and laid a heap of stones upon him, till the cavity was filled up, and had both the appearance and the bigness of a grave. Then Joab sounded a retreat, and recalled his own soldiers from pursuing the enemy's army, in order to spare their countrymen.
After the death of Absalom, they returned every one to their own homes respectively. But now Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok the high priest, went to Joab, and desired he would permit him to go and tell David of this victory, and to bring him the good news that God had afforded his assistance and his providence to him. However, he did not grant his request.
So he desired him to desist. He then called Cushi, and committed the business to him, that he should tell the King what he had seen. But when Ahimaaz again desired him to let him go as a messenger, and assured him that he would only relate what concerned the victory, but not concerning the death of Absalom, he gave him leave to go to David. Now he took a nearer road than the former did, for nobody knew it but himself, and he came before Cushi. Now David was sitting between the gates, and wept for his son, and beat his breast, tearing [the hair of] his head, tormenting himself all manner of ways. But when the army and Joab heard that the King mourned for his son, they were ashamed to enter the city in the habit of conquerors, but they all came in as cast down, and in tears, as if they had been beaten.
Biblical Reference of Josephus' Comments
1 There was a famine during David’s reign that lasted year after year for three years, and David spent much time in prayer about it. Then the Lord said, "The famine is because of the guilt of Saul and his family, for they murdered the Gibeonites." 2 So King David summoned the Gibeonites. They were not part of Israel but were what was left of the nation of the Amorites. Israel had sworn not to kill them; but Saul, in his nationalistic zeal, had tried to wipe them out. 3 David asked them, "What can I do for you to rid ourselves of this guilt and to induce you to ask God to bless us?" 4 "Well, money won’t do it," the Gibeonites replied, "and we don’t want to see Israelites executed in revenge." "What can I do, then?" David asked. "Just tell me and I will do it for you." 5-6 "Well, then," they replied, "give us seven of Saul’s sons—the sons of the man who did his best to destroy us. We will hang them before the Lord in Gibeon, the city of King Saul." "All right," the king said, "I will do it." 7 He spared Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, who was Saul’s grandson, because of the oath between himself and Jonathan.
15 Once when the Philistines were at war with Israel, and David and his men were in the thick of the battle, David became weak and exhausted. 16 Ishbi-benob, a giant whose speartip weighed more than twelve pounds and who was sporting a new suit of armor, closed in on David and was about to kill him. 17 But Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, came to his rescue and killed the Philistine. After that David’s men declared, "You are not going out to battle again! Why should we risk snuffing out the light of Israel?" (2 Samuel 21:1-7, 15-17, TLB)
Israelites delivered from famine, David fights Philistines
AFTER this, when the country was greatly afflicted with a famine, David besought God to have mercy on the people, and to discover to him what was the cause of it, and how a remedy might be found for that distemper. And when the prophets answered, that God would have the Gibeonites avenged whom Saul the King was so wicked as to betray to slaughter, and had not observed the oath which Joshua the general and the senate had sworn to them: If, therefore, said God, the King would permit such vengeance to be taken for those that were slain as the Gibeonites should desire, he promised that he would be reconciled to them, and free the multitude from their miseries.
So when the Gibeonites had received the men, they punished them as they pleased; upon which God began to send rain, and to recover the earth to bring forth its fruits as usual, and to free it from the foregoing drought, so that the country of the Hebrews flourished again. A little afterward the King made war against the Philistines; and when he had joined battle with them, and put them to flight, he was left alone, as he was in pursuit of them; and when he was quite tired down, he was seen by one of the enemy, his name was Achmon, the son of Araph, he was one of the sons of the giants. He had a spear, the handle of which weighed three hundred shekels, and a breastplate of chain-work, and a sword. He turned back, and ran violently to slay [David] their enemy's king, for he was quite tired out with labor; but Abishai, Joab's brother, appeared on the sudden, and protected the King with his shield, as he lay down, and slew the enemy. Now the multitude were very uneasy at these dangers of the king, and that he was very near to be slain; and the rulers made him swear that he would no more go out with them to battle, lest he should come to some great misfortune by his courage and boldness, and thereby deprive the people of the benefits they now enjoyed by his means, and of those that they might hereafter enjoy by his living a long time among them.
When the King heard that the Philistines were gathered together at the city Gazara, he sent an army against them, when Sibbechai the Hittite, one of David's most courageous men, behaved himself so as to deserve great commendation, for he slew many of those that bragged they were the posterity of the giants, and vaunted themselves highly on that account, and thereby was the occasion of victory to the Hebrews. After which defeat, the Philistines made war again; and when David had sent an army against them, Nephan his kinsman fought in a single combat with the stoutest of all the Philistines, and slew him, and put the rest to flight. Many of them also were slain in the fight. Now a little while after this, the Philistines pitched their camp at a city which lay not far off the bounds of the country of the Hebrews. They had a man who was six cubits tall, and had on each of his feet and hands one more toe and finger than men naturally have. Now the person who was sent against them by David out of his army was Jonathan, the son of Shimea, who fought this man in a single combat, and slew him; and as he was the person who gave the turn to the battle, he gained the greatest reputation for courage therein. This man also vaunted himself to be of the sons of the giants. But after this fight the Philistines made war no more against the Israelites.
Biblical Reference of Josephus' Comments
1 Once again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census. "Go and count the people of Israel and Judah," the LORD told him. 2 So the king said to Joab and the commanders of the army, "Take a census of all the tribes of Israel—from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south—so I may know how many people there are."
10 But after he had taken the census, David’s conscience began to bother him. And he said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt, LORD, for doing this foolish thing." 11 The next morning the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, who was David’s seer. This was the message: 12"Go and say to David, ‘This is what the LORD says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’"
1 5So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days. 16 But as the angel was preparing to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD relented and said to the death angel, "Stop! That is enough!" At that moment the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 When David saw the angel, he said to the LORD, "I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? Let your anger fall against me and my family."
18 That day Gad came to David and said to him, "Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." 19 So David went up to do what the LORD had commanded him. 20 When Araunah saw the king and his men coming toward him, he came and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 21 "Why have you come, my lord the king?" Araunah asked. David replied, "I have come to buy your threshing floor and to build an altar to the LORD there, so that he will stop the plague." 22 "Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish," Araunah said to David. "Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and you can use the threshing boards and ox yokes for wood to build a fire on the altar. 23I will give it all to you, Your Majesty, and may the LORD your God accept your sacrifice." 24 But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing." So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen.
25 David built an altar there to the LORD and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the LORD answered his prayer for the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped. (2 Samuel 24, NLT)
David takes census of people
NOW King David was desirous to know how many ten thousands there were of the people, but forgot the commands of Moses, who told them beforehand, that if the multitude were numbered, they should pay half a shekel to God for every head. Accordingly the King commanded Joab, the captain of his host, to go and number the whole multitude; but when he said there was no necessity for such a numeration, he was not persuaded [to countermand it], but he enjoined him to make no delay, but to go about the numbering of the Hebrews immediately. So Joab took with him the heads of the tribes, and the scribes, and went over the country of the Israelites, and took notice how numerous the multitude were, and returned to Jerusalem to the king, after nine months and twenty days; and he gave in to the King the number of the people, without the tribe of Benjamin, for he had not yet numbered that tribe, no more than the tribe of Levi, for the King repented of his having sinned against God. Now the number of the rest of the Israelites was nine hundred thousand men, who were able to bear arms and go to war; but the tribe of Judah, by itself, was four hundred thousand men.
Now when the prophets had signified to David that God was angry at him, he began to entreat him, and to desire he would be merciful to him, and forgive his sin. But God sent Nathan the prophet to him, to propose to him the election of three things, that he might choose which he liked best: Whether he would have famine come upon the country for seven years, or would have a war, and be subdued three months by his enemies? or, whether God should send a pestilence and a distemper upon the Hebrews for three days?
When the prophet had heard this, he declared it to God; who thereupon sent a pestilence and a mortality upon the Hebrews; nor did they die after one and the same manner, nor so that it was easy to know what the distemper was. Now the miserable disease was one indeed, but it carried them off by ten thousand causes and occasions, which those that were afflicted could not understand; for one died upon the neck of another, and the terrible malady seized them before they were aware, and brought them to their end suddenly, some giving up the ghost immediately with very great pains and bitter grief, and some were worn away by their distempers, and had nothing remaining to be buried, but as soon as ever they fell were entirely macerated; some were choked, and greatly lamented their case, as being also stricken with a sudden darkness; some there were who, as they were burying a relation, fell down dead, without finishing the rites of the funeral.
When God heard his supplication, he caused the pestilence to cease, and sent Gad the prophet to him, and commanded him to go up immediately to the thrashing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite, and build an altar there to God, and offer sacrifices. When David heard that, he did not neglect his duty, but made haste to the place appointed him. Now Araunah was thrashing wheat; and when he saw the King and all his servants coming to him, he ran before, and came to him and worshipped him: he was by his lineage a Jebusite, but a particular friend of David's; and for that cause it was that, when he overthrew the city, he did him no harm, as we informed the reader a little before.
He answered, to buy of him the thrashing-floor, that he might therein build an altar to God, and offer a sacrifice. He replied, that he freely gave him both the thrashing-floor and the ploughs and the oxen for a burnt-offering; and he besought God graciously to accept his sacrifice. But the King made answer, that he took his generosity and magnanimity loudly, and accepted his good-will, but he desired him to take the price of them all, for that it was not just to offer a sacrifice that cost nothing. And when Araunah said he would do as he pleased, he bought the thrashing-floor of him for fifty shekels. And when he had built an altar, he performed Divine service, and brought a burnt-offering, and offered peace-offerings also. With these God was pacified, and became gracious to them again.
David prepares for House of God, Solomon made king
AFTER the delivery of this prophecy, the King commanded the strangers to be numbered; and they were found to be one hundred and eighty thousand; of these he appointed fourscore thousand to be hewers of stone, and the rest of the multitude to carry the stones, and of them he set over the workmen three thousand and five hundred. He also prepared a great quantity of iron and brass for the work, with many (and those exceeding large) cedar trees; the Tyrians and Sidonians sending them to him, for he had sent to them for a supply of those trees. And he told his friends that these things were now prepared, that he might leave materials ready for the building of the temple to his son, who was to reign after him, and that he might not have them to seek then, when he was very young, and by reason of his age unskillful in such matters, but might have them lying by him, and so might the more readily complete the work.
6 He sent for his son Solomon and commanded him to build a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel. 7 David said to him, "Son, I wanted to build a temple to honor the Lord my God. 8 But the Lord told me that I had killed too many people and fought too many wars. And so, because of all the bloodshed I have caused, he would not let me build a temple for him. 9 He did, however, make me a promise. He said, ‘You will have a son who will rule in peace, because I will give him peace from all his enemies. His name will be Solomon, because during his reign I will give Israel peace and security. 10 He will build a temple for me. He will be my son, and I will be his father. His dynasty will rule Israel forever.’"
11 David continued, "Now, son, may the Lord your God be with you, and may he keep his promise to make you successful in building a temple for him.
14 As for the Temple, by my efforts I have accumulated almost four thousand tons of gold and nearly forty thousand tons of silver to be used in building it. Besides that, there is an unlimited supply of bronze and iron. I also have wood and stone ready, but you must get more. 15 You have many workers. There are stonecutters to work in the quarries, and there are masons and carpenters, as well as a large number of skilled workers of every sort who can work 16 with gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Now begin the work, and may the Lord be with you." (1 chronicles 22:6-11, 14-16, TEV)
David also further exhorted the rulers of the people to assist his son in this building, and to attend to the Divine service, when they should be free from all their misfortunes, for that they by this means should enjoy, instead of them, peace and a happy settlement, with which blessings God rewards such men as are religious and righteous. He also gave orders, that when the temple should be once built, they should put the ark therein, with the holy vessels; and he assured them that they ought to have had a temple long ago, if their fathers had not been negligent of God's commands, who had given it in charge, that when they had got the possession of this land, they should build him a temple. Thus did David discourse to the governors, and to his son.
1 King David had grown old, and although he was covered with blankets, he couldn’t get warm. 2 His officials told him, “Your Majesty, let us search for a young woman who has never been married. She can stay with you and be your servant. She can lie in your arms and keep you warm.” 3 So they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful, young woman. They found Abishag from Shunem and brought her to the king. 4 The woman was very beautiful. She became the king’s servant and took care of him, but the king did not make love to her.
5 Adonijah, son of Haggith, was very handsome. His mother gave birth to him after Maacah had Absalom. Adonijah was boasting that he was king. So he got a chariot and horses and 50 men to run ahead of him. 6His father had never confronted him by asking why he was doing this. 7But Adonijah had discussed his actions with Joab (son of Zeruiah) and with the priest Abiathar, so they supported him. 8But the priest Zadok, Benaiah (son of Jehoiada), the prophet Nathan, Shimei, Rei, and David’s thirty fighting men did not join Adonijah. 9 Adonijah sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened calves at Zoheleth Rock near En Rogel. He had invited all his brothers, the king’s ëotherû sons, all the men of Judah, and the king’s officials. 10 But he didn’t invite the prophet Nathan, Benaiah, the fighting men, or his brother Solomon. (1 Kings 1:1-10, GWT)
David was now in years, and his body, by length of time, was become cold, and benumbed, insomuch that he could get no heat by covering himself with many clothes; and when the physicians came together, they agreed to this advice, that a beautiful virgin, chosen out of the whole country, should sleep by the king's side, and that this damsel would communicate heat to him, and be a remedy against his numbness. Now there was found in the city one woman, of a superior beauty to all other women, (her name was Abishag,) who, sleeping with the king, did no more than communicate warmth to him, for he was so old that he could not know her as a husband knows his wife. But of this woman we shall speak more presently.
Now the fourth son of David was a beautiful young man, and tall, born to him of Haggith his wife. He was named Adonijah, and was in his disposition like to Absalom; and exalted himself as hoping to be king, and told his friends that he ought to take the government upon him. He also prepared many chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. When his father saw this, he did not reprove him, nor restrain him from his purpose, nor did he go so far as to ask wherefore he did so. Now Adonijah had for his assistants Joab the captain of the army, and Abiathar the high priest; and the only persons that opposed him were Zadok the high priest, and the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah, who was captain of the guards, and Shimei, David's friend, with all the other most mighty men. Now Adonijah had prepared a supper out of the city, near the fountain that was in the king's paradise, and had invited all his brethren except Solomon, and had taken with him Joab the captain of the army, and: Abiathar, and the rulers of the tribe of Judah, but had not invited to this feast either Zadok the high priest, or Nathan the prophet, or Benaiah the captain of the guards, nor any of those of the contrary party.
Now, as Bathsheba was speaking, the keeper of the king's chambers told him that Nathan desired to see him. And when the King had commanded that he should be admitted, he came in, and asked him whether he had ordained Adonijah to be king, and delivered the government to him, or not; for that he had made a splendid supper, and invited all his sons, except Solomon; as also that he had invited Joab, the captain of his host, [and Abiathar the high priest,] who are feasting with applauses, and many joyful sounds of instruments, and wish that his kingdom may last for ever; but he hath not invited me,nor Zadok the high priest, nor Benaiah the captain of the guards; and it is but fit that all should know whether this be done by thy approbation or not. When Nathan had said thus, the King commanded that they should call Bathsheba to him, for she had gone out of the room when the prophet came.
So Bathsheba worshipped him, and wished him a long life; and the King sent for Zadok the high priest, and Benaiah the captain of the guards; and when they were come, he ordered them to take with them Nathan the prophet, and all the armed men about the palace, and to set his son Solomon upon the king's mule, and to carry him out of the city to the fountain called Gihon, and to anoint him there with the holy oil, and to make him king. This he charged Zadok the high priest, and Nathan the prophet, to do, and commanded them to follow Solomon through the midst of the city, and to sound the trumpets, and wish aloud that Solomon the King may sit upon the royal throne for ever, that so all the people may know that he is ordained King by his father.
But David, being desirous of ordaining his son King of all the people, called together their rulers to Jerusalem, with the priests and the Levites; and having first numbered the Levites, he found them to be thirty-eight thousand, from thirty years old to fifty; out of which he appointed twenty-three thousand to take care of the building of the temple, and out of the same, six thousand to be judges of the people and scribes, four thousand for porters to the house of God, and as many for singers, to sing to the instruments which David had prepared, as we have said already. He divided them also into courses: and when he had separated the priests from them, he found of these priests twenty-four courses, sixteen of the house of Eleazar, and eight of that of Ithamar; and he ordained that one course should minister to God eight days, from sabbath to sabbath.
They also gave thanks to David, on account of all the blessings which they had received ever since he had taken the kingdom. On the next day he presented sacrifices to God, a thousand bullocks, and as many lambs, which they offered for burnt-offerings. They also offered peace-offerings, and slew many ten thousand sacrifices; and the King feasted all day, together with all the people; and they anointed Solomon a second time with the oil, and appointed him to be king, and Zadok to be the high priest of the whole multitude. And when they had brought Solomon to the royal palace, and had set him upon his father's throne, they were obedient to him from that day.
David's final instructions to Solomon
A LITTLE afterward David also fell into a distemper, by reason of his age; and perceiving that he was near to death, gave his son Solomon his final instructions to him.
2 "I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. 3 Observe the requirements of the LORD your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. 4 If you do this, then the LORD will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’
5 "And there is something else. You know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me when he murdered my two army commanders, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He pretended that it was an act of war, but it was done in a time of peace, staining his belt and sandals with innocent blood. 6 Do with him what you think best, but don’t let him grow old and go to his grave in peace.
7 "Be kind to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead. Make them permanent guests at your table, for they took care of me when I fled from your brother Absalom. 8 "And remember Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin. He cursed me with a terrible curse as I was fleeing to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan River, I swore by the LORD that I would not kill him. 9 But that oath does not make him innocent. You are a wise man, and you will know how to arrange a bloody death for him."
10 Then David died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. 11 David had reigned over Israel for forty years, seven of them in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 12 Solomon became king and sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established. (1 Kings 2:2-12, NLT)
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