David is King of Israel

About 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel

The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were once one book. Then men made this book into two separate parts. The name of the book is from the first important person in this book. He was Samuel the prophet. But Samuel died before the end of the book.

Someone wrote the book after King Solomon had died. He was the king of the country called Israel. He died 930 years before Christ was born. After Solomon died, God made Israel into two countries, Israel and Judah. The country called Judah included the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (See 1 Kings 12:1-24.)

In the beginning, the Israelites called their leaders ‘judges’. They were leaders of the Israelites for about 350 years after Joshua’s death. Samuel was the last of the judges. He was also a prophet. Samuel anointed Saul to be the first king of the country called Israel. But Saul did not obey God. So God chose another king, David, who would obey him. 1 Samuel tells us about Saul’s death at the end of the book. 2 Samuel records the life of David as king.

About 2 Samuel

The last chapter of 1 Samuel tells us about the deaths of King Saul and his son, Jonathan. The second book tells us about David as the leader of the Israelites. He obeyed God for almost all his life, and he gave pleasure to God.

David won many fights with Israel’s enemies. And he won the country from them for Israel to live in. But he sometimes had problems with his own family.

Chapter 1

A man tells David that Saul is dead

1 David won the fight with the Amalekites and he returned to Ziklag. That was after Saul was dead. David stayed in Ziklag for two days. 2 The next day, a man came from Saul’s camp to see David. He had dirt on his head and he had torn his clothes. He fell on the ground when he came to David. That was because he wanted to honour him.

3 ‘Where have you come from?’ David asked him.

‘I have run from the Israelite camp’, he answered.

4 ‘Tell me what happened’, David said.

The man replied, ‘The men ran away and the enemy killed many of them. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.’

5 Then David asked the young man who had said this, ‘How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?’

6 The young man said, ‘I was on the mountain called Gilboa. And I saw Saul. He was only standing up with the help of his spear. The enemy army with its horses and chariots were getting very near him. 7 He turned round and he saw me. He shouted to me. I said “What can I do for you?”

8 “Who are you?” he asked me.

“I am an Amalekite”, I replied.

9 “Stand over me and kill me”, he said. “I am nearly dead but I am still alive.”

10 He would die if he fell down. I knew that. So I stood over him and I killed him. And I took the crown from his head and the ring from his arm. And I have brought them here to you, my lord.’

11 Then David and all the men that were with him took their clothes. And they tore them. 12 They cried and they wept until the evening. And they did not eat any food. They were very sad about Saul and Jonathan and the LORD’s people and the Israelites. They were sad because so many people had died in the fight.

13 ‘Where are you from?’ David asked the young man who had brought him the report.

‘I am the son of a foreign man, an Amalekite’, he answered.

14 David said to him, ‘You should have been afraid to kill the man that the LORD had anointed!’

15 Then David spoke to one of his own young men. ‘Go and punish him’, he said. So the man hit him and he died. 16 David had said to the Amalekite, ‘This is because you have done a wrong thing. Your blood must pay because you killed the LORD’s anointed king. You killed the man that the LORD had anointed. You said yourself that you had done it.’

David’s sad song for the deaths of Saul and Jonathan

17 David sang this sad song for Saul and his son Jonathan. 18 He said that the people in Judah should teach this war song to all Judah’s men. (It is written in the Book of Jashar.)

            19 ‘They have killed the best men from Israel on the mountains.

            They have caused great strong men to fall down.

            20 Do not tell the people in Gath about it.

            Do not say anything in the streets of Ashkelon.

            If you do, the daughters of the Philistines might be happy.

            The daughters of men that their parents have not circumcised might feel happy.

            21 You mountains of Gilboa, I hope that no rain or dew will fall on you now.

            I pray, “Do not let those mountains have any fields where grain for offerings to God can grow.”

            That is because the strong man’s shield became disgusting on you.

            And Saul was not alive to clean his shield with oil.

            22 Jonathan was not afraid of the blood of dead men or of the fat of strong men.

            His bow did not turn away.

            And Saul’s sword did not return before he had used it.

            23 We loved Saul and Jonathan when they were alive.

            They were beautiful.

            And they were together when they died.

            They moved faster than large birds;

            they were stronger than lions.

            24 You daughters of Israel, weep for Saul.

            He gave you beautiful red clothes.

            He hung pretty stones and gold rings over your clothes.

            25 The strong men have very sadly fallen in the fight!

            Jonathan’s dead body is lying on your mountain.

            26 I am really very sorry that you are no longer here. I am very, very sad, Jonathan, my brother.

            I loved you very much.

            Your love was great,

            better than the love of women.

            27 The great strong men have very sadly fallen!

            Our enemies have destroyed all our weapons.’

Chapter 2

The people anoint David as king over Israel

1 After some time, David asked the LORD, ‘Should I go up to any town in Judah?’

The LORD said to him, ‘Go up.’

David asked, ‘Where should I go?’

‘To Hebron’, the LORD replied.

2 So David went up there with his two wives. They were Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, Nabal’s widow from Carmel. 3 David also brought with him the men who were with him. Each man took his family. They all stayed in Hebron and in its towns. 4 Then the men in the tribe called Judah came to Hebron. And they anointed David as king over Judah. People told David that the men from Jabesh Gilead had buried Saul’s dead body.

David says that the men from Jabesh Gilead are good men

5 So David sent men to them with a message. The message was, ‘You were kind to Saul your master; you buried his dead body. So I pray that the LORD will bless you. 6 I pray that the LORD will be kind to you. I pray that he will help you. I too will be kind to you because you have done that. 7 Now be strong and brave because Saul, your master, is dead. And the people of Judah have chosen me as king over them.’

David and his men fight with Saul’s descendants

8 Abner, son of Ner, was the ruler of Saul’s army. He took Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, to Mahanaim. 9 He caused him to rule over Gilead, Asher and Jezreel. He also caused him to rule over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.

10 Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was 40 years old when he became king over Israel. And he ruled Israel for two years. But Judah’s people let David rule over them. 11 David remained in Hebron as king of Judah for 7 years and 6 months.

12 Then Abner, son of Ner, left Mahanaim and he brought the servants of Saul’s son, Ishbosheth to Gibeon. 13 Joab, Zeruiah’s son, went with David’s men to meet them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat on one side of the pool while the other group sat on the other side.

14 Then Abner spoke to Joab. ‘I think that some of the young men should stand up. And they should fight in front of us’, he said.

‘Yes, they can do that’, said Joab.

15 So they stood up. They counted 12 men for Benjamin and Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, and 12 men for David. 16 Then each man took hold of his enemy’s head and pushed his sharp knife into his side. So they fell down together. So people called that place, which is in Gibeon, Helkath Hazzurim.

Helkath Hazzurim means ‘the field of sharp knives’.

17 They fought very strongly on that day. And David’s men won the fight with Abner’s men from Israel.

Abner kills Asahel

18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there. They were Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Asahel could run as fast as the fastest wild animal. 19 He ran after Abner and he did not turn away from him. He did not turn to the right or to the left. 20 Abner looked behind him and he asked, ‘Is that you, Asahel?’

‘It is’, he answered.

21 Then Abner said to him, ‘Turn away to the right or to the left and follow a young man. If you do that, you can take his arms.’ But Asahel would not stop running after Abner.

22 Abner spoke again. ‘Stop running after me. I do not want to knock you down to the ground and kill you. I would never be able to look at your brother Joab again!’

23 But Asahel refused to stop following Abner. So Abner pushed the end of his spear into Asahel’s stomach and the spear came out of his back. He fell and he died there in that place. When each man came to that place, he stopped.

The end of the fight

24 But Joab and Abishai continued to run after Abner. They came to the hill of Ammah near Giah when it was almost the end of the day. That was near to the desert of Gibeon. 25 Then Benjamin’s men came to be with Abner and they all became one group. And they stood together at the top of a hill.

26 Abner shouted to Joab, ‘We might continue to kill like this for all time! The end of this will only make us all very sad. Surely you should tell your men that they must stop killing their brothers now.’

27 ‘God lives!’ Joab replied. ‘If you had not spoken, our men would have stopped following yours in the morning.’

28 So Joab caused the trumpet to make a loud noise. Then all his men stopped where they were. They did not run after Israel or fight after that.

29 Abner and his men marched all that night through the Arabah and they crossed the River Jordan. They continued to march through the valley to Mahanaim.

Arabah means a very flat place.

30 Then Joab returned and he brought all his men together. And Asahel and 19 other servants of David were not there because they were dead. 31 But David’s men had killed 360 men from Benjamin who were with Abner. 32 They took Asahel’s dead body and they buried it next to his father’s dead body at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and they arrived at Hebron at sunrise.

Chapter 3

David’s sons

1 David’s people and Saul’s people continued to fight each other and there was war for a long time. David became stronger and stronger but Saul’s people became weaker and weaker.

2 While David was in Hebron he had several sons.

First was Amnon, son of Ahinoam from Jezreel.

3 The second son was Chileab, son of Abigail, Nabal’s widow from Carmel.

The third son was Absalom, son of Maacah. Maacah was the daughter of Talmai, King of Geshur.

4 The fourth son was Adonijah, son of Haggith.

The fifth son was Shephatiah, son of Abital.

5 The sixth son was Ithream, son of David’s wife, Eglah.

David had these sons in Hebron.

Abner wants to work for David now and not for Saul’s son

6 Abner was trying to make himself more important to Saul’s people. He did that while Saul’s people were fighting against David’s people. 7 Saul had had among his women one woman called Rizpah, daughter of Aiah. Ishbosheth asked Abner, ‘Why did you sleep with my father’s woman?’

8 Abner was very angry because of what Ishbosheth had said. ‘You cannot think that I would leave you to become David’s servant! I have always been a servant to Saul and to his family and his friends to this day. I have helped you in your fight against David. But now you think that I have turned against you because of this woman. 9 Now I will help David to get what God specially promised to him. If I do not do it, God should punish me very much. And I would want God to do it. 10 The LORD gave his sure promise that he would cause David to be king over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba. David would be king and not Saul.’ 11 And Ishbosheth was so afraid of Abner that he did not speak another word to him.

12 Then Abner sent men to David with this message: ‘Who should rule this country? If you and I can agree a covenant, I will help you to win all Israel to your side.’

David tells Abner that he must bring Michal to him

13 ‘Good!’ said David. ‘I will agree a covenant with you. But do one thing for me. You must bring Michal, Saul’s daughter with you. If you do not do that, I will not see you.’ 14 Then David sent men to Ishbosheth, son of Saul with this message: ‘Give me my wife, Michal. I paid 100 Philistine foreskins to have her as my wife.’

15 So Ishbosheth sent men to take her from her husband, Paltiel son of Laish. 16 But her husband came with her. He wept while he followed her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, ‘Return to your home!’ So he returned.

Abner speaks with Israel’s leaders

17 Abner and the leaders of Israel talked together. He said, ‘You wanted David to be your king before now. 18 So now do it! Remember that the LORD said about David, “I will use David to save my people, Israel from the Philistines and from all their enemies.” ’

Abner and David agree

19 Abner also went himself to speak to the men from Benjamin. Then he went to Hebron. He went to tell David what Israel’s people and the tribe of Benjamin had agreed to do. 20 Abner came to David in Hebron and 20 men came with him. And David prepared a feast for Abner and the 20 men with him. 21 Then Abner spoke to David. ‘Let me go now to bring all the people in Israel together for my lord the king’, he said. ‘Then they can make a promise that you will be their ruler. And you can have all that you wanted.’ So David sent Abner away in peace. He did not let his men hurt Abner.

Joab murders Abner

22 David’s men and Joab were attacking some of the enemy’s soldiers. Then they returned. They brought with them a lot of things that they had taken from the enemy. But Abner had left Hebron because David had sent him away in peace. 23 When Joab and all his soldiers arrived, they told him, ‘Abner, the son of Ner has come to the king. And he has sent him away in peace.’ 24 Joab went to the king. He said, ‘I do not understand what you have done. Abner came to you. You should not have let him go. Now he is gone. 25 You know what this son of Ner is like. He came to find out everything possible about what you were doing. He wanted you to think that he was your friend.’

26 Then Joab left David and Joab sent men to run after Abner with a message. They brought him from the well at Sirah. But David did not know that. 27 Abner returned to Hebron. Then Joab took him away from the other people. He brought him inside the gate to speak with him alone. There Joab pushed his knife into Abner’s stomach. He did it to punish Abner because he killed Joab’s brother, Asahel. So Abner died.

David shows that he did not want Abner to die

28 After that, people told David about it. He said, ‘The LORD sees that I and my kingdom did not help at all with this murder. Joab poured out the blood of Abner, son of Ner. 29 I hope that this will cause Joab and all his father’s family to have trouble! There should always be someone in his family with a bleeding place on his body or leprosy or a bad leg. Or there should be someone who has no food. Or there should be someone who dies by a sword.’

30 Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel. He killed Asahel in the fight at Gibeon.

31 David spoke to Joab and to all the people with him. ‘Tear your clothes and put on rough clothes. Then walk in front of Abner’s dead body to show how sad you are’, he said. King David himself walked behind Abner’s dead body. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron. And the king wept loudly when they put Abner’s dead body under the ground. And all the people wept.

33 The king sang a sad song for Abner.

‘Abner should not have died like a fool.

34 Nobody had tied your hands or your feet.

You have fallen like someone that wicked men have caused to fall’, he sang.

And all the people wept again for him.

35 Then all the people came and they asked David to eat some food before the end of the day. But David said, ‘God should punish me if I eat bread or any food before sunset. And I would want him to do it.’

36 All the people heard this, and it gave them pleasure. Like everything that the king did, it gave pleasure to all the people. 37 So, on that day all the people in Israel knew that David had not caused the death of Abner. (Abner was the son of Ner.)

38 The king said to his servants, ‘You must understand that a great leader has died today in Israel. 39 I am the king that God has anointed. But I am weak today. These sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. These wicked men have done evil things. And I pray that the LORD will punish them.’

Chapter 4

Two men kill Ishbosheth

1 People told Saul’s son that Abner had died in Hebron. Then he became very afraid. And all the people in Israel were afraid. 2 Saul’s son had two men, Baanah and Rechab, who were leaders of small groups of soldiers. Their father was Rimmon from Beeroth, of Benjamin’s tribe. At that time, people thought about Beeroth as a part of Benjamin’s land. 3 The people from Beeroth ran away to Gittaim. So Beeroth’s people still live there but they are like foreign people.

Saul’s son here was Ishbosheth.

4 Saul’s son, Jonathan had a son with two bad feet. When he was 5 years old, the news from Jezreel about Saul and Jonathan reached them. His nurse lifted the boy into her arms and she ran away. But as she ran, he fell. And his feet became hurt. His name was Mephibosheth.

5 The sons of Rimmon from Beeroth, called Rechab and Baanah, left to go to Ishbosheth’s house. They arrived in the hot time of the day. And Ishbosheth was resting on his bed at midday. 6 They went inside the house and they were carrying some wheat. But they pushed knives into his stomach. Then Rechab and his brother ran away. Nobody caught them.

7 Ishbosheth was lying on his bed in his bedroom when they went into his house. When they had killed him they cut off his head. They took it with them and they went through the Arabah. They travelled all night. 8 They brought Ishbosheth’s head to David in Hebron. They said to the king, ‘Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, who was always attacking you. Saul tried to kill you. Today the LORD paid him and his family for the bad things that they did to our lord, the king.’

9 David spoke to Rechab and his brother Baanah, Rimmon’s sons from Beeroth, ‘The LORD has saved me from all my troubles. And he is certainly alive. 10 When a man told me, “Saul is dead”, he thought that he was bringing me good news. But I took him and I caused my servants to kill him in Ziklag. That was the gift that I gave him for his news. 11 But you wicked men have killed a man who was not a bad man. And you killed him in his own house and on his own bed. So there is no reason why I should not cause you to die. You must pay for the evil thing that you have done. The earth will be a better place without you!’

12 So David told his young men that they must kill them. So they did kill them. They cut off their hands and their feet. They hung the dead bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took Ishbosheth’s head and they buried it next to Abner’s dead body in Hebron.

Chapter 5

David becomes king over all Israel

1 All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron. They said, ‘We all come from your big family. 2 When Saul was king over us, some time ago, you were the leader of his army in the wars. And the LORD spoke to you. He said, “You will be like the man that keeps my sheep safe. My people Israel are like my sheep and you will become the ruler over them.” ’

3 David agreed with the leaders of Israel when they came to him at Hebron. They made promises to each other in front of the LORD. Then they anointed David to be king over Israel.

4 David was 30 years old when he became king. And he was king over Israel for 40 years. 5 He ruled over Judah in Hebron for 7 years and 6 months. And in Jerusalem he ruled over all Israel and Judah for 33 years.

David wins Jerusalem from the Jebusites

6 The king and his soldiers marched to Jerusalem. They wanted to win it from the Jebusites who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, ‘You will not get in here. Even men who cannot see could keep you out. Even men who cannot walk well could keep you out.’ They thought, ‘David cannot get in here.’ 7 But they were wrong! David did win the strong city, Zion, that he called ‘The City of David’.

8 On that day, David said, ‘Some enemies cannot see and some enemies cannot walk well. David hates those people. Anyone who wants to win the fight must go up this way: He must go up the way that water goes up to the city. If he does, he can beat those people.’ That is why people say, ‘Anybody who cannot see must not go into the house. And anybody who cannot walk well must not go into the house.’

David comes to live in Jerusalem

9 Then David came to live in the strong tall building and he called it the City of David. He built more houses round it to the edge of the hill. 10 David became more and more powerful because the LORD, the strong, powerful God, was with him.

11 Then Hiram, King of Tyre, sent men to David with wood from cedar trees. And he sent men who could work with wood and stone. He sent them to build a house for David. 12 So David knew that the LORD had certainly made him safe as king over Israel. And God had made David’s kingdom strong and important for his people, Israel.

God wanted his people to be safe and happy.

13 After he had left Hebron, David married more wives. And he took more ladies to live with him. They lived in Jerusalem and they gave David more sons and daughters. 14 These are the names of the children who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.

David wins another fight with the Philistines

17 People told the Philistines that the people had anointed David as king over Israel. So the Philistines took a big army and they went to look for him. People told David about this, and so he went into a very strong place. 18 The Philistine soldiers were everywhere in the Valley of Rephaim. 19 Then David asked the LORD, ‘Should I go and attack the Philistines? Will you help me to win the fight?’

The LORD answered him, ‘Go, because I will certainly help you to win against the Philistines.’

20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he won the fight. He said, ‘The LORD has broken my enemy as waters can break down stone walls.’ So that place is called, Baal Perazim.

Baal Perazim means, ‘The LORD breaks through’.

21 The Philistines did not take their idols when they left there. And David and his men carried them away.

22 Again the Philistines came and they filled the Valley of Rephaim. 23 So David asked the LORD again. And he answered him, ‘Do not go straight up, but go round behind them. There you must attack them in front of the balsam trees. 24 When you hear a noise in the tops of the trees like marching men, go quickly to attack them. Do that because the LORD has gone in front of you to hit the Philistine army.’ 25 So David did as the LORD had said to him. And he hit the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

Chapter 6

David brings the Covenant Box to Jerusalem

1 David chose 30 000 of the best soldiers in Israel. 2 David brought them with him to Baalah in Judah. He wanted to bring God’s Covenant Box from there. The Israelites called it by the LORD’s name, the name of the great powerful LORD. He is the LORD who sits as King between the two angels. 3 They put the Covenant Box on a new cart and they brought it from Abinadab’s house on the hill. Abinadab’s sons, Uzzah and Ahio led the new cart. 4 And they took the cart from the house of Abinadab, which is in the hill. And the cart had the Covenant Box on it. Ahio walked in front of the Covenant Box. 5 David and all Israel’s people were singing as well as they could. And they were dancing as well as they could. They meant that the LORD is very great. They made music with harps, lyres, drums, rattles and cymbals.

These things all make music. People hit drums with sticks and they hit two cymbals together. They move rattles about very fast to make a noise. And harps and lyres have long thin pieces of material to pull.

6 They came to the place where Nacon always hit his wheat. He hit it until the seeds fell out. There the male cows nearly fell. So Uzzah held the Covenant Box to stop it falling. 7 The LORD was very angry with Uzzah because he did that. He was not honouring the LORD. So God knocked him down and he died there, next to the Covenant Box.

8 Then David was angry because the LORD had punished Uzzah. So that place is still called Perez Uzzah.

The male cows were pulling the cart. Perez Uzzah means ‘punishment of Uzzah’.

9 On that day, David became afraid of the LORD. He said, ‘I do not know how the LORD’s Covenant Box can ever come to me!’ 10 He did not want to take the LORD’s Covenant Box in to be with him in David’s City. He took it instead into the house of Obed-Edom, from Gath. 11 The LORD’s Covenant Box stayed in his house for three months. And the LORD blessed Obed-Edom and the people in his house and everything that he had.

That was because the Covenant Box was with him.

12 People told King David, ‘The LORD has blessed the people in Obed-Edom’s house and all that he has, because of the Covenant Box.’ So David went. And he was happy to bring up the Covenant Box from Obed-Edom’s house to the City of David. 13 The men who were carrying it walked 6 steps. Then David sacrificed a fat young male and a big male cow. And they continued like that. 14 David wore a linen coat like those that the priests wore. And he jumped as well as he could for the LORD. And he danced too. 15 That is how he and all Israel brought the Covenant Box with them. They shouted and they made a noise with trumpets.

16 While they where bringing the Covenant Box into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked out of a window. She saw King David. He was jumping and he was dancing in front of the LORD. And she felt ashamed of him.

17 David had put up a tent for the Covenant Box. So they brought it and they put it in its place inside the tent. Then David sacrificed offerings in front of the LORD. They burnt some of these. But they shared some offerings with each other. 18 After he finished this, he blessed the people. He used the name of the great and powerful LORD, when he blessed them. 19 Then he gave a gift to every man and woman in the crowd of the Israelites. They each received a loaf of bread and a cake of dates and a cake of grapes that someone had dried. And all the people went to their homes.

20 When David returned to his home to bless it, Saul’s daughter Michal, came out to meet him. She said, ‘The king of Israel seemed very great today! He showed too much of himself in front of his servant’s slave girls. A silly fool does that! And he thinks that it does not matter.’

21 David said to Michal, ‘I was honouring the LORD who chose me to be the ruler of his people, Israel. He chose me and not your father or any of his family. So I danced in front of the LORD. 22 I will make myself even less important than this, and I will make myself seem very small to myself. But I will seem very great to the slave girls that you spoke about.’

23 And Michal, Saul’s daughter, had no children all her life.

Chapter 7

God gives promises to David

1 The king was living in his special king’s house. And the LORD kept him safe from all his enemies everywhere round his country. 2 Then the king spoke to Nathan the prophet. ‘I am living in a house of cedar wood, but God’s Covenant Box is still in a tent!’ he said.

3 Nathan replied to the king, ‘Do what you think is right. The LORD is with you.’ 4 But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan. 5 ‘Go and speak to my servant David. Tell him that the LORD says, “You are not the man to build a house for me to live in. 6 I have never lived in a house from the time that I brought Israel’s people out of Egypt. And I am still not living in a house today. While we moved from place to place I lived in a tent. It was called the Tabernacle. 7 I have moved about to many places with the Israelites. I chose rulers to be leaders of Israel’s tribes, who are like my sheep. But, while we travelled, I never said to any of the leaders, ‘You should have built a house of cedar wood for me.’ ”

8 Now speak to my servant David. Tell him that the great and powerful LORD says, “I took you from the fields where you were following the sheep in the fields. I took you from there to be the ruler of my people Israel. 9 I have been with you in every place that you went. I took away all your enemies. Now I will make your name great. It will be as great as the names of the greatest men on the earth. 10 And I have chosen a place for my people Israel to live. They can live there and they can be safe. Wicked men will not hurt them again, as when they first came to this country. 11 Wicked men have done that since I chose leaders for my people Israel until now. But I will cause you to have no trouble from your enemies. And the LORD says to you, ‘I will give descendants to you. And that will be like a house that I have built for you.’ 12 You will die and people will bury you with your ancestors. Then a son of yours will become king. I will make his kingdom strong. 13 He is the man who will build a house for my Name. And his descendants will rule Israel for all time. 14 I will be his father and he will be my son. If he does wrong things, I will punish him. I will punish him as a father punishes his son. 15 I stopped being good and kind to Saul so that you could rule. But I will not stop being good and kind to your son. 16 You will always have descendants. They will be rulers for all time.” ’

17 Nathan told David everything that God had said to him. And Nathan told David everything that God had shown to him.

David prays and he thanks God for his promises

18 David went into the LORD’s tent. He sat down and he prayed.

He said, ‘I am not a special person and my family is not important. But you have done very much for me. 19 But you have promised to do more than this for my descendants. Those promises are for future years. I am only a man but you have shown this to me, my King and my powerful LORD.

20 I cannot say anything more. You know me, your servant, my King and my powerful LORD. 21 Because of your promise you have decided to do all these great things to teach me. 22 You are very great, my King and my powerful LORD. Nobody is like you. Only you are God. We have always known that. 23 There is no other nation on earth like your people Israel. It is the only one that you went to buy for yourself. And it is the only one that you have chosen to be your own people. The great things that you did for them and for your land have made your name great. People among all nations honour you. You pushed out nations and their gods in front of your people that you took out of Egypt. 24 You have chosen Israel as your own people for all time. And you, LORD, have become their God.

25 Now, LORD God, do what you have promised to me and to my descendants. I pray that you will do that. 26 And then your name will be great for all time. People will say, “The great and powerful LORD is God over Israel!” And my descendants will be strong for all time because of you.

27 Great King and LORD, God of Israel, you have shown this to your servant. You have said, “Your descendants will be like a house that I have built for you.” So I am not afraid to pray to you like this.

28 Great King and LORD, you are God. Your words are true and you have promised these good things to me, your servant. 29 I pray that it will give you pleasure to be good to your servant’s family. And so it will be able to continue for all time. Great King and LORD, you have spoken to me. And if you promise to do good things for my descendants, good things will happen to them for all time.’

Chapter 8

David wins more fights

1 Some time after that, David fought and he won a fight with the Philistines. They stopped fighting and he took from them power over their capital city.

2 He also won a fight with the Moabites. He caused equal groups of them to lie down on the ground. His soldiers killed the Moabites in 2 groups out of every 3 groups. But they did not kill the other men. So those Moabites became David’s servants and they began to pay taxes to him.

3 Also David fought Hadadezer, Rehob’s son, king of Zobah. This was because Hadadezer had tried to have power again over the land next to the Euphrates River. 4 David took from him 1700 riders of horses and 20 000 soldiers who walked. He kept 100 of the chariot horses. And he cut the legs of the other horses so that they could not run.

5 The Syrians from Damascus sent an army to help Hadadezer, the king of Zobah. And David killed 22 000 out of the Syrian men. 6 David put soldiers to live among the Syrian people in Damascus. And the people there became his servants and they brought taxes to him. The LORD caused David to win all his fights in every place that he went to.

7 Hadadezer’s officers had shields of gold, so David took the shields to Jerusalem. 8 Tebah and Berothai were Hadadezer’s towns and David took a lot of bronze from them.

9 Then people told Toi, the king of Hamath, that David had won the fight with all Hadadezer’s army. 10 Hadadezer had fought against Toi. So Toi sent his son, Joram to tell David what a good thing he had done. And he wanted to ask for peace with David. Joram brought David things of gold, silver and bronze.

11 David took these things and he gave them to the LORD. He had done that with all the silver and gold that he had taken from other nations. That included all the nations that David had beaten. 12 He had won fights with Edom, Moab and the Ammonites, and with the Philistines and the Amalekites. He also gave the LORD things that he had taken from Rehob’s son Hadadezer, king of Zobah.

13 David went to the Valley of Salt. There, his army beat 18 000 men from Edom. Many people knew about that. 14 He put soldiers’ camps in every part of the country of Edom. David ruled everyone who lived in Edom. The LORD kept David safe in every place that he went to.

David’s officers

15 David ruled over all Israel. He did everything that was right and good for his people. 16 Zeruiah’s son, Joab was over the army. And Ahilud’s son, Jehoshaphat recorded the important things that happened. 17 Ahitub’s son Zadok and Abiathar’s son Ahimelech were priests and Seraiah wrote things for David. 18 Jehoiada’s son Benaiah was leader of the two groups of men who kept David safe. And David’s sons helped him to rule.

Chapter 9

David helps Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth

1 David asked, ‘Does anyone know if there is anyone still alive from Saul’s family?’ I want to be kind to them because Jonathan was my friend.

2 Saul’s family had a servant called Ziba. So they asked him to come to see David. The king said to him, ‘Are you Ziba?’

‘I am your servant’, he replied.

3 The king asked him, ‘Is there anyone still alive from Saul’s family? I want to be kind to them as God is kind.’

Ziba replied, ‘There is still a son of Jonathan. He has two bad feet, so he cannot walk well.’

4 ‘Where is he?’ the king asked.

Ziba answered, ‘He lives in the house of Ammiel’s son Machir in Lo-debar.’

5 So David sent servants to bring him from the house of Ammiel’s son Machir in Lo-debar.

6 Then Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, grandson of Saul, came to David. He lay on the floor. He was honouring David.

David said, ‘Mephibosheth!’

‘I am your servant’, he replied.

7 ‘Do not be afraid,’ David said to him, ‘because I want to be kind to you. I want to be kind to you because your father Jonathan was my friend. I will give you back all Saul’s land and I want you to eat here with me always.’

8 Mephibosheth bent his head very low. He said, ‘I am not as important as a dead dog. So I do not know why you should be so good to me!’

Ziba says that he will work for Mephibosheth

9 Then David sent men to fetch Saul’s servant Ziba. He said to him, ‘I have given everything that was Saul’s or his family’s to your master’s grandson. 10 You and your sons and your servants must work on the land for him. You must get the food that grows there. And you must bring it to him. Then he will have food to eat. But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will always eat at my table.’ (Also, Ziba had 15 sons and 20 servants.)

11 Then Ziba said to the king, ‘I am your servant. I will do as my lord the king has said.’ So Mephibosheth ate food at the king’s table. He was like the king’s sons.

12 Mephibosheth had a young son called Mica. And Ziba and all his family and servants became servants to Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth came to live in Jerusalem because he always ate at the king’s table. He had two bad feet, so he could not walk well.

Chapter 10

David and the Ammonites

1 Some time after that, the king of the Ammonites died. His son Hanun became the new king. 2 David thought, ‘I will be kind to Hanun, because Nahash his father was kind to me.’ David was sorry that Nahash had died. So David sent a group of his officers to tell Hanun that he was sorry. So David’s men came to the Ammonites’ land.

3 The most powerful Ammonites spoke to Hanun, their lord. ‘David wants you to think that he is honouring your father. But we do not believe that he has sent his officers to you because of that. This is what we think. He is not sorry because your father has died. They have come to see how strong your city is. Then his army can fight and they can win it from you.’ 4 So Hanun took David’s officers and he cut off half the hair from their beards. And he cut off the lower half of their clothes and he sent them away.

5 When somebody told David about this, he sent servants to meet the men. They were very ashamed. The king said, ‘Stay at Jericho until your beards have grown again. And then return here.’

6 Then the Ammonites knew that they had made David very angry. So they sent money to get 20 000 Syrian soldiers from Beth-rehob and Zobah. And they also had 1000 men with the king of Maacah and 12 000 men from Tob.

7 People told David about this. Then he sent out Joab with all the soldiers in his army. 8 The Ammonite soldiers came out and they stood in a group in front of the city’s gates. The Syrians from Zobah and Rehob and the men from Tob and Maacah stayed in the land round the city.

9 Joab saw that there were the enemy’s soldiers in front and behind him. So he took some of the best of Israel’s soldiers and he caused them to look towards the Syrians. 10 He asked his brother Abishai to take all the other men to attack the Ammonites. 11 Joab said, ‘If the Syrians are too strong for me, you save me. But if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will come to you. And I will save you. 12 Be strong. We must be brave when we fight for our people and for God’s cities. The LORD will do what seems good to him. And I pray that he will do that.’

13 Then Joab and his group went to fight the Syrians and their enemies ran away from them. 14 The Ammonites saw that the Syrians were running away from Joab. So they ran away from Abishai. They ran into the city. So Joab stopped fighting the Ammonites and he returned to Jerusalem.

15 But then the Syrians saw that Israel had won the fight with them. So, they made another army. 16 Hadadezer got more Syrians from across the River Euphrates. Shobach, his most important officer, led this army to Helam.

17 His servants told David what was happening. And he took all Israel’s men across the River Jordan to Helam. The Syrian soldiers stood in front of them and they fought David’s army. 18 But they ran away from Israel’s men. And David killed 700 of the men in chariots and 40 000 soldiers who walked. He also hit the army leader, Shobach and he died there. 19 Israel had beaten all the kings that Hadadezer ruled. And all those kings knew that Israel had beaten them. So, they said that they did not want to fight against Israel after that. They became the servants of the Israelites instead. So the Syrians were afraid to help the Ammonites after that.

Chapter 11

David sees Bathsheba and he sleeps with her

1 Kings fight each other in the spring. So David sent Joab with the whole Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They beat the Ammonites completely and Israel’s army started to live all round Rabbah. But David stayed in Jerusalem.

2 One evening, David got out of bed and he walked on the roof of the king’s house. From the roof he saw a woman who was washing herself. She was very beautiful. 3 And David sent a servant to ask who she was. Someone said, ‘She is Eliam’s daughter, Bathsheba. And she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ 4 Then David sent servants to fetch her. She came to him and he slept with her. (She had cleaned herself from her monthly blood loss.) Then she returned to her home. 5 Bathsheba now had David’s baby inside her. So she sent a message to tell David about it.

David asks Joab to send Uriah to him

6 David sent a message to Joab. He said, ‘Send Uriah the Hittite to me.’ And Joab sent him to David. 7 Uriah arrived. Then David asked him how Joab was. And David asked him how the soldiers were. And he asked him about the war. 8 Then David said to Uriah, ‘Now go to your house and wash your feet.’ So Uriah left the king’s house and David sent a gift after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with his master’s servants. He did not go to his house.

10 David’s servants told him that Uriah had not gone to his house. So David asked him, ‘You have had a long journey. Why did you not go to your house?’

11 Uriah spoke to David. ‘Israel and Judah and the Covenant Box are all staying in tents. My master Joab and your soldiers are sleeping in the fields. So I certainly should not go to my house and eat there. I should not drink there and sleep with my wife. I believe strongly that I must not do anything like that.’

12 David said, ‘Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will let you leave.’ So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next day. 13 David asked him to eat and to drink with him and David caused him to drink too much wine. But in the evening Uriah went and he slept with his master’s servants. He did not go to his house.

David writes to Joab

14 In the morning, David wrote a letter to Joab and Uriah carried it to Joab. 15 In it he wrote, ‘Put Uriah in front of all the soldiers, where it is most dangerous. Then pull your men away from him so that he is alone. And so the enemy will kill him.’

16 So while Joab’s soldiers were round the city, Joab put Uriah in front of all the other soldiers. And that was where the enemy was strongest. 17 When some of the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, some of David’s men died. And Uriah the Hittite died too.

Joab tells David that Uriah is dead

18 Joab wrote to David to tell him all about the war. 19 He spoke to the man with the message. ‘When you have finished giving my report to the king, 20 the king may be angry. He may ask you, “Why did you get so near to the city? Surely you knew that they would shoot arrows from the walls. 21 Remember what a woman did to Jerub-besheth’s son, Abimelech, in Thebez. She threw a heavy stone from the city wall and she killed him. You should not have gone so near to the wall.” If he does ask you that, say, “Your servant, Uriah the Hittite is dead too.” ’

22 The man that Joab sent went to David. And he said everything that Joab had sent him to say. 23 The man said to David, ‘The men were certainly stronger than us and they came out of the city to fight. But we pushed them into their own city gate. 24 Some of them shot arrows from the wall and some of your men died. Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.’

25 ‘Say this to Joab’, David said to the man that Joab had sent. ‘Do not be too sad, any man can die in a fight. He must fight more strongly and win the city. And he must destroy it. That should help Joab to feel better.’

26 People told Uriah’s wife that her husband was dead. And she was very sad and she cried about it very much. 27 Then it was time to stop crying so much. Then David sent men to bring her to his king’s house. He married her and she had a baby son. But the LORD was very angry with David because he had done these bad things.

Chapter 12

Nathan tells a story to David

1 The LORD sent Nathan the prophet to David. Nathan came to him and said, ‘There were two men who lived in the same town. One man was rich, and the other man was poor’, he said. 2 ‘The rich man had very many sheep and cows. 3 But the poor man had only one young, little female sheep. He had bought it and he had fed it. It had grown up with his children. It ate and it drank with him. It even slept with him. It was like a daughter to him.

4 Then the rich man had a visitor. But the rich man did not kill his own sheep or cow to make a meal for the visitor. Instead, he took the poor man’s little sheep to feed his visitor.’

5 David became very angry with the rich man. ‘As truly as the LORD is the living God, that man should die’, he said to Nathan. 6 ‘He did this cruel thing and he was not sorry for the poor man. So he must certainly pay the poor man for 4 sheep because he did that.’

The LORD will punish David

7 ‘You are the man!’ Nathan said to David. ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel says, “I anointed you king over Israel. I saved you from Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house and his wives to you. I gave the people in Israel and in Judah to you. And I would have given you even more than that, if you wanted more. 9 But you did not obey the word of the LORD. You did an evil thing. You killed Uriah the Hittite in a fight. You killed him with the Amorite’s sword and you took his wife to be your own wife. 10 So now your family will always have wars and death. You thought that I was not important. And so you took Uriah’s wife to be your own wife. So I will punish you because of that.”

11 This is what the LORD says, “I will cause your own family to give you trouble. I will take your wives. And I will give them to someone that you know very well. And he will lie with them in the day. 12 What you did was a secret. But I will cause this to happen in the light of the sun and in front of all Israel.” ’

13 Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’

Nathan replied, ‘The LORD has taken away your sin. You will not die. 14 But because of what you have done, the LORD’s enemies do not honour him. So your son that has been born will certainly die.’

David asks God to save his son

15 Nathan went home. Uriah’s wife had given a son to David but after this the child became ill. 16 David asked the LORD to make the child well again. He lay on the floor of his house all night and he ate no food. 17 His servants stood round him. And they tried to help him to get up. But he refused and he would not eat anything with them.

David’s son dies

18 After 7 days, the child died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him. They thought, ‘David did not seem to hear us when we spoke to him. That was when the child was alive. So we cannot tell him that the child is dead. He might do something really bad.’

19 But David saw that his servants were speaking to each other in a quiet way. Then he understood that the child was dead. ‘Is the child dead?’ he asked his servants.

‘Yes’, they replied. ‘He is dead.’

20 Then David got up and he washed himself. He put on clean clothes and special oil that had a good smell. He went into the LORD’s house to worship him. Then he returned to his own house and he asked for food. They gave it to him and he ate it.

21 His servants said to him, ‘Why are you doing these things? You ate nothing while the child was alive. And you wept. But now that he is dead you get up. And you eat!’

22 David replied, ‘While the child was alive I wept. And I did not eat anything. I thought that perhaps the LORD would be merciful to me. I thought that he might forgive me. Then he might let the child live. 23 But I do not need to do this now that the child is dead. I cannot bring him back to me. I will go to him but he cannot come to me.’

24 Then David went to help his wife, Bathsheba to feel better. He slept with her and she had a son. They called him Solomon, and the LORD loved him. 25 The LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell them that they should call him Jedidiah. That was because the LORD loved him.

Jedidiah means, ‘The LORD loves him’.

David wins Rabbah

26 At this time, Joab was fighting against the Ammonite city called Rabbah. And he had beaten the soldiers in the king’s part of the city. 27 So Joab sent men to David with a message. The message was, ‘I have fought against Rabbah. And I have got the river that gives water to it. 28 Now bring the army that is with you to stand round the city. And win the city. If you do not, then I will win the city. And so it will have my name.’

29 So David took all his army and he went to Rabbah. They attacked and they won it. 30 He took the crown of gold from its king’s head and they put it on David’s head. It weighed about 74 pounds (34 kilos). And there were valuable stones in it. And he took a lot of valuable things from the city. 31 And he brought out the people from the city. He caused them to cut wood. And they had to work with sharp iron tools and with iron axes. And he sent them into the place where people made bricks. He did the same things to the people from all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the soldiers returned to Jerusalem.

Chapter 13

Amnon loves Tamar

1 After some time, David’s son, Amnon, began to love Tamar. She was the beautiful sister of David’s son, Absalom. 2 Amnon became ill because he wanted his sister Tamar so much. But she had never slept with a man and it seemed difficult for Amnon to do anything to her.

3 But Amnon had a friend called Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimeah. And he seemed to know what to do about anything. 4 He asked Amnon, ‘Why do you seem so sad every morning? Tell me about your trouble.’

Amnon said to him, ‘I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.’

Jonadab suggests a bad idea to Amnon

5 ‘Go to bed. Say that you are ill’, said Jonadab. Your father will come to see you. Then you can ask him that your sister Tamar might come to give you something to eat. Say, “Please let me see her make food. And then let her feed me with it.” ’

6 So Amnon went to bed. He said that he was ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon spoke to him. ‘Please let my sister Tamar come. I want her to make some special bread while I watch her. Then she can feed me with it.’

7 David sent a servant to Tamar. ‘Go to your brother Amnon and make some food for him’, he said. 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house. He was in his bed. She took flour and water and she mixed them well. She made cakes while he watched her. And she baked them.

Amnon has sex with Tamar

9 Then she took some and she gave them to him. But he would not eat them.

‘Send everyone out of here’, Amnon said. So everyone left him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, ‘Bring the food here into my bedroom so that you can give it to me with your own hands.’ So Tamar took the cakes that she had made. And she brought them to Amnon in his bedroom. 11 But when she went to him he took hold of her. And he said, ‘Come to bed with me, my sister.’

12 ‘Do not do it, my brother’, she said. ‘Do not cause me to do a wrong thing like that. We in Israel should not do things like that. It is an evil thing. 13 Think about me. Nobody would honour me. I would be ashamed and I would not be able to hide myself. And nobody would honour you. People would think that you were like the worst men in Israel. Speak to the king. I am sure that he will let you marry me.’ 14 But he refused to listen to her and he was stronger than she. So he took her and he had sex with her.

Amnon causes Tamar to be put out of his house

15 Then Amnon hated her. He hated her more than he had loved her. ‘Go away!’ he shouted.

16 ‘No!’ she said to him. ‘To send me away would be a worse thing to do. It would be worse than the bad thing that you have already done to me.’

But he refused to listen to her. 17 He shouted for his special servant. He said to him, ‘Take this woman out of here and lock the door behind her.’ 18 So the servant put her out and he locked the door behind her. She was wearing a very beautiful dress. All the king’s daughters who were not yet married wore these beautiful clothes. 19 Tamar put dirt on her head. And she tore the beautiful dress that she was wearing. She put her face in her hands. And she wept aloud when she went away.

Everyone is very angry with Amnon

20 When her brother Absalom saw her he said, ‘I think that my brother Amnon has hurt you! Now be quiet; he is your brother. Do not let it make you angry.’ And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house. She was sad and lonely.

21 When someone told King David about all this, he was very, very angry. 22 Absalom hated Amnon because he had done that very wrong thing to his sister, Tamar. So he would not even speak to him.

Absalom kills Amnon

23 After two years, Absalom’s servants were cutting the wool from his sheep. That was at Baal Hazor, near to Ephraim’s land. Absalom asked all the king’s sons to meet him there. 24 He spoke to the king. ‘Your servant has men with him to cut the sheep’s wool. Would it give the king and his officers pleasure to come too?’ he said.

25 ‘No, my son’, the king replied. ‘We should not all go. It would cause you too much trouble.’ Absalom asked him again. He refused again, but he gave his blessing to him.

26 ‘If you will not come, will you let my brother Amnon come?’ Absalom asked.

The king said, ‘I do not know why he should go with you.’ 27 But Absalom asked more strongly, so he sent Amnon with the other king’s sons.

28 Absalom told his servants what they must do. He said, ‘When Amnon has drunk a lot of wine I will say, “Hit him!” Then you will kill him. Do not be afraid. I am causing you to do this. Be strong and brave.’ 29 So Absalom’s men obeyed him. Then all the king’s other sons ran to their mules. They rode away.

30 While they were returning, men said to David, ‘Absalom has attacked all the king’s sons. Not one son is still alive.’ 31 The king stood up and he tore his clothes. Then he fell on the ground and all his servants stood round him. They had torn their clothes, too.

32 But Jonadab, son of David’s brother, Shimeah spoke. ‘My lord, do not think that they have killed all the king’s sons. Only Amnon is dead. Absalom has wanted to do this since Amnon caused his sister Tamar to have sex with him. 33 My lord should not believe the report that all the king’s sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead.’

Absalom runs away

34 While this was happening, Absalom had run away.

A man was standing on the wall of Jerusalem. He watched. And he saw that many people were coming down the hill. They came from the west. He went and he told the king, ‘I saw men towards Horonaim, on the side of the hill.’

35 Jonadab said to the king, ‘See, the king’s sons are here. It is as I said.’

36 While he was speaking, the king’s servants came in. They were weeping loudly. The king and all his servants were also weeping. They were very, very sad.

37 Absalom ran to Talmai, son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. But King David continued to weep for his son every day.

38 After Absalom had run to Geshur he stayed there for three years. 39 And the king wanted very much to go to see Absalom. He had stopped being very sad about Amnon’s death.

Chapter 14

Joab causes a woman to tell a sad story to David

1 Zeruiah’s son, Joab knew how much the king wanted to see Absalom. 2 So he sent a servant to Tekoa to bring a wise woman from there. He said to her, ‘Dress in special clothes. The king must think that somebody in your family has died. Do not put oil with a sweet smell on yourself. You must be like a woman who has been sad for a long time. 3 Then go to the king. This is what you must say to him.’ Then Joab told her the words.

4 So the woman from Tekoa went to the king. She fell on the floor in front of him because she wanted to honour him. Then she said, ‘You are the king. Please help me!’

5 The king asked her, ‘What is your trouble?’

She said, ‘My husband is dead 6 and I had two sons. They were fighting in the fields and there was nobody near to stop them. One son hit the other son. And he killed him. 7 Now the whole family is against me. They want me to give to them the son who killed his brother. They want to punish him because he killed his brother. They want to kill him now. If they do that, I will have no son. And there will be nobody to continue my husband’s name.’

8 The king said, ‘Go to your house. I will tell them that they must not kill him.’

9 Then the woman from Tekoa spoke. ‘My lord, the king, I want God to punish me for this and not the king or his family.’

10 The king replied, ‘If anyone says anything bad to you, bring him to me. After that, he will not cause you any more trouble.’

11 Then she said, ‘I do not want the man who should punish my son to kill him. That would be a worse thing than the death of my other son. Please pray to the LORD your God that it will not happen.’

‘I promise the living God that he will not touch one hair of his head’, he said.

12 Then the woman spoke again. ‘Can I say one more thing to my lord the king?’

‘Speak’, he replied.

13 Then the woman said, ‘Why have you done such a wrong thing to God’s own people? You have not let your own son return to his home. He is still in a foreign city. You are like someone who has done a wrong thing. I can say that because of what you have just said. 14 We are like water that falls on the ground. We cannot put it into the pot that it fell out of. We must all die. But God does not kill us. He thinks of a way to bring a man back from the place where he sent him away.

15 I am saying this to the king because the people have made me afraid. Your servant thought, “I will speak to the king. Perhaps he will do what I ask. 16 Perhaps he will save me from the man who wants to kill my son. So that man will not take our family from the land that God gave to us.”

17 Now I say, “I pray that your promise will keep us safe.” That is because the king is like an angel of God. He knows what is good. And he knows what is evil. I pray that the LORD your God will be with you!’

The king knows now what Joab has done

18 Then the king spoke to the woman. ‘You must answer to me this one question. Say only what is true. Do not hide anything.’

‘Ask me anything, sir’, she replied.

19 ‘Has Joab told you what to say?’ he asked.

‘I cannot hide the answer to your question, my lord the king’, the woman said. ‘Yes, it was your servant Joab. He told me what to do. And he told me what to say. 20 He did it to change things. My lord is as wise as God’s angels. He knows everything that happens in Israel.’

21 The king spoke to Joab. ‘I have decided to do what you want. Go and bring back the young man Absalom.’

22 Joab fell with his face to the ground in front of the king because he wanted to honour him. He said, ‘I pray that God will bless you sir. You have given me what I asked for. So now I know that I have given you pleasure.’

Joab brings Absalom back to Jerusalem

23 Then Joab went to Geshur and he brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 24 But the king said, ‘He must go to his own house. I do not want him to come to see me.’ So Absalom went to his own house. He did not see the king.

Absalom in Jerusalem

25 Everyone in Israel thought that Absalom was the most handsome man in the whole country. In his body, everything from head to toe was completely good to look at. 26 Sometimes he cut his hair because it was too heavy. The hair that he cut off weighed about 4 pounds (2 kilos).

27 Absalom had three sons and one daughter. He called her Tamar and she became a very beautiful woman.

28 For two whole years Absalom lived in Jerusalem. But he never saw the king. 29 Then Absalom sent a servant to Joab with a message. He wanted Joab to come and to see him. But Joab would not come. So he sent another servant but Joab refused to come. 30 Then Absalom spoke to his servants. ‘Joab’s field is next to mine. And barley is growing in it. Now go and cause it to burn.’ So Absalom’s servants did as he asked.

31 Then Joab did go to Absalom’s house. ‘Why did your servants burn my field?’ he asked.

The king lets Absalom come to see him

32 Absalom replied, ‘I sent my servants to ask you to come. But you did not come to see me. I wanted to send you to the king. I wanted you to ask him why he had brought me from Geshur to Jerusalem. It would have been better for me to stay there! Now I want to go to see the king. So he can say himself if I have done anything wrong. Then he can kill me for any wrong thing that I have done.’

33 So Joab went to the king and he told the king about it. Then the king sent servants to bring Absalom to him. He came in and he bent down in front of the king. He put his face to the ground. And the king kissed Absalom.

Chapter 15

Absalom causes the people to love him

1 Some time after that, Absalom bought a chariot and horses. He had 50 men who ran in front of him. 2 He got up early in the morning. Then he went to stand at the side of the road by the city’s gate. He shouted to anyone who was coming to see the king. Then he asked, ‘Where have you come from?’ The man would tell Absalom which tribe of Israel he came from. He knew that the man was arguing with another man about a problem. They wanted the king to tell them the right answer to that problem. 3 Then Absalom would say, ‘I am sure that you are right and not the other man. But there is nobody of the king’s officers to listen to you.’ 4 And Absalom would also say, ‘If I became a judge in this country, people with problems would be able to come to me. I would be a fair judge for them.’

5 The man would bend down because he wanted to honour Absalom. But he would put out his hands and he would pull the man to himself. Then he would kiss him. 6 Absalom did this to all the people who came to ask the king for a judgement. That was how he caused all the men in Israel to love him.

7 After 4 years, Absalom spoke to the king. ‘Please let me go to Hebron. I have promised something to the LORD. 8 I did it while I was living in Geshur in Aram’, he said. ‘I promised to worship the LORD in Hebron if the LORD brought me to Jerusalem again.’

9 The king said, ‘Go in peace.’ So he went to Hebron.

Absalom makes himself king

10 Then Absalom sent men with a message secretly to all the tribes of Israel. The men had to say, ‘When you hear the noise of trumpets, shout, “Absalom has become king in Hebron.” ’ 11 But 200 men from Jerusalem had gone with Absalom. He had asked them to go as friends. They did not know what Absalom would do. 12 Absalom burnt his sacrifices. At the same time he sent men to fetch Ahithophel from Giloh. Ahithophel always suggested to David what he should do. More and more men joined Absalom’s men against David. So Absalom became stronger and stronger.

David runs away from Jerusalem

13 A servant came and he told David, ‘Israel’s men have turned away from you to follow Absalom.’

14 Then David spoke to the officers who were with him in Jerusalem. ‘Come, we must run away. If we do not do that, Absalom will beat us all. We must leave now. If we do not do that, he will kill everyone in the city.’

15 The king’s servants answered, ‘We will do anything that our lord the king chooses.’

16 So the king went out with all his servants and family. But he did not take 10 of his lady friends so that they would be able to keep the king’s house safe. 17 He went out and all the people were following him. They stopped at the last house that was near Jerusalem. 18 All his men marched past him with the Kerethites and Pelethites. The 600 men who had come with him from Gath also marched past the king.

19 The king spoke to Ittai from Gath. ‘Why are you coming with us? Return and stay with King Absalom. You are from another country. 20 You only came here a short time ago. You do not need to run away with us. I do not even know where I am going! Return and take your people with you. I pray that the LORD will be kind to you. And I pray that he will bless you.’

21 But Ittai replied to the king, ‘I promise that I will go with you. As surely as the LORD is alive, I will go with you. I will go to any place that you may go during your whole life. I will go, whether it causes me to live or to die.’

22 ‘March on then’, said David. So Ittai marched on with all his men and their families.

23 All the people that they passed wept with a loud voice. The king crossed the Kidron Valley and all the people moved towards the desert.

24 Zadok the priest was there. The Levites were also there, and they were carrying the Covenant Box. They put it down. Then Abiathar burnt sacrifices until all the people had left the city.

Zadok, Abiathar and their sons take the Covenant Box to Jerusalem again

25 Then the king spoke to Zadok ‘Take the Covenant Box into the city. If I have given pleasure to the LORD, he will bring me there again. Then I will see it again in the LORD’s house. 26 But if not, I am ready. He must do what seems best to him.’

27 Again the king spoke to Zadok the priest. ‘Take your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan to the city with you. 28 I will wait at the place where we crossed the river. I will wait there until you send me news.’ 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the Covenant Box to Jerusalem and they stayed there.

David sends Hushai to Jerusalem

30 But David continued to go up the hill called the Hill of Olives. He was weeping as he went. He had covered his head and he was not wearing anything on his feet. All the people with him also covered their heads. And they wept as they walked. 31 They had told David that Ahithophel was with Absalom. So David prayed, ‘LORD, please cause Ahithophel to give them the advice of a fool.’

32 David arrived at the top of the hill where he worshipped God. Hushai from the place called Archi met him there. He had torn his clothes and he had dirt on his head. 33 David said, ‘Do not come with me because you might cause me trouble. 34 Return to the city. You can say to Absalom, “You are the king and I will be your servant. I was once your father’s servant, but now I will be your servant.” Then you can help me. You can give opposite advice to Ahithophel’s advice. 35 The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be there with you. Tell them anything that you hear in the king’s house. 36 Their two sons, Ahimaaz and Jonathan are with them. Send them to me with anything that you hear.’

37 So, when Absalom had just gone into the city, David’s friend Hushai arrived at Jerusalem.

Chapter 16

David and Ziba

1 When David began to walk down the mountain, he met Mephibosheth’s servant Ziba. Ziba was waiting for him with two donkeys. They carried 200 loaves of bread, 100 cakes of figs and 100 cakes of grapes that someone had dried. They also brought a skin that was full of wine.

2 The king asked Ziba, ‘Why have you brought these?’

Ziba answered, ‘The donkeys are for the king’s family to ride. The bread and fruit are for the men to eat. And the wine is so that the very tired men in the desert will feel better.’

3 The king asked, ‘Where is your master’s grandson?’

Ziba answered, ‘He is staying in Jerusalem. He thinks that they will give him back his grandfather Saul’s kingdom.’

4 Then the king said to Ziba, ‘All that Mephibosheth had is now yours.’

‘I am your servant’, said Ziba. ‘I hope that I will always give you pleasure.’

Shimei throws stones at David and he shouts bad names at David

5 Shimei, son of Gera, came out to meet David. David was coming near to the city called Bahurim. Shimei was from the same family as Saul. Soldiers and David’s special men were all round David. But Shimei shouted bad words about David as he came. 6 He threw stones at David and at all his officers. 7 He said, ‘Get out! Get out! You are a man who has killed many people. So you are a wicked man! 8 You killed a lot of Saul’s people. And this is how the LORD is paying you for that. Saul was king but you became king instead. The LORD has given the kingdom to your son, Absalom. God is punishing you for the murders that you did!’

9 Then Zeruiah’s son, Abishai, said to the king, ‘This man is like a dog. He should not say these bad things to you. There is no reason for us to let him live. Can I go there and cut off his head?’

10 ‘You and I think about this in a different way, you sons of Zeruiah’, said the king. ‘He might be saying these bad things because the LORD has said to him, “Say bad things about David.” So we cannot ask why he says them.’

11 Then David spoke to Abishai and to all his officers. ‘My son, my own son is trying to kill me. So it is not a surprise that this descendant of Benjamin is angry. He hates me. Do not touch him. The LORD has told him that he should say these things. 12 Perhaps the LORD will see how much it makes me sad. Perhaps he will do good things for me because Shimei is saying bad things today.’ 13 David and his men continued to walk along the road. Shimei walked along the hill, where he could see them. He shouted. And he threw stones and dirt at them as he walked. 14 The king and all his men were very tired when they reached the River Jordan. So they rested there.

Hushai and Ahithophel have different ideas

15 So now all Israel’s men had come to Jerusalem with Absalom. And Ahithophel was with him. 16 Then David’s friend, Hushai from the place called Archi, went to Absalom. He said, ‘I pray that the king will live for all time! I pray that the king will live for all time!’

17 Absalom asked Hushai, ‘Is this how you show your love for your friend? Why did you not go with him?’

18 Hushai replied, ‘No, I will follow the man that the LORD has chosen. I will stay by all Israel’s men and with the man that these people have chosen. I will be his man. 19 Clearly, I should work for the son. As I worked for your father, so I will work for you.’

20 Absalom said to Ahithophel, ‘Have you any ideas? What do you think that we should do?’

21 Ahithophel answered, ‘Sleep with your father’s lady friends that are here in his house. Then all the people in Israel will know that you have made your father very angry. Then they will want to help you much more.’ 22 So they put up a tent for Absalom on the roof. There he went in to his father’s ladies and all Israel watched him.

23 In those days, men thought that Ahithophel’s words were like the word of God. David and Absalom both believed that.

Chapter 17

Hushai and Ahithophel do not agree

1 Ahithophel spoke to Absalom, ‘I would go tonight to attack David. Please let me choose 12 000 men. 2 I will go after him while he is tired and weak. This will make him afraid, then all the people with him will run away. I will kill only the king. 3 Then I will bring all the people back to you. If we kill this man you will cause all the people to come to you.’ 4 This seemed a very good idea to Absalom and to all the leaders of Israel.

5 But Absalom said, ‘Send Hushai from the place called Archi to me. Let us hear what he has to say.’ 6 Absalom spoke to Hushai when he arrived. ‘Ahithophel has suggested that we do this. What do you think? If you do not agree, please give us your ideas.’

7 Hushai replied to Absalom, ‘This time Ahithophel’s idea is not good. 8 You know that your father and his men are all fighters. They fight like a mother bear when you take away her little bears. And your father has fought many times. He will not stay all night with his soldiers. 9 Even now he is hiding in a hole in the hill or another place like that. He might attack your soldiers first. Someone who saw it would tell other people. He would say, “They have killed Absalom’s men!” 10 Then even your bravest soldier would become afraid. He might be as brave as a lion. But even he would be very afraid. Everyone in Israel knows that your father is a fighter. And they know that the men with him are brave.’

They choose Hushai’s idea

11 Hushai said, ‘This is what I suggest. Bring here all the men in Israel who live in all the country from Dan to Beersheba. Their numbers are as great as the pieces of sand by the side of the sea. Then you yourself should lead them into the fight. 12 In this way we can attack him in any place that we find him. He will not even know that we have found him. He and his men will all die. 13 If he goes into a city, we can pull it down into the valley below. Only small pieces will remain on the hill.’

14 Absalom and all Israel’s men said, ‘Hushai’s idea is better than Ahithophel’s.’ (The LORD had decided to make Ahithophel’s idea seem worse than Hushai’s idea. He wanted to cause bad trouble for Absalom.)

15 Then Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar what he had said to Absalom and to his officers. And he told them what Ahithophel had suggested. 16 ‘Now send servants to David immediately’, he said. ‘They must tell him that he should not stay this side of the river in the desert. He must cross the River Jordan immediately and all the people with him. If he does not cross it tonight Absalom’s men will catch them all. And then they will kill them all.’

Servants go to tell David that he should cross the river

17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En Rogel. A servant girl went to tell them what had happened. Then they went and they told it to King David. They did not want anybody to see them as they were going into the city. That was important. 18 But a young man saw them and he told Absalom. So they left quickly and they went to a man’s house in Bahurim. He had a well in his yard and they climbed down into it.

A woman hides the two servants

19 His wife took a lid and she put it over the top of the well. Then she threw a lot of seeds on it, so nobody knew anything about it.

20 Absalom’s men came to the house. They asked the woman, ‘Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?’

The woman answered, ‘They went across the river.’ The men looked everywhere but they did not find anyone. So they returned to Jerusalem.

The servants see David

21 After the men had gone, Ahimaaz and Jonathan climbed out of the well. They went to see David. They said to him, ‘Go now and cross the river.’ And they told him what Ahithophel had suggested. 22 So David and all the people left immediately and they crossed the river. When it was dawn they had all gone across the river.

Ahithophel kills himself

23 Ahithophel got on his donkey and he left Jerusalem. Absalom had not done as he had suggested. Ahithophel had seen that. He finished all his business and then he hung himself from his neck. He died and they buried him with his father’s dead body.

24 David went to Mahanaim and Absalom crossed the River Jordan with all Israel’s men. 25 Joab had been the leader of all Israel’s soldiers. But Absalom had made Amasa the Ishmaelite the leader, instead. Amasa’s father, Ithra had married Abigail. She was Nahash’s daughter and a sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26 Absalom and his army put their tents in Gilead.

Three friends give help to David’s people

27 When David came to Mahanaim, three men helped him. One man was Nahash’s son Shobi from Rabbah. The people called Ammonites lived in Rabbah. The other men were Ammiel’s son Machir from Lo-Debar and Barzillai from Rogelim in Gilead. 28-29 They brought beds and pots and cups. They also brought wheat, barley, flour and grain that they had cooked. And they brought beans, lentils, honey, milk, sheep and cheese that they had made from cow’s milk. These were for David and his people to eat. They said, ‘The people have become tired in the desert and they need food and drink.’

Chapter 18

David prepares his army

1 David brought together all the men who were with him. He chose some to lead hundreds and some to lead thousands of them. 2 He sent them out in three groups. Joab led one group. His brother, Abishai, led another group and Ittai from Gath led the third group. The king said to them all, ‘I will go with you myself.’

3 But the men replied, ‘You must not go out. If we have to run away they may kill half of us. But they will really want only to kill you. You are worth 10 000 of us. You can send help to us from the city.’

4 ‘I will do whatever you think is best’, the king answered. Then he stood by the side of the gate. And his men marched out in their groups of hundreds and of thousands. 5 The king spoke strongly to Joab, Abishai and Ittai. ‘Do not hurt the young man Absalom if you love me’, he said. And all the soldiers heard him say this to the three officers.

David’s men fight Israel’s soldiers

6 The army marched out to fight Israel. They fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7 There David’s men won the fight with Israel’s men. Many men died. There were 20 000 dead men. 8 They fought over all the land in and round the forest. More men died in the forest than in the fight.

Joab’s men catch Absalom

9 And Absalom met some of David’s men. He was riding on a mule. It went under a big oak tree and Absalom’s hair caught in its branches. He hung there by his hair but the mule continued to walk on.

10 A man saw it and he told Joab, ‘I have seen Absalom. He is hanging from an oak tree.’

11 Joab said to the man, ‘If you saw him, why did you not kill him? I would have given you 10 silver coins and a special belt.’

12 But the man replied, ‘I would not hurt the king’s son, even for 25 pounds (11 kilos) of silver. We all heard the king speak to you, Abishai and Ittai. He said, “Do not hurt young Absalom if you love me.” 13 If I had killed Absalom, It would have been very dangerous for me. The king knows everything and then he would have killed me. And you would not have saved me.’

Joab kills Absalom

14 Joab said, ‘I cannot stand here and talk with you.’ And he took three spears. And he pushed them into Absalom’s heart as Absalom was still hanging in the oak tree. 15 Ten of Joab’s own men came round Absalom. They hit him and they killed him.

16 Then Joab made a sound with his trumpet and his soldiers stopped running after Israel. Joab had stopped them. 17 They took Absalom’s dead body and they put it in a big hole in the forest. They put a lot of stones over it. At the same time, all the Israelites ran to their homes.

Absalom’s pillar

18 While Absalom was alive he built a tall pillar of stones in the king’s valley. He built it so that people might remember him. He thought, ‘I have no son to live after me.’ He gave his own name to it and people still call it Absalom’s pillar.

Ahimaaz and a man from Ethiopia take the news to David

19 Zadok’s son Ahimaaz spoke to Joab. ‘Let me run to give the king the news that the LORD has saved him from his enemies’, he said.

20 ‘You must not take any good news today’, said Joab. ‘You can take it another day, but not today. The king’s son is dead.’

21 Then Joab spoke to a man from Ethiopia, ‘Go to the king. Tell him what you have seen.’ The man bent down in front of Joab and then he ran off.

22 Ahimaaz spoke to Joab again, ‘I am not afraid of what may happen. Please let me run after the man from Ethiopia.’

But Joab replied, ‘Why do you want to do it? The king will not give you a gift for this news.’

23 He said, ‘But I do want to go, whatever happens.’

So Joab said, ‘Run!’ Then Ahimaaz ran across the flat ground. And he went faster than the man from Ethiopia.

24 David was sitting between the two city gates. A man stood over the gate by the wall. He was watching the road. As he looked he saw a man. The man was running towards the city. He was running alone. 25 The man on the roof shouted to the king to say what he had seen.

The king said, ‘If he is alone, the news is good.’ And the man came closer and closer.

26 Then the man on the roof saw another man who was running. He called down to the man at the gate, ‘Look, another man is also running alone!’

The king said, ‘He will bring good news, too.’

27 The man said, ‘The first man is running like Zadok’s son Ahimaaz.’

‘He is a good man’, the king said. ‘He will bring good news.’

Ahimaaz tells the good news

28 Then Ahimaaz shouted to the king, ‘It is good news!’ And he bent down with his face to the ground and he said, ‘Praise the LORD your God! He has helped you to win the fight with those who were against you.’

29 The king asked, ‘Is the young man Absalom safe?’

Ahimaaz answered, ‘When your officer Joab sent me I saw many people together. They seemed to be confused. But I did not see what had caused it.’

30 The king said, ‘Stand at the side and wait here.’ So Ahimaaz stepped to the side and he waited.

31 Then the man from Ethiopia arrived. He said, ‘My lord the king, hear my good news! Today the LORD has helped you to win the fight with those who were against you.’

The man from Ethiopia tells David that Absalom is dead

32 The king asked the man from Ethiopia, ‘Is the young man Absalom safe?’

The man from Ethiopia replied, ‘I hope that all your enemies will be like that young man. And I want the same thing to happen to all those who are against you’

33 The king became so sad that he left the room over the gate. And he wept loudly. As he went, he said, ‘My son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! You should not have died. I should have died instead, Absalom, Absalom my son!’

Chapter 19

Joab tells the king that he is not being wise

1 People told Joab that the king was weeping for Absalom. He was very sad because Absalom was dead. 2 So the whole army was sad too. They had won an important fight. But they could not be happy and they could not have a party. They had heard men say, ‘The king is sad because his son is dead.’ 3 The soldiers were quiet as they came into the city. Men are ashamed when they have run away from a fight. They came in like that. 4 The king covered his face and he cried, ‘Absalom, Absalom my son, my son!’

5 Then Joab went into the king’s house. He spoke to the king. ‘Today you have made your men ashamed. But they have saved your life and the lives of your sons, daughters and lady friends. 6 You seem to love those who hate you. And you seem to hate those who love you! You have shown today that your officers and soldiers are not important to you. You would be happy if Absalom were still alive. You would be happy even if all of us were dead. 7 Now go out and speak to the men. Tell them that they have fought well. If you do not do that, not one man will remain here tonight. It is as sure as the LORD is alive. That would be worse than anything that has happened to you in all your life.’

8 So the king got up and he went to sit in his seat by the city gate. They told the men, ‘The king is sitting by the gate.’ Then they all came to stand in front of him. By this time, the people had run to their homes.

David returns to Jerusalem

9 Then the people in their different tribes were quarrelling with each other. They were saying, ‘The king saved us from our enemies. He fought the Philistines and he won. Nobody else did that. But now he has run from Absalom that we asked to be our king. He has left the country. 10 We anointed Absalom as king over us but now he has died in the fight. Surely someone should have started to say that we should bring the king back.’

11 People told David what the people were saying. So he sent the priests Zadok and Abiathar to the leaders of Judah with a message. He told them to say, ‘Surely, you should not be the last to bring the king back to the king’s house? He has heard what the people in all Israel are saying. 12 You are my brothers, my family. So I do not know why you are the last to bring back the king. 13 And say to Amasa, “You belong to my family. From this time on Joab will not be the most important officer in my army. You will be that, instead. I want God to punish me very much if I do not do that.” Tell him that.’

14 All the men from Judah turned like one man to follow David. They sent servants to the king. And they asked him to return with all his soldiers. 15 Then the king returned and he went to the River Jordan.

The men from Judah had come to Gilgal to meet the king. They wanted to bring him across the river.

David forgives Shimei

16 Gera’s son Shimei came quickly down from Bahurim to meet the king. He came with the men from Judah but he was from Benjamin’s tribe. 17 He brought 1000 men from his tribe with him. Ziba, Saul’s servant also came with his 15 sons and 20 servants. They all hurried to the River Jordan, where the king was. 18 They crossed where the water was not deep. And they brought the king and his people with them. They wanted to do whatever the king wanted.

When Shimei had crossed the River Jordan he fell down in front of the king. 19 He said to him, ‘Please will you forgive me. I did wrong things when you, my lord, left Jerusalem. Please, do not remember those things. Please forget them. 20 I am your servant. And I know that I have sinned. But I am the first to come from the tribes in the north of Israel to meet you here.’

21 Then Abishai, Zeruiah’s son said, ‘We should kill Shimei. He said wicked things against the king that God has anointed. So we should kill him.’

22 David replied, ‘I am not like you and your brother Joab. You will not kill anybody today. This day I have become king over Israel.’ 23 So the king gave a promise to Shimei. ‘You will not die’, he said.

David is kind to Mephibosheth

24 Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, also went down to meet the king. He had not washed his feet or his clothes since David left Jerusalem. And he had not cut his beard. 25 When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, David spoke to him. ‘Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?’ he asked.

26 He said, ‘My lord, as you know, I cannot walk well. So I asked my servant to prepare a donkey for me to ride so that I could go with you. But Ziba my servant did not obey me. 27 And what he has said to you is not true. But you are like an angel of God. You will do what you think is best. 28 My lord might have killed all the descendants of my grandfather Saul. That would have been a fair punishment. But you gave me a place to eat at your table. I ought not to ask the king for anything more.’

29 The king said, ‘Do not say any more about these things. I have decided that you and Ziba must each have half of the fields.’

30 Mephibosheth said to the king, ‘He can take them all. I am only happy that you are still safe.’

David wants Barzillai to stay with him in Jerusalem

31 Barzillai from Gilead came down from Rogelim to cross the River Jordan with the king. He wanted to send him on to Jerusalem from there. 32 But Barzillai was a very old man, about 80 years old. He had helped David while David was in Mahanaim. He had given to David much that he had needed. He did that because he was a very rich man. 33 David said to him, ‘Cross with me. And come and stay with me in Jerusalem. I can give to you all that you might want.’

Barzillai asks David to take his son Chimham instead

34 Barzillai answered the king, ‘I will not live many more years. Why should I go to Jerusalem with the king? 35 I am already 80 years old. And I cannot tell what is good or bad. I cannot taste what I eat. And I cannot taste what I drink. And I cannot still hear people when they sing. I would only cause trouble to you. 36 I will come with you for a short way on the other side of the river, but I cannot accept your gift. 37 Let me, your servant, return to die in my own town. Then they can bury me near the place where they buried my father and my mother. Here is my son Chimham. Let him go across with you. Please do for him whatever you choose. And I hope that it will give you pleasure.’

38 The king said, ‘Chimham can go across with me. And I will do for him whatever you want. And I will do whatever you want me to do for you.’

39 So all the people went across the River Jordan and the king followed them. The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Then Barzillai returned to his home.

40 When the king went across the river to Gilgal, Chimham went with him. All Judah’s army and half of Israel’s men took him across the river.

The men from Israel are angry with the men from Judah

41 Then all the men from Israel came to ask the king, ‘Why did our brothers, the men from Judah, take you and your people away across the River Jordan?’

42 The men from Judah answered, ‘We did it because he belongs to our family. Do not be angry. We have not eaten any of his food and he has not given us anything.’

43 The Israelites replied, ‘We have 10 parts in the king but you have only one part. So you should not think that we are not important. And we were the first people to say that we should bring the king back.’

But the words that the men from Judah spoke were even more angry than the words of the Israelites.

Chapter 20

Sheba causes trouble for David

1 A man called Sheba was in Gilgal. He was Bichri’s son, from Benjamin’s tribe. He liked to cause trouble. He made a noise with a trumpet and he shouted, ‘We will not follow David the son of Jesse. Men from Israel, we should return to our homes.’ 2 So the Israelites left David and they went with Sheba. But the men from Judah stayed with David and they followed him. They were all the people who lived in places from the River Jordan to Jerusalem.

David keeps his ladies safe

3 David returned to the king’s house in Jerusalem. Then he took the 10 lady friends. They had stayed there when he left Jerusalem. Now he shut them away safely in a special house. People were watching them carefully. He gave to them all that they needed. But he did not sleep with them. They stayed there. And they lived like widows until they died.

David sends Amasa to fetch all the men from Judah

4 The king spoke to Amasa. ‘Bring all the men from Judah to me here during the next three days. And come with them yourself.’ 5 Amasa went to fetch them but he was away for more than three days.

6 David said to Abishai, ‘Now Bichri’s son Sheba will cause us more trouble than Absalom. Take my men and go after him. If you do not catch him they may hide in towns with strong walls. He might get away from us.’ 7 So Abishai took Joab’s men, the Pelethites and the Kerethites and all the king’s soldiers with him. They marched out from Jerusalem to find Bichri’s son Sheba. 8 Amasa came to meet them at the big rock in Gibeon. Joab was dressed for the fight and a sword was hanging from his belt. It fell out of its place as Joab went towards Amasa.

Joab kills Amasa

9 Joab said to Amasa, ‘How are you my brother?’ And he took Amasa by his beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 But Amasa did not see the sword in Joab’s other hand. Then Joab pushed it completely into Amasa’s stomach. All his inside parts fell out on the ground and he died immediately. Joab did not have to hit him again.

Then Joab and his brother Abishai went on. They were following after Sheba.

11 A man stood by Amasa’s dead body. The man belonged to Joab’s soldiers. He shouted, ‘Everyone who wants to follow David, follow Joab!’ 12 Amasa’s dead body was in the road, covered in his blood. Everyone who saw him stopped there. The man had seen that they stopped. So he pulled the dead body into a field and he covered it with a cloth. 13 After he had taken Amasa’s dead body from the road, the men went on with Joab. They were going after Sheba the son of Bichri.

They find Sheba and people kill him to save their city

14 Sheba went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel Beth Maacah. All Bichri’s family came together and they followed him into the city. 15 Some people told Joab’s men that Sheba was there. So they went and they stood all round the city. They built the ground up high near to its walls. And they dug under the walls to cause them to fall down. 16 A wise woman shouted to them from the wall. ‘Listen, listen. Ask Joab to come here so that I can speak to him’, she said. 17 He went towards her. ‘Are you Joab?’ she asked.

‘I am’, he answered.

Listen to what I have to say’, she said.

‘I am listening’, he replied.

18 Then she said, ‘A long time ago, people said, “Get your answer at the city called Abel.” And that is what they did. 19 We are a peaceful city that is faithful to Israel. Why are you trying to destroy it? Do you want to hurt what is the LORD’s?’

20 ‘I would never do that!’ Joab answered. ‘I would never hurt or destroy your city. 21 That is not what we want. But a man called Sheba, son of Bichri, has come there from the hills of Ephraim. He has said that he will not follow King David. If you will give me this one man, I will leave your city. I will not destroy it.’

The woman said to Joab, ‘I will throw his head to you from the wall.’

22 Then the woman went to all the people in the city. She told them why they should kill Sheba. So they cut off the head of Bichri’s son Sheba and they threw it to Joab. Then he made a noise with his trumpet and all his men left the city. Each of them went to his home. And Joab returned to the king in Jerusalem.

David’s officers

23 Joab was the officer who led all Israel’s army. Jehoiada’s son led the Pelethites and the Kerethites who kept David safe. 24 Adoniram ruled over the men that had to work for the king. Ahilud’s son Jehoshaphat wrote down all that the king did. 25 Sheva was another writer, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests. 26 Ira from the town called Jair was a priest for David.

Chapter 21

David lets the Gibeonites punish Saul’s descendants

1 For three years together no food grew in Israel. So David asked the LORD what had caused this trouble. The LORD said, ‘It is because of the blood of the Gibeonites. Saul killed many of them.’

2 The king asked the Gibeonites to come to him. (The Gibeonites were not Israel’s people. They were Amorites, but the Israelites had promised not to kill them. Saul had tried to kill them all. He thought that this would be good for Israel and Judah.)

3 David asked the Gibeonites, ‘What can I do for you? How can I make things right so that you will bless our people’s land?’

4 The Gibeonites answered Saul, ‘We do not ask for money or gold from Saul’s family. And we do not want to kill anyone in Israel.’

‘What do you want me to do for you?’ David asked them.

5 They answered the king, ‘There was a man who destroyed us. He wanted to kill all of us who were living in Israel. 6 Will you give to us 7 of his male descendants? Then we can kill them and we can hang them in front of the LORD in Gibeah. It is the town of Saul, the man that the LORD chose.’

‘I will give them to you’, the king said.

The Gibeonites kill 7 of Saul’s descendants

7 The king did not choose Mephibosheth, the son of Saul’s son Jonathan. That was because of David’s promise to Saul’s son Jonathan. David used the name of the LORD when he made that promise. 8 But the king took the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, who were called Armoni and Mephibosheth. Saul was their father. And he took the 5 sons of Saul’s daughter Merab. They had grown up as sons of Michal, her sister. They were the sons of Adriel, son of Barzillai from Meholath. 9 He gave them to the Gibeonites. They killed them and they hung them on a hill in front of the LORD. All 7 of them died together. That was at the time when the barley was nearly ready to bring from the fields.

Rizpah protects her son’s dead bodies

10 Rizpah, Aiah’s daughter, put a cloth over a rock for herself. She stayed there from that time until it rained. The rain came down from the sky on the dead bodies. She kept the birds away from them during the day and she kept the wild animals away during the night.

They bury the bones of Saul’s family

11 They told David what Rizpah, Saul’s lady friend, had done. 12 Then he went to fetch the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the people at Jabesh Gilead. (Their men had taken them from the square in Beth Shan. The Philistines had hung them there. That was after they had killed Saul on the mountain called Gilboa.) 13 David took the bones of Saul and Jonathan and also the bones of the 7 men who had been hung.

14 They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan with those of Kish, Saul’s father, in Zela in Benjamin’s land. The king had told them what they should do. And they did it all. Then the LORD answered their prayers for their country.

Wars against the Philistines

15 Israel’s people were fighting the Philistines again. David went with his men to fight the Philistines. He became very tired. 16 A descendant of Rapha, Ishbi-Benob said that he would kill David. The point of his bronze spear weighed 7½ pounds (3½ kilos) and he had a new sword. 17 But Zeruiah’s son Abishai saved David. He hit the Philistine down and he killed the Philistine. So David’s men said to him, ‘You must never again come out to fight with us. You are like Israel’s light and we do not want anyone to put it out.’

18 Some time after that, Israel fought with the Philistines at Gob. In that fight, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, a descendant of Rapha.

19 In another fight with the Philistines, Elhanan, the son of Jaare-Oregim from Bethlehem, killed Goliath from Gath. Goliath’s spear had a thick handle like a strong tree branch.

20 In another fight, a great big man fought for the Philistines. He had 6 fingers on each hand and 6 toes on each foot. He was also a descendant of Rapha. 21 When he shouted bad things about the Israelites, Shimeah’s son Jonathan killed him. Shimeah was David’s brother.

22 David and his men killed all these 4 descendants of Rapha from Gath.

The descendants of Rapha were all great big men. We call them ‘giants’.

Chapter 22

David sings praises to God

1 David wrote this song when the LORD had saved him from Saul and from all his enemies.

2 This is what he sang.

‘The LORD is my rock and my strong shelter, and he saved me.

3 My God is the rock that I can hide in.

He is my shield that saves me.

He is my strong shelter and my safe place, and he saves me.

You have saved me from men who would have hurt me.

4 I shout to the LORD because I must praise him.

He has saved me from my enemies.

5 Death was like water that was all round me.

Strong waters covered me over.

6 I felt that they were burying me.

7 I was afraid so I cried to the LORD.

I shouted to my God.

From his holy place he heard my voice.

My loud noise reached his ears.

8 The ground moved and it shook.

And the sky shook itself.

They shook because he was angry.

9 Smoke came out of his nose.

Burning fire came out of his mouth.

Materials started to burn as a result.

10 He broke through the sky and he came down.

He stood on dark clouds.

11 He flew on the backs of angels.

He went like the wind.

12 He made the air dark all round him

with the rain clouds of the sky.

13 From his bright body

swords of light shone out.

14 The LORD spoke with a loud noise.

His great voice was everywhere.

15 He shot arrows that caused enemies to run away.

His swords of light beat them completely.

16 The waters of the sea ran from their deep places.

Men could see the deepest places of the earth.

He caused this by the smoke from his mouth

because he was angry.

17 His hand came out from the sky to hold me.

He pulled me from the deep waters.

18 He saved me from my powerful enemy.

He saved me from those who were too strong for me.

19 When troubles were all round me,

he held me up.

20 He brought me into a safe place.

He saved me because he loved me very much.

21 I do what is right. The LORD helps me because of that.

He blesses me because I do not sin.

22 That is because I have obeyed his laws.

It is because I have not turned away from him.

23 I have obeyed all his laws.

I have not turned away from them.

24 I have done only what is right. He knows that.

I have not sinned.

25 I do what is right. So the LORD has blessed me.

I want only what is good. And he sees that.

26 You are faithful to those who are faithful to you, LORD.

You are completely good to those who are good.

27 All good people know how good you are.

But you are against those who are wicked.

28 You save humble people.

But you bring down proud people.

29 You are like a light in my hand.

You turn dark into light.

30 You make me strong to fight my enemies.

With you, my God, I can jump over a wall.

31 All that God does is perfect.

His words are always good and right.

He is like a shield to all who trust him.

32 The LORD is the only God.

He is the rock that holds us up.

33 It is God who makes me strong.

He makes my path safe.

34 He makes my feet like goat’s feet

so that I can stand on high hills.

35 He teaches my hands to fight

so that I can bend an iron bow.

36 You keep me safe in the fight.

Your help has made me great.

37 You have saved me from my enemies

and I have never fallen.

38 I ran after my enemies and I beat them.

I did not turn back until they were all gone.

39 I knocked them down and they could not get up.

They fell under my feet.

40 You made me strong for the fight.

You caused those that I fought to bend down in front of me.

41 You caused my enemies to turn and so they ran away from me.

And I killed all those who were against me.

42 They shouted for help but nobody came to save them.

They shouted to the LORD but he did not answer.

43 I hit them until they were like small stones.

I beat them and I walked over them like the ground.

44 You have saved me when my people were attacking me.

You have made me the ruler of many nations.

People that I did not know obey me.

45 Foreign men come and they bend down to me.

They hear me speak and they obey me immediately.

46 They are not brave now.

They are very afraid as they leave their strong cities.

47 The LORD is alive! Praise him who is my strong rock.

Tell people how great he is. He is the strong God who saves me.

48 He helps me to beat my enemies;

he causes me to rule over the nations.

49 He saves me from my enemies.

You made me stronger than those who were against me.

And you save me from those who would hurt me.

50 So I will praise you, LORD among the nations.

I will sing praises to your name.

51 God wins big and important fights for his king.

He is always kind to the king that he has anointed,

to David and to his descendants for all time.’

Chapter 23

David’s last words

1 God chose David, Jesse’s son for people to anoint as their king. God made him great and he wrote beautiful songs for Israel. These are David’s last words.

2 ‘The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me.

My mouth speaks his words.

3 The God of Israel has spoken.

He who keeps Israel safe said to me,

“A king who rules over men properly is afraid to make God angry.

4 That kind of king is like morning light when the sun rises.

Yes, he is like a morning when there are no clouds in the sky.

He is like light after rain

that causes the grass to seem bright.”

5 The LORD will bless my descendants.

That is because he has given a promise to me.

And that promise will be for all time.

He will not change his promise.

And he will do what he has promised to do.

That is all that I want. And he will keep me safe.

6 But he will throw out evil men like weeds.

Some weeds will hurt your hands if you touch them.

And those men are like those weeds.

7 The man who wants to touch them needs an iron tool or a strong stick.

But men will burn them completely.’

David’s strong soldiers

8 These are the names of David’s best soldiers.

Josheb-Basshebeth the son of Hachmon was the first of the ‘Three’. He stood against 800 men with his spear and he killed them all at the same time.

9 Next was Dodai’s son Eleazar from Ahoh’s family. He belonged to the three strongest men. He was with David at Pas Dammim when they said words to make their Philistine enemies angry before a fight. Israel’s men ran away 10 but Eleazar stood there. And he hit the enemy until his hand was tired. And his hand could not easily leave his sword. On that day the LORD won a big and important victory. The soldiers returned but they only came to take things from the dead Philistines.

11 Next was Shammah the son of Agee from Harar. The Philistines had come together in a field of beans and the Israelites had run away from them. 12 But Shammah had stood in the middle of the field. He fought the Philistines and the LORD gave a big and important victory to him.

13 The time to bring in the grain was near. During that time three out of David’s 30 best soldiers came to him near Adullam. He was hiding there in a hole in the hill. A group of Philistine soldiers was in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 David was there at that time and the Philistine army was at Bethlehem. 15 David very much wanted a drink of water. He said, ‘I want to have a drink of water from the well by Bethlehem’s gate. It would be good if someone brought me some.’ 16 So the three best soldiers fought through the Philistines and they got some water from Bethlehem’s well. Then they carried it to David. But he refused to drink it. He poured it out in front of the LORD. 17 ‘I cannot drink it’, he said. ‘Those men fetched it. But it would seem to me that I would be drinking their blood. They might have died while they were trying to fetch it.’ So David would not drink it.

These are the great things that the three best soldiers did.

18 Zeruiah’s son Abishai, Joab’s brother, was the leader of those three soldiers. He fought 300 men with his sword and he killed them all. So people talked about him a lot when they talked about these three soldiers. 19 Men honoured him more than the other two soldiers. So he was the leader of these three soldiers but he did not belong to the other ‘Three’.

20 Jehoiada’s son, Benaiah came from Kabzeel. He was a brave fighter and he did many great things. He killed two of Moab’s best men. And he went into a deep hole to kill a lion when snow was on the ground. 21 He knocked down a big man from Egypt who had a spear in his hand. He knocked him down with a heavy stick. He took the spear from the man’s hand and he killed him with the man’s own spear. 22 These were the things that Jehoiada’s son Benaiah did. 23 They honoured him more than any of the 30. But he did not belong to the ‘Three’. David made him the leader of his own special soldiers.

24-39 These men were among the 30:

Joab’s brother Asahel.

Elhanan, Dodo’s son from Bethlehem.

Shammah and Elika from Harod.

Helez from Pelet.

Ira, Ikkesh’s son from Tekoa.

Abiezer from Anathoth.

Mebunnai from Hushah.

Zalmon from Ahoh’s family.

Maharai from Netophah.

Heleb, Baanah’s son from Netophah.

Ittai, the son of Ribai, who came from Gibeah in the land of Benjamin.

Benaiah who came from Pirathon.

Hiddai from the valleys near Gaash.

Abialbon from Arbath.

Azmaveth from Bahurim.

Eliahba from Shaalbon, a son of Jashen.


Shammah from Harar.

Ahiam, the son of Sharar, from Harar.

Eliphelet, Ahasbai’s son from Maacah.

Eliam, Ahithophel’s son from Gilo.

Hezro from Carmel.

Paarai from the people called Arbites.

Igal, Nathan’s son from Zobah.

Bani who came from Gad’s family.

Zelek who came from Ammon.

Naharai from Beeroth. He carried Joab’s sword and shield.

Ira and Gareb from the people called Ithrites.

And Uriah the Hittite.

There are 31 names in this list. This may be because Abner killed Asahel. Then perhaps somebody else belonged to the 30 to make the proper number. (See 2:23.)

Together their number was 37.

The number 37 includes the two other groups of three great men. (See 23:8-23.)

Chapter 24

David counts his soldiers

1 The LORD became angry with Israel. So he caused David to cause trouble for them. He said to David, ‘Go and count the people in Israel and Judah.’

2 So the king said to Joab and the leaders of the army, ‘Go from Dan to Beersheba, through all the tribes of Israel. Count all the men who can fight. I want to know how many they are.’

3 But Joab spoke to the king, ‘I pray that the LORD your God will make their numbers very much greater. So then there might be 100 men for each man that there is now. And I pray that you will see it. But, my master, it is not good that you want to do this!’

4 But the king caused Joab and his officers to obey him. So they went out to count the people in Israel.

5 They crossed the River Jordan. And they stayed south of the town called Aroer in a valley. Then they went through Gad to Jazer. 6 They went to Gilead and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites. Then they went on to Dan and west to Sidon. 7 Then they went south to the strong city called Tyre. And they went to all the towns of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Then they came to Beersheba in the south of Judah.

8 After 9 months and 20 days they had been through the whole country and they returned to Jerusalem.

9 Joab gave a report to the king. The numbers of men who were able to use a sword to fight were 800 000 in Israel and in Judah 500 000.

The LORD punishes David for his sin

10 David had counted the men who were able to fight. But now he was sorry that he had done it. He said to the LORD, ‘What I have done was a bad sin. Please forgive me. I have been a fool.’

11 The LORD spoke to Gad, David’s prophet, the next morning. He spoke before David got up. 12 He said, ‘Go and say this to David: “Choose one out of three things for me to do against you.” ’

13 So Gad went to David and he said, ‘Would you choose three years when you have no food. Or would you choose three months when you are running from your enemies? Or should there be three days of strong illness in the country? Now think carefully. I will take your answer to him who sent me.’

14 David said to Gad, ‘I am in a lot of trouble. But I do not want men to punish me. I want the LORD to punish us, because he is kind.’

15 So, from that morning, the LORD caused illness to Israel for three days. And 70 000 Israelites died in that time. 16 The LORD’s angel was ready to destroy Jerusalem. But the LORD was sorry for the people and he said to the angel, ‘Stop killing the people! Put your hand down now.’ The angel was then at the place where Araunah worked with his grain. Araunah was from the people called Jebusites.

17 David saw the angel who was killing the people. So he spoke to the LORD. ‘I have sinned. These people have followed me like sheep. They have done nothing that is wrong. Punish me and my family. Do not punish the people’, he said.

David builds an altar

18 Gad went to David on that day and Gad said to him, ‘Go up. And build an altar to the LORD at the place where Araunah works with his grain.’ 19 So David went up to that place as the LORD had said by Gad the prophet. 20 Araunah looked and he saw the king and his men. They were coming towards him. So he went out in front of the king. He bent with his face to the ground.

21 Araunah said, ‘My lord, why have you come to your servant?’

‘I have come to buy this place where you work with your grain’, David answered. ‘I want to build an altar to the LORD. Then he will stop this illness.’

22 ‘Take anything that you want, my lord’, said Araunah, ‘Here are male cows, and tools and yokes of wood. 23 My lord, I give all this to the king.’ And he said, ‘I pray that the LORD your God will accept your offering.’

24 But the king replied to Araunah, ‘No, I must pay you for it. I will not sacrifice an offering that costs me nothing.’

So David bought the cows and the land for 1¼ pounds (0.6 kilos) of silver. 25 Then he built an altar and he sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings there. Then the LORD answered David’s prayer and the illness stopped.

Word List

when you say something to people that helps them to decide about something.
table where people burn animals as a sacrifice to a god or to God.
descendant of Amalek, a grandson of Esau.
descendant of Ammon, a son of Lot.
someone from a group of people who had lived in Canaan before the Israelites lived there.
people centuries ago that your grandparents’ grandparents were born to.
a person who is not human who brings messages from God.
to put oil on a person to show that God has given a special job to them.
a stick with a sharp point; you shoot it from a bow.
tree with a sweet smell.
small hard seed from a grass that people and animals can eat.
fruit of a special bush. People and animals eat them.
big dangerous animal that eats meat and fruits.
to say or to do good things to a person; to ask God for good things to happen.
what you say when you bless someone.
small things that people make and then they make buildings with them.
a kind of metal.
burnt offering
an animal that the priests killed and burned; this is how they gave them to God.
place where many people stay for a short time; they live in homes that they have made from animals’ skins.
person who lives in Canaan.
a box with wheels that animals pull along the ground.
big tree. Its wood is good to make floors and other things.
a kind of car that soldiers use to fight. Horses pull it.
to cut off the skin that covers the end of the sex part of a boy or of a man; a mark for Israelites to show that a man agreed to obey God’s rules.
when people agree something together; when God and a person or people agree to a special thing.
Covenant Box
box of wood that the Israelites had covered with gold. It contained stones on which Moses had written God’s rules (Deuteronomy 10:5).
a special hat that a king, queen or other ruler wears. A king’s crown is often gold.
cymbals make music. People hit two cymbals together.
sweet fruits from a tall tree. People eat them.
a person’s sons, daughters, grandchildren and their children.
a place where nobody lives, often dry.
water in the air that becomes water on the ground at night.
something that you really do not like; you do not want to touch it; something that is really not good.
animal like a small horse that carries people or things.
a drum makes music. People hit drums with sticks.
things or people that are very bad. There is nothing good in them.
someone that you can always trust; someone who always does what they promised to do.
a time to eat and to drink good things with friends.
a fruit that you can eat.
the skin that covers the end of the sex part of a boy or of a man.
to decide not to punish someone who has done a wrong thing.
a person from the country called Gibeon.
a hard seed that you can eat; or you can make bread out of it.
small soft sweet fruit. People may use it to make wine.
a harp makes music. A harp has long, thin pieces of material. You pull the material when you want to make music with it.
not to like someone at all, to want to hurt them.
someone from a nation that were enemies of Israel.
someone from a nation that were Israel’s enemies.
what God is like; different and better than all other things; all good with nothing bad in it.
a special sugar that insects called bees make.
to make someone very important; to think that they are great or special.
humble people believe that they are not great.
a false god that people made out of wood or stone or metal; something that we love when we should love God.
descendant of Ishmael, Abraham’s son by Hagar.
descendant of Israel (Jacob).
people who lived in Jerusalem before the Israelites lived there.
a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
person with authority to say what is right or wrong.
what a judge says should happen.
descendant of Kereth. Some became David’s soldiers.
a country that a king rules.
rules that a judge or a king, or God makes.
food like peas but not always green and sometimes smaller.
a very bad illness. It is an illness of the skin and bones. Other people would not talk to people who had leprosy. They called them dirty. People with leprosy must not live inside a town. They lived outside the town away from other people. To make them clean means to make them well again.
descendant of Levi, who was a son of Jacob. An Israelite tribe.
strong cloth like cotton that people make from plants.
dangerous animal like a big cat that can kill people and animals.
someone who rules or who is a master.
the special name that God gave for himself to the Jews. Do not confuse it with ‘lord’. Lord can be a word for any person that we obey. These are two completely different words in the Jews’ language.
a lyre makes music. It has long, thin pieces of material. You pull the material when you want to make music with it.
a merciful person gives help to those that need it; God is merciful when he does good things for us; kind to people who have done wrong things.
descendant of Moab, a son of Lot.
animal like a horse born from a horse and a donkey.
people who live together in the same country.
a kind of tree.
a gift that people give to God.
a tree with small fruits (or the fruits themselves) that people used to make oil. They burned the oil to give them light. They used it in other ways too.
peace offering
a gift to thank God.
peace, peaceful
when there are no fights or wars and all people are kind to each other.
a man from Peleth; some were David’s special soldiers.
all good with nothing bad in it.
people from Philistia between Israel and the sea, always enemies of Israel.
a large long piece of wood or stone that stands on its end.
to say how good and great a person is.
what you say when you pray.
male descendant of Aaron who gives offerings to God.
a person who hears God’s words, and tells them to other people; a person who spoke God’s words. Some prophets wrote books in the Bible.
to try to save from pain or trouble.
proud people believe that they are very great.
to hurt someone for the wrong things that they have done. For example, a person who has robbed another person must go to a prison.
the bad things that God or people do to a person who does wrong things.
a rattle makes music. People move rattles about very fast to make a noise.
to give something away, like an animal, to someone, perhaps God; or the gift itself.
shake, shook
move from one side to another and back again very fast many times.
somewhere to hide where you would be safe.
a soldier holds this in front of himself to stop things that would hit him.
valuable metal, like gold, but white.
when people do not obey God’s rules.
sharp metal point with long handle of wood. Soldiers used spears to fight.
a very long metal knife to attack enemies.
someone from Syria.
money that people have to give to rulers.
house of cloth or leather. People can carry it with them.
a group of people that have one language and belong together; a large group of people from the same family; family from one man. The first Jews were the 12 sons of Jacob. The family of each son became a tribe.
a metal pipe with a wide end. People use their mouths to make loud music with it.
believe that someone will be good to you.
when you win in a fight.
something to fight people with.
seed of special grass that people eat. They use it to make bread.
round things that help things like cars to move.
very, very bad.
this woman’s husband is dead.
a drink that has alcohol in it; people make it from small, sweet fruit called grapes. You can use it as medicine.
always to decide in the correct way.
soft hair of a sheep.
what we should do when we are with God; to give thanks to God and to Jesus; we usually worship together with other people; we pray and we sing; to bend down to God or to a false god; to show God that he is great and that we love him very much.
they put this thing over the necks of a pair of animals and the animals pulled things along; they made it out of wood.

Book List

NIV Study Bible ~ Zondervan ~ 1985

Peake’s Commentary on the Bible ~ Routledge ~ 2001

Illustrated Bible Dictionary ~ InterVarsity Press ~ May 1998


© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1997-2014

This version published February 2014

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.