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The Second Book of Samuel

also called the second book of the kings


Chapters 1-7 | 8-14 | 15-19 | 20-end | Next Book


The 8th Chapter

      After that, David beat the Philistines and subdued them and took the bridle of bondage out of their hands. And he beat the Moabites and measured them with a line, making them lie along the earth, and then meeting the length of two lines to slay, and the length of one line to save a life. And so became the Moabites Davids servants and paid tribute. David smote also Adadezer the son of Rehob king of Zobah as he went to make the end of his coasts at the river Euphrates. And David took a thousand and seven hundred horsemen of his, and twenty thousand footmen and destroyed all his chariots reserving one hundred of them. Then came the Sirians of Damasco to succour Adadezer king of Zobah. And David slew of them two and twenty thousand men and put soldiers in Siria Damasco. And the Sirians became servants to David paying tribute. And thus the Lord saved David in all that he went to. And David took the shields of gold that were upon the servants of Adadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. And thereto out of Betah and Berathai cities of Adadezer he brought exceeding great abundance of brass.
      When Thoi King of Hemath had heard how David had discomforted all the host of Adadezer, he sent Joram his son unto king David to salute him with peace and to bless him because he had fought against Adadezer and beaten him: for Thoi kept war with Adadezer, which son brought vessels of silver, gold and of brass with him. And them also King David did dedicate unto the Lord with the silver and gold that he consecrated of all nations which he subdued: of the Sirians, the Moabites, the children of Ammon, the Philistines, the Amalekites, and of the spoil of Adadezer son of Rehob King of Zobah. And David made him a name after he returned from the slaughter of the Sirians in the valley of Salt where he slew eighteen thousand men. And he put keepers in Edom, even throughout all Edom put he soldiers and all Edom became his servants. And the Lord kept David whatsoever he took in hand. And David reigned over all Israel and executed right and Justice unto all his people. And Joab the son of Zaruiah was over the host, and Jehosaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder. And Sadoch the son of Ahitob and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar were the priests, and Saraiah was the Scribe. And Banaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cerethites and the Phelethites and Davids sons were chief rulers.




The 9th Chapter

      Then said David: is there yet any man left of the house of Saul, that I may show him mercy for Jonathas sake? And there was of the household of Saul a servant named Zibah which was called unto David. And the king said unto him: art thou Zibah? And he said: thy servant is the man. Then said the king: remaineth there yet any man of the kindred of Saul, whom I may show the mercy of God upon? And Zibah said unto the king: Jonathas hath yet a son which is lame on both feet. And the king said unto him: where is he? And Zibah said unto the king: behold he is in the house of Machir the son of Amiel in Lodaber. Then king David sent and fetched him out of the house of Machir the son of Amiel, out of Lodaber. Now when Miphiboseth the son of Jonathas the son of Saul was come unto David, he bowed himself and fell on his face. Then said David: Miphiboseth? And he answered. Behold thy servant. And David said: fear not, for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathas sake and will restore thee all the fields of Saul thy father, and thou shalt eat meat on mine own table always. And the other bowed himself and said: what is thy servant that thou shouldst *vouchsafe to look upon such a dead dog as I am.
      Then the king called unto Zibah Sauls young man saying unto him: I give unto thy masters son all that pertained to Saul and to all his kin. See therefore that thou and thy sons and thy servants till the land for him, and bring in, that thy masters son may have food to eat. For Miphiboseth thy masters son shall eat meat always upon my table. For this Zibah had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then said Zibah unto the king: all that my Lord hath said unto his servant, thy servant shall do. For (said the king) Miphiboseth must eat upon my table, as one of the kings sons. This Miphiboseth had a son that was young named Micha, and all that dwelled in the house of Zibah were servants unto Miphiboseth. And Miphiboseth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate ever at the kings table, and was thereto halt on both legs.


*vouchsafe: grant privilege: vouch for.




The 10th Chapter

      It happened after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanon his son reigned in his stead. Then said David: I will show kindness unto Hanon the son of Nahas, as his father showed kindness unto me. And thereupon David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants over the death of his father. Now when Davids servants were come into the land of the children of Ammon, the Lords of the children of Ammon said unto Hanon their Lord: thinkest thou that David doth honor thy father, because he hath sent to comfort thee? Nay, he hath rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city and to spy it out, even to overthrow it.
      Wherefore Hanon took Davids servants and shaved off the one half of every mans beard and cut off their garments even in the middle, even hard by the buttocks of them and sent them away. When it was told David he sent against them (for they were men exceedingly ashamed) and said: tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return. And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank unto David, they sent and hired the sons of Bethrehob of the Sirians of Zobah twenty thousand footmen and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Istob twelve thousand men. And when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the host of strong men. And the children of Ammon came out and waged battle before the gate and the Sirians of Zobah, of Rehob, Istob and Maacah were by themselves in the fields.
      When Joab saw that the front of the battle was before and after, he chose of all the best of Israel and put them in array against the Sirians. And the rest of the people he delivered in the hand of Abisai his brother, which put them in array against the children of Ammon. And he said: if the Sirians overcome me, then succour me. But if the children of Ammon be too good for thee, I will come and succour thee, quit thee like a man, and let us fight lustily for our people and for the cities of our God. And the Lord do what seemeth best in his eyes. And forthwith Joab proceeded and the people that was with him into battle against the Sirians, which fled before him. And when the children of Ammon saw that the Sirians were fled, then fled they also before Abisai, and entered into the city. And so Joab returned from the children of Ammon and came to Jerusalem. And when the Sirians saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they gathered them together. And Adadezer sent and brought out the Sirians that were beyond the river. And the host of them came, and Sobah the captain of the host of Hadadezer before them.
      And when it was showed David, he gathered all Israel and passed over Jordan and came to Helam: where the Sirians put themselves in array against David and fought with him: how be it the Sirians fled before Israel. And David destroyed seven hundred chariots of them and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Sobah the captain of his host, that he there died. And when all the Kings that were servants to Hadadezer saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they made peace with them and served them. And so the Sirians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.




The 11th Chapter

      And it came to pass in the beginning of a new year, in the times when kings are wont to go forth to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel. And they destroyed the children of Ammon, and beseiged Rabah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it chanced in an evening that David arose from his couch and walked upon the roof of the kings palace, and from the roof saw a very beautiful woman washing herself. And he sent to enquire what woman it should be. And it was answered again, that she was Bethsabe the daughter of Eliam and wife to Urias the Hethite. And David sent messengers and fetched her, and she came unto him, and he lay with her. And she was straightway purified of her uncleanness, and returned unto her house. And when the woman had perceived that she had conceived, she sent and told David, and said: I am with child. Then David sent to Joab, to send unto him Urias the hethite. And Joab sent Urias to David. And when Urias was come unto him he demanded how Joab did, and how the people fared, and how the war prospered. And David said moreover to Urias: go down to thine house and wash thy feet. And Urias departed out of the kings palace, and there followed him a service from the kings table: But Urias slept at the door of the kings palace with all the servants of his Lord, and went not down to his house.
      Then they told David saying: Urias descended not into his house. Then said David unto Urias: seeing that thou art come from journeying, why dost thou not go down unto thine house? And Urias said unto David: the ark and Israel and Juda dwell in pavilions: and my Lord Joab and the servants of my Lord lie in tents upon the flat earth: and should I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By thy life and as sure as thy soul liveth I will not do that thing. Then said David unto Urias: tarry here this day also, and tomorrow I will let thee depart. And so Urias abode in Jerusalem that day and on the morrow. And David called him, and he ate and drank before him, and he made him drunk. And at even he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of the Lord, and went not down to his house. Wherefore on the morrow David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by Urias. And he wrote in the letter saying: put Urias in the forefront of the battle where it is most strong, and come back from him that he may be smitten to death. And as Joab beseiged the city he assigned Urias unto a place where he knew that strong men were. And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And there were certain overthrown of the people and of the servants of David, and Urias the hethite died also.
       Then Joab sent and told David all the process of the war and charged the messengers saying: when thou hast made an end of telling the story of war unto the king if he begin to fume and say unto thee: wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city to fight? know ye not that men would hurl and shoot from the walls? who smote Abimelech son of Jerobeseth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from off the walls, that he died in Thebes? why then went ye nigh the walls? then say thou? thy servant Urias the Hethite is dead also.
      And the messengers went and came and showed David all that Joab had sent him with, and said unto David: the men prevail against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we stuck unto them, even unto the entering of the gate. And the shooters shot from the walls, and some of the servants of the king be dead. And thy servant Urias the hethite is dead also. Then said David unto the messenger, thus wise say unto Joab, let not that thing trouble thee. For the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city and destroy it, and see that thou courage Joab. And when the wife of Urias heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him, and as soon as the mourning was ended, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she was his wife and bare him a son. But the deed that David had committed, displeased the Lord.




The 12th Chapter

      And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him and said unto him: there were two men in one city, a rich and a poor. And the rich had exceeding great abundance of sheep and oxen. But the poor had nothing save one little lamb which he bought and nourished up. And it grew up with him and his children, and did eat of his own meat and drank of his own cup, and slept in his bosom, and was as dear unto him as his daughter. And there came a stranger unto the rich man. And he could not find in his heart to take of his own sheep nor of his beasts to dress for the stranger that was come unto him. But took the poor mans lamb and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David was exceeding wroth with the man, and said to Nathan: as surely as the Lord liveth the fellow that hath done this thing, is the child of death and shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and because he had no pity. Then Nathan said to David: thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel: I anointed thee king over Israel and rid thee out of the hands of Saul. And I gave thee thy masters house and thy masters wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Juda, and would if that had been too little: have given thee twice so much more. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do wickedness in his sight? thou hast killed Urias the hethite with the sword and hast taken his wife to thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
      Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house, because (saith the Lord) thou hast despised me and taken the wife of Urias the hethite, to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord: behold I will stir up evil against thee even of thine own house and will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, which shall sleep with them in the sight of the *son. And thou didst it secretly, yet will I do this thing before all Israel and in the open *son light.
       Then said David unto Nathan: I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said again to David: the Lord hath put away thy sin, thou shalt not die. How be it because in doing this deed thou hast given the enemies of the Lord a cause to rail, the child that is born thee shall die surely. And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Urias wife bare David and it sickened. And David besought God for the boy and fasted and went and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose and went to him to take him up from the earth. But he would not, neither yet eat meat with them.
      And it happened the seventh day that the child died. But the servants of David durst not tell him that the child was dead. For they said: see, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice. How much more then will he vex himself if we tell him that the child is dead? But David saw his servants whispering and thereby perceived that the child was dead, and said unto his servants: is the child dead? And they said ye. Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his apparel, and went into the house of the Lord and prayed, and after came to his own house and bade that they should set meat before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him: what is this that thou hast done? Thou fastedest and weepest for thy child while it was alive, and as soon as it was dead thou didst rise up and didst eat meat. And he answered: while the child was alive, I fasted and wept. For I this thought: who can tell whether God will have mercy on me that the child may live? But now seeing it is dead wherefore should I fast? can I bring him again any more? I shall go to him: but he shall not come again to me. And David comforted Bethsabe his wife, and went in unto her and lay with her, and she bare a son whose name was called Salomon, and the Lord loved him. And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet and called his name Jedidiah, of the Lords behalf.
      And as Joab fought against Rabah the city of the children of Ammon he took the kings Tower, and sent messengers to David saying: I have made assault to Rabah, and also have taken the castle from whence they had their water. Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and come and besiege the city and take it: lest if I take it, the victory be ascribed to me. And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabah and assaulted it and gat it. And he took the kings crown from off his head which weighed an hundred weight of gold, and was set with precious stones. And David ware it on his head. And he brought out the spoil of the city in exceeding great abundance. And he brought out the people that was therein and sawed them and drew harrows of iron upon them, and shred some of them with shredding knives of iron, and thrust some into furnaces. And so he served all the cities of the children of Ammon. And then David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.


*sonne; exactly as in the original, else where sun is written sunne.




The 13th Chapter

      And it chanced that Absalom Davids son had a fair sister named Thamar, whom afterward Amnon another son of David loved. And this Amnon was so vexed that he fell sick for the love of his sister Thamar: for it thought him hard to come by his purpose of her, seeing she was yet a virgin. But Amnon had a companion called Jonadab the son of Samah the brother of David: which Jonadab was a very wise man. And he said unto him: how cometh it that thou being the kings son art thus consumed every morning? mayst thou not tell it me? And Amnon answered him: I love Thamar my brother Absaloms sister. Then said Jonadab unto him: lie on thy bed and feign thyself sick. And when thy father is come to see thee, say unto him, let my sister Thamar come and give me meat and dress it in my sight, that I may see it and eat it of her hand.
      And Amnon lay down and made himself sick. And when the king was come to see him Amnon said unto him: let Thamar my sister come and make me a couple of fritters in my sight, that I may eat of her hand. And David sent home to Thamar saying: go to thy brother Amnons house and dress him meat. When Thamar came to her brother Amnons house he lay. And she took flour and made paste and made fritters in his sight and did bake them, and took a platter and poured them out before him. And Amnon would not eat, but commanded to have out all men from him. And they went all out from him. Then said Amnon unto Thamar: bring the meat into the chamber that I may eat it of thine hand. And Thamar took the fritters which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother and set them before him to eat. And he took her and said unto her, come lie with me my sister. And she answered him: nay, my brother do not force me, for it ought not to be so in Israel, do not this folly. For whither shall I go with my shame? And thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. But speak unto the king, and he shall not deny me unto thee.
      How be it he would not hearken unto her voice but was too strong for her and forced her and lay with her. And then Amnon hated her exceedingly: so that the hate wherewith he hated her was greater than the love with which he before loved her. And he said unto her: up and away. Then she said unto him, this great cruelness that thou puttest me away passeth the other that thou didst unto me. Nevertheless he would not hear her, but called his lad that waited upon him and said: put her out at the doors from me and bolt the door after her. And she had a kirtle of divers colors upon her: for with such were the kings daughters that were virgins apparelled, made strait unto them. Then his servant brought her out at the doors and locked the doors after her. And Thamar put ashes on her head and rent her gay kirtle that was on her and put her hand on her head and so went, and as she went cried. Then Absalom her brother said unto her: hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? Now then be still my sister: for he is thy brother. And let not this thing grieve thine heart. And so Thamar remained discomforted in her brother Absaloms house. And king David heard of all these things and was very wroth. And Absalom said unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad. How be it Absalom hated Amnon because he had forced his sister Thamar.
      And it happened two years after that Absalom had a sheep shearing in Baal Hazer besides the tribe of Ephraim, and bade all the kings sons and he came to the king and said: behold thy servant hath a sheep shearing, let the king and his servants come with thy servant. And the king said unto Absalom: Oh nay my son let us not go every one of us that we be not chargeable unto thee. And Absalom lay sore upon him: how be it he would not go, but blessed him. Then said Absalom: then let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king answered: what needeth it that he go with thee? But Absalom made such instance that he let Amnon go with him, and all the kings children.
      Then Absalom commanded his young men saying: mark when Amnons heart is merry with wine, and when I bid you smite Amnon then kill him: fear not, for it is I that bid you, be bold therefore and play the lusty bloods. And the young men of Absalom served Amnon even as Absalom commanded them. And all the kings sons arose and took each man his Mule and fled. And while they were yet in the way, tidings came to David that Absalom had slain all the kings sons, so that none was left alive. Then the king arose and tare his garments and lay along on the earth: and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent. Then Jonadab the son of Samah Davids brother answered and said: let not my Lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the kings sons, save Amnon only is dead. For that hath been ever in Absaloms mouth since he forced his sister Thamar. Now therefore let not my Lord the king take the thing so grievously to think that all the kings sons were dead, when Amnon only is dead.
      But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes and looked about. And behold, there came much people by a way that was behind his back along by an hills side. Then said Jonadab unto the king: behold, the kings sons are come, and as thy servant said, so it is. And as soon as he had left speaking: behold, the kings sons came and lifted up their voices and wept. And thereto the king and all his servants wept exceedingly. But Absalom escaped and went to Tholmai the son of Amihud king of Gesur. And the king mourned for his son continually. And so Absalom escaped and went to Gesur, and was there three years. And by that time the king turned his mind from pursuing Absalom. For he had left mourning for the death of Amnon.




The 14th Chapter

      When Joab the son of Zaruiah perceived that the kings heart was turned again to Absalom, he sent to Thekoa, and fetched thence a wise woman, and said unto her: feign thyself to be a mourner, and put on mourning apparel. And anoint not thyself with oil. But be as a woman that had long time mourned for the death of somebody. And go to the king and speak of thus manner unto him. And so Joab taught her what she should say.
      And when the wife of Thekoa was come to speak with the king, she fell on her face to the ground and did obeisance and said: help me O king. And the king said unto her: what aileth thee? and she answered. I am a widow, and mine husband is dead. And thy handmaid had two sons which fought together in the fields where was no man to go between them, and the one slew the other. And behold, the whole kindred arose against thy handmaid and said: deliver us him that smote his brother: that we may kill him for the soul of his brother whom he slew, for he will destroy the heir also. And so they shall quench my sparkle which is left that he shall stir up neither name or issue upon the earth unto my husband. And the king said unto the wife: go home to thine house, and I will give a charge for thee. And the woman of Thekoa said unto the king: My Lord king, the trespass be on me and on my fathers house, and the king and his seat be guiltless. And then said the king: if any man say ought unto thee, bring him to me, and he shall no more trouble thee. Then said she: let the king remember his Lord God, that the next of the blood gather not on heaps together to destroy, and that they slay not my son. And he said: as sure as the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of thy sons head fall to the earth.
      Then the woman said: let thine handmaid speak one word more unto my Lord the king and he said: say on. And the woman said: wherefore then hast thou determined on this same manner against the people of God? that the king should speak this thing and be faulty therein, so that the king should not fetch home again his banished. For we must needs die and perish as water spilt on the ground which cannot be gathered up again and God will not take away the life but find the means that the banished be not utterly expelled from him. And now concerning that I am come to speak of this thing unto the king my Lord in the presence of the people: thy handmaid thought: surely I will speak unto the king, peradventure the king will hear the request of his handmaid. And the king shall hear his handmaid and deliver her out of the hand of the man that would have destroyed me and my son also out of the inheritance of God. Then thine handmaid said: I pray God that the word of my Lord the king may be immutable. For my lord the king is as an Angel of God, in hearing of good or bad: and therefore the Lord thy God be with thee.
      Then the king answered and said unto the woman: hide not from me I pray thee: the thing that I shall ask thee. And the woman said: let my Lord the king say on. Then said the king: is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this matter? And the woman answered and said: as sure as thy soul liveth my Lord king, it is neither on the right hand nor on the left that my Lord the king hath spoken. For thy servant Joab he bade me, and he put all these words even in the mouth of thine handmaid. And the turning of my tale another way, that made thy servant Joab. And so I see that my Lord is wise even as an Angel of God, to understand all things that are in the earth. Then said the king to Joab: behold, I am content to do this thing. Go therefore fetch home the lad Absalom. And Joab fell to the ground on his face and bowed himself and blessed the king and said: now thy servant knoweth that I have found grace in the sight of my Lord the king in that he hath fulfilled the request of his servant. And so Joab arose and went to Gesur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. Then said the king: let him turn to his own house, but see that he come not in my presence. And so Absalom went to his own house, but came not in the kings presence.
      Moreover in all Israel there was not so goodly a man as Absalom, or so greatly praised, from the sole of his foot to the top of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he shaved his head (for at every years end he shaved it because it was heavy on him, and therefore he shaved it) the hair thereof weighed two hundred sickles weight of the kings weight. And this Absalom had three sons born him and one daughter named Thamar, which was a fair woman to look upon. When Absalom had dwelt two years in Jerusalem without coming into the kings presence he sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king. But he would not come to him. And he sent again, and for all that he would not come. Then he said unto his servants: behold, Joab hath a parcel of land fast by mine, and hath barley therein. Go and set it on fire. And Absaloms servants went and set it on fire.
      Then Joab arose and came to Absalom unto his house and said unto him: wherefore have thy servants burned my field with fire? And Absalom said to Joab: behold, I sent for thee desiring thee to come, because I would have sent thee the king, for to say: wherefore I am come from Gesur. It had been as good for me to have bidden there still. Now therefore let me come to the kings presence, or else if there be any trespass in me, kill me. And Joab went to the king and told him. And he sent for Absalom: which when he was come, fell to the ground on his face before the king. And the king kissed him.


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