וַיְהִי מֵאַחֲרֵי כֵן וַיַּעַשׂ לוֹ אַבְשָׁלוֹם מֶרְכָּבָה וְסֻסִים וַחֲמִשִּׁים אִישׁ רָצִים לְפָנָיו׃ 15:1
2Sam. 15:1 And it was after this that Absalom prepared a chariot and horses for himself and fifty men running before him.
וְהִשְׁכִּים אַבְשָׁלוֹם וְעָמַד עַל־יַד דֶּרֶךְ הַשָּׁעַר וַיְהִי כָּל־הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִהְיֶה־לּוֹ־רִיב לָבוֹא אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ 15:2 לַמִּשְׁפָּט וַיִּקְרָא אַבְשָׁלוֹם אֵלָיו וַיֹּאמֶר אֵי־מִזֶּה עִיר אַתָּה וַיֹּאמֶר מֵאַחַד שִׁבְטֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל עַבְדֶּךָ׃
2Sam. 15:2 And Absalom would get up early and stand near the way of the gate so it was, any man for whom there would be a cause to bring to the king for judgment, then Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And he would say, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.”
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אַבְשָׁלוֹם רְאֵה דְבָרֶךָ טוֹבִים וּנְכֹחִים וְשֹׁמֵעַ אֵין־לְךָ מֵאֵת הַמֶּלֶךְ׃ 15:3
2Sam. 15:3 Then Absalom would say to him, “Be sure your words are good and right, as no one will listen to you other than the king.”
וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְשָׁלוֹם מִי־יְשִׂמֵנִי שֹׁפֵט בָּאָרֶץ וְעָלַי יָבוֹא כָּל־אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִהְיֶה־לּוֹ־רִיב וּמִשְׁפָּט וְהִצְדַּקְתִּיו׃ 15:4
2Sam. 15:4 And Absalom thought, “Someone should make me the judge in the land, so everyone for whom there would be a cause or suit would have to come up to me, and I would do him justice.”
וְהָיָה בִּקְרָב־אִישׁ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֺת לוֹ וְשָׁלַח אֶת־יָדוֹ וְהֶחֱזִיק לוֹ וְנָשַׁק לוֹ׃ 15:5
2Sam. 15:5 And it would be when anyone came close to bow to him, then he would extend his hand and hold fast to him and give a kiss to him.
וַיַּעַשׂ אַבְשָׁלוֹם כַּדָּבָר הַזֶּה לְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר־יָבֹאוּ לַמִּשְׁפָּט אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיְגַנֵּב אַבְשָׁלוֹם אֶת־לֵב 15:6 אַנְשֵׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
2Sam. 15:6 And Absalom did of a manner as this to all of Israel who would come for judgment to the king, and Absalom stole the heart of the men of Israel.
וַיְהִי מִקֵּץ אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְשָׁלוֹם אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵלֲכָה נָּא וַאֲשַׁלֵּם אֶת־נִדְרִי אֲשֶׁר־נָדַרְתִּי 15:7 לַיהוָה בְּחֶבְרוֹן׃
2Sam. 15:7 And it was at the end of forty years that Absalom said to the king, “Let me go, I pray you, and make good my vow that I vowed to the Lord in Hebron.”
Can we understand what the phrase at the end of forty years means? Are the years being counted from Absalom’s birth, from Absalom’s return to Jerusalem, or his being in Hebron? We know that David reigned for 33 years in Jerusalem (2Sam. 5:5) and he is still king at this time. We know that Absalom was born while David was king in Hebron (2Sam. 3:2 to 3:5). As David is still king, Absalom cannot yet be forty years old. The only conclusion I am able to reach from all this is that the time of forty years is being counted from David’s having become king some forty years earlier. Therefore his reign is soon to end.
כִּי־נֵדֶר נָדַר עַבְדְּךָ בְּשִׁבְתִּי בִגְשׁוּר בַּאֲרָם לֵאמֹר אִם־ (יְשִׁיב) [יָשׁוֹב] יְשִׁיבֵנִי יְהוָה יְרוּשָׁלִַם וְעָבַדְתִּי 15:8 אֶת־יְהוָה׃
2Sam. 15:8 For your servant made a vow while dwelling in Geshur in Aram saying, “If the Lord indeed returns me to Jerusalem, then I would serve the Lord.”
An error in the word in parentheses is corrected in the brackets.
וַיֹּאמֶר־לוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ לֵךְ בְּשָׁלוֹם וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלֶךְ חֶבְרוֹנָה׃ 15:9
2Sam. 15:9 And the king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he rose and went to Hebron.
וַיִּשְׁלַח אַבְשָׁלוֹם מְרַגְּלִים בְּכָל־שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר כְּשָׁמְעֲכֶם אֶת־קוֹל הַשֹּׁפָר וַאֲמַרְתֶּם מָלַךְ 15:10 אַבְשָׁלוֹם בְּחֶבְרוֹן׃
2Sam. 15:10 Then Absalom sent spies into all the tribes of Israel to say, “On your hearing the sound of the horn, then you shall say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’”
וְאֶת־אַבְשָׁלוֹם הָלְכוּ מָאתַיִם אִישׁ מִירוּשָׁלִַם קְרֻאִים וְהֹלְכִים לְתֻמָּם וְלֹא יָדְעוּ כָּל־דָּבָר׃ְ 15:11
2Sam. 15:11 And two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem, invited but going in innocence as they did not know anything.
וַיִּשְׁלַח אַבְשָׁלוֹם אֶת־אֲחִיתֹפֶל הַגִּילֹנִי יוֹעֵץ דָּוִד מֵעִירוֹ מִגִּלֹה בְּזָבְחוֹ אֶת־הַזְּבָחִים וַיְהִי הַקֶּשֶׁרְ 15:12 אַמִּץ וְהָעָם הוֹלֵךְ וָרָב אֶת־אַבְשָׁלוֹם׃
2Sam. 15:12 And Absalom brought Achitophel, the Gilonite, advisor of David, from his city, from Giloh, during his offering the sacrifices. And the conspiracy became stronger as the people were coming and increased with Absalom.
וַיָּבֹא הַמַּגִּיד אֶל־דָּוִד לֵאמֹר הָיָה לֶב־אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל אַחֲרֵי אַבְשָׁלוֹם׃ְ 15:13
2Sam. 15:13 And a messenger came to David saying, “The sentiment of the men of Israel is with Absalom.”
וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד לְכָל־עֲבָדָיו אֲשֶׁר־אִתּוֹ בִירוּשָׁלִַם קוּמוּ וְנִבְרָחָה כִּי לֹא־תִהְיֶה־לָּנוּ פְלֵיטָה מִפְּנֵיְ 15:14 אַבְשָׁלוֹם מַהֲרוּ לָלֶכֶת פֶּן־יְמַהֵר וְהִשִּׂגָנוּ וְהִדִּיחַ עָלֵינוּ אֶת־הָרָעָה וְהִכָּה הָעִיר לְפִי־חָרֶב׃
2Sam. 15:14 So David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem, “Arise and we will run away, for there will not be an escape for us from the anger of Absalom. Hurry to leave, or he will bring evil down upon us and smite the city by the edge of the sword.”
וַיֹּאמְרוּ עַבְדֵי־הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַר אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ הִנֵּה עֲבָדֶיךָ׃ְ 15:15
2Sam. 15:15 And the servants of the king said to the king, “According to anything that my lord, the king, shall choose, behold your servants.”
וַיֵּצֵא הַמֶּלֶךְ וְכָל־בֵּיתוֹ בְּרַגְלָיו וַיַּעֲזֹב הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵת עֶשֶׂר נָשִׁים פִּלַגְשִׁים לִשְׁמֹר הַבָּיִת׃ְ 15:16
2Sam. 15:16 Then the king went forth with all his household behind him. And the king left some ten women concubines to keep the house.
וַיֵּצֵא הַמֶּלֶךְ וְכָל־הָעָם בְּרַגְלָיו וַיַּעַמְדוּ בֵּית הַמֶּרְחָק׃ 15:17
2Sam. 15:17 So the king went forth with all the people behind him and they remained in Beth-merchak.
Since Beth-merchak is nowhere identified, some translators use the phrase a house far off as the translation of the words for the town name. A bit of support for this latter translation is the heh prefix appearing in the last word. I might consider that the best possible translation could be the remote house. It could refer to the farthest house that David had.
וְכָל־עֲבָדָיו עֹבְרִים עַל־יָדוֹ וְכָל־הַכְּרֵתִי וְכָל־הַפְּלֵתִי וְכָל־הַגִּתִּים שֵׁשׁ־מֵאוֹת אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־בָּאוּ 15:18
בְרַגְלוְֹ מִגַּת עֹבְרִים עַל־פְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ׃
2Sam. 15:18 And all his servants were passing by on his side, and all the Cherethites and all the Pelethites and all the Gittites; six hundred men who came behind him from Gath, were passing by in front of the king.
וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל־אִתַּי הַגִּתִּי לָמָּה תֵלֵךְ גַּם־אַתָּה אִתָּנוּ שׁוּב וְשֵׁב עִם־הַמֶּלֶךְ כִּי־נָכְרִי אַתָּה 15:19
וְגַם־גֹּלֶה אַתָּה לִמְקֹומֶךָ׃
2Sam. 15:19 And the king said to Ittai, the Gittite, “Why are you also going with us? Go back and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner, and you are also an exile by your own country.”
From David’s words (go back and stay with the king), it seems that he’s already abdicated.
תְּמֹול בֹּואֶךָ וְהַיֹּום (אֲנֹועֲךָ) [אֲנִיעֲךָ] עִמָּנוּ לָלֶכֶת וַאֲנִי הֹולֵךְ עַל אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִי הֹולֵךְ שׁוּב וְהָשֵׁב 15:20
אֶת־אַחֶיךָ עִמָּךְ חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת׃
2Sam. 15:20 “Yesterday was your coming, and today would I cause you to wander with us to go as I am going, according to where I am going? Go back and take back your brethren with you in kindness and truth.”
An error in the word in parentheses is corrected in the brackets.
וַיַּעַן אִתַּי אֶת־הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיֹּאמַר חַי־יְהוָה וְחֵי אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ כִּי אִם־בִּמְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה־שָּׁם אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ 15:21 אִם־לְמָוֶת אִם־לְחַיִּים כִּי־שָׁם יִהְיֶה עַבְדֶּךָ׃
2Sam. 15:21 And Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord, the king, lives, surely if my lord, the king, will be there in any place, whether for death or for life, there also shall be your servant.”
וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל־אִתַּי לֵךְ וַעֲבֹר וַיַּעֲבֹר אִתַּי הַגִּתִּי וְכָל־אֲנָשָׁיו וְכָל־הַטַּף אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ׃ 15:22
2Sam. 15:22 Then David said to Ittai, “Go and pass by.” And Ittai, the Gittite, passed with all his men and all the children who were with him.
וְכָל־הָאָרֶץ בּוֹכִים קוֹל גָּדוֹל וְכָל־הָעָם עֹבְרִים וְהַמֶּלֶךְ עֹבֵר בְּנַחַל קִדְרוֹן וְכָל־הָעָם עֹבְרִים עַל־פְּנֵי־ 15:23 דֶרֶךְ אֶת־הַמִּדְבָּר׃
2Sam. 15:23 And all the land was weeping, voices loud, as all the people were passing by. And the king passed into the brook Kidron as all the people were passing by in front toward the wilderness.
וְהִנֵּה גַם־צָדוֹק וְכָל־הַלְוִיִּם אִתּוֹ נֹשְׂאִים אֶת־אֲרוֹן בְּרִית הָאֱלֹהִים וַיַּצִּקוּ אֶת־אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים וַיַּעַל 15:24 אֶבְיָתָר עַד־תֹּם כָּל־הָעָם לַעֲבוֹר מִן־הָעִיר׃
2Sam. 15:24 And behold, also Zadok, and all the Levites with him, were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God and Abiathar went up until all the people had finished passing from the city.
וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְצָדוֹק הָשֵׁב אֶת־אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים הָעִיר אִם־אֶמְצָא חֵן בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה וֶהֱשִׁבַנִי וְהִרְאַנִי 15:25 אֹתוֹ וְאֶת־נָוֵהוּ׃
2Sam. 15:25 And the king said to Zadok, “Take back the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, then He will bring me back and will show me it and His habitation;
וְאִם כֹּה יֹאמַר לֹא חָפַצְתִּי בָּךְ הִנְנִי יַעֲשֶׂה־לִּי כַּאֲשֶׁר טוֹב בְּעֵינָיו׃ 15:26
2Sam. 15:26 but if thus He says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ here I am -- let Him do to me as is good in His ‘eyes.’”
וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל־צָדוֹק הַכֹּהֵן הֲרוֹאֶה אַתָּה שֻׁבָה הָעִיר בְּשָׁלוֹם וַאֲחִימַעַץ בִּנְךָ וִיהוֹנָתָן 15:27
בֶּן־אֶבְיָתָר שְׁנֵי בְנֵיכֶם אִתְּכֶם׃
2Sam. 15:27 Then the king said to Zadok, the priest, “You see? Return to the city in peace, and Achimaaz, your son, and Jonathan son of Abiathar, your two sons with you.”
According to my translation, it looks as if there is an error in this verse, but it’s misleading. The reason is that the verse says that David is talking to only Zadok, but in the second part of the verse he must be talking to both priests (Zadok and Abiathar), because the last instance of the pronouns I have translated as your and you are both plural, whereas the first two are both singular. Also see v. 15:36 below for additional corroboration of what I’ve written here.
רְאוּ אָנֹכִי מִתְמַהְמֵהַּ (בְּעַבְרוֹת) [בְּעַרְבוֹת] הַמִּדְבָּר עַד בּוֹא דָבָר מֵעִמָּכֶם לְהַגִּיד לִי׃ 15:28
2Sam. 15:28 “See, I plan to be waiting in the plains of the wilderness until news has come from one of you to report to me.”
An error in the word in parentheses is corrected in the brackets.
וַיָּשֶׁב צָדוֹק וְאֶבְיָתָר אֶת־אֲרוֹן הָאֱלֹהִים יְרוּשָׁלִָם וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם׃ 15:29
2Sam. 15:29 So Zadok took back, with Abiathar, the ark of God to Jerusalem, and they stayed there.
וְדָוִד עֹלֶה בְמַעֲלֵה הַזֵּיתִים עֹלֶה וּבוֹכֶה וְרֹאשׁ לוֹ חָפוּי וְהוּא הֹלֵךְ יָחֵף וְכָל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר־אִתּוֹ חָפוּ 15:30 אִישׁ רֹאשׁוֹ וְעָלוּ עָלֹה וּבָכֹה׃
2Sam. 15:30 And David went up by the ascent of olives, climbing and weeping, and his head was covered and he was walking barefooted, and all the people who were with him covered each man his head and they went up, climbing and weeping.
Why was David’s head covered and his feet uncovered? There is no commandment for this. It might have been some kind of custom of which we are unaware. Or it might have been David’s personal way of expressing his sadness at the turn of events. I might hazard an opinion that this verse might shed some additional light on the meaning of the ambiguous verse Levi. 19:27. If David was conscientious about observing (at least some of) the commandments, he must have understood the first commandment in Levi. 19:27 to mean not to cut one’s hair rather than not to cover one’s head. But, as David ignored or violated numerous commandments (not to murder, not to commit adultery, not to have many wives, and others), there is no way of being certain of this.
וְדָוִד הִגִּיד לֵאמֹר אֲחִיתֹפֶל בַּקֹּשְׁרִים עִם־אַבְשָׁלוֹם וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד סַכֶּל־נָא אֶת־עֲצַת אֲחִיתֹפֶל יְהוָה׃ 15:31
2Sam. 15:31 And David was told saying, “Achithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “Make, I pray you, the advice of Achithophel foolish, O Lord!”
וַיְהִי דָוִד בָּא עַד־הָרֹאשׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה שָׁם לֵאלֹהִים וְהִנֵּה לִקְרָאתוֹ חוּשַׁי הָאַרְכִּי קָרוּעַ כֻּתָּנְתּוֹ 15:32 וַאֲדָמָה עַל־רֹאשׁוֹ׃
2Sam. 15:32 As David continued coming up to the top, where worship to God would be there, then behold, Hushai, the Archite, was meeting him; his coat was rent and earth was on his head.
וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ דָּוִד אִם עָבַרְתָּ אִתִּי וְהָיִתָ עָלַי לְמַשָּׂא׃ 15:33
2Sam. 15:33 And David said to him, “Although you have come over with me, yet you will become for a burden on me.”
וְאִם־הָעִיר תָּשׁוּב וְאָמַרְתָּ לְאַבְשָׁלוֹם עַבְדְּךָ אֲנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶהְיֶה עֶבֶד אָבִיךָ וַאֲנִי מֵאָז וְעַתָּה וַאֲנִי 15:34 עַבְדֶּךָ וְהֵפַרְתָּה לִי אֵת עֲצַת אֲחִיתֹפֶל׃
2Sam. 15:34 “But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king. I would have been the servant of your father, as I was from the beginning, but now, so I will be your servant,’ then you will frustrate the counsel of Achithophel for me.”
וַהֲלוֹא עִמְּךָ שָׁם צָדוֹק וְאֶבְיָתָר הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהָיָה כָּל־הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמַע מִבֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ תַּגִּיד לְצָדוֹק 15:35 וּלְאֶבְיָתָר הַכֹּהֲנִים׃
2Sam. 15:35 “Will there not be Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, there with you? So let it be, all the words that you hear from the house of the king you shall tell to Zadok and to Abiathar, the priests.”
הִנֵּה־שָׁם עִמָּם שְׁנֵי בְנֵיהֶם אֲחִימַעַץ לְצָדוֹק וִיהוֹנָתָן לְאֶבְיָתָר וּשְׁלַחְתֶּם בְּיָדָם אֵלַי כָּל־דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר 15:36 תִּשְׁמָעוּ׃
2Sam. 15:36 Behold, their two sons are there with them -- Achimaaz is Zadok's and Jonathan is Abiathar's -- and you shall send by their hand to me every word that you hear.”
וַיָּבֹא חוּשַׁי רֵעֶה דָוִד הָעִיר וְאַבְשָׁלֹם יָבֹא יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃ 15:37
2Sam. 15:37 So Hushai, friend of David, went in to the city and Absalom could enter Jerusalem.
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