1After this, Absalom got a chariot and horses for himself. He had 50 men run in front of him ˻while he drove the chariot˼. 2Absalom got up early and stood near the gate. Absalom watched for any person with problems who was going to King David for judgment. Then Absalom would talk to that person. Absalom would say, “What city are you from?” The man would answer, “I am from such and such family group in Israel.” 3Then Absalom would say to this man, “Look, you are right, but King David won’t listen to you.” 4Absalom would also say, “Oh, I wish someone would make me a judge in this country! Then I could help every man who comes to me with a problem. I would help him get a fair solution to his problem.” 5And if a person came to Absalom and started to bow down to him, Absalom would ˻treat him like a close friend˼—Absalom would reach out and touch that person and kiss him. 6Absalom did that to all the Israelites who came to King David for judgment. In this way, Absalom won the hearts of all the people of Israel. 7After four years, Absalom said to King David, “Please let me go to complete my special promise that I made to the Lord at Hebron. 8I made that promise while I was still living in Geshur, Aram. I said, 'If the Lord brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.’” 9King David said, “Go in peace.” Absalom went to Hebron. 10But Absalom sent spies through all the family groups of Israel. These spies told the people, “When you hear the trumpet, then say, 'Absalom has become the king at Hebron!’” 11Absalom invited 200 men to go with him. Those men left Jerusalem with him, but they did not know what he was planning. 12Ahithophel was one of David’s advisers. Ahithophel was from the town of Giloh. While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he called Ahithophel to come from his city (Giloh). Absalom’s plans were working very well and more and more people began to support him. 13A man came in to tell the news to David. The man said, “The people of Israel are beginning to follow Absalom.” 14Then David said to all of his officers who were with him in Jerusalem, “We must escape! ˻If we don’t escape˼, then Absalom will not let us get away. Let’s hurry before Absalom catches us. He will destroy us all. And he will kill the people of Jerusalem.” 15The king’s officers told him, “We will do anything you tell us.” 16King David went out with all of the people in his house. The king left ten of his wives to take care of the house. 17The king went out with all of his people following him. They stopped at the last house. 18All of his officers passed by the king. And all of the Kerethites, all of the Pelethites, and the Gittites (600 men from Gath) passed by the king. 19The king said to Ittai from Gath, “Why are you also going with us? Turn back and stay with the new king ˻(Absalom)˼. You are a foreigner. This is not your homeland. 20Only yesterday you came to join me. Must you now wander from place to place with me? No! Take your brothers and go back. May kindness and loyalty be shown to you.” 21But Ittai answered the king, “As the Lord lives, and as long as you live, I will stay with you. ˻I will be with you˼ in life or death!” 22David said to Ittai, “Come, let’s go cross Kidron Brook.” So Ittai from Gath and all of his people and their children crossed over ˻Kidron Brook˼. 23All the people were crying loudly. King David crossed over Kidron Brook. Then all of the people went out to the desert. 24Zadok and all of the Levites with him were carrying the Box of God’s Agreement. They set down God’s Holy Box. And Abiathar said prayers until all of the people had left Jerusalem. 25King David said to Zadok, “Take God’s Holy Box back to Jerusalem. If the Lord is pleased with me, then he will bring me back and let me see Jerusalem and his temple. 26But if the Lord says that he is not pleased with me, then he can do anything he wants to me.” 27The king said to Zadok the priest, “You are a seer. Go back to the city in peace. Take your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28I will be waiting near the places where people go across the river into the desert. I will wait there until I hear from you.” 29So Zadok and Abiathar took God’s Holy Box back to Jerusalem and stayed there. 30David went up the Mount of Olives. He was crying. He covered his head and he went without shoes on his feet. All of the people with David also covered their heads. They went with David, crying. 31A person told David, “Ahithophel is one of the people who made plans with Absalom.” Then David prayed, “Lord, I ask you to make Ahithophel’s advice useless.” 32David came to the top of the mountain. This was where he often worshiped God. At that time, Hushai the Arkite came to him. Hushai’s coat was torn, and there was dust on his head. 33David said to Hushai, “If you go with me, then you will be just one more person to care for. 34But if you go back to Jerusalem, you can make Ahithophel’s advice become useless. Tell Absalom, 'King, I am your servant. I served your father, but now I will serve you.’ 35The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be with you. You must tell them everything you hear in the king’s house. 36Zadok’s son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan will be with them. You will send them to tell me everything you hear.” 37Then David’s friend Hushai went into the city. And Absalom arrived at Jerusalem.