Absalom wanted to be the big boss instead of his father
David had a grown up son. His name was Absalom. Some time after Solomon was born, Absalom reckoned that he had to be the big boss, instead of his father. So he got a special trailer and some horses to pull it, and he sat in that trailer and went around in it. Whenever he went in that trailer, he told 50 men to run along in front of it, so that he looked important. And he used to get up early to go and stand at the town gate. People used to walk through that gate into Jerusalem whenever they went to see the big boss. You see, they used to go and ask David to help them sort out their problems. Absalom used to call out to them, “Hey, where are you from?” That person used to tell him the name of his tribe.
Then Absalom used to lie to them and say, “Listen to me. You are right. That other person did wrong to you. My father is the big boss, but he is too busy to listen to everybody. He doesn’t have working men to sort out all your problems. I should be the judge in this country. I am fair to everybody. I will treat everybody the same way. If somebody comes to me with a problem, I will sort it out for them.” That’s what Absalom used to say to the people.
Sometimes people really did think Absalom was an important man, so they got down on their knees to show respect to him. Then Absalom shook their hands and hugged them, to get them to like him. Absalom used to do that whenever one of the Israel mob came to talk to David, to ask for help. So that’s the way he got the Israel mob to like him. They didn’t like his father David any more.
7-8 Absalom did that for 4 years. Then he said to his father, the big boss, “Old man, while I was living at the place called Geshur in Aram country, I said to God, ‘If you will let me go to Jerusalem first, I will go to Hebron later. I will get down on my knees and show respect to you there.’ God heard me say that. So is it all right for me to go to Hebron now?” But he was lying to his father.
David answered, “All right. You can go there.” So Absalom went to Hebron.
10 But he sent messengers to go secretly all around their country, to tell all the Israel mob like this, “As soon as you hear the trumpets play out loud, you mob have to call out, ‘Absalom is our big boss. They have picked him to be the big boss in Hebron.’ ”
11-12 And he told 200 men to go with him to Hebron, to kill animals there and burn them for God. But they didn’t know that Absalom planned to make himself the big boss there. At the same time, he sent a messenger to an old man called Ahithofel, from a place called Giloh, to tell him to come. He was a wise man, and he used to help David.
And so Absalom tricked lots of people and made them turn away from David. More and more people started to follow Absalom.
David ran away
13 After that, a messenger came to David and said, “The Israel mob are following Absalom now, they are not following you.”
14 David got a shock. So he talked to all his workers that were with him in Jerusalem city. He said, “Quick. We have to run away from this city, or they will catch us. If we don’t hurry, Absalom’s mob will attack this city and kill everybody.”
15 The workers said, “Yes, boss. We will do whatever you tell us to do.” 16 So David went away with his mob. He told 10 of his wives to stay behind to look after his house.
(We have not yet translated 15:17-31.)
32 David and his mob, they went to the top of the hill called Olive Trees Hill. People used to show respect to God at that place. A man called Hushai was there to join up with David’s mob. He was from the Arek mob, and he worked for David. You see, he heard about Absalom’s plan to attack Jerusalem, and he was sad for his boss. He even tore his clothes and put dirt on his head, to show he was sad. 33 But David said to him, “Don’t come with me. You might slow me down. 34 I want you to do something different for me. Go back to Jerusalem and say you want to work for my son, Absalom. Lie to him and say, ‘Boss. I want to work for you now. I used to work for your father, but now I want to work only for you.’ If you do that, it will really help me. If that old man Ahithofel tells my son something, you can tell him a different story and confuse him.”
(We have not yet translated 15:35—16:4.)