David’s mob beat Absalom’s mob
1-2 David gathered his soldiers together, and he split them into 3 big groups. He picked a boss soldier to lead each group. They were Joab, and his brother Abishai, and Ittai, a man that used to live in a town called Gath. David told each big group to split into mobs with 1,000 men in each. And he picked one boss soldier for each mob of 1,000 soldiers. Then he told each of those mobs to do it again. This time each of them split into little groups with 100 men in each. David picked a boss soldier for each group of 100 soldiers.
Then David said to everybody, “Let’s go and fight Absalom’s mob. I will go with you mob.”
But the soldiers said to him, “No way. You can’t come with us. You are the boss man, but we are just nothing. You are the one they want to kill. If we soldiers all run away, they will not chase us. If we all die, they will not care. They will say, ‘All right, leave them.’ But if you die, they will be really happy. So it’s good for you to stay here in this town. If the fighting gets hard for us, then you can send more soldiers to help us.”
4-5 David said, “All right, I will listen to what you mob say.” And he called out loud to the 3 boss soldiers, so everybody could hear. He said, “Joab. Abishai. Ittai. Don’t hurt that young man, Absalom. Don’t forget, he’s my son.”
And he stood at the gate and watched the soldiers as they left that town.
David’s mob went away from the town, and they met the Israel mob in the bush at a place called Ephraim. 7-8 They chased each other in the bush, and they attacked each other with spears and bows and arrows. David’s mob beat Absalom’s mob and killed lots of them dead. But even more soldiers died from things in the bush. 20,000 men died on that day.
While they were fighting, David’s son Absalom rode around in the bush on a donkey. He suddenly met some of David’s men, and he tried to get away. The donkey ran under a big tree, and Absalom’s head got stuck in the branches. The donkey kept on running, so Absalom was left there. He hung from the tree and couldn’t get down.
10 One of David’s men saw him, and he went to the boss soldier, Joab, and said, “I just saw Absalom hanging from a tree.”
11 Joab said, “What? You really saw him like that? Why didn’t you kill him dead straight away? I will give lots of money and a boss soldier’s belt to a man that does something like that.”
12 But the man said, “I can’t do that. Yes, I might get lots of money, but I can’t kill our big boss’s son. No way. We all heard him tell you 3 boss soldiers, ‘Keep that young man, Absalom, safe. Don’t forget, he’s my son.’ 13 If I kill him, his father will hear about it straight away. He knows everything, and he will kill me dead too. And I reckon you might not help me either. You might say to him, ‘It’s nothing to do with me.’ ”
14 Joab was angry, and he said, “I can’t wait for you all day.” And he got 3 spears and went to Absalom. He was still alive and hanging there in that tree.
Joab went and stabbed him 3 times in the chest. 15 10 men went with Joab, and they finished Absalom properly.
16 Straight away, Joab blew the trumpet, to tell David’s mob to stop chasing the Israel mob. 17 They got Absalom and threw him into a deep hole in the middle of the bush. Then they covered his body with lots of stones.
At the same time, the Israel mob ran away and went back to their homes.
(We have not yet translated 18:18-31a. It tells how a messenger ran back to tell David the news.)
31 The messenger said, “Boss. Good news. God still wants you to be our big boss. Your enemies are nothing now. He punished them properly.”
32 David asked, “What about my son Absalom? Is he all right?”
The messenger answered, “Those trouble makers, your enemies, I hope they all finish up, just like that young man finished up.”
33 David got very upset. He went inside and cried. As he went in, he called out, “Absalom. My son Absalom. I want to be dead instead of you. You were my son.”
(We have not yet translated 19:1—21:14.)