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The Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus

Part 8 out of 26

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the brother of Joab, general of his forces, over the Idumeans,
(12) and by him to David, when he sent him with an army into
Idumea: for Abishai destroyed eighteen thousand of them in the
battle; whereupon the king [of Israel] placed garrisons through
all Idumea, and received the tribute of the country, and of every
head among them. Now David was in his nature just, and made his
determination with regard to truth. He had for the general of his
whole army Joab; and he made Jehoshaphat, the son of Ahilud,
recorder. He also appointed Zadok, of the family of Phinehas, to
be high priest, together with Abiathar, for he was his friend. He
also made Seisan the scribe, and committed the command over the
guards of his body to Benaiah; the son of Jehoiada. His elder
sons were near his body, and had the care of it also.

5. He also called to mind the covenants and the oaths he had made
with Jonathan, the son of Saul, and the friendship and affection
Jonathan had for him; for besides all the rest of his excellent
qualities with which he was endowed, he was also exceeding
mindful of such as had at other times bestowed benefits upon him.
He therefore gave order that inquiry should be made, whether any
of Jonathan's lineage were living, to whom he might make return
of that familiar acquaintance which Jonathan had had with him,
and for which he was still debtor. And when one of Saul's freed
men was brought to him, who was acquainted with those of his
family that were still living, he asked him whether he could tell
him of any one belonging to Jonathan that was now alive, and
capable of a requital of the benefits which he had received from
Jonathan. And he said, that a son of his was remaining, whose
name was Mephibosheth, but that he was lame of his feet; for that
when his nurse heard that the father and grandfather of the child
were fallen in the battle, she snatched him up, and fled away,
and let him fall from her shoulders, and his feet were lamed. So
when he had learned where and by whom he was brought up, he sent
messengers to Machir, to the city of Lodebar, for with him was
the son of Jonathan brought up, and sent for him to come to him.
So when Mephibosheth came to the king, he fell on his face and
worshipped him; but David encouraged him, bade him be of good
cheer, and expect better times. So he gave him his father's
house, and all the estate which his grandfather Saul was in
possession of, and bade him come and diet with him at his own
table, and never to be absent one day from that table. And when
the youth had worshipped him on account of his words and gifts
given to him, he called for Ziba, and told him that he had given
the youth his father's house, and all Saul's estate. He also
ordered that Ziba should cultivate his land, and take care of it,
and bring him the profits of all to Jerusalem. Accordingly, David
brought him to his table every day, and bestowed upon the youth,
Ziba and his sons, who were in number fifteen, and his servants,
who were in number twenty. When the king had made these
appointments, and Ziba had worshipped him, and promised to do all
that he had bidden him, he went his way; so that this son of
Jonathan dwelt at Jerusalem, and dieted at the king's table, and
had the same care that a son could claim taken of him. He also
had himself a son, whom he named Micha.


How The War Was Waged Against The Ammonites And Happily

1. This were the honors that such as were left of Saul's and
Jonathan's lineage received from David. About this time died
Nahash, the king of the Ammonites, who was a friend of David's;
and when his son had succeeded his father in the kingdom, David
sent ambassadors to him to comfort him; and exhorted him to take
his father's death patiently, and to expect that he would
continue the same kindness to himself which he had shown to his
father. But the princes of the Ammonites took this message in
evil part, and not as David's kind dispositions gave reason to
take it; and they excited the king to resent it; and said that
David had sent men to spy out the country, and what strength it
had, under the pretense of humanity and kindness. They further
advised him to have a care, and not to give heed to David's
words, lest he should be deluded by him, and so fall into an
inconsolable calamity. Accordingly Nahash's [son], the king of
the Ammonites, thought these princes spake what was more probable
than the truth would admit, and so abused the ambassadors after a
very harsh manner; for he shaved the one half of their beards,
and cut off one half of their garments, and sent his answer, not
in words, but in deeds. When the king of Israel saw this, he had
indignation at it, and showed openly that he would not overlook
this injurious and contumelious treatment, but would make war
with the Ammonites, and would avenge this wicked treatment of his
ambassadors on their king. So that king's intimate friends and
commanders, understanding that they had violated their league,
and were liable to be punished for the same, made preparations
for war; they also sent a thousand talents to the Syrian king of
Mesopotamia, and endeavored to prevail with him to assist them
for that pay, and Shobach. Now these kings had twenty thousand
footmen. They also hired the king of the country called Maacah,
and a fourth king, by name Ishtob; which last had twelve thousand
armed men.

2. But David was under no consternation at this confederacy, nor
at the forces of the Ammonites; and putting his trust in God,
because he was going to war in a just cause, on account of the
injurious treatment he had met with, he immediately sent Joab,
the captain of his host, against them, and gave him the flower of
his army, who pitched his camp by Rabbah, the metropolis of the
Ammonites; whereupon the enemy came out, and set themselves in
array, not all of them together, but in two bodies; for the
auxiliaries were set in array in the plain by themselves, but the
army of the Ammonites at the gates over against the Hebrews. When
Joab saw this, he opposed one stratagem against another, and
chose out the most hardy part of his men, and set them in
opposition to the king of Syria, and the kings that were with
him, and gave the other part to his brother Abishai, and bid him
set them in opposition to the Ammonites; and said to him, that in
case he should see that the Syrians distressed him, and were too
hard for him, he should order his troops to turn about and assist
him; and he said that he himself would do the same to him, if he
saw him in the like distress from the Ammonites. So he sent his
brother before, and encouraged him to do every thing courageously
and with alacrity, which would teach them to be afraid of
disgrace, and to fight manfully; and so he dismissed him to fight
with the Ammonites, while he fell upon the Syrians. And though
they made a strong opposition for a while, Joab slew many of
them, but compelled the rest to betake themselves to flight;
which, when the Ammonites saw, and were withal afraid of Abishai
and his army, they staid no longer, but imitated their
auxiliaries, and fled to the city. So Joab, when he had thus
overcome the enemy, returned with great joy to Jerusalem to the

3. This defeat did not still induce the Ammonites to be quiet,
nor to own those that were superior to them to be so, and be
still, but they sent to Chalaman, the king of the Syrians, beyond
Euphrates, and hired him for an auxiliary. He had Shobach for the
captain of his host, with eighty thousand footmen, and ten
thousand horsemen. Now when the king of the Hebrews understood
that the Ammonites had again gathered so great an army together,
he determined to make war with them no longer by his generals,
but he passed over the river Jordan himself with all his army;
and when he met them he joined battle with them, and overcame
them, and slew forty thousand of their footmen, and seven
thousand of their horsemen. He also wounded Shobach, the general
of Chalaman's forces, who died of that stroke; but the people of
Mesopotamia, upon such a conclusion of the battle, delivered
themselves up to David, and sent him presents, who at winter time
returned to Jerusalem. But at the beginning of the spring he sent
Joab, the captain of his host, to fight against the Ammonites,
who overran all their country, and laid it waste, and shut them
up in their metropolis Rabbah, and besieged them therein.


How David Fell In Love With Bathsheba, And Slew Her Husband
Uriah, For Which He Is Reproved By Nathan.

1. But David fell now into a very grievous sin, though he were
otherwise naturally a righteous and a religious man, and one that
firmly observed the laws of our fathers; for when late in an
evening he took a view round him from the roof of his royal
palace, where he used to walk at that hour, he saw a woman
washing herself in her own house: she was one of extraordinary
beauty, and therein surpassed all other women; her name was
Bathsheba. So he was overcome by that woman's beauty, and was not
able to restrain his desires, but sent for her, and lay with her.
Hereupon she conceived with child, and sent to the king, that he
should contrive some way for concealing her sin (for, according
to the laws of their fathers, she who had been guilty of adultery
ought to be put to death). So the king sent for Joab's
armor-bearer from the siege, who was the woman's husband, and his
name was Uriah. And when he was come, the king inquired of him
about the army, and about the siege; and when he had made answer
that all their affairs went according to their wishes, the king
took some portions of meat from his supper, and gave them to him,
and bade him go home to his wife, and take his rest with her.
Uriah did not do so, but slept near the king with the rest of his
armor-bearers. When the king was informed of this, he asked him
why he did not go home to his house, and to his wife, after so
long an absence; which is the natural custom of all men, when
they come from a long journey. He replied, that it was not right,
while his fellow soldiers, and the general of the army, slept
upon the ground, in the camp, and in an enemy's country, that he
should go and take his rest, and solace himself with his wife. So
when he had thus replied, the king ordered him to stay there that
night, that he might dismiss him the next day to the general. So
the king invited Uriah to supper, and after a cunning and
dexterous manlier plied him with drink at supper, till he was
thereby disordered; yet did he nevertheless sleep at the king's
gates without any inclination to go to his wife. Upon this the
king was very angry at him; and wrote to Joab, and commanded him
to punish Uriah, for he told him that he had offended him; and he
suggested to him the manner in which he would have him punished,
that it might not be discovered that he was himself the author of
this his punishment; for he charged him to set him over against
that part of the enemy's army where the attack would be most
hazardous, and where he might be deserted, and be in the greatest
jeopardy, for he bade him order his fellow soldiers to retire out
of the fight. When he had written thus to him, and sealed the
letter with his own seal, he gave it to Uriah to carry to Joab.
When Joab had received it, and upon reading it understood the
king's purpose, he set Uriah in that place where he knew the
enemy would be most troublesome to them; and gave him for his
partners some of the best soldiers in the army; and said that he
would also come to their assistance with the whole army, that if
possible they might break down some part of the wall, and enter
the city. And he desired him to be glad of the opportunity of
exposing himself to such great pains, and not to be displeased at
it, since he was a valiant soldier, and had a great reputation
for his valor, both with the king and with his countrymen. And
when Uriah undertook the work he was set upon with alacrity, he
gave private orders to those who were to be his companions, that
when they saw the enemy make a sally, they should leave him.
When, therefore, the Hebrews made an attack upon the city, the
Ammonites were afraid that the enemy might prevent them, and get
up into the city, and this at the very place whither Uriah was
ordered; so they exposed their best soldiers to be in the
forefront, and opened their gates suddenly, and fell upon the
enemy with great vehemence, and ran violently upon them. When
those that were with Uriah saw this, they all retreated backward,
as Joab had directed them beforehand; but Uriah, as ashamed to
run away and leave his post, sustained the enemy, and receiving
the violence of their onset, he slew many of them; but being
encompassed round, and caught in the midst of them, he was slain,
and some other of his companions were slain with him.

2. When this was done, Joab sent messengers to the king, and
ordered them to tell him that he did what he could to take the
city soon; but that, as they made an assault on the wall, they
had been forced to retire with great loss; and bade them, if they
saw the king was angry at it, to add this, that Uriah was slain
also. When the king had heard this of the messengers, he took it
heinously, and said that they did wrong when they assaulted the
wall, whereas they ought, by undermining and other stratagems of
war, to endeavor the taking of rite city, especially when they
had before their eyes the example of Abimelech, the son of
Gideon, who would needs take the tower in Thebes by force, and
was killed by a large stone thrown at him by an old woman; and
although he was a man of great prowess, he died ignominiously by
the dangerous manner of his assault: that they should remember
this accident, and not come near the enemy's wall, for that the
best method of making war with success was to call to mind the
accidents of former wars, and what good or bad success had
attended them in the like dangerous cases, that so they might
imitate the one, and avoid the other. But when the king was in
this disposition, the messenger told him that Uriah was slain
also; whereupon he was pacified. So he bade the messenger go back
to Joab and tell him that this misfortune is no other than what
is common among mankind, and that such is the nature, and such
the accidents of war, insomuch that sometimes the enemy will have
success therein, and sometimes others; but that he ordered him to
go on still in his care about the siege, that no ill accident
might befall him in it hereafter; that they should raise bulwarks
and use machines in besieging the city; and when they have gotten
it, to overturn its very foundations, and to destroy all those
that are in it. Accordingly the messenger carried the king's
message with which he was charged, and made haste to Joab. But
Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, when she was informed of the death
of her husband, mourned for his death many days; and when her
mourning was over, and the tears which she shed for Uriah were
dried up, the king took her to wife presently; and a son was born
to him by her.

3. With this marriage God was not well pleased, but was thereupon
angry at David; and he appeared to Nathan the prophet in his
sleep, and complained of the king. Now Nathan was a fair and
prudent man; and considering that kings, when they fall into a
passion, are guided more by that passion than they are by
justice, he resolved to conceal the threatenings that proceeded
from God, and made a good-natured discourse to him, and this
after the. manner following: - He desired that the king would
give him his opinion in the following case: - There were," said
he, "two men inhabiting the same city, the one of them was rich,
and [the other poor]. The rich man had a great many flocks of
cattle, of sheep, and of kine; but the poor man had but one ewe
lamb. This he brought up with his children, and let her eat her
food with them; and he had the same natural affection for her
which any one might have for a daughter. Now upon the coming of a
stranger to the rich man, he would not vouchsafe to kill any of
his own flocks, and thence feast his friend; but he sent for the
poor man's lamb, and took her away from him, and made her ready
for food, and thence feasted the stranger." This discourse
troubled the king exceedingly; and he denounced to Nathan, that
"this man was a wicked man who could dare to do such a thing; and
that it was but just that he should restore the lamb fourfold,
and be punished with death for it also." Upon this Nathan
immediately said that he was himself the man who ought to suffer
those punishments, and that by his own sentence; and that it was
he who had perpetrated this 'great and horrid crime. He also
revealed to him, and laid before him, the anger of God against
him, who had made him king over the army of the Hebrews, and lord
of all the nations, and those many and great nations round about
him; who had formerly delivered him out of the hands of Saul, and
had given him such wives as he had justly and legally married;
and now this God was despised by him, and affronted by his
impiety, when he had married, and now had, another man's wife;
and by exposing her husband to the enemy, had really slain him;
'that God would inflict punishments upon him on account of those
instances of wickedness; that his own wives should be forced by
one of his sons; and that he should be treacherously supplanted
by the same son; and that although he had perpetrated his
wickedness secretly, yet should that punishment which he was to
undergo be inflicted publicly upon him; "that, moreover," said
he, "the child which was born to thee of her shall soon die."
When the king was troubled at these messages, and sufficiently
confounded, and said with tears and sorrow that he had sinned,
(for he was without controversy a pious man, and guilty of no sin
at all in his whole life, excepting those in the matter of
Uriah,) God had compassion on him, and was reconciled to him, and
promised that he would preserve to him both his life and his
kingdom; for he said that, seeing he repented of the things he
had done, he was no longer displeased with him. So Nathan, when
he had delivered this prophecy to the king, returned home.

4. However, God sent a dangerous distemper upon the child that
was born to David of the wife of Uriah, at which the king was
troubled, and did not take any food for seven days, although his
servants almost forced him to take it; but he clothed himself in
a black garment, and fell down, and lay upon the ground in
sackcloth, entrusting God for the recovery of the child, for he
vehemently loved the child's mother; but when, on the seventh
day, the child was dead, the king's servants durst not tell him
of it, as supposing that when he knew it, he would still less
admit of food, and other care of himself, by reason of his grief
at the death of his son, since when the child was only sick, he
so greatly afflicted himself, and grieved for him: but when the
king perceived that his servants were in disorder, and seemed to
be affected, as those who are very desirous to conceal something,
he understood that the child was dead; and when he had called one
of his servants to him, and discovered that so it was, he arose
up and washed himself, and took a white garment, and came into
the tabernacle of God. He also commanded them to set supper
before him, and thereby greatly surprised his kindred and
servants, while he did nothing of this when the child was sick,
but did it all when he was dead. Whereupon having first begged
leave to ask him a question, they besought him to tell them the
reason of this his conduct; he then called them unskillful
people, and instructed them how he had hopes of the recovery of
the child while it was alive, and accordingly did all that was
proper for him to do, as thinking by such means to render God
propitious to him; but that when the child was dead, there was no
longer any occasion for grief, which was then to no purpose. When
he had said this, they commended the king's wisdom and
understanding. He then went in unto Bathsheba his wife, and she
conceived and bare a son; and by the command of Nathan the
prophet called his name Solomon.

5. But Joab sorely distressed the Ammonites in the siege, by
cutting off their waters, and depriving them of other means of
subsistence, till they were in the greatest want of meat and
drink, for they depended only on one small well of water, and
this they durst not drink of too freely, lest the fountain should
entirely fail them. So he wrote to the king, and informed him
thereof; and persuaded him to come himself to take the city, that
he might have the honor of the victory. Upon this letter of
Joab's, the king accepted of his good-will and fidelity, and took
with him his army, and came to the destruction of Rabbah; and
when he had taken it by force, he gave it to his soldiers to
plunder it; but he himself took the king of the Ammonites' crown,
whose weight was a talent of gold; (13) and it had in its middle
a precious stone called a sardonyx; which crown David ever after
wore on his own head. He also found many other vessels in the
city, and those both splendid and of great price; but as for the
men, he tormented them, (14) and then destroyed them; and when he
had taken the other cities of the Ammonites by force, he treated
them after the same manner.


How Absalom Murdered Amnon, Who Had Forced His Own Sister; And
How He Was Banished And Afterwards Recalled By David.

1. When the king was returned to Jerusalem, a sad misfortune
befell his house, on the occasion following: He had a daughter,
who was yet a virgin, and very handsome, insomuch that she
surpassed all the most beautiful women; her name was Tamar; she
had the same mother with Absalom. Now Amnon, David's eldest son,
fell in love with her, and being not able to obtain his desires,
on account of her virginity, and the custody she was under, was
so much out of order, nay, his grief so eat up his body, that he
grew lean, and his color was changed. Now there was one Jenadab,
a kinsman and friend of his, who discovered this his passion, for
he was an extraordinary wise man, and of great sagacity of mind.
When, therefore, he saw that every morning Amnon was not in body
as he ought to be, he came to him, and desired him to tell him
what was the cause of it: however, he said that he guessed that
it arose from the passion of love. Amnon confessed his passion,
that he was in love with a sister of his, who had the same father
with himself. So Jenadab suggested to him by what method and
contrivance he might obtain his desires; for he persuaded him to
pretend sickness, and bade him, when his father should come to
him, to beg of him that his sister might come and minister to
him; for if that were done, he should be better, and should
quickly recover from his distemper. So Amnon lay down on his bed,
and pretended to be sick, as Jonadab had suggested. When his
father came, and inquired how he did, he begged of him to send
his sister to him. Accordingly, he presently ordered her to be
brought to him; and when she was come, Amnon bade her make cakes
for him, and fry them in a pan, and do it all with her own hands,
because he should take them better from her hand [than from any
one's else]. So she kneaded the flour in the sight of her
brother, and made him cakes, and baked them in a pan, and brought
them to him; but at that time he would not taste them, but gave
order to his servants to send all that were there out of his
chamber, because he had a mind to repose himself, free from
tumult and disturbance. As soon as what he had commanded was
done, he desired his sister to bring his supper to him into the
inner parlor; which, when the damsel had done, he took hold of
her, and endeavored to persuade her to lie with him. Whereupon
the damsel cried out, and said, "Nay, brother, do not force me,
nor be so wicked as to transgress the laws, and bring upon
thyself the utmost confusion. Curb this thy unrighteous and
impure lust, from which our house will get nothing but reproach
and disgrace." She also advised him to speak to his father about
this affair; for he would permit him [to marry her]. This she
said, as desirous to avoid her brother's violent passion at
present. But he would not yield to her; but, inflamed with love
and blinded with the vehemency of his passion, he forced his
sister: but as soon as Amnon had satisfied his lust, he hated her
immediately, and giving her reproachful words, bade her rise up
and be gone. And when she said that this was a more injurious
treatment than the former, if, now he had forced her, he would
not let her stay with him till the evening, but bid her go away
in the day-time, and while it was light, that she might meet with
people that would be witnesses of her shame, - he commanded his
servant to turn her out of his house. Whereupon she was sorely
grieved at the injury and violence that had been offered to her,
and rent her loose coat, (for the virgins of old time wore such
loose coats tied at the hands, and let down to the ankles, that
the inner coats might not be seen,) and sprinkled ashes on her
head; and went up the middle of the city, crying out and
lamenting for the violence that had been offered her. Now
Absalom, her brother, happened to meet her, and asked her what
sad thing had befallen her, that she was in that plight; and when
she had told him what injury had been offered her, he comforted
her, and desired her to be quiet, and take all patiently, and not
to esteem her being corrupted by her brother as an injury. So she
yielded to his advice, and left off her crying out, and
discovering the force offered her to the multitude; and she
continued as a widow with her brother Absalom a long time.

2. When David his father knew this, he was grieved at the actions
of Amnon; but because he had an extraordinary affection for him,
for he was his eldest son, he was compelled not to afflict him;
but Absalom watched for a fit opportunity of revenging this crime
upon him, for he thoroughly hated him. Now the second year after
this wicked affair about his sister was over, and Absalom was
about to go to shear his own sheep at Baalhazor, which is a city
in the portion of Ephraim, he besought his father, as well as his
brethren, to come and feast with him: but when David excused
himself, as not being willing to be burdensome to him, Absalom
desired he would however send his brethren; whom he did send
accordingly. Then Absalom charged his own servants, that when
they should see Amnon disordered and drowsy with wine, and he
should give them a signal, they should fear nobody, but kill him.

3. When they had done as they were commanded, the rest of his
brethren were astonished and disturbed, and were afraid for
themselves, so they immediately got on horseback, and rode away
to their father; but somebody there was who prevented them, and
told their father they were all slain by Absalom; whereupon he
was overcome with sorrow, as for so many of his sons that were
destroyed at once, and that by their brother also; and by this
consideration, that it was their brother that appeared to have
slain them, he aggravated his sorrow for them. So he neither
inquired what was the cause of this slaughter, nor staid to hear
any thing else, which yet it was but reasonable to have done,
when so very great, and by that greatness so incredible, a
misfortune was related to him: he rent his clothes and threw
himself upon the ground, and there lay lamenting the loss of all
his sons, both those who, as he was informed, were slain, and of
him who slew them. But Jonadab, the son of his brother Shemeah,
entreated him not to indulge his sorrow so far, for as to the
rest of his sons he did not believe that they were slain, for he
found no cause for such a suspicion; but he said it might deserve
inquiry as to Amnon, for it was not unlikely that Absalom might
venture to kill him on account of the injury he had offered to
Tamar. In the mean time, a great noise of horses, and a tumult of
some people that were coming, turned their attention to them;
they were the king's sons, who were fled away from the feast. So
their father met them as they were in their grief, and he himself
grieved with them; but it was more than he expected to see those
his sons again, whom he had a little before heard to have
perished. However, their were tears on both sides; they lamenting
their brother who was killed, and the king lamenting his son, who
was killed also; but Absalom fled to Geshur, to his grandfather
by his mother's side, who was king of that country, and he
remained with him three whole years.

4. Now David had a design to send to Absalom, not that he should
come to be punished, but that he might be with him, for the
effects of his anger were abated by length of time. It was Joab,
the captain of his host, that chiefly persuaded him so to do; for
he suborned an ordinary woman, that was stricken in age, to go to
the king in mourning apparel, who said thus to him: - That two of
her sons, in a coarse way, had some difference between them, and
that in the progress of that difference they came to an open
quarrel, and that one was smitten by the other, and was dead; and
she desired him to interpose in this case, and to do her the
favor to save this her son from her kindred, who were very
zealous to have him that had slain his brother put to death, that
so she might not be further deprived of the hopes she had of
being taken care of in her old age by him; and that if he would
hinder this slaughter of her son by those that wished for it, he
would do her a great favor, because the kindred would not be
restrained from their purpose by any thing else than by the fear
of him. And when the king had given his consent to what the woman
had begged of him, she made this reply to him: - "I owe thee
thanks for thy benignity to me in pitying my old age, and
preventing the loss of my only remaining child; but in order to
assure me of this thy kindness, be first reconciled to thine own
son, and cease to be angry with him; for how shall I persuade
myself that thou hast really bestowed this favor upon me, while
thou thyself continuest after the like manner in thy wrath to
thine own son? for it is a foolish thing to add willfully another
to thy dead son, while the death of the other was brought about
without thy consent." And now the king perceived that this
pretended story was a subornation derived from Joab, and was of
his contrivance; and when, upon inquiry of the old woman, he
understood it to be so in reality, he called for Joab, and told
him he had obtained what he requested according to his own mind;
and he bid him bring Absalom back, for he was not now displeased,
but had already ceased to be angry with him. So Joab bowed
himself down to the king, and took his words kindly, and went
immediately to Geshur, and took Absalom with him, and came to

5. However, the king sent a message to his son beforehand, as he
was coming, and commanded him to retire to his own house, for he
was not yet in such a disposition as to think fit at present to
see him. Accordingly, upon the father's command, he avoided
coming into his presence, and contented himself with the respects
paid him by his own family only. Now his beauty was not impaired,
either by the grief he had been under, or by the want of such
care as was proper to be taken of a king's son, for he still
surpassed and excelled all men in the tallness of his body, and
was more eminent [in a fine appearance] than those that dieted
the most luxuriously; and indeed such was the thickness of the
hair of his head, that it was with difficulty that he was polled
every eighth day; and his hair weighed two hundred shekels (15)
which are five pounds. However, he dwelt in Jerusalem two years,
and became the father of three sons, and one daughter; which
daughter was of very great beauty, and which Rehoboam, the son of
Solomon, took to wife afterward, and had by her a son named
Abijah. But Absalom sent to Joab, and desired him to pacify his
father entirely towards him; and to beseech him to give him leave
to come to him to see him, and speak with him. But when Joab
neglected so to do, he sent some of his own servants, and set
fire to the field adjoining to him; which, when Joab understood,
he came to Absalom, and accused him of what he had done; and
asked him the reason why he did so. To which Absalom replied,
that "I have found out this stratagem that might bring thee to
us, while thou hast taken no care to perform the injunction I
laid upon thee, which was this, to reconcile my father to me; and
I really beg it of thee, now thou art here, to pacify my father
as to me, since I esteem my coming hither to be more grievous
than my banishment, while my father's wrath against me
continues." Hereby Joab was persuaded, and pitied the distress
that Absalom was in, and became an intercessor with the king for
him. And when he had discoursed with his father, he soon brought
him to that amicable disposition towards Absalom, that he
presently sent for him to come to him; and when he had cast
himself down upon the ground, and had begged for the forgiveness
of his offenses, the king raised him up, and promised him to
forget what he had formerly done.


Concerning The Insurrection Of Absalom Against David And
Concerning Ahithophel And Hushai; And Concerning Ziba And Shimei;
And How Ahithophel Hanged Himself.

1. Now Absalom, upon this his success with the king, procured to
himself a great many horses, and many chariots, and that in a
little time also. He had moreover fifty armor-bearers that were
about him; and he came early every day to the king's palace, and
spake what was agreeable to such as came for justice and lost
their causes, as if that happened for want of good counselors
about the king, or perhaps because the judges mistook in that
unjust sentence they gave; whereby he gained the good-will of
them all. He told them, that had he but such authority committed
to him, he would distribute justice to them in a most equitable
manner. When he had made himself so popular among the multitude,
he thought he had already the good-will of the people secured to
him; but when four years (16) had passed since his father's
reconciliation to him, he came to him, and besought him to give
him leave to go to Hebron, and pay a sacrifice to God, because he
vowed it to him when he fled out of the country. So when David
had granted his request, he went thither, and great multitudes
came running together to him, for he had sent to a great number
so to do.

2. Among them came Ahithophel the Gilonite, a counsellor of
David's, and two hundred men out of Jerusalem itself, who knew
not his intentions, but were sent for as to a sacrifice. So he
was appointed king by all of them, which he obtained by this
stratagem. As soon as this news was brought to David, and he was
informed of what he did not expect from his son, he was
aftrighted at this his impious and bold undertaking, and wondered
that he was so far from remembering how his offense had been so
lately forgiven him, that he undertook much worse and more wicked
enterprises; first, to deprive him of that kingdom which was
given him of God; and secondly, to take away his own father's
life. He therefore resolved to fly to the parts beyond Jordan: so
he called his most intimate friends together, and communicated to
them all that he had heard of his son's madness. He committed
himself to God, to judge between them about all their actions;
and left the care of his royal palace to his ten concubines, and
went away from Jerusalem, being willingly accompanied by the rest
of the multitude, who went hastily away with him, and
particularly by those six hundred armed men, who had been with
him from his first flight in the days of Saul. But he persuaded
Abiathar and Zadok, the high priests, who had determined to go
away with him, as also all the Levites, who were with the ark, to
stay behind, as hoping that God would deliver him without its
removal; but he charged them to let him know privately how all
things went on; and he had their sons, Ahimmaz the son of Zadok,
and Jonathan the son of Abiathar, for faithful ministers in all
things; but Ittai the Gitrite went out with him whether David
would let him or not, for he would .have persuaded him to stay,
and on that account he appeared the more friendly to him. But as
he was ascending the Mount of Olives barefooted, and all his
company were in tears, it was told him that Ahithophel was with
Absalom, and was of his side. This hearing augmented his grief;
and he besought God earnestly to alienate the mind of Absalom
from Ahithophel, for he was afraid that he should persuade him to
follow his pernicious counsel, for he was a prudent man, and very
sharp in seeing what was advantageous. When David was gotten upon
the top of the mountain, he took a view of the city; and prayed
to God with abundance of tears, as having already lost his
kingdom; and here it was that a faithful friend of his, whose
name was Hushai, met him. When David saw him with his clothes
rent, and having ashes all over his head, and in lamentation for
the great change of affairs, he comforted him, and exhorted him
to leave off grieving; nay, at length he besought him to go back
to Absalom, and appear as one of his party, and to fish out the
secretest counsels of his mind, and to contradict the counsels of
Ahithophel, for that he could not do him so much good by being
with him as he might by being with Absalom. So he was prevailed
on by David, and left him, and came to Jerusalem, whither Absalom
himself came also a little while afterward.

3. When David was gone a little farther, there met him Ziba, the
servant of Mephibosheth, (whom he had sent to take care of the
possessions which had been given him, as the son of Jonathan, the
son of Saul,) with a couple of asses, loaden with provisions, and
desired him to take as much of them as he and his followers stood
in need of. And when the king asked him where he had left
Mephibosheth, he said he had left him in Jerusalem, expecting to
be chosen king in the present confusions, in remembrance of the
benefits Saul had conferred upon them. At this the king had great
indignation, and gave to Ziba all that he had formerly bestowed
on Mephibosheth; for he determined that it was much fitter that
he should have them than the other; at which Ziba greatly

4. When David was at Bahurim, a place so called, there came out a
kinsman of Saul's, whose name was Shimei, and threw stones at
him, and gave him reproachful words; and as his friends stood
about the king and protected him, he persevered still more in his
reproaches, and called him a bloody man, and the author of all
sorts of mischief. He bade him also go out of the land as ,an
impure and accursed wretch; and he thanked God for depriving him
of his kingdom, and causing him to be punished for what injuries
he had done to his master [Saul], and this by the means of his
own son. Now when they were all provoked against him, and angry
at bin;, and particularly Abishai, who had a mind to kill Shimei,
David restrained his anger. "Let us not," said he, "bring upon
ourselves another fresh misfortune to those we have already, for
truly I have not the least regard nor concern for this dog that
raves at me: I submit myself to God, by whose permission this man
treats me in such a wild manner; nor is it any wonder that I am
obliged to undergo these abuses from him, while I experience the
like from an impious son of my own; but perhaps God will have
some commiseration upon us; if it be his will we shall overcome
them." So he went on his way without troubling himself with
Shimei, who ran along the other side of the mountain, and threw
out his abusive language plentifully. But when David was come to
Jordan, he allowed those that were with him to refresh
themselves; for they were weary.

5. But when Absalom, and Ahithophel his counselor, were come to
Jerusalem, with all the people, David's friend, Hushai, came to
them; and when he had worshipped Absalom, he withal wished that
his kingdom might last a long time, and continue for all ages.
But when Absalom said to him, "How comes this, that he who was so
intimate a friend of my father's, and appeared faithful to him in
all things, is not with him now, but hath left him, and is come
over to me?" Hushai's answer was very pertinent and prudent; for
he said, "We ought to follow God and the multitude of the people;
while these, therefore, my lord and master, are with thee, it is
fit that I should follow them, for thou hast received the kingdom
from God. I will therefore, if thou believest me to be thy
friend, show the same fidelity and kindness to thee, which thou
knowest I have shown to thy father; nor is there any reason to be
in the least dissatisfied with the present state of affairs, for
the kingdom is not transferred into another, but remains still in
the same family, by the son's receiving it after his father."
This speech persuaded Absalom, who before suspected Hushai. And
now he called Ahithophel, and consulted with him what he ought to
do: he persuaded him to go in unto his father's concubines; for
he said that "by this action the people would believe that thy
difference with thy father is irreconcilable, and will thence
fight with great alacrity against thy father, for hitherto they
are afraid of taking up open enmity against him, out of an
expectation that you will be reconciled again." Accordingly,
Absalom was prevailed on by this advice, and commanded his
servants to pitch him a tent upon the top of the royal palace, in
the sight of the multitude; and he went in and lay with his
father's concubines. Now this came to pass according to the
prediction of Nathan, when he prophesied and signified to him
that his son would rise up in rebellion against him.

6. And when Absalom had done what he was advised to by
Ahithophel, he desired his advice, in the second place, about the
war against his father. Now Ahithophel only asked him to let him
have ten thousand chosen men, and he promised he would slay his
father, and bring the soldiers back again in safety; and he said
that then the kingdom would be firm to him when David was dead
[but not otherwise]. Absalom was pleased with this advice, and
called for Hushai, David's friend (for so did he style him); and
informing him of the opinion of Ahithophel, he asked, further,
what was his opinion concerning that matter. Now he was sensible
that if Ahithophel's counsel were followed, David would be in
danger of being seized on, and slain; so he attempted to
introduce a contrary opinion, and said, Thou art not
unacquainted, O king, with the valor of thy father, and of those
that are now with him; that he hath made many wars, and hath
always come off with victory, though probably he now abides in
the camp, for he is very skiliful in stratagems, and in
foreseeing the deceitful tricks of his enemies; yet will he leave
his own soldiers in the evening, and will either hide himself in
some valley, or will place an ambush at some rock; so that when
our army joins battle with him, his soldiers will retire for a
little while, but will come upon us again, as encouraged by the
king's being near them; and in the mean time your father will
show himself suddenly in the time of the battle, and will infuse
courage into his own people when they are in danger, but bring
consternation to thine. Consider, therefore, my advice, and
reason upon it, and if thou canst not but acknowledge it to be
the best, reject the opinion of Ahithophel. Send to the entire
country of the Hebrews, and order them to come and fight with thy
father; and do thou thyself take the army, and be thine own
general in this war, and do not trust its management to another;
then expect to conquer him with ease, when thou overtakest him
openly with his few partisans, but hast thyself many ten
thousands, who will be desirous to demonstrate to thee their
diligence and alacrity. And if thy father shall shut himself up
in some city, and bear a siege, we will overthrow that city with
machines of war, and by undermining it." When Hushai had said
this, he obtained his point against Ahithophel, for his opinion
was preferred by Absalom before the other's: however, it was no
other than God (17) who made the counsel of Hushai appear best to
the mind of Absalom.

7. So Hushai made haste to the high priests, Zadok and Abiathar,
and told them the opinion of Ahithophel, and his own, and that
the resolution was taken to follow this latter advice. He
therefore bade them send to David, and tell him of it, and to
inform him of the counsels that had been taken; and to desire him
further to pass quickly over Jordan, lest his son should change
his mind, and make haste to pursue him, and so prevent him, and
seize upon him before he be in safety. Now the high priests had
their sons concealed in a proper place out of the city, that they
might carry news to David of what was transacted. Accordingly,
they sent a maid-servant, whom they could trust, to them, to
carry the news of Absalom's counsels, and ordered them to signify
the same to David with all speed. So they made no excuse nor
delay, but taking along with them their fathers' injunctions,
because pious and faithful ministers, and judging that quickness
and suddenness was the best mark of faithful service, they made
haste to meet with David. But certain horsemen saw them when they
were two furlongs from the city, and informed Absalom of them,
who immediately sent some to take them; but when the sons of the
high priest perceived this, they went out of the road, and betook
themselves to a certain village; that village was called Bahurim;
there they desired a certain woman to hide them, and afford them
security. Accordingly she let the young men down by a rope into a
well, and laid fleeces of wool over them; and when those that
pursued them came to her, and asked her whether she saw them, she
did not deny that she had seen them, for that they staid with her
some time, but she said they then went their ways; and she
foretold that, however, if they would follow them directly, they
would catch them; but when after a long pursuit they could not
catch them, they came back again; and when the woman saw those
men were returned, and that there was no longer any fear of the
young men's being caught by them, she drew them up by the rope,
and bade them go on their journey accordingly, they used great
diligence in the prosecution of that journey, and came to David,
and informed him accurately of all the counsels of Absalom. So he
commanded those that were with him to pass over Jordan while it
was night, and not to delay at all on that account.

8. But Ahithophel, on rejection of his advice, got upon his ass,
and rode away to his own country, Gilon; and, calling his family
together, he told them distinctly what advice he had given
Absalom; and since he had not been persuaded by it, he said he
would evidently perish, and this in no long time, and that David
would overcome him, and return to his kingdom again; so he said
it was better that he should take his own life away with freedom
and magnanimity, than expose himself to be punished by David, in
opposition to whom he had acted entirely for Absalom. When he had
discoursed thus to them, he went into the inmost room of his
house, and hanged himself; and thus was the death of Ahithophel,
who was self-condemned; and when his relations had taken him down
from the halter, they took care of his funeral. Now, as for
David, he passed over Jordan, as we have said already, and came
to Mahanaim, every fine and very strong city; and all the chief
men of the country received him with great pleasure, both out of
the shame they had that he should be forced to flee away [from
Jerusalem], and out of the respect they bare him while he was in
his former prosperity. These were Barzillai the Gileadite, and
Siphar the ruler among the Ammonites, and Machir the principal
man of Gilead; and these furnished him with plentiful provisions
for himself and his followers, insomuch that they wanted no beds
nor blankets for them, nor loaves of bread, nor wine; nay, they
brought them a great many cattle for slaughter, and afforded them
what furniture they wanted for their refreshment when they were
weary, and for food, with plenty of other necessaries.


How, When Absalom Was Beaten, He Was Caught In A Tree By His Hair
And Was Slain

1. And this was the state of David and his followers: but Absalom
got together a vast army of the Hebrews to oppose his father, and
passed therewith over the river Jordan, and sat down not far off
Mahanaim, in the country of Gilead. He appointed Amasa to be
captain of all his host, instead of Joab his kinsman: his father
was Ithra and his mother Abigail: now she and Zeruiah, the mother
of Joab, were David's sisters. But when David had numbered his
followers, and found them to be about four thousand, he resolved
not to tarry till Absalom attacked him, but set over his men
captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, and divided his
army into three parts; the one part he committed to Joab, the
next to Abishai, Joab's brother, and the third to Ittai, David's
companion and friend, but one that came from the city Gath; and
when he was desirous of fighting himself among them, his friends
would not let him: and this refusal of theirs was founded upon
very wise reasons: "For," said they, "if we be conquered when he
is with us, we have lost all good hopes of recovering ourselves;
but if we should be beaten in one part of our army, the other
parts may retire to him, and may thereby prepare a greater force,
while the enemy will naturally suppose that he hath another army
with him." So David was pleased with this their advice, and
resolved himself to tarry at Mahanaim; and as he sent his friends
and commanders to the battle, he desired them to show all
possible alacrity and fidelity, and to bear in mind what
advantages they had received from him, which, though they had not
been very great, yet had they not been quite inconsiderable; and
he begged of them to spare the young man Absalom, lest some
mischief should befall himself, if he should be killed; and thus
did he send out his army to the battle, and wished them victory

2. Then did Joab put his army in battle-array over against the
enemy in the Great Plain, where he had a wood behind him. Absalom
also brought his army into the field to oppose him. Upon the
joining of the battle, both sides showed great actions with their
hands and their boldness; the one side exposing themselves to the
greatest hazards, and using their utmost alacrity, that David
might recover his kingdom; and the other being no way deficient,
either in doing or suffering, that Absalom might not be deprived
of that kingdom, and be brought to punishment by his father for
his impudent attempt against him. Those also that were the most
numerous were solicitous that they might not be conquered by
those few that were with Joab, and with the other commanders,
because that would be the greater disgrace to them; while David's
soldiers strove greatly to overcome so many ten thousands as the
enemy had with them. Now David's men were conquerors, as superior
in strength and skill in war; so they followed the others as they
fled away through the forests and valleys; some they took
prisoners, and many they slew, and more in the flight than in the
battle for there fell about twenty thousand that day. But all
David's men ran violently upon Absalom, for he was easily known
by his beauty and tallness. He was himself also afraid lest his
enemies should seize on him, so he got upon the king's mule, and
fled; but as he was carried with violence, and noise, and a great
motion, as being himself light, he entangled his hair greatly in
the large boughs of a knotty tree that spread a great way, and
there he hung, after a surprising manner; and as for the beast,
it went on farther, and that swiftly, as if his master had been
still upon his back; but he, hanging in the air upon the boughs,
was taken by his enemies. Now when one of David's soldiers saw
this, he informed Joab of it; and when the general said, that if
he had shot at and killed Absalom, he would have given him fifty
shekels, - he replied, "I would not have killed my master's son
if thou wouldst have given me a thousand shekels, especially when
he desired that the young man might be spared in the hearing of
us all." But Joab bade him show him where it was that he saw
Absalom hang; whereupon he shot him to the heart, and slew him,
and Joab's armor-bearers stood round the tree, and pulled down
his dead body, and cast it into a great chasm that was out of
sight, and laid a heap of stones upon him, till the cavity was
filled up, and had both the appearance and the bigness of a
grave. Then Joab sounded a retreat, and recalled his own soldiers
from pursuing the enemy's army, in order to spare their

3. Now Absalom had erected for himself a marble pillar in the
king's dale, two furlongs distant from Jerusalem, which he named
Absalom's Hand, saying, that if his children were killed, his
name would remain by that pillar; for he had three sons and one
daughter, named Tamar, as we said before, who when she was
married to David's grandson, Rehoboam, bare a son, Abijah by
name, who succeeded his father in the kingdom; but of these we
shall speak in a part of our history which will be more proper.
After the death of Absalom, they returned every one to their own
homes respectively.

4. But now Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok the high priest, went to
Joab, and desired he would permit him to go and tell David of
this victory, and to bring him the good news that God had
afforded his assistance and his providence to him. However, he
did not grant his request, but said to him, "Wilt thou, who hast
always been the messenger of good news, now go and acquaint the
king that his son is dead?" So he desired him to desist. He then
called Cushi, and committed the business to him, that he should
tell the king what he had seen. But when Ahimaaz again desired
him to let him go as a messenger, and assured him that he would
only relate what concerned the victory, but not concerning the
death of Absalom, he gave him leave to go to David. Now he took a
nearer road than the former did, for nobody knew it but himself,
and he came before Cushi. Now as David was sitting between the
gates, (18) and waiting to see when somebody would come to him
from the battle, and tell him how it went, one of the watchmen
saw Ahimaaz running, and before be could discern who he was, be
told David that he saw somebody coming to him, who said he was a
good messenger. A little while after, he informed him that
another messenger followed him; whereupon the king said that he
also was a good messenger: but when the watchman saw Ahimaaz, and
that he was already very near, he gave the king notice that it
was the son of Zadok the high priest who came running. So David
was very glad, and said he was a messenger of good tidings, and
brought him some such news from the battle as be desired to hear.

5. While the king was saying thus, Ahimaaz appeared, and
worshipped the king. And when the king inquired of him about the
battle, he said he brought him the good news of victory and
dominion. And when he inquired what he had to say concerning his
son, he said that he came away on the sudden as soon as the enemy
was defeated, but that he heard a great noise of those that
pursued Absalom, and that he could learn no more, because of the
haste be made when Joab sent him to inform him of the victory.
But when Cushi was come, and had worshipped him, and informed him
of the victory, he asked him about his son, who replied, "May the
like misfortune befall thine enemies as hath befallen Absalom."
That word did not permit either himself or his soldiers to
rejoice for the victory, though it was a very great one; but
David went up to the highest part of the city, (19) and wept for
his son, and beat his breast, tearing [the hair of] his head,
tormenting himself all manner of ways, and crying out, "O my son!
I wish that I had died myself, and ended my days with thee!" for
he was of a tender natural affection, and had extraordinary
compassion for this son in particular. But when the army and Joab
heard that the king mourned for his son, they were ashamed to
enter the city in the habit of conquerors, but they all came in
as cast down, and in tears, as if they had been beaten. Now while
the king covered himself, and grievously lamented his son, Joab
went in to him, and comforted him, and said, "O my lord the king,
thou art not aware that thou layest a blot on thyself by what
thou now doest; for thou seemest to hate those that love thee,
and undergo dangers for thee nay, to hate thyself and thy family,
and to love those that are thy bitter enemies, and to desire the
company of those that are no more, and who have been justly
slain; for had Absalom gotten the victory, and firmly settled
himself in the kingdom, there had been none of us left alive, but
all of us, beginning with thyself and thy children, had miserably
perished, while our enemies had not wept for his, but rejoiced
over us, and punished even those that pitied us in our
misfortunes; and thou art not ashamed to do this in the case of
one that has been thy bitter enemy, who, while he was thine own
son hath proved so wicked to thee. Leave off, therefore, thy
unreasonable grief, and come abroad and be seen of thy soldiers,
and return them thanks for the alacrity they showed in the fight;
for I myself will this day persuade the people to leave thee, and
to give the kingdom to another, if thou continuest to do thus;
and then I shall make thee to grieve bitterly and in earnest."
Upon Joab's speaking thus to him, he made the king leave off his
sorrow, and brought him to the consideration of his affairs. So
David changed his habit, and exposed himself in a manner fit to
be seen by the multitude, and sat at the gates; whereupon all the
people heard of it,
and ran together to him, and saluted him. And this was the
present state of David's affairs.


How David, When He Had Recovered His Kingdom, Was Reconciled To
Shimei, And To Ziba; And Showed A Great Affection To Barzillai;
And How, Upon The Rise Of A Sedition, He Made Amasa Captain Of
His Host, In Order To Pursue Seba; Which Amasa Was Slain By Joab.

1. Now those Hebrews that had been With Absalom, and had retired
out of the battle, when they were all returned home, sent
messengers to every city to put them in mind of what benefits
David had bestowed upon them, and of that liberty which he had
procured them, by delivering them from many and great wars. But
they complained, that whereas they had ejected him out of his
kingdom, and committed it to another governor, which other
governor, whom they had set up, was already dead, they did not
now beseech David to leave off his anger at them, and to become
friends with them, and, as he used to do, to resume the care of
their affairs, and take the kingdom again. This was often told to
David. And, this notwithstanding, David sent to Zadok and
Abiathar the high priests, that they should speak to the rulers
of the tribe of Judah after the manner following: That it would
be a reproach upon them to permit the other tribes to choose
David for their king before their tribe, "and this," said he,
"while you are akin to him, and of the same common blood." He
commanded them also to say the same to Amasa the captain of their
forces, That whereas he was his sister's son, he had not
persuaded the multitude to restore the kingdom to David; that he
might expect from him not only a reconciliation, for that was
already granted, but that supreme command of the army also which
Absalom had bestowed upon him. Accordingly the high priests, when
they had discoursed with the rulers of the tribe, and said what
the king had ordered them, persuaded Amasa to undertake the care
of his affairs. So he persuaded that tribe to send immediately
ambassadors to him, to beseech him to return to his own kingdom.
The same did all the Israelites, at the like persuasion of Amasa.

2. When the ambassadors came to him, he came to Jerusalem; and
the tribe of Judah was the first that came to meet the king at
the river Jordan. And Shimei, the son of Gera, came with a
thousand men, which he brought with him out of the tribe of
Benjamin; and Ziba, the freed-man of Saul, with his sons, fifteen
in number, and with his twenty servants. All these, as well as
the tribe of Judah, laid a bridge [of boats] over the river, that
the king, and those that were with him, might with ease pass over
it. Now as soon as he was come to Jordan, the tribe of Judah
saluted him. Shimei also came upon the bridge, and took hold of
his feet, and prayed him to forgive him what he had offended, and
not to be too bitter against him, nor to think fit to make him
the first example of severity under his new authority; but to
consider that he had repented of his failure of duty, and had
taken care to come first of all to him. While he was thus
entreating the king, and moving him to compassion, Abishai,
Joab's brother, said, "And shall not this man die for this, that
he hath cursed that king whom God hath appointed to reign over
us?" But David turned himself to him, and said, "Will you never
leave off, ye sons of Zeruiah? Do not you, I pray, raise new
troubles and seditions among us, now the former are over; for I
would not have you ignorant that I this day begin my reign, and
therefore swear to remit to all offenders their punishments, and
not to animadvert on any one that has sinned. Be thou,
therefore," said he, "O Shimei, of good courage, and do not at
all fear being put to death." So he worshipped him, and went on
before him.

3. Mephibosheth also, Saul's grandson, met David, clothed in a
sordid garment, and having his hair thick and neglected; for
after David was fled away, he was in such grief that he had not
polled his head, nor had he washed his clothes, as dooming
himself to undergo such hardships upon occasion of the change-of
the king's affairs. Now he had been unjustly calumniated to the
king by Ziba, his steward. When he had saluted the king, and
worshipped him, the king began to ask him why he did not go out
of Jerusalem with him, and accompany him during his flight. He
replied, that this piece of injustice was owing to Ziba; because,
when he was ordered to get things ready for his going out with
him, he took no care of it, but regarded him no more than if he
had been a slave; "and, indeed, had I had my feet sound and
strong, I had not deserted thee, for I could then have made use
of them in my flight: but this is not all the injury that Ziba
has done me, as to my duty to thee, my lord and master, but he
hath calumniated me besides, and told lies about me of his own
invention; but I know thy mind will not admit of such calumnies,
but is righteously disposed, and a lover of truth, which it is
also the will of God should prevail. For when thou wast in the
greatest danger of suffering by my grandfather, and when, on that
account, our whole family might justly have been destroyed, thou
wast moderate and merciful, and didst then especially forget all
those injuries, when, if thou hadst remembered them, thou hadst
the power of punishing us for them; but thou hast judged me to be
thy friend, and hast set me every day at thine own table; nor
have I wanted any thing which one of thine own kinsmen, of
greatest esteem with thee, could have expected." When he had said
this, David resolved neither to punish Mephibosheth, nor to
condemn Ziba, as having belied his master; but said to him, that
as he had [before] granted all his estate to Ziba, because he did
not come along with him, so he [now] promised to forgive him, and
ordered that the one half of his estate should be restored to
him. (20) Whereupon Mephibosheth said, "Nay, let Ziba take all;
it suffices me that thou hast recovered thy kingdom."

4. But David desired Barzillai the Gileadite, that great and good
man, and one that had made a plentiful provision for him at
Mahanaim, and had conducted him as far as Jordan, to accompany
him to Jerusalem, for he promised to treat him in his old age
with all manner of respect - to take care of him, and provide for
him. But Barzillai was so desirous to live at home, that he
entreated him to excuse him from attendance on him; and said that
his age was too great to enjoy the pleasures [of a court,] since
he was fourscore years old, and was therefore making provision
for his death and burial: so he desired him to gratify him in
this request, and dismiss him; for he had no relish of his meat,
or his drink, by reason of his age; and that his ears were too
much shut up to hear the sound of pipes, or the melody of other
musical instruments, such as all those that live with kings
delight in. When he entreated for this so earnestly, the king
said, "I dismiss thee, but thou shalt grant me thy son Chimham,
and upon him I will bestow all sorts of good things." So
Barzillai left his son with him, and worshipped the king, and
wished him a prosperous conclusion of all his affairs according
to his own mind, and then returned home; but David came to
Gilgal, having about him half the people [of Israel], and the
[whole] tribe of Judah.

5. Now the principal men of the country came to Gilgal to him
with a great multitude, and complained of the tribe of Judah,
that they had come to him in a private manner; whereas they ought
all conjointly, and with one and the same intention, to have
given him the meeting. But the rulers of the tribe of Judah
desired them not to be displeased, if they had been prevented by
them; for, said they, "We are David's kinsmen, and on that
account we the rather took care of him, and loved him, and. so
came first to him;" yet had they not, by their early coming,
received any gifts from him, which might give them who came last
any uneasiness. When the rulers of the tribe of Judah had said
this, the rulers of the other tribes were not quiet, but said
further, "O brethren, we cannot but wonder at you when you call
the king your kinsman alone, whereas he that hath received from
God the power over all of us in common ought to be esteemed a
kinsman to us all; for which reason the whole people have eleven
parts in him, and you but one part (21) we are also elder than
you; wherefore you have not done justly in coming to the king in
this private and concealed manner."

6. While these rulers were thus disputing one with another,. a
certain wicked man, who took a pleasure in seditious practices,
(his name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, of the tribe of
Benjamin,) stood up in the midst of the multitude, and cried
aloud, and spake thus to them: "We have no part in David, nor
inheritance in the son of Jesse." And when he had used those
words, he blew with a trumpet, and declared war against the king;
and they all left David, and followed him; the tribe of Judah
alone staid with him, and settled him in his royal palace at
Jerusalem. But as for his concubines, with whom Absalom his son
had accompanied, truly he removed them to another house, and
ordered those that had the care of them to make a plentiful
provision for them, but he came not near them any more. He also
appointed Amass for the captain of his forces, and gave him the
same high office which Joab before had; and he commanded him to
gather together, out of the tribe of Judah, as great an army as
he could, and come to him within three days, that he might
deliver to him his entire army, and might send him to fight
against [Sheba] the son of Bichri. Now while Amass was gone out,
and made some delay in gathering the army together, and so was
not yet returned, on the third day the king said to Joab, "It is
not fit we should make any delay in this affair of Sheba, lest he
get a numerous army about him, and be the occasion of greater
mischief, and hurt our affairs more than did Absalom himself; do
not thou therefore wait any longer, but take such forces as thou
hast at hand, and that [old] body of six hundred men, and thy
brother Abishai, with thee, and pursue after our enemy, and
endeavor to fight him wheresoever thou canst overtake him. Make
haste to prevent him, lest he seize upon some fenced cities, and
cause us great labor and pains before we take him."

7. So Joab resolved to make no delay, but taking with him his
brother, and those six hundred men, and giving orders that the
rest of the army which was at Jerusalem should follow him, he
marched with great speed against Sheba; and when he was come to
Gibeon, which is a village forty furlongs distant from Jerusalem,
Amasa brought a great army with him, and met Joab. Now Joab was
girded with a sword, and his breastplate on; and when Amasa came
near him to salute him, he took particular care that his sword
should fall out, as it were, of its own accord: so he took it up
from the ground, and while he approached Amasa, who was then near
him, as though he would kiss him, he took hold of Amasa's beard
with his other hand, and he smote him in his belly when he did
not foresee it, and slew him. This impious and altogether profane
action Joab did to a good young man, and his kinsman, and one
that had done him no injury, and this out of jealousy that he
would obtain the chief command of the army, and be in equal
dignity with himself about the king; and for the same cause it
was that he killed Abner. But as to that former wicked action,
the death of his brother Asahel, which he seemed to revenge,
afforded him a decent pretense, and made that crime a pardonable
one; but in this murder of Amasa there was no such covering for
it. Now when Joab had killed this general, he pursued after
Sheba, having left a man with the dead body, who was ordered to
proclaim aloud to the army, that Amasa was justly slain, and
deservedly punished. "But," said he, "if you be for the king,
follow Joab his general, and Abishai, Joab's brother:" but
because the body lay on the road, and all the multitude came
running to it, and, as is usual with the multitude, stood
wondering a great while at it, he that guarded it removed it
thence, and carried it to a certain place that was very remote
from the road, and there laid it, and covered it with his
garment. When this was done, all the people followed Joab. Now as
he pursued Sheba through all the country of Israel, one told him
that he was in a strong city, called Abelbeth-maachah. Hereupon
Joab went thither, and set about it with his army, and cast up a
bank round it, and ordered his soldiers to undermine the walls,
and to overthrow them; and since the people in the city did not
admit him, he was greatly displeased at them.

8. Now there was a woman of small account, and yet both wise and
intelligent, who seeing her native city lying at the last
extremity, ascended upon the wall, and, by means of the armed
men, called for Joab; and when he came to her, she began to say,
That "God ordained kings and generals of armies, that they might
cut off the enemies of the Hebrews, and introduce a universal
peace among them; but thou art endeavoring to overthrow and
depopulate a metropolis of the Israelites, which hath been guilty
of no offense." But he replied, "God continue to be merciful unto
me: I am disposed to avoid killing any one of the people, much
less would I destroy such a city as this; and if they will
deliver me up Sheba, the son of Bichri, who hath rebelled against
the king, I will leave off the siege, and withdraw the army from
the place." Now as soon as the woman heard what Joab said, she
desired him to intermit the siege for a little while, for that he
should have the head of his enemy thrown out to him presently. So
she went down to the citizens, and said to them, "Will you be so
wicked as to perish miserably, with your children and wives, for
the sake of a vile fellow, and one whom nobody knows who he is?
And will you have him for your king instead of David, who hath
been so great a benefactor to you, and oppose your city alone to
such a mighty and strong army?" So she prevailed with them, and
they cut off the head of Sheba, and threw it into Joab's army.
When this was done, the king's general sounded a retreat, and
raised the siege. And when he was come to Jerusalem, he was again
appointed to be general of all the people. The king also
constituted Benaiah captain of the guards, and of the six hundred
men. He also set Adoram over the tribute, and Sabathes and
Achilaus over the records. He made Sheva the scribe, and
appointed Zadok and Abiathar the high priests.


How The Hebrews Were Delivered From A Famine When The Gibeonites
Had Caused Punishment To Be Inflicted For Those Of Them That Had
Been Slain: As Also, What Great Actions Were Performed Against
The Philistines By David, And The Men Of Valor About Him.

1. After this, when the country was greatly afflicted with a
famine, David besought God to have mercy on the people, and to
discover to him what was the cause of it, and how a remedy might
be found for that distemper. And when the prophets answered, that
God would have the Gibeonites avenged whom Saul the king was so
wicked as to betray to slaughter, and had not observed the oath
which Joshua the general and the senate had sworn to them: If,
therefore, said God, the king would permit such vengeance to be
taken for those that were slain as the Gibeonites should desire,
he promised that he would be reconciled to them, and free the
multitude from their miseries. As soon therefore as the king
understood that this it was which God sought, he sent for the
Gibeonites, and asked them what it was they should have; and when
they desired to have seven sons of Saul delivered to them to be
punished, he delivered them up, but spared Mephibosheth the son
of Jonathan. So when the Gibeonites had received the men, they
punished them as they pleased; upon which God began to send rain,
and to recover the earth to bring forth its fruits as usual, and
to free it from the foregoing drought, so that the country of the
Hebrews flourished again. A little afterward the king made war
against the Philistines; and when he had joined battle with them,
and put them to flight, he was left alone, as he was in pursuit
of them; and when he was quite tired down, he was seen by one of
the enemy, his name was Achmon, the son of Araph, he was one of
the sons of the giants. He had a spear, the handle of which
weighed three hundred shekels, and a breastplate of chain-work,
and a sword. He turned back, and ran violently to slay [David]
their enemy's king, for he was quite tired out with labor; but
Abishai, Joab's brother, appeared on the sudden, and protected
the king with his shield, as he lay down, and slew the enemy. Now
the multitude were very uneasy at these dangers of the king, and
that he was very near to be slain; and the rulers made him swear
that he would no more go out with them to battle, lest he should
come to some great misfortune by his courage and boldness, and
thereby deprive the people of the benefits they now enjoyed by
his means, and of those that they might hereafter enjoy by his
living a long time among them.

2. When the king heard that the Philistines were gathered
together at the city Gazara, he sent an army against them, when
Sibbechai the Hittite, one of David's most courageous men,
behaved himself so as to deserve great commendation, for he slew
many of those that bragged they were the posterity of the giants,
and vaunted themselves highly on that account, and thereby was
the occasion of victory to the Hebrews. After which defeat, the
Philistines made war again; and when David had sent an army
against them, Nephan his kinsman fought in a single combat with
the stoutest of all the Philistines, and slew him, and put the
rest to flight. Many of them also were slain in the fight. Now a
little while after this, the Philistines pitched their camp at a
city which lay not far off the bounds of the country of the
Hebrews. They had a man who was six cubits tall, and had on each
of his feet and hands one more toe and finger than men naturally
have. Now the person who was sent against them by David out of
his army was Jonathan, the son of Shimea, who fought this man in
a single combat, and slew him; and as he was the person who gave
the turn to the battle, he gained the greatest reputation for
courage therein. This man also vaunted himself to be of the sons
of the giants. But after this fight the Philistines made war no
more against the Israelites.

3. And now David being freed from wars and dangers, and enjoying
for the future a profound peace, (22) composed songs and hymns to
God of several sorts of metre; some of those which he made were
trimeters, and some were pentameters. He also made instruments of
music, and taught the Levites to sing hymns to God, both on that
called the sabbath day, and on other festivals. Now the
construction of the instruments was thus: The viol was an
instrument of ten strings, it was played upon with a bow; the
psaltery had twelve musical notes, and was played upon by the
fingers; the cymbals were broad and large instruments, and were
made of brass. And so much shall suffice to be spoken by us about
these instruments, that the readers may not be wholly
unacquainted with their nature.

4. Now all the men that were about David were men of courage.
Those that were most illustrious and famous of them for their
actions were thirty-eight; of five of whom I will only relate the
performances, for these will suffice to make manifest the virtues
of the others also; for these were powerful enough to subdue
countries, and conquer great nations. First, therefore, was
Jessai, the son of Achimaas, who frequently leaped upon the
troops of the enemy, and did not leave off fighting till he
overthrew nine hundred of them. After him was Eleazar, the son of
Dodo, who was with the king at Arasam. This man, when once the
Israelites were under a consternation at the multitude of the
Philistines, and were running away, stood alone, and fell upon
the enemy, and slew many of them, till his sword clung to his
band by the blood he had shed, and till the Israelites, seeing
the Philistines retire by his means, came down from the mountains
and pursued them, and at that time won a surprising and a famous
victory, while Eleazar slew the men, and the multitude followed
and spoiled their dead bodies. The third was Sheba, the son of
Ilus. Now this man, when, in the wars against the Philistines,
they pitched their camp at a place called Lehi, and when the
Hebrews were again afraid of their army, and did not stay, he
stood still alone, as an army and a body of men; and some of them
he overthrew, and some who were not able to abide his strength
and force he pursued. These are the works of the hands, and of
fighting, which these three performed. Now at the time when the
king was once at Jerusalem, and the army of the Philistines came
upon him to fight him, David went up to the top of the citadel,
as we have already said, to inquire of God concerning the battle,
while the enemy's camp lay in the valley that extends to the city
Bethlehem, which is twenty furlongs distant from Jerusalem. Now
David said to his companions, "We have excellent water in my own
city, especially that which is in the pit near the gate,"
wondering if any one would bring him some of it to drink; but he
said that he would rather have it than a great deal of money.
When these three men heard what he said, they ran away
immediately, and burst through the midst of their enemy's camp,
and came to Bethlehem; and when they had drawn the water, they
returned again through the enemy's camp to the king, insomuch
that the Philistines were so surprised at their boldness and
alacrity, that they were quiet, and did nothing against them, as
if they despised their small number. But when the water was
brought to the king, he would not drink it, saying, that it was
brought by the danger and the blood of men, and that it was not
proper on that account to drink it. But he poured it out to God,
and gave him thanks for the salvation of the men. Next to these
was Abishai, Joab's brother; for he in one day slew six hundred.
The fifth of these was Benaiah, by lineage a priest; for being
challenged by [two] eminent men in the country of Moab, he
overcame them by his valor, Moreover, there was a man, by nation
an Egyptian, who was of a vast bulk, and challenged him, yet did
he, when he was unarmed, kill him with his own spear, which he
threw at him; for he caught him by force, and took away his
weapons while he was alive and fighting, and slew him with his
own weapons. One may also add this to the forementioned actions
of the same man, either as the principal of them in alacrity, or
as resembling the rest. When God sent a snow, there was a lion
who slipped and fell into a certain pit, and because the pit's
mouth was narrow it was evident he would perish, being enclosed
with the snow; so when he saw no way to get out and save himself,
he roared. When Benaiah heard the wild beast, he went towards
him, and coming at the noise he made, he went down into the mouth
of the pit and smote him, as he struggled, with a stake that lay
there, and immediately slew him. The other thirty-three were like
these in valor also.


That When David Had Numbered the People, They Were Punished; and
How the Divine Compassion Restrained That Punishment.

1. Now king David was desirous to know how many ten thousands
there were of the people, but forgot the commands of Moses, (23)
who told them beforehand, that if the multitude were numbered,
they should pay half a shekel to God for every head. Accordingly
the king commanded Joab, the captain of his host, to go and
number the whole multitude; but when he said there was no
necessity for such a numeration, he was not persuaded [to
countermand it], but he enjoined him to make no delay, but to go
about the numbering of the Hebrews immediately. So Joab took with
him the heads of the tribes, and the scribes, and went over the
country of the Israelites, and took notice how numerous the
multitude were, and returned to Jerusalem to the king, after nine
months and twenty days; and he gave in to the king the number of
the people, without the tribe of Benjamin, for he had not yet
numbered that tribe, no more than the tribe of Levi, for the king
repented of his having sinned against God. Now the number of the
rest of the Israelites was nine hundred thousand men, who were
able to bear arms and go to war; but the tribe of Judah, by
itself, was four hundred thousand men.

2. Now when the prophets had signified to David that God was
angry at him, he began to entreat him, and to desire he would be
merciful to him, and forgive his sin. But God sent Nathan the
prophet to him, to propose to him the election of three things,
that he might choose which he liked best: Whether he would have
famine come upon the country for seven years, or would have a
war, and be subdued three months by his enemies? or, whether God
should send a pestilence and a distemper upon the Hebrews for
three days? But as he was fallen to a fatal choice of great
miseries, he was in trouble, and sorely confounded; and when the
prophet had said that he must of necessity make his choice, and
had ordered him to answer quickly, that he might declare what he
had chosen to God, the king reasoned with himself, that in case
he should ask for famine, he would appear to do it for others,
and without danger to himself, since he had a great deal of corn
hoarded up, but to the harm of others; that in case he should
choose to be overcome [by his enemies] for three months, he would
appear to have chosen war, because he had valiant men about him,
and strong holds, and that therefore he feared nothing therefrom:
so he chose that affliction which is common to kings and to their
subjects, and in which the fear was equal on all sides; and said
this beforehand, that it was much better to fall into the hands
of God, than into those of his enemies.

3. When the prophet had heard this, he declared it to God; who
thereupon sent a pestilence and a mortality upon the Hebrews; nor
did they die after one and the same manner, nor so that it was
easy to know what the distemper was. Now the miserable disease
was one indeed, but it carried them off by ten thousand causes
and occasions, which those that were afflicted could not
understand; for one died upon the neck of another, and the
terrible malady seized them before they were aware, and brought
them to their end suddenly, some giving up the ghost immediately
with very great pains and bitter grief, and some were worn away
by their distempers, and had nothing remaining to be buried, but
as soon as ever they fell were entirely macerated; some were
choked, and greatly lamented their case, as being also stricken
with a sudden darkness; some there were who, as they were burying
a relation, fell down dead, without finishing the rites of the
funeral. Now there perished of this disease, which began with the
morning, and lasted till the hour of dinner, seventy thousand.
Nay, the angel stretched out his hand over Jerusalem, as sending
this terrible judgment upon it. But David had put on sackcloth,
and lay upon the ground, entreating God, and begging that the
distemper might now cease, and that he would be satisfied with
those that had already perished. And when the king looked up into
the air, and saw the angel carried along thereby into Jerusalem,
with his sword drawn, he said to God, that he might justly be
punished, who was their shepherd, but that the sheep ought to be
preserved, as not having sinned at all; and he implored God that
he would send his wrath upon him, and upon all his family, but
spare the people.

4. When God heard his supplication, he caused the pestilence to
cease, and sent Gad the prophet to him, and commanded him to go
up immediately to the thrashing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite,
and build an altar there to God, and offer sacrifices. When David
heard that, he did not neglect his duty, but made haste to the
place appointed him. Now Araunah was thrashing wheat; and when he
saw the king and all his servants coming to him, he ran before,
and came to him and worshipped him: he was by his lineage a
Jebusite, but a particular friend of David's; and for that cause
it was that, when he overthrew the city, he did him no harm, as
we informed the reader a little before. Now Araunah inquired,
"Wherefore is my lord come to his servant?" He answered, to buy
of him the thrashing-floor, that he might therein build an altar
to God, and offer a sacrifice. He replied, that he freely gave
him both the thrashing-floor and the ploughs and the oxen for a
burnt-offering; and he besought God graciously to accept his
sacrifice. But the king made answer, that he took his generosity
and magnanimity loudly, and accepted his good-will, but he
desired him to take the price of them all, for that it was not
just to offer a sacrifice that cost nothing. And when Araunah
said he would do as he pleased, he bought the thrashing-floor of
him for fifty shekels. And when he had built an altar, he
performed Divine service, and brought a burnt-offering, and
offered peace-offerings also. With these God was pacified, and
became gracious to them again. Now it happened that Abraham
(24)came and offered his son Isaac for a burnt-offering at that
very place; and when the youth was ready to have his throat cut,
a ram appeared on a sudden, standing by the altar, which Abraham
sacrificed in the stead of his son, as we have before related.
Now when king David saw that God had heard his prayer, and had
graciously accepted of his sacrifice, he resolved to call that
entire place The Altar of all the People, and to build a temple
to God there; which words he uttered very appositely to what was
to be done afterward; for God sent the prophet to him, and told
him that there should his son build him an altar, that son who
was to take the kingdom after him.


That David Made Great Preparations For The House Of God; And
That, Upon Adonijah's Attempt To Gain The Kingdom, He Appointed
Solomon To Reign.

1. After the delivery of this prophecy, the king commanded the
strangers to be numbered; and they were found to be one hundred
and eighty thousand; of these he appointed fourscore thousand to
be hewers of stone, and the rest of the multitude to carry the
stones, and of them he set over the workmen three thousand and
five hundred. He also prepared a great quantity of iron and brass
for the work, with many (and those exceeding large) cedar trees;
the Tyrians and Sidonians sending them to him, for he had sent to
them for a supply of those trees. And he told his friends that
these things were now prepared, that he might leave materials
ready for the building of the temple to his son, who was to reign
after him, and that he might not have them to seek then, when he
was very young, and by reason of his age unskillful in such
matters, but might have them lying by him, and so might the more
readily complete the work.

2. So David called his son Solomon, and charged him, when he had
received the kingdom, to build a temple to God, and said, "!I was
willing to build God a temple myself, but he prohibited me,
because I was polluted with blood and wars; but he hath foretold
that Solomon, my youngest son, should build him a temple, and
should be called by that name; over whom he hath promised to take
the like care as a father takes over his son; and that he would
make the country of the Hebrews happy under him, and that, not
only in other respects, but by giving it peace and freedom from
wars, and from internal seditions, which are the greatest of all
blessings. Since, therefore," says he, "thou wast ordained king
by God himself before thou wast born, endeavor to render thyself
worthy of this his providence, as in other instances, so
particularly in being religious, and righteous, and courageous.
Keep thou also his commands and his laws, which he hath given us
by Moses, and do not permit others to break them. Be zealous also
to dedicate to God a temple, which he hath chosen to be built
under thy reign; nor be thou aftrighted by the vastness of the
work, nor set about it timorously, for I will make all things
ready before I die: and take notice, that there are already ten
thousand talents of gold, and a hundred thousand talents of
silver (25) collected together. I have also laid together brass
and iron without number, and an immense quantity of timber and of
stones. Moreover, thou hast many ten thousand stone-cutters and
carpenters; and if thou shalt want any thing further, do thou add
somewhat of thine own. Wherefore, if thou performest this work,
thou wilt be acceptable to God, and have him for thy patron."
David also further exhorted the rulers of the people to assist
his son in this building, and to attend to the Divine service,
when they should be free from all their misfortunes, for that
they by this means should enjoy, instead of them, peace and a
happy settlement, with which blessings God rewards such men as
are religious and righteous. He also gave orders, that when the
temple should be once built, they should put the ark therein,
with the holy vessels; and he assured them that they ought to
have had a temple long ago, if their fathers had not been
negligent of God's commands, who had given it in charge, that
when they had got the possession of this land, they should build
him a temple. Thus did David discourse to the governors, and to
his son.

3. David was now in years, and his body, by length of time, was
become cold, and benumbed, insomuch that he could get no heat by
covering himself with many clothes; and when the physicians came
together, they agreed to this advice, that a beautiful virgin,
chosen out of the whole country, should sleep by the king's side,
and that this damsel would communicate heat to him, and be a
remedy against his numbness. Now there was found in the city one
woman, of a superior beauty to all other women, (her name was
Abishag,) who, sleeping with the king, did no more than
communicate warmth to him, for he was so old that he could not
know her as a husband knows his wife. But of this woman we shall
speak more presently.

4. Now the fourth son of David was a beautiful young man, and
tall, born to him of Haggith his wife. He was named Adonijah, and
was in his disposition like to Absalom; and exalted himself as
hoping to be king, and told his friends that he ought to take the
government upon him. He also prepared many chariots and horses,
and fifty men to run before him. When his father saw this, he did
not reprove him, nor restrain him from his purpose, nor did he go
so far as to ask wherefore he did so. Now Adonijah had for his
assistants Joab the captain of the army, and Abiathar the high
priest; and the only persons that opposed him were Zadok the high
priest, and the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah, who was captain of
the guards, and Shimei, David's friend, with all the other most
mighty men. Now Adonijah had prepared a supper out of the city,
near the fountain that was in the king's paradise, and had
invited all his brethren except Solomon, and had taken with him
Joab the captain of the army, and: Abiathar, and the rulers of
the tribe of Judah, but had not invited to this feast either
Zadok the high priest, or Nathan the prophet, or Benaiah the
captain of the guards, nor any of those of the contrary party.
This matter was told by Nathan the prophet to Bathsheba,
Solomon's mother, that Adonijah was king, and that David knew
nothing of it; and he advised her to save herself and her son
Solomon, and to go by herself to David, and say to him, that he
had indeed sworn that Solomon should reign after him, but that in
the mean time Adonijah had already taken the kingdom. He said
that he, the prophet himself, would come after her, and when she
had spoken thus to the king, would confirm what she had said.
Accordingly Bathsheba agreed with Nathan, and went in to the king
and worshipped him, and when she had desired leave to speak with
him, she told him all things in the manner that Nathan had
suggested to her; and related what a supper Adonijah had made,
and who they were whom he had invited; Abiathar the and Joab the
general, and David's sons, excepting Solomon and his intimate
friends. She also said that all the people had their eyes upon
him, to know whom he would choose for their king. She desired him
also to consider how, after his departure, Adonijah, if he were
king, would slay her and her son Solomon.

5. Now, as Bathsheba was speaking, the keeper of the king's
chambers told him that Nathan desired to see him. And when the
king had commanded that he should be admitted, he came in, and
asked him whether he had ordained Adonijah to be king, and
delivered the government to him, or not; for that he had made a
splendid supper, and invited all his sons, except Solomon; as
also that he had invited Joab, the captain of his host, [and
Abiathar the high priest,] who are feasting with applauses, and
many joyful sounds of instruments, and wish that his kingdom may
last for ever; but he hath not invited me, nor Zadok the high
priest, nor Benaiah the captain of the guards; and it is but fit
that all should know whether this be done by thy approbation or
not. When Nathan had said thus, the king commanded that they
should call Bathsheba to him, for she had gone out of the room
when the prophet came. And when Bathsheba was come, David said,
"I swear by Almighty God, that thy son Solomon shall certainly he
king, as I formerly swore; and that he shall sit upon my throne,
and that this very day also." So Bathsheba worshipped him, and
wished him a long life; and the king sent for Zadok the high
priest, and Benaiah the captain of the guards; and when they were
come, he ordered them to take with them Nathan the prophet, and
all the armed men about the palace, and to set his son Solomon
upon the king's mule, and to carry him out of the city to the
fountain called Gihon, and to anoint him there with the holy oil,
and to make him king. This he charged Zadok the high priest, and
Nathan the prophet, to do, and commanded them to follow Solomon
through the midst of the city, and to sound the trumpets, and
wish aloud that Solomon the king may sit upon the royal throne
for ever, that so all the people may know that he is ordained
king by his father. He also gave Solomon a charge concerning his
government, to rule the whole nation of the Hebrews, and
particularly the tribe of Judah, religiously and righteously. And
when Benaiah had prayed to God to be favorable to Solomon,
without any delay they set Solomon upon the mule, and brought him
out of the city to the fountain, and anointed him with oil, and
brought him into the city again, with acclamations and wishes
that his kingdom might continue a long time: and when they had
introduced him into the king's house, they set him upon the
throne; whereupon all the people betook themselves to make merry,
and to celebrate a festival, dancing and delighting themselves
with musical pipes, till both the earth and the air echoed with
the multitude of the instruments of music.

6. Now when Adonijah and his guests perceived this noise, they
were in disorder; and Joab the captain of the host said he was
not pleased with these echoes, and the sound of these trumpets.
And when supper was set before them, nobody tasted of it, but
they were all very thoughtful what would be the matter. Then
Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the high priest, came running to
them; and when Adonijah saw the young man gladly, and said to him
that he was a good messenger, he declared to them the whole
matter about Solomon, and the determination of king David:
hereupon both Adonijah and all the guests rose hastily from the
feast, and every one fled to their own homes. Adonijah also, as
afraid of the king for what he had done, became a supplicant to
God, and took hold of the horns of the altar, which were
prominent. It was also told Solomon that he had so done; and that
he desired to receive assurances from him that he would not
remember the injury he had done, and not inflict any severe
punishment for it. Solomon answered very mildly and prudently,
that he forgave him this his offense; but said withal, that if he
were found out in any attempt for new innovations, that he would
be the author of his own punishment. So he sent to him, and
raised him up from the place of his supplication. And when he was
come to the king, and had worshipped him, the king bid him go
away to his own house, and have no suspicion of any harm; and
desired him to show himself a worthy man, as what would tend to
his own advantage.

7. But David, being desirous of ordaining his son king of all the
people, called together their rulers to Jerusalem, with the
priests and the Levites; and having first numbered the Levites,
he found them to be thirty-eight thousand, from thirty years old
to fifty; out of which he appointed twenty-three thousand to take
care of the building of the temple, and out of the same, six
thousand to be judges of the people and scribes, four thousand
for porters to the house of God, and as many for singers, to sing
to the instruments which David had prepared, as we have said
already. He divided them also into courses: and when he had
separated the priests from them, he found of these priests
twenty-four courses, sixteen of the house of Eleazar, and eight
of that of Ithamar; and he ordained that one course should
minister to God eight days, from sabbath to sabbath. And thus
were the courses distributed by lot, in the presence of David,
and Zadok and Abiathar the high priests, and of all the rulers;
and that course which came up first was written down as the
first, and accordingly the second, and so on to the
twenty-fourth; and this partition hath remained to this day. He
also made twenty-four parts of the tribe of Levi; and when they
cast lots, they came up in the same manner for their courses of
eight days. He also honored the posterity of Moses, and made them
the keepers of the treasures of God, and of the donations which
the kings dedicated. He also ordained that all the tribe of Levi,
as well as the priests, should serve God night and day, as Moses
had enjoined them.

8. After this he parted the entire army into twelve parts, with
their leaders [and captains of hundreds] and commanders. Now
every part had twenty-four thousand, which were ordered to wait
on Solomon, by thirty days at a time, from the first day till the
last, with the captains of thousands and captains of hundreds. He
also set rulers over every part, such as he knew to be good and
righteous men. He set others also to take charge of the
treasures, and of the villages, and of the fields, and of the
beasts, whose names I do not think it necessary to mention. When
David had ordered all these officers after the manner before
mentioned, he called the rulers of the Hebrews, and their heads
of tribes, and the officers over the several divisions, and those
that were appointed over every work, and every possession; and
standing upon a high pulpit, he said to the multitude as follows:
"My brethren and my people, I would have you know that I intended
to build a house for God, and prepared a large quantity of gold,
and a hundred thousand talents of silver; but God prohibited me
by the prophet Nathan, because of the wars I had on your account,
and because my right hand was polluted with the slaughter of our
enemies; but he commanded that my son, who was to succeed me in
the kingdom, should build a temple for him. Now therefore, since
you know that of the twelve sons whom Jacob our forefather had
Judah was appointed to be king, and that I was preferred before
my six brethren, and received the government from God, and that
none of them were uneasy at it, so do I also desire that my sons
be not seditious one against another, now Solomon has received
the kingdom, but to bear him cheerfully for their lord, as
knowing that God hath chosen him; for it is not a grievous thing
to obey even a foreigner as a ruler, if it be God's will, but it
is fit to rejoice when a brother hath obtained that dignity,
since the rest partake of it with him. And I pray that the
promises of God may be fulfilled; and that this happiness which
he hath promised to bestow upon king Solomon, over all the
country, may continue therein for all time to come. And these
promises O son, will be firm, and come to a happy end, if thou
showest thyself to be a religious and a righteous man, and an
observer of the laws of thy country; but if not, expect adversity
upon thy disobedience to them."

9. Now when the king had said this, he left off; but gave the
description and pattern of the building of the temple in the
sight of them all to Solomon: of the foundations and of the
chambers, inferior and superior; how many they were to be, and
how large in height and in breadth; as also he determined the
weight of the golden and silver vessels: moreover, he earnestly
excited them with his words to use the utmost alacrity about the
work; he exhorted the rulers also, and particularly the tribe of
Levi, to assist him, both because of his youth, and because God
had chosen him to take care of the building of the temple, and of
the government of the kingdom. He also declared to them that the
work would be easy, and not very laborious to them, because he
had prepared for it many talents of gold, and more of silver,
with timber, and a great many carpenters and stone-cutters, and a
large quantity of emeralds, and all sorts of precious stones; and
he said, that even now he would give of the proper goods of his
own dominion two hundred talents, and three hundred other talents
of pure gold, for the most holy place, and for the chariot of
God, the cherubim, which are to stand over and cover the ark. Now
when David had done speaking, there appeared great alacrity among
the rulers, and the priests, and the Levites, who now contributed
and made great and splendid promises for a future Contribution;
for they undertook to bring of gold five thousand talents, and
ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and many
ten thousand talents of iron; and if any one had a precious stone
he brought it, and bequeathed it to be put among the treasures;
of which Jachiel, one of the posterity of Moses, had the care.

10. Upon this occasion all the people rejoiced, as in particular
did David, when he saw the zeal and forward ambition of the
rulers, and the priests, and of all the rest; and he began to
bless God with a loud voice, calling him the Father and Parent of
the universe, and the Author of human and divine things, with
which he had adorned Solomon, the patron and guardian of the
Hebrew nation, and of its happiness, and of that kingdom which he
hath given his son. Besides this, he prayed for happiness to all
the people; and to Solomon his son, a sound and a righteous mind,
and confirmed in all sorts of virtue; and then he commanded the
multitude to bless God; upon which they all fell down upon the
ground and worshipped him. They also gave thanks to David, on
account of all the blessings which they had received ever since
he had taken the kingdom. On the next day he presented sacrifices
to God, a thousand bullocks, and as many lambs, which they
offered for burnt-offerings. They also offered peace-offerings,
and slew many ten thousand sacrifices; and the king feasted all
day, together with all the people; and they anointed Solomon a
second time with the oil, and appointed him to be king, and Zadok
to be the high priest of the whole multitude. And when they had
brought Solomon to the royal palace, and had set him upon his
father's throne, they were obedient to him from that day.


What Charge David Gave Tohis Son Solomon At The Approach Of His
Death, And How Many Things He Left Him For The Building Of The

1. A Little afterward David also fell into a distemper, by reason
of his age; and perceiving that he was near to death, he called
his son Solomon, and discoursed to him thus: "I am now, O my son,
going to my grave, and to my fathers, which is the common way
which all men that now are, or shall be hereafter, must go; from
which way it is no longer possible to return, and to know any
thing that is done in this world. On which account I exhort thee,
while I am still alive, though already very near to death, in the
same manner as I have formerly said in my advice to thee, to be
righteous towards thy subjects, and religious towards God, that
hath given thee thy kingdom; to observe his commands and his
laws, which he hath sent us by Moses; and neither do thou out of
favor nor flattery allow any lust or other passion to weigh with
thee to disregard them; for if thou transgressest his laws, thou
wilt lose the favor of God, and thou wilt turn away his
providence from thee in all things; but if thou behave thyself so
as it behooves thee, and as I exhort thee, thou wilt preserve our
kingdom to our family, and no other house will bear rule over the
Hebrews but we ourselves for all ages. Be thou also mindful of
the transgressions of Joab, (26) the captain of the host, who
hath slain two generals out of envy, and those righteous and good
men, Abner the son of Ner, and Amasa the son of Jether; whose
death do thou avenge as shall seem good to thee, since Joab hath
been too hard for me, and more potent than myself, and so hath
escaped punishment hitherto. I also commit to thee the son of
Barzillai the Gileadite, whom, in order to gratify me, thou shalt
have in great honor, and take great care of; for we have not done
good to him first, but we only repay that debt which we owe to
his father for what he did to me in my flight. There is also
Shimei the son of Gera, of the tribe of Benjamin, who, after he
had cast many reproaches upon me, when, in my flight, I was going
to Mahanaim, met me at Jordan, and received assurances that he
should then suffer nothing. Do thou now seek out for some just
occasion, and punish him."

2. When David had given these admonitions to his son about public
affairs, and about his friends, and about those whom he knew to
deserve punishment, he died, having lived seventy years, and
reigned seven years and six months in Hebron over the tribe of
Judah, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem over all the country.
This man was of an excellent character, and was endowed with all
virtues that were desirable in a king, and in one that had the
preservation of so many tribes committed to him; for he was a man
of valor in a very extraordinary degree, and went readily and
first of all into dangers, when he was to fight for his subjects,
as exciting the soldiers to action by his own labors, and
fighting for them, and not by commanding them in a despotic way.
He was also of very great abilities in understanding, and
apprehension of present and future circumstances, when he was to
manage any affairs. He was prudent and moderate, and kind to such
as were under any calamities; he was righteous and humane, which
are good qualities, peculiarly fit for kings; nor was he guilty
of any offense in the exercise of so great an authority, but in
the business of the wife of Uriah. He also left behind him
greater wealth than any other king, either of the Hebrews or, of
other nations, ever did.

3. He was buried by his son Solomon, in Jerusalem, with great
magnificence, and with all the other funeral pomp which kings
used to be buried with; moreover, he had great and immense wealth
buried with him, the vastness of which may be easily conjectured
at by what I shall now say; for a thousand and three hundred
years afterward Hyrcanus the high priest, when he was besieged by
Antiochus, that was called the Pious, the son of Demetrius, and
was desirous of giving him money to get him to raise the siege
and draw off his army, and having no other method of compassing
the money, opened one room of David's sepulcher, and took out
three thousand talents, and gave part of that sum to Antiochus;
and by this means caused the siege to be raised, as we have
informed the reader elsewhere. Nay, after him, and that many
years, Herod the king opened another room, and took away a great
deal of money, and yet neither of them came at the coffins of the
kings themselves, for their bodies were buried under the earth so
artfully, that they did not appear to even those that entered
into their monuments. But so much shall suffice us to have said
concerning these matters.


Containing The Interval Of One Hundred And Sixty-Three Years.

From The Death Of David To The Death Of Ahab.


How Solomon, When He Had Received The KIngdom Took Off His

1. We have already treated of David, and his virtue, and of the
benefits he was the author of to his countrymen; of his wars also
and battles, which he managed with success, and then died an old
man, in the foregoing book. And when Solomon his son, who was but
a youth in age, had taken the kingdom, and whom David had
declared, while he was alive, the lord of that people, according
to God's will; when he sat upon the throne, the whole body of the
people made joyful acclamations to him, as is usual at the
beginning of a reign; and wished that all his affairs might come
to a blessed conclusion; and that he might arrive at a great age,
and at the most happy state of affairs possible.

2. But Adonijah, who, while his father was living, attempted to
gain possession of the government, came to the king's mother
Bathsheba, and saluted her with great civility; and when she
asked him, whether he came to her as desiring her assistance in
any thing or not, and bade him tell her if that were the case,
for that she would cheerfully afford it him; he began to say,
that she knew herself that the kingdom was his, both on account
of his elder age, and of the disposition of the multitude, and
that yet it was transferred to Solomon her son, according to the
will of God. He also said that he was contented to be a servant
under him, and was pleased with the present settlement; but he
desired her to be a means of obtaining a favor from his brother
to him, and to persuade him to bestow on him in marriage Abishag,
who had indeed slept by his father, but, because his father was
too old, he did not lie with her, and she was still a virgin. So
Bathsheba promised him to afford him her assistance very
earnestly, and to bring this marriage about, because the king
would be willing to gratify him in such a thing, and because she
would press it to him very earnestly. Accordingly he went away in
hopes of succeeding in this match. So Solomon's mother went
presently to her son, to speak to him about what she had
promised, upon Adonijah's supplication to her. And when her son
came forward to meet her, and embraced her, and when he had
brought her into the house where his royal throne was set, he sat
thereon, and bid them set another throne on the right hand for
his mother. When Bathsheba was set down, she said, "O my son,
grant me one request that I desire of thee, and do not any thing
to me that is disagreeable or ungrateful, which thou wilt do if
thou deniest me." And when Solomon bid her to lay her commands
upon him, because it was agreeable to his duty to grant her every
thing she should ask, and complained that she did not at first
begin her discourse with a firm expectation of obtaining what she
desired, but had some suspicion of a denial, she entreated him to
grant that his brother Adonijah might marry Abishag.

3. But the king was greatly offended at these words, and sent
away his mother, and said that Adonijah aimed at great things;
and that he wondered that she did not desire him to yield up the
kingdom to him, as to his elder brother, since she desired that
he might marry Abishag; and that he had potent friends, Joab the
captain of the host, and Abiathar the priest. So he called for
Benaiah, the captain of the guards, and ordered him to slay his
brother Adonijah. He also called for Abiathar the priest, and
said to him, "I will not put thee to death because of those other
hardships which thou hast endured with my father, and because of
the ark which thou hast borne along with him; but I inflict this
following punishment upon thee, because thou wast among
Adonijah's followers, and wast of his party. Do not thou continue
here, nor come any more into my sight, but go to thine own town,
and live on thy own fields, and there abide all thy life; for
thou hast offended so greatly, that it is not just that thou
shouldst retain thy dignity any longer." For the forementioned
cause, therefore, it was that the house of Ithamar was deprived
of the sacerdotal dignity, as God had foretold to Eli, the
grandfather of Abiathar. So it was transferred to the family of
Phineas, to Zadok. Now those that were of the family of Phineas,
but lived privately during the time that the high priesthood was
transferred to the house of Ithamar, (of which family Eli was the
first that received it,)were these that follow: Bukki, the son of
Abishua the high priest; his son was Joatham; Joatham's son was
Meraioth; Meraioth's son was Arophseus; Aropheus's son was
Ahitub; and Ahitub's son was Zadok, who was first made high
priest in the reign of David.

4. Now when Joab the captain of the host heard of the slaughter
of Adonijah, he was greatly afraid, for he was a greater friend
to him than to Solomon; and suspecting, not without reason, that
he was in danger, on account of his favor to Adonijah, he fled to
the altar, and supposed he might procure safety thereby to
himself, because of the king's piety towards God. But when some
told the king what Joab's supposal was, he sent Benaiah, and
commanded him to raise him up from the altar, and bring him to
the judgment-seat, in order to make his defense. However, Joab
said he would not leave the altar, but would die there rather
than in another place. And when Benaiah had reported his answer
to the king, Solomon commanded him to cut off his head there (1)
and let him take that as a punishment for those two captains of
the host whom he had wickedly slain, and to bury his body, that
his sins might never leave his family, but that himself and his
father, by Joab's death, might be guiltless. And when Benaiah had
done what he was commanded to do, he was himself appointed to be
captain of the whole army. The king also made Zadok to be alone
the high priest, in the room of Abiathar, whom he had removed.

5. But as to Shimei, Solomon commanded that he should build him a
house, and stay at Jerusalem, and attend upon him, and should not
have authority to go over the brook Cedron; and that if he
disobeyed that command, death should be his punishment. He also
threatened him so terribly, that he compelled him to take all
oath that he would obey. Accordingly Shimei said that he had
reason to thank Solomon for giving him such an injunction; and
added an oath, that he would do as he bade him; and leaving his
own country, he made his abode in Jerusalem. But three years
afterwards, when he heard that two of his servants were run away
from him, and were in Gath, he went for his servants in haste;
and when he was come back with them, the king perceived it, and
was much displeased that he had contemned his commands, and, what
was more, had no regard to the oaths he had sworn to God; so he
called him, and said to him, "Didst not thou swear never to leave
me, nor to go out of this city to another? Thou shalt not
therefore escape punishment for thy perjury, but I will punish
thee, thou wicked wretch, both for this crime, and for those
wherewith thou didst abuse my father when he was in his flight,
that thou mayst know that wicked men gain nothing at last,
although they be not punished immediately upon their unjust
practices; but that in all the time wherein they think themselves
secure, because they have yet suffered nothing, their punishment
increases, and is heavier upon them, and that to a greater degree
than if they had been punished immediately upon the commission of

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