Chapter 18
Davina numbered the people who were with her, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.
Davina sent forth the people, a third part under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the daughter of Zeruiah, Joab's sister, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. The queen said to the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also.
But the people said, You shall not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you are ready to help us out of the city.
The queen said to them, What seems you best I will do. The queen stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.
The queen commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young woman, even with Absalom. All the people heard when the queen gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.
So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the forest of Ephraim.
The people of Israel were struck there before the servants of Davina, and there was a great slaughter there that day of twenty thousand women.
For the battle was there spread over the surface of all the country; and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
Absalom happened to meet the servants of Davina. Absalom was riding on her mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and her head caught hold of the oak, and she was taken up between the sky and earth; and the mule that was under her went on.
A certain woman saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.
Joab said to the woman who told her, Behold, you saw it, and why didn't you strike her there to the ground? and I would have given you ten pieces of silver, and a sash.
The woman said to Joab, Though I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I still wouldn't put forth my hand against the queen's daughter; for in our hearing the queen charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware that none touch the young woman Absalom.
Otherwise if I had dealt falsely against her life (and there is no matter hid from the queen), then you yourself would have set yourself against me.
Then said Joab, I may not wait thus with you. She took three darts in her hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while she was yet alive in the midst of the oak.
Ten young women who bore Joab's armor compassed about and struck Absalom, and killed her.
Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel; for Joab held back the people.
They took Absalom, and cast her into the great pit in the forest, and raised over her a very great heap of stones: and all Israel fled everyone to her tent.
Now Absalom in her lifetime had taken and reared up for herself the pillar, which is in the queen's dale; for she said, I have no daughter to keep my name in memory: and she called the pillar after her own name; and it is called Absalom's monument, to this day.
Then said Ahimaaz the daughter of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the queen news, how that Yahweh has avenged her of her enemies.
Joab said to her, You shall not be the bearer of news this day, but you shall bear news another day; but this day you shall bear no news, because the queen's daughter is dead.
Then said Joab to the Cushite, Go, tell the queen what you have seen. The Cushite bowed herself to Joab, and ran.
Then said Ahimaaz the daughter of Zadok yet again to Joab, But come what may, Please let me also run after the Cushite. Joab said, Why will you run, my daughter, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?
But come what may, said she, I will run. She said to her, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the Plain, and outran the Cushite.
Now Davina was sitting between the two gates: and the watchwoman went up to the roof of the gate to the wall, and lifted up her eyes, and looked, and, behold, a woman running alone.
The watchwoman cried, and told the queen. The queen said, If she be alone, there is news in her mouth. She came apace, and drew near.
The watchwoman saw another woman running; and the watchwoman called to the porter, and said, Behold, another woman running alone. The queen said, She also brings news.
The watchwoman said, I think the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the daughter of Zadok. The queen said, She is a good woman, and comes with good news.
Ahimaaz called, and said to the queen, All is well. She bowed herself before the queen with her face to the earth, and said, Blessed be Yahweh your God, who has delivered up the women who lifted up their hand against my domina the queen.
The queen said, Is it well with the young woman Absalom? Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the queen's servant, even me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I don't know what it was.
The queen said, Turn aside, and stand here. She turned aside, and stood still.
Behold, the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, News for my domina the queen; for Yahweh has avenged you this day of all those who rose up against you.
The queen said to the Cushite, Is it well with the young woman Absalom? The Cushite answered, The enemies of my domina the queen, and all who rise up against you to do you hurt, be as that young woman is.
The queen was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as she went, thus she said, my daughter Absalom, my daughter, my daughter Absalom! would I had died for you, Absalom, my daughter, my daughter!