1 David was just past the top of the hill when Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth,* caught up with him. He was leading two donkeys loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred clusters of raisins, one hundred bunches of summer fruit, and a skin of wine.1
2 "What are these for?" the king asked Ziba. And Ziba replied, "The donkeys are for your people to ride on, and the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat. The wine is to be taken with you into the wilderness for those who become faint."
3 "And where is Mephibosheth?" the king asked him. "He stayed in Jerusalem," Ziba replied. "He said, `Today I will get back the kingdom of my grandfather Saul.' "
4 "In that case," the king told Ziba, "I give you everything Mephibosheth owns." "Thank you, sir," Ziba replied. "I will always do whatever you want me to do."
5 As David and his party passed Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, a member of Saul's family.
6 He threw stones at the king and the king's officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded them.
7 "Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!" he shouted at David.
8 "The LORD is paying you back for murdering Saul and his family. You stole his throne, and now the LORD has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, you murderer!"
9 "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?" Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. "Let me go over and cut off his head!"
10 "No!" the king said. "What am I going to do with you sons of Zeruiah! If the LORD has told him to curse me, who am I to stop him?"
11 Then David said to Abishai and the other officers, "My own son is trying to kill me. Shouldn't this relative of Saul* have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to do it.2
12 And perhaps the LORD will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses."
13 So David and his men continued on, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing as he went and throwing stones at David and tossing dust into the air.
14 The king and all who were with him grew weary along the way, so they rested when they reached the Jordan River.*3
15 Meanwhile, Absalom and his men arrived at Jerusalem, accompanied by Ahithophel.
16 When David's friend Hushai the Arkite arrived, he went immediately to see Absalom. "Long live the king!" he exclaimed. "Long live the king!"
17 "Is this the way you treat your friend David?" Absalom asked him. "Why aren't you with him?"
18 "I'm here because I work for the man who is chosen by the LORD and by Israel," Hushai replied.
19 "And anyway, why shouldn't I serve you? I helped your father, and now I will help you!"
20 Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and asked him, "What should I do next?"
21 Ahithophel told him, "Go and sleep with your father's concubines, for he has left them here to keep the house. Then all Israel will know that you have insulted him beyond hope of reconciliation, and they will give you their support."
22 So they set up a tent on the palace roof where everyone could see it, and Absalom went into the tent to sleep with his father's concubines.
23 Absalom followed Ahithophel's advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.
Read 2 Samuel 17