ABSALOM THE UNGRATEFUL SON 115
have you despised Jehovah by doing that which is wrong in his sight ? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword shall never cease to smite your family, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' "
David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against Jehovah!" Then Nathan said to David, "Jehovah has also put away your sin so that you shall not die. Yet, because by this deed you have shown contempt for Jehovah, the child that is born shall surely die." Then Nathan went to his house.
And Jehovah smote Bathsheba's child so that it fell sick. David prayed to God for the child, and ate no food but went in and lay all night in sackcloth upon the earth. The older men in his house stood over him to raise him up from the earth; but he would not rise nor eat with them. When on the seventh day the child died, the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, "While the child was yet alive, we spoke to him and he paid no attention to our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead, for he will do some harm!"
But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, he knew that the child was dead, and said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" They replied, "He is dead." Then David rose from the earth, washed and put oil on himself, changed his clothes, and went into the temple of Jehovah and worshipped. After that he wTent to his own house; and he asked for bread, and when they set it before him, he ate.
His servants said to him, "What is this you have,done? You ate no food and cried for the child while it was alive, but when the child died, you rose and ate bread." He replied, "While the child was yet alive, I ate no food and cried aloud, for I said, 'Who knows whether Jehovah will have mercy, so that the child will live ?' But now that he is dead, why should I eat no food ? Can I bring him back? I am going to him, but he will not come back to me."
ABSALOM THE UNGRATEFUL SON
Some time later Absalom, David's son, prepared a chariot and horses and fifty men to run before him. He used to rise early and stand beside the highway which led to the city gate. He would call