A BROKEN-HEARTED FATHER 119
Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at Enrogel; and a maid-servant was to go and bring them news, and they were to go and tell David, for they must not be seen coming into the city. But a boy saw them and told Absalom. Then they both went away quickly and entered into the house of a man in Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard into which they descended. The women took and spread the covering over the mouth of the well, and scattered dried fruit upon it, so that nothing was known. And when Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house and said, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" the woman answered, "They have gone over the brook." When they had searched and could find nothing, they returned to Jerusalem.
But as soon as the men had gone away, Ahimaaz and Jonathan came up out of the well, and went and told David and said, "Get up, cross quickly over the water, for so has Ahithophel advised in regard to you." Then David and all the people who were with him rose and crossed the Jordan. By daybreak there was not one left behind.
A BROKEN-HEARTED FATHER
After Absalom and all the men of Israel crossed the Jordan, David counted the troops who were with him, and put over them commanders of thousands and of hundreds. And he divided the troops into three divisions; one was under the command of Joab, another under Abishai, and another under the command of Ittai. Then David said to the people, "I too will surely go out with you." But the people said, "You shall not go out; for if we are defeated, or if half of us die, it will make no difference, for you are equal to ten thousand of us. It is therefore more important for you to be ready to help us from the city." David said to them, "I will do what you think best!" So he stood beside the gate, while all the troops marched out by hundreds and by thousands.
David commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man, with Absalom!" All the people heard when he gave the commanders this order about Absalom.
So the troops went out into the field against Israel. The battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. And the soldiers of Israel were defeated there by those who were loyal to David, and the loss of life on that day was great—twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the whole country; and the dense thickets killed more people than were killed by the sword.