It was told Joab, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the troops; for the troops heard that day, “The king is grieving for his son.” The troops stole into the city that day as soldiers steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” Then Joab came into the house to the king, and said, “Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your officers who have saved your life today, and the lives of your sons and your daughters, and the lives of your wives and your concubines, for love of those who hate you and for hatred of those who love you. You have made it clear today that commanders and officers are nothing to you; for I perceive that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. So go out at once and speak kindly to your servants; for I swear by the LORD, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night; and this will be worse for you than any disaster that has come upon you from your youth until now.” Then the king got up and took his seat in the gate. The troops were all told, “See, the king is sitting in the gate”; and all the troops came before the king.
David Recalled to Jerusalem
Meanwhile, all the Israelites had fled to their homes. All the people were disputing throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies, and saved us from the hand of the Philistines; and now he has fled out of the land because of Absalom. But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”
King David sent this message to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “Say to the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house? The talk of all Israel has come to the king. You are my kin, you are my bone and my flesh; why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’ And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? So may God do to me, and more, if you are not the commander of my army from now on, in place of Joab.’ ” Amasa swayed the hearts of all the people of Judah as one, and they sent word to the king, “Return, both you and all your servants.” So the king came back to the Jordan; and Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and to bring him over the Jordan.
Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite, from Bahurim, hurried to come down with the people of Judah to meet King David; with him were a thousand people from Benjamin. And Ziba, the servant of the house of Saul, with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants, rushed down to the Jordan ahead of the king, while the crossing was taking place, to bring over the king's household, and to do his pleasure.
David's Mercy to Shimei
Shimei son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan, and said to the king, “May my lord not hold me guilty or remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem; may the king not bear it in mind. For your servant knows that I have sinned; therefore, see, I have come this day, the first of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.” Abishai son of Zeruiah answered, “Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD's anointed?” But David said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should today become an adversary to me? Shall anyone be put to death in Israel this day? For do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?” The king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king gave him his oath.