David runs away from Jerusalem
13 Somebody brought this message to David: ‘The Israelites are now faithful to Absalom instead of you.’
14 So David said to the officers who were with him in Jerusalem, ‘We must go! We must run away! If we do not do that, no one will escape from Absalom. Hurry, or he will quickly catch us here. Then he will destroy us and our whole city!’
15 The king's officers answered, ‘Our lord the king, we will do anything that you decide is right.’
16 So the king left home. He took all his servants and family with him. But he left ten of his slave wives to take care of the palace. 17 As King David and all his people were leaving, they stopped at the last house on the edge of Jerusalem. 18 All his officers and his personal guards, the Kerethites and Pelethites, went on past him. There were also 600 men who had come with him from Gath. All these people were leaving Jerusalem with the king.
19 Then the king asked Ittai, who came from Gath, ‘Why are you coming with us? Go back into the city and join with Absalom, the new king. You have come from another country and you live here as a foreigner. 20 It seems like only a few days since you arrived here. There is no reason for you to travel with us. I do not even know where we are going! So you should go back. Take your men with you. I pray that the Lord will keep you safe with his faithful love.’
21 But Ittai replied to the king, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and as surely as you live, I promise that I will go with you, sir. Wherever you go, I will be there with you. My lord the king, I will stay with you, even if it brings death.’
22 So David said to Ittai, ‘Go on ahead of me.’ So Ittai, with all his men and their families, went on ahead of David.
23 As David and his men left the city, all the people who saw them wept loudly. The king went across the Kidron Valley and his men followed him. They travelled along the road towards the desert.
24 Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, were with them. The Levites were also there, and they were carrying God's Covenant Box. They put it down on the ground while all the people left the city. After all the people had passed, they picked it up again.
25 Then the king said to Zadok, ‘Take the Covenant Box back into the city. If the Lord is pleased with me, he will bring me back here again. The Lord will let me see the Covenant Box again, as well as his home. 26 But if he is not pleased with me, then he must do to me whatever he decides is right.’
27 Then the king said to Zadok the priest, ‘You do not know what will happen. So go safely back into the city, both you and Abiathar. Take your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan with you. 28 I will wait at the place in the desert where we go across the river. I will wait there until I receive a message from you.’ 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the Covenant Box back into Jerusalem. They stayed there.