David hears about Absalom's death
19 Zadok's son Ahimaaz said to Joab, ‘Let me run to give the king the good news. I will tell him that the Lord has saved him from the power of his enemies.’
20 Joab said, ‘No, it will not be good news for the king. His son is dead. You must not take this news today. Another day there will be good news for you to take to him, but not today.’
21 Then Joab spoke to a servant who came from Ethiopia, ‘Go now to the king. Tell him what you have seen.’ The man bent down in front of Joab and then he ran off with the message.
22 Zadok's son Ahimaaz spoke to Joab again. He said, ‘I am not afraid of what may happen to me. Please let me run after the Ethiopian man.’
But Joab replied, ‘Why do you want to go as well? The king will not give you any gift for this news.’
23 Ahimaaz said, ‘But I do want to go, whatever happens.’
So Joab said, ‘Run after him, then!’
So Ahimaaz ran fast along a road in the Jordan Valley. He arrived near Mahanaim before the Ethiopian man.
24 David was sitting between the two gates of Mahanaim city. A man went up to the top of the wall, on the roof above the gate. He was watching the road. As he looked, he saw a man who was running towards the city. He was running alone. 25 So the man on the wall shouted a message to the king, to say what he had seen.
18:24The city wall would be very thick. There would be two gates, one at the outside edge, and one at the inside edge.
The king said, ‘If the man is alone, he is bringing good news.’ The man who was running towards the city came much nearer.
26 Then the man on the wall saw another man who was running towards the city. He called down to the guard at the city's gate, ‘Look! There is another man who is running alone!’
The king said, ‘He will bring good news, too.’
27 The man on the wall said, ‘The first man is running like Zadok's son, Ahimaaz.’
The king said, ‘He is a good man. I am sure that he brings good news.’
28 Then Ahimaaz shouted to the king, ‘All is well!’ He bent down low in front of the king, with his face towards the ground. He said, ‘Praise the Lord your God! He has put your enemies under your power. They turned against you, my lord the king, but they have lost the fight.’
29 The king asked, ‘Is the young man Absalom safe?’
Ahimaaz answered, ‘When Joab sent me, your servant, I saw that many people had come together. There was a lot of noise, but I do not know what was happening.’
30 The king said, ‘Stand over there and wait.’ So Ahimaaz moved away and he waited.
31 Then the Ethiopian man arrived. He said, ‘My lord the king, listen to this good news! Today the Lord has helped you to win the fight. He has kept you safe from all the people who turned against you.’
32 The king asked the Ethiopian man, ‘Is the young man Absalom safe?’
The man replied, ‘My lord the king, I hope that your enemies and all those who want to hurt you would be as dead as he is!’
33 The king became very upset. He went upstairs to the room above the gate. He wept loudly. As he went, he cried, ‘My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! It would be better if I had died instead of you! Absalom, my son, my son!’