Then David mustered the people who were with him, and he set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.
And David sent the people out, a third under the hand of Joab and a third under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, I myself will surely go forth with you also.
But the people said, You shall not go forth; for if we flee off, they will not care about us; and if half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore it is better for you to be available to help us from the city.
And the king said to them, What seems best in your sight I will do. So the king stood at the side of the gate, and all the people went forth by hundreds and by thousands.
And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave the command to all the captains concerning Absalom.
And the people went forth into the field against Israel, and the battle was in the forest of Ephraim.
And the people of Israel were struck there before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter of twenty thousand there on that day.
And the battle was spread there over the face of all the land, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David, and Absalom was riding upon his mule. And the mule went under the tangled branches of a great tree; and his head was caught in the tree, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth while the mule that was under him went on.
And a certain man saw this; and he told Joab and said, I have just seen Absalom hanging from a tree.
And Joab said to the man who told him this, And you have just seen this. Why did you not strike him down to the ground there? For I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt.
And the man said to Joab, Though I would receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put forth my hand against the son of the king; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Take care of the young man Absalom, whoever you be.
On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously with his life (there is nothing hidden from the king), you would have set yourself against me.
Then Joab said, I will not linger here with you. And he took three staves in his hand and thrust them through Absalom's heart while he was still alive in the midst of the tree.
And ten young men who carried Joab's armor surrounded Absalom and struck him, and they killed him.
And Joab blew the trumpet; and the people returned from pursuing after Israel, for Joab restrained the people.
And they took Absalom and threw him into a great pit in the forest, and they cast up over him a very great mound of stones. And all Israel fled, every man to his tent.
Now Absalom, while he was alive, had taken a pillar which was in the king's valley and raised it up for himself, for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance. And he called the pillar by his own name, and it is called Absalom's Monument to this day.