Restored to his father’s graces, Absalom started going about Jerusalem again. Before too long, however, Absalom’s pride made him want to stand out–his father was a king and his mother a princess, after all. So he bought one of those new-fangled chariot things and horses to pull it and hired fifty men to act as a body guard and to move people out of the way of his chariot.
Eventually Absalom’s thoughts began wandering toward the throne itself. But Absalom knew the Hebrews adored his father, so before he could sit upon the seat of glory, he’d have to win the people’s love. So he started hanging out by the city gates and intercepting petitions going to the king. He would always ask who they were, where they were from, and what their complaint was–and no matter what it was, he always told them their cause was just and if he were a judge in Israel, he would rule for them. And when people would try to bow and do obeisance, Absalom would raise them up and hug them like they were old friends. Soon everyone in Israel loved the handsome young man with the magnificent hair.
Four years later, Absalom got permission from David to go to Hebron to make sacrifices. However, he gathered all his followers there and had them declare him king, including one of David’s most trusted advisers, Ahithophel.
When word came to David that Absalom had gathered a mighty force and been declared king, David was all, Well, guys, we’d better vacate Jerusalem. He’ll burn and pillage it if I’m still here, but if I’m gone, the people will be safe and we can draw him out to battle later. But remember, he’s my son, and deserving of protection. I’m sure unscrupulous men seduced him into rebellion. So David gathered up all his loyal followers and servants, and all his children and wives and concubines–except the ten he liked the least, whom he commanded to stay and tend to the palace–and all of his followers families and trekked out of Jerusalem and into the wilderness. David was surprised when several bands of foreign warriors like the Kerethites, the Pelethites and the Gittites–led by Ittai–prepared to follow him. But Ittai was all, We have sworn loyalty to you, Oh King, and none other.
Soon Zadok and the Levites, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, marched out to join David’s exodus, but David was all, Take God’s chair back to Its house! Stay in Jerusalem and tend the Temple! And while you’re at it, spy on Absalom for me, and have your sons be prepared to bring me messages.
Then David and the gang started trudging up the Mount of Olives. Near the top, Hushai, a good friend of David’s was waiting to join the group. But David was all, Now Hushai, you know you aren’t cut out for a life on the run. You’ll be more of a burden than my pregnant wives. Besides, back in Jerusalem, you could act as a spy for me, and you could try to undermine Ahithophel with Absalom too. Zadok’s sons are ready to act as messengers as soon as you have anything important to inform me of.