As David was leaving town Mephibosheth’s servant Ziba met him with a caravan of supplies for his men. David was very happy and granted him all of Mephibosheth’s possessions as a reward to be collected on his successful return to power. In contrast, Saul’s relative Shimei cursed David and threw dirt and rocks at him as he left town. David restrained his men from killing Shimei, saying that if his exile was from God then Shimei had every right to curse him and if not he would soon return. Once again the text presents David as a man of largess who cares even for his enemies.
Meanwhile Absalom was planning strategy on how to establish lasting control over the kingdom. Ahithophel and Hushai gave conflicting advice and Hushai’s advice was followed, thus giving David time to escape and consolidate his forces. Ahithophel was so consumed by this rejection that he put his affairs in order and killed himself.
Some time later, after David had built up his army the two forces met in battle. Absalom went to war on the front lines but David’s men requested that he remain in the city for protection. Absalom was entrapped by his most honourable feature, his hair, and was thus easily killed by Joab. When King David heard the news that Absalom was dead he grew despondent, saying “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!” (18:33).