WHEN the messengers came to David with news from the battle, his first question was "Is the young man Absalom safe?" And when he knew that Absalom was dead, he was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept; "and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! "

"And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people; for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son. And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. 

But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom!  

O Absalom, my son, my son!" After the death of Absalom, all the people wanted David to reign over them again. So they invited him to come back, and went out to meet him as he came over Jordan. Among the first to welcome David was Shimei, who said he was very sorry for what he had done, and asked the king to forgive him. So David let him live, but Abishai was angry because Shimei was not slain.

The men of Israel and the men of Judah had a quarrel about bringing David home; but the trouble was soon settled, and the people were united.

Then David was tempted to number the people, although the Lord had not ordered it. It was found that there were nearly three times as many as had crossed the Jordan with Joshua." And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done; and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly." The Lord forgave David, but it was necessary that he should suffer for his sin, so that he might remember not to sin again.

The Lord gave David his choice of three things, seven years of famine; to flee before his enemies for three months; or a three days' pestilence. David chose the pestilence; and seventy thousand of the people died in a few hours. 

This must have made David see how soon the Lord could make the people few innumber.

When the angel stretched out his hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord said, "It is enough." David was permitted to see the angel, and when he saw him, he cried to God to spare the people, saying, "I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done?"

Then the prophet Gad came to David, and told him to go and offer sacrifice; and when he had done so the plague was stayed.