You came to us just yesterday. Should I make you wander around with me when I don't even know where I'm going? Go back, and take your countrymen with you. [May the LORD] always show you kindness." 21
But Ittai answered the king, "I solemnly swear, as the LORD and the king live: Wherever you are, whether you're dead or alive, I'll be there." 22
So David told Ittai, "Go ahead and keep marching." So Ittai from Gath marched on with all his men and all the families who were with him. 23
The whole country was crying loudly as all the troops were passing by. The king was crossing the Kidron Valley, and all the people were moving down the road toward the desert.
24Zadok and all the Levites with him were carrying the ark of God's promise. They set down the ark of God beside Abiathar until all the troops had withdrawn from the city. 25The king told Zadok, "Take God's ark back to the city. If the LORD looks favorably on me, he will allow me to come back and see both it and its dwelling place again. 26But if he says, 'I'm not pleased with you,' let him do to me what he considers right." 27"Aren't you a seer?" the king asked Zadok the priest. "Go back to the city peacefully, and take your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan with you. 28I'll wait at the river crossings in the desert until I receive a message from you." 29So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
30David cried as he went up the Mount of Olives. He covered his head and walked barefoot. And all of the troops with him covered their heads and cried as they went. 31Then David was told, "Ahithophel is among those conspiring with Absalom." So David prayed, "LORD, make Ahithophel's advice foolish."
32When David came to the top [of the Mount of Olives] where people worshiped God, Hushai from Archi's family was there to meet him. His clothes were torn, and he had dirt on his head. 33David told him, "If you go with me, you will only be a burden to me. 34But if you go back to the city and say to Absalom, 'Your Majesty, I'll be your servant. I was your father's servant in the past, but now I'll be your servant,' then you'll [help me by] undoing Ahithophel's advice. 35The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be with you there. When you hear anything from the royal palace, tell it to the priests Zadok and Abiathar. 36They have two sons with them: Zadok has Ahimaaz, and Abiathar has Jonathan. Send them to report to me anything you hear." 37So Hushai, David's friend, went to the city as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.