“David was sitting between the two gates. The sentinel went up to the roof of the gate by the wall. When he looked up, he saw a man running alone. The sentinel shouted and told the king. The king said. ‘If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.’ He kept coming, and drew near. Then the sentinel saw another man running. The sentinel called to the gatekeeper and said. ‘See, another man running alone!’ The king said. ‘He also is bringing tidings.’ The sentinel said. ‘I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz son of Zadok.’ The king said. ‘He is a good man and comes with good tidings.’”
Meanwhile, David was sitting at the gates awaiting news. The sentinel or watchman was on the roof looking out. He saw one man running alone. Then he saw a second one. David said that if it was one person, it probably was good news. Then the sentinel recognized the running style of Ahimaaz. King David was pleased to see that. If it was bad news, a group of fleeing people would come back.
“Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king. ‘All is well.’ He bowed before the king with his face to the earth, and said. ‘Blessed be Yahweh your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.’ The king said. ‘Is it well with the young man Absalom?’ Ahimaaz answered. ‘When Joab sent your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I do not know what it was.’ The king said. ‘Turn aside, and stand here.’ So he turned aside, and stood still.”
Ahimaaz told the king that all is well because the traitors have been defeated. However, when King David asked him about Absalom, he pretended that he did not know. The king said okay.
“Then the Cushite came. The Cushite said. ‘Good tidings for my lord the king! Yahweh has vindicated you this day from the power of all who rose up against you.’ The king said to the Cushite. ‘Is it well with the young man Absalom?’ The Cushite answered. ‘May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man.’”
The Cushite reported the good news about the battle also. The traitors had been turned away. However, when it came to the question of Absalom, the king’s son, the Cushite was more forthcoming. All the king’s enemies should be like Absalom. He presented an implied death.