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2 Samuel 19

19 a Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said, “The king is grieving for his son.” The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle. The king covered his face and cried aloud, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you from your youth till now.”o

So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, “The king is sitting in the gateway,p” they all came before him.

Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled to their homes.

David Returns to Jerusalem

Throughout the tribes of Israel, all the people were arguing among themselves, saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies; he is the one who rescued us from the hand of the Philistines.q But now he has fled the country to escape from Absalom;r 10 and Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”

11 King David sent this message to Zadoks and Abiathar, the priests: “Ask the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his palace, since what is being said throughout Israel has reached the king at his quarters? 12 You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood. So why should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13 And say to Amasa,t ‘Are you not my own flesh and blood?u May God deal with me, be it ever so severely,v if you are not the commander of my army for life in place of Joab.w’ ”

14 He won over the hearts of the men of Judah so that they were all of one mind. They sent word to the king, “Return, you and all your men.” 15 Then the king returned and went as far as the Jordan.

Now the men of Judah had come to Gilgalx to go out and meet the king and bring him across the Jordan. 16 Shimeiy son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 With him were a thousand Benjamites, along with Ziba,z the steward of Saul’s household,a and his fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed to the Jordan, where the king was. 18 They crossed at the ford to take the king’s household over and to do whatever he wished.

When Shimei son of Gera crossed the Jordan, he fell prostrate before the king 19 and said to him, “May my lord not hold me guilty. Do not remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem.b May the king put it out of his mind. 20 For I your servant know that I have sinned, but today I have come here as the first from the tribes of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king.”

21 Then Abishaic son of Zeruiah said, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for this? He cursedd the Lord’s anointed.”e

22 David replied, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah?f What right do you have to interfere? Should anyone be put to death in Israel today?g Don’t I know that today I am king over Israel?” 23 So the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king promised him on oath.h

24 Mephibosheth,i Saul’s grandson, also went down to meet the king. He had not taken care of his feet or trimmed his mustache or washed his clothes from the day the king left until the day he returned safely. 25 When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, “Why didn’t you go with me,j Mephibosheth?”

26 He said, “My lord the king, since I your servant am lame,k I said, ‘I will have my donkey saddled and will ride on it, so I can go with the king.’ But Zibal my servant betrayed me. 27 And he has slandered your servant to my lord the king. My lord the king is like an angelm of God; so do whatever you wish. 28 All my grandfather’s descendants deserved nothing but deathn from my lord the king, but you gave your servant a place among those who eat at your table.o So what right do I have to make any more appeals to the king?”

29 The king said to him, “Why say more? I order you and Ziba to divide the land.”

30 Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him take everything, now that my lord the king has returned home safely.”

31 Barzillaip the Gileadite also came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan with the king and to send him on his way from there. 32 Now Barzillai was very old, eighty years of age. He had provided for the king during his stay in …

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2 Samuel 20:1–26

Sheba Rebels Against David

20 Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted,

“We have no sharez in David,a

no part in Jesse’s son!b

Every man to his tent, Israel!”

So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bikri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubinesc he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them but had no sexual relations with them. They were kept in confinement till the day of their death, living as widows.

Then the king said to Amasa,d “Summon the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and be here yourself.” But when Amasa went to summon Judah, he took longer than the time the king had set for him.

David said to Abishai,e “Now Sheba son of Bikri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your master’s men and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and escape from us.”a So Joab’s men and the Kerethitesf and Pelethites and all the mighty warriors went out under the command of Abishai. They marched out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.

While they were at the great rock in Gibeon,g Amasa came to meet them. Joabh was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.

Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 Amasa was not on his guard against the daggeri in Joab’sj hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bikri.

11 One of Joab’s men stood beside Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” 12 Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the road, and the man saw that all the troops came to a haltk there. When he realized that everyone who came up to Amasa stopped, he dragged him from the road into a field and threw a garment over him. 13 After Amasa had been removed from the road, everyone went on with Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.

14 Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel Beth Maakah and through the entire region of the Bikrites,b l who gathered together and followed him. 15 All the troops with Joab came and besieged Sheba in Abel Beth Maakah.m They built a siege rampn up to the city, and it stood against the outer fortifications. While they were battering the wall to bring it down, 16 a wise womano called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him.” 17 He went toward her, and she asked, “Are you Joab?”

“I am,” he answered.

She said, “Listen to what your servant has to say.”

“I’m listening,” he said.

18 She continued, “Long ago they used to say, ‘Get your answer at Abel,’ and that settled it. 19 We are the peacefulp and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?”q

20 “Far be it from me!” Joab replied, “Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy! 21 That is not the case. A man named Sheba son of Bikri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Hand over this one man, and I’ll withdraw from the city.”

The woman said to Joab, “His headr will be thrown to you from the wall.”

22 Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice,s and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bikri and threw it to Joab. So he sounded the trumpet, and his men dispersed from the city, each returning to his home. And Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.

David’s Officials

23 Joabt was over Israel’s entire army; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; 24 Adoniramc u was in charge of forced labor; Jehoshaphatv son of Ahilud was recorder; 25 Sheva was secretary; Zadokw and Abiathar were priests; 26 and Ira the Jairited was David’s priest.

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