Absalom Restored to David
1Joab son of Zeruiah realized that the king’s mind was on Absalom.
2So Joab sent someone to Tekoa14:2 2Ch 20:20; Am 1:1 to bring a wise14:2 2Sm 13:3; 14:20; 20:16; Jb 5:13 woman from there. He told her, “Pretend to be in mourning: dress in mourning clothes and don’t put on any oil.14:2 Dn 10:2–3 Act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for a long time.
3Go to the king and speak these words to him.” Then Joab told her exactly what to say.14:3 Lit Joab put the words into her mouth
5“What’s the matter?” the king asked her.
“Sadly, I am a widow; my husband died,” she said.14:5 2Sm 12:1
6“Your servant had two sons. They were fighting in the field with no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him.
7Now the whole clan has risen up against your servant and said, ‘Hand over the one who killed his brother so we may put him to death for the life of the brother he murdered. We will eliminate the heir! ’ They would extinguish my one remaining ember by not preserving my husband’s name or posterity on earth.”14:7 Nah 1:14
8The king told the woman, “Go home. I will issue a command on your behalf.”
10“Whoever speaks to you,” the king said, “bring him to me. He will not trouble you again!”
“As the Lord lives,” he vowed, “not a hair of your son will fall to the ground.”14:11 1Sm 14:45; Dn 3:27; Lk 21:18; Ac 27:34
12Then the woman said, “Please, may your servant speak a word to my lord the king?”
“Speak,” he replied.
13The woman asked, “Why have you devised something similar against the people of God? When the king spoke as he did about this matter, he has pronounced his own guilt. The king has not brought back his own banished one.
15“Now therefore, I’ve come to present this matter to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. Your servant thought: I must speak to the king. Perhaps the king will grant his servant’s request.
16The king will surely listen in order to keep his servant from the grasp of this man who would eliminate both me and my son from God’s inheritance.
18Then the king answered the woman, “I’m going to ask you something; don’t conceal it from me!”
“Let my lord the king speak,” the woman replied.
19The king asked, “Did Joab put you up to14:19 Lit “Is the hand of Joab in all this?”
The woman answered. “As you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or left from all my lord the king says. Yes, your servant Joab is the one who gave orders to me; he told your servant exactly what to say.14:19 Lit he put all these words into the mouth of your servant
20Joab your servant has done this to address the issue indirectly,14:20 Lit to go around the face of the matter but my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God, knowing everything on earth.”
21Then the king said to Joab, “I hereby grant this request. Go, bring back the young man Absalom.”
22Joab fell with his face to the ground in homage and blessed the king. “Today,” Joab said, “your servant knows I have found favor with you, my lord the king, because the king has granted the request of your servant.”
24However, the king added, “He may return to his house, but he may not see my face.” So Absalom returned to his house, but he did not see the king.14:24 Lit king’s face
25No man in all Israel was as handsome14:25 Gn 39:6; 1Sm 16:12,18; 17:42; 1Kg 1:6; Ps 45:2 and highly praised as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the top of his head, he did not have a single flaw.
26When he shaved his head — he shaved it at the end of every year because his hair got so heavy for him that he had to shave it off — he would weigh the hair from his head and it would be five pounds14:26 Lit 200 shekels according to the royal standard.
27Three sons were born to Absalom, and a daughter named Tamar, who was a beautiful woman.
28Absalom resided in Jerusalem two years but never saw the king.
29Then Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab was unwilling to come to him. So he sent again, a second time, but he still would not come.
30Then Absalom said to his servants, “See, Joab has a field right next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set fire to it!” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.14:30 DSS, LXX add So Joab’s servants came to him with their clothes torn and said, “Absalom’s servants have set the field on fire!”
31Then Joab came to Absalom’s house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?”
32“Look,” Absalom explained to Joab, “I sent for you and said, ‘Come here. I want to send you to the king to ask: Why have I come back from Geshur? I’d be better off if I were still there.’ So now, let me see the king. If I am guilty, let him kill me.”
33Joab went to the king and told him. So David summoned Absalom, who came to the king and paid homage with his face to the ground before him. Then the king kissed Absalom.
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