The Woman of Tekoa
1Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was drawn toward Absalom.
2So Joab sent a messenger to Tekoa and Lit tookbrought a wise woman from there, and said to her, “Please follow mourning rites, and put on mourning garments now, and do not anoint yourself with oil but be like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for many days.
3Then go to the king and speak to him in this way.” So Joab put the words in her mouth.
4Now when the woman of Tekoa Many mss and ancient versions camespoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated herself, and said, “Help, O king!”
5And the king said to her, “What is troubling you?” And she Lit saidanswered, “Truly I am a widow, for my husband is dead.
6And your servant had two sons, but the two of them fought in the field, and there was no Lit deliverer betweenone to save Lit between themthem from each other, so one struck the other and killed him.
7Now behold, the entire family has risen against your servant, and they have said, ‘Hand over the one who struck his brother, so that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed, and eliminate the heir as well.’ So they will extinguish my coal which is left, so as to Lit establish forleave my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.”
8Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your home, and I will issue orders concerning you.”
9The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord, the king, the guilt is on me and my father’s house, but the king and his throne are guiltless.”
10So the king said, “Whoever speaks to you, bring him to me, and he will not touch you anymore.”
11Then she said, “May the king please remember the Lord your God, so that the avenger of blood will not continue to destroy, otherwise they will destroy my son.” And he said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”
12Then the woman said, “Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king.” And he said, “Speak.”
13The woman said, “Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in speaking this word the king is like one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring back his banished one.
14For we will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. Yet God does not take away life, but makes plans so that the banished one will not be cast out from Him.
15Now then, Lit that Ithe reason I have come to speak this word to my lord the king is that the people have made me afraid; so your servant said, ‘Let me now speak to the king, perhaps the king will perform the Lit wordrequest of his slave.
16For the king will listen, to save his slave from the Lit palmhand of the man who would eliminate Lit togetherboth me and my son from the inheritance of God.’
17Then your servant said, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king be Lit for restcomforting, for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and evil. And may the Lord your God be with you.’ ”
18Then the king answered and said to the woman, “Please do not hide anything from me that I am about to ask you.” And the woman said, “Let my lord the king please speak.”
19So the king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” And the woman replied, “As your soul lives, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. Indeed, it was your servant Joab who commanded me, and it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your servant.
20In order to change the appearance of things your servant Joab has done this thing. But my lord is wise, like the wisdom of the angel of God, to know all that is on the earth.”
Absalom Returns
21Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I Lit have donewill certainly do this thing; go then, bring back the young man Absalom.”
22And Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself, and blessed the king; then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has performed the Lit wordrequest of his servant.”
23So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
24However, the king said, “He shall return to his own house, but he shall not see my face.” So Absalom returned to his own house and did not see the king’s face.
25Now in all Israel there was no one as handsome as Absalom, so highly praised; from the sole of his foot to the top of his head there was no impairment in him.
26And when he cut the hair of his head (and it was at the end of every year that he cut it, because it was heavy on him, so he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head at About 4 lb. or 1.8 kgtwo hundred shekels by the king’s weight.
27And to Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a woman of beautiful appearance.
28Now Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, yet he did not see the king’s face.
29Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but he would not come to him. So he sent word again a second time, but he would not come.
30Therefore he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s plot is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the plot on fire.
31Then Joab got up, came to Absalom at his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my plot on fire?”
32Absalom Lit said toanswered Joab, “Behold, I sent for you, saying, ‘Come here, so that I may send you to the king, to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me still to be there.” ’ Now then, let me see the king’s face, and if there is guilt in me, he can have me executed.”
33So when Joab came to the king and told him, he summoned Absalom. Then Absalom came to the king and prostrated himself Lit on hiswith his face to the ground before the king; and the king kissed Absalom.