2 Samuel 14
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Absalom's Return to Jerusalem

1Now Joab son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart longed for Absalom. 2So Joab sent to Tekoa to bring a wise woman from there. He told her, “Please pretend to be a mourner; put on clothes for mourning and do not anoint yourself with oil. Act like a woman who has mourned for the dead a long time. 3Then go to the king and speak these words to him.” And Joab put the words in her mouth.

4When the woman from Tekoa went to the king, she fell facedown in homage and said, “Help me, O king!”

5“What troubles you?” the king asked her.

“Indeed,” she said, “I am a widow, for my husband is dead. 6And your maidservant had two sons who 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 maidservant and said, ‘Hand over the one who struck down his brother, that we may put him to death for the life of the brother whom he killed. Then we will cut off the heir as well!’ So they would extinguish my one remaining ember by not preserving my husband’s name or posterity on the earth.”

8“Go home,” the king said to the woman, “and I will give orders on your behalf.”

9But the woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord the king, may any blame be on me and my father’s house, and may the king and his throne be guiltless.”

10“If anyone speaks to you,” said the king, “bring him to me, and he will not trouble you again!”

11“Please,” she replied, “may the king invoke the LORD your God to prevent the avenger of blood from increasing the devastation, so that my son may not be destroyed!”

“As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “not a hair of your son's head will fall to the ground.”

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 a thing like this against the people of God? When the king says this, does he not convict himself, since he has not brought back his own banished son? 14For surely we will die and be like water poured out on the ground, which cannot be recovered. Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises ways so that the banished one may not remain estranged from Him.

15Now therefore, I have come to present this matter to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. Your servant thought: I will speak to the king. Perhaps he will grant the request of his maidservant. 16For the king will hear and deliver his maidservant from the hand of the man who would cut off both me and my son from God’s inheritance.

17Your servant thought: May the word of my lord the king bring me rest, for my lord the king is able to discern good and evil, just like the Angel of God. May the LORD your God be with you.”

18Then the king said to the woman, “I am going to ask you something; do not conceal it from me!”

“Let my lord the king speak,” she replied.

19So the king asked, “Is the hand of Joab behind all this?”

The woman answered, “As surely as you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my lord the king says. Yes, your servant Joab is the one who gave me orders; he told your maidservant exactly what to say. 20Joab your servant has done this to bring about this change of affairs, but my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the Angel of God, to know everything that happens in the land.”

21Then the king said to Joab, “I hereby grant this request. Go, bring back the young man Absalom.”

22Joab fell facedown in homage and blessed the king. “Today,” said Joab, “your servant knows that he has found favor with you, my lord the king, because the king has granted his request.”

23So Joab got up, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24But the king added, “He may return to his house, but he must not see my face.” So Absalom returned to his own house, but he did not see the king.

25Now there was not a man in all Israel as handsome and highly praised as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the top of his head, he did not have a single flaw. 26And when he cut the hair of his head—he shaved it every year because his hair got so heavy—he would weigh it to be two hundreda shekels according to the royal standard.

27Three sons were born to Absalom, and a daughter named Tamar, who was a beautiful woman.

Absalom Reconciled to David

28Now Absalom lived in Jerusalem two years without seeing the face of the king. 29Then he sent for Joab to send him to the king, but Joab refused to come.

So Absalom sent the second time, but Joab still would not come.

30So Absalom said to his servants, “Look, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set fire to it!”

And Absalom's servants set the field on fire.b

31Then Joab came to Absalom’s house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?”

32“Look,” said Absalom, “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? It would be better for me if I were still there.’ So now, let me see the king's face, and if there is iniquity in me, let him kill me.”

33So Joab went and told the king, and David summoned Absalom, who came to him and bowed facedown before him. Then the king kissed Absalom.

Footnotes:

26 a That is, about 5 pounds or 2.27 kilograms
30 b LXX, DSS add So the servants of Joam came to him with their clothes torn and said to him, “The servants of Absalom have set your field on fire.”

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