2 Samuel 14:2
And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched there a wise woman, and said to her, I pray you, feign yourself to be a mourner, and put on now mourning apparel, and anoint not yourself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead:
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(2) Tekoah.—A village on a high hill five miles south of Bethlehem, the home of the prophet Amos. It was also the native place of Ira, one of David’s thirty heroes (2Samuel 23:26), and was near enough to Bethlehem, the home of Joab, for him to have had personal knowledge of this “wise woman.” There is no ground whatever for suspecting her of being a “witch,” or in any way disreputable.

The parable that follows was contrived by Joab, yet also required skill and address on the part of the woman. It is purposely made not too closely parallel to the case of Absalom, lest it should defeat its own object. In general it needs no comment.

2 Samuel 14:2. Joab sent to Tekoah — A city in the tribe of Judah, about twelve miles south of Jerusalem. And fetched thence a wise woman — One whom he knew to be fit for such an undertaking, having good sense and a ready utterance; and said, I pray thee feign thyself to be a mourner — Who put on no ornaments, nor used any ointment, but appeared in a sordid, neglected condition. She was to assume this habit to heighten the idea of her distress, that her circumstances as a widow, her mournful tale, her dress, and her person, might make one united impression on the king, and secure his attention. She tells the king that she had buried her husband; that she had two sons that were the support and comfort of her widowed state; that they quarrelled, and fought, and one of them unhappily killed the other; that for her part, she was desirous to protect the man-slayer, for, as Rebekah argued concerning her two sons, Why should she be deprived of them both in one day? But though she, who was nearest of kin to the slain, was willing to let fall the demands of an avenger of blood, yet the other relations insisted upon it that the surviving brother should be put to death, according to the law; not out of affection either to justice or to the memory of the slain brother, but that, by destroying the heir, (which they did not conceal to be the thing they aimed at,) the inheritance might be theirs. The whole design of her speech was to frame a case similar to that of David, in order to convince him how much more reasonable it was to preserve Absalom. But there was great art in not making the similitude too plain and visible, lest the king should perceive the intention of the woman’s petition before she obtained a grant of pardon for her son. — Bishop Patrick. 14:1-20 We may notice here, how this widow pleads God's mercy, and his clemency toward poor guilty sinners. The state of sinners is a state of banishment from God. God pardons none to the dishonour of his law and justice, nor any who are impenitent; nor to the encouragement of crimes, or the hurt of others.Tekoah - In the south of Judah, six miles from Bethlehem, the modern Tekua. The rough, wild district was well suited for the lawless profession of the wise woman; it abounds in caves, as does the country near Endor. 2-21. And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman—The king was strongly attached to Absalom; and having now got over his sorrow for the violent death of Amnon, he was desirous of again enjoying the society of his favorite son, who had now been three long years absent. But a dread of public opinion and a regard to the public interests made him hesitate about recalling or pardoning his guilty son; and Joab, whose discerning mind perceived this struggle between parental affection and royal duty, devised a plan for relieving the scruples, and, at the same time, gratifying the wishes, of his master. Having procured a countrywoman of superior intelligence and address, he directed her to seek an audience of the king, and by soliciting his royal interposition in the settlement of a domestic grievance, convinced him that the life of a murderer might in some cases be saved. Tekoah was about twelve miles south of Jerusalem, and six south of Beth-lehem; and the design of bringing a woman from such a distance was to prevent either the petitioner being known, or the truth of her story easily investigated. Her speech was in the form of a parable—the circumstances—the language—the manner—well suited to the occasion, represented a case as like David's as it was policy to make it, so as not to be prematurely discovered. Having got the king pledged, she avowed it to be her design to satisfy the royal conscience, that in pardoning Absalom he was doing nothing more than he would have done in the case of a stranger, where there could be no imputation of partiality. The device succeeded; David traced its origin to Joab; and, secretly pleased at obtaining the judgment of that rough, but generally sound-thinking soldier, he commissioned him to repair to Geshur and bring home his exiled son. Tekoah; a city of Judah, 2 Chronicles 11:5,6. One of Jerusalem was not convenient, lest the king might know the person, or search out the business. And besides, this woman seems to be of great eminency for her wisdom, as the following discourse manifests.

A wise woman, rather than a man, because women can more easily express their passions, and do sooner procure pity in their miseries, and an answer to their requests.

Anoint not thyself with oil; as they used to do when they were out of a mourning state. See Ruth 3:3 Matthew 6:17. And Joab sent to Tekoah,.... Which Kimchi says was a city in the tribe of Asher, and others in the tribe of Benjamin, but it seems rather to be in the tribe, of Judah, 2 Chronicles 11:5; according Jerom (s), it was twelve miles from Jerusalem, though in another place (t) he says it was but nine; of this place was Amos, and some think (u) the woman after mentioned was his grandmother. It was proper to lay the scene of the affair to be proposed to the king at some distance, that it might not soon and easily be inquired into:

and fetched thence a wise woman; one much advanced in years, as Josephus says (w), whose years had taught her wisdom by experience; a woman of good sense, and of a good address, apt at expression and reply, and knew how to manage an affair committed to her; and among other things, perhaps, was famous for acting the part of a mourner at funerals, for which sometimes women were hired; however, she was one that was talked of for her wisdom and prudence, and Joab having heard of her, sent for her as one for his purpose. The Jews (x) say, that Tekoah was the first place in the land of Israel for oil, and because the inhabitants were much used to oil, wisdom was found among them:

and said unto her, I pray thee feign thyself to be a mourner; a woman of a sorrowful spirit, and in great distress, and show it by cries and tears:

and put on now mourning apparel; black clothes, such as mourners usually wore:

and anoint not thyself with oil; as used to be done in times of feasting and rejoicing, to make them look smooth, and gay, and cheerful, and of which there might be much use at Tekoah, if so famous for oil:

but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead; her countenance pale and foul with weeping, her mourning clothes almost worn out, &c.

(s) Proem. in Amos, & Comment. in Jer. vi. 1.((t) De loc. Heb. in. voce "Elthei", fol. 91. B. (u) In Hieron. Trad. Heb. in 2 Reg. fol. 78. 1.((w) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 8. sect. 4. (x) T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 85. 2.

And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman, and said unto her, I pray thee, feign thyself to be a mourner, and put on now mourning apparel, and {b} anoint not thyself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead:

(b) In token of mourning: for they used anointing to seem cheerful.

2. Tekoah] Situated on a lofty hill five miles south of Bethlehem. The name survives almost unaltered in the modern Tekûa. It was the native place of Ira, one of David’s Thirty Heroes (ch.2 Samuel 23:26): Rehoboam fortified it as a defence against invasions from the south (2 Chronicles 11:6): but its chief claim to be remembered is as the home of the prophet Amos who was “among the herdmen of Tekoa” (Amos 1:1). The proximity of Tekoah to Bethlehem explains Joab’s acquaintance with this woman, whose shrewdness fitted her to act the part he wished. The term “wise woman” does not mean a witch, as the Speaker’s Comm. implies when it speaks of her “lawless profession.” Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 20:16.

feign thyself to be a mourner] Compare the similar ‘acted parable’ in 1 Kings 20:35-43.

anoint not thyself] Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 12:20, note.Verse 2. - Tekoah. This town, famous as the birthplace of the Prophet Amos, lay upon the borders of the great wilderness southeast of Jerusalem. As it was only five miles to the south of Bethlehem, Joab's birthplace, he had probably often heard tales of this woman's intelligence; and, though he contrived the parable himself, yet it would need tact and adroitness on the woman's part to give the tale with tragic effect, and answer the king's questions with all the signs of genuine emotion. If her acting was bad, the king would see through the plot, and only by great skill would his heart be so moved as to three him to some such expression of feeling as would serve Joab's purpose. "And Absalom fled." This statement follows upon 2 Samuel 13:29. When the king's sons fled upon their mules, Absalom also took to flight.

2 Samuel 13:30-33 are a parenthesis, in which the writer describes at once the impression made upon the king and his court by the report of what Absalom had done. The apparently unsuitable position in which this statement is placed may be fully explained from the fact, that the flight of Absalom preceded the arrival of the rest of the sons at the king's palace. The alteration which Bttcher proposes to make in the text, so as to remove this statement altogether on account of its unsuitable position, is proved to be inadmissible by the fact that the account of Absalom's flight cannot possibly be left out, as reference is made to it again afterwards (2 Samuel 13:37, 2 Samuel 13:38, "Absalom had fled"). The other alterations proposed by Thenius in the text of 2 Samuel 13:34, 2 Samuel 13:37, 2 Samuel 13:38, are just as arbitrary and out of place, and simply show that this critic was ignorant of the plan adopted by the historian. His plan is the following: To the account of the murder of Amnon, and the consequent flight of the rest of the king's sons whom Absalom had invited to the feast (2 Samuel 13:29), there is first of all appended a notice of the report which preceded the fugitives and reached the king's ears in an exaggerated form, together with the impression which it made upon the king, and the rectification of that report by Jonadab (2 Samuel 13:30-33). Then follows the statement that Absalom fled, also the account of the arrival of the king's sons (2 Samuel 13:34-36). After this we have a statement as to the direction in which Absalom fled, the king's continued mourning, and the length of time that Absalom's banishment lasted (2 Samuel 13:37, 2 Samuel 13:38), and finally a remark as to David's feelings towards Absalom (2 Samuel 13:39).

Jonadab's assertion, that Amnon only had been slain, was very speedily confirmed (2 Samuel 13:34). The young man, the spy, i.e., the young man who was looking out for the return of those who had been invited to the feast, "lifted up his eyes and saw," i.e., saw as he looked out into the distance, "much people (a crowd of men) coming from the way behind him along the side of the mountain." אחריו מדּרך, ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ὄπισθεν αὐτοῦ (lxx), per iter devium (Vulg.), is obscure; and אהר, "behind," is probably to be understood as meaning "to the west:" from the way at the back of the spy, i.e., to the west of his station. The following words, ההר מצּד, also remain obscure, as the position of the spy is not given, so that the allusion may be to a mountain in the north-west of Jerusalem quite as well as to one on the west.

(Note: The lxx have very comprehensive additions here: first of all, after ἐκ πλευρᾶς τοῦ ὄρους, they have the more precise definition ἐν τῇ καταβάσει, and then the further clause, "and the spy came and announced to the king," Ἄνδρας ὲώρακα ἐκ τῆς ὁδοῦ τῆς ὠρωνῆν (?) ἐκ μέρους τοῦ ὅρους, partly to indicate more particularly the way by which the king's sons came, and partly to fill up a supposed gap in the account. But they did not consider that the statement in 2 Samuel 13:35, "and Jonadab said to the king, Behold, the king's sons are coming," does not square with these additions; for if the spy had already informed the king that his sons were coming, there was no necessity for Jonadab to do it again. This alone is sufficient to show that the additions made by the lxx are nothing but worthless glosses, introduced according to subjective conjectures and giving no foundation for alterations of the text.)

When the spy observed the crowd of men approaching, Jonadab said to the king (2 Samuel 13:35), "Behold, the king's sons are coming: as thy servant said, so has it come to pass."

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