2 Samuel 14:2
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 anoint not thyself 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. 2 Samuel 14:2When Joab perceived that the king's heart was against Absalom, he sent for a cunning woman from Tekoah, to work upon the king and change his mind, so that he might grant forgiveness to Absalom. 2 Samuel 14:1 is understood by the majority of commentators, in accordance with the Syriac and Vulgate, as signifying that Joab learned that the king's heart was inclined towards Absalom, was well disposed towards him again. But this explanation is neither philologically sustained, nor in accordance with the context. לב, written with על and without any verb, so that היה has to be supplied, only occurs again in Daniel 11:28, where the preposition has the meaning "against." It is no argument against this meaning here, that if David had been ill disposed towards Absalom, there would have been no necessity to state that Joab perceived it; for we cannot see why Joab should only have perceived or noticed David's friendly feelings, and not his unfriendly feelings as well. If, however, Joab had noticed the re-awakening of David's good feelings towards Absalom, there would have been no necessity for him to bring the cunning woman from Tekoah to induce him to consent to Absalom's return. Moreover, David would not in that case have refused to allow Absalom to see his face for two whole years after his return to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 14:24). Tekoah, the home of the prophet Amos, the present Tekua, two hours to the south of Bethlehem (see at Joshua 15:59, lxx). The "wise woman" was to put on mourning, as a woman who had been mourning for a long while for some one that was dead (התאבּל, to set or show herself mourning), and to go to the king in this attire, and say what Joab had put into her mouth.
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