King James 2000
1Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart went out toward Absalom.
2And Joab sent to Tekoah, and brought from there a wise woman, and said unto her, I pray you, pretend 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:
3And come to the king, and speak in this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.
4And when the woman of Tekoah spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and paid him honor, and said, Help, O king.
5And the king said unto her, What ails you? And she answered, I am indeed a widow woman, and my husband is dead.
6And your handmaid had two sons, and they two strove together in the field, and there was none to part them, but the one struck the other, and slew him.
7And, behold, the whole family is risen against your handmaid, and they said, Deliver him that struck his brother, that we may kill him, for the life of his brother whom he slew; and we will destroy the heir also: and so they shall quench my ember which is left, and shall not leave to my husband either name or remnant upon the earth.
8And the king said unto the woman, Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.
9And the woman of Tekoah said unto the king, My lord, O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father's house: and the king and his throne be guiltless.
10And the king said, Whosoever says anything unto you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you any more.
11Then said she, I pray you, let the king remember the LORD your God, that you would not allow the revengers of blood to destroy any more, lest they destroy my son. And he said, As the LORD lives, there shall not one hair of your son fall to the earth.
12Then the woman said, Let your handmaid, I pray you, speak one word unto my lord the king. And he said, Say on.
13And the woman said, Why then have you thought such a thing against the people of God? for the king does speak this thing as one who is faulty, in that the king does not bring home again his banished one.
14For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither does God respect any person: yet does he devise means, that his banished one be not expelled from him.
15Now therefore that I am come to speak of this thing unto my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid: and your handmaid said, I will now speak unto the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his handmaid.
16For the king will hear, to deliver his handmaid out of the hand of the man that would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God.
17Then your handmaid said, The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable: for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: therefore the LORD your God will be with you.
18Then the king answered and said unto the woman, Hide not from me, I pray you, the thing that I shall ask you. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak.
19And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with you in all this? And the woman answered and said, As your soul lives, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken: for your servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid:
20To bring about this change of affairs has your servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.
21And the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring the young man Absalom again.
22And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, Today your servant knows that I have found grace in your sight, my lord, O king, in that the king has fulfilled the request of his servant.
23So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
24And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king's face.
25But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
26And when he cut the hair of his head, (for it was at every year's end that he cut it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he cut it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king's weight.
27And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a fair countenance.
28So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king's face.
29Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come.
30Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire.
31Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him, Why have your servants set my field on fire?
32And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent unto you, saying, Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say, Why am I come from Geshur? it had been good for me to have been there still: now therefore let me see the king's face; and if there be any iniquity in me, let him kill me.
33So Joab came to the king, and told him: and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.