Joab Sends a Wise Woman to David
1Joab son of Zeruiah knew that King David missed Absalom very much. 2So Joab sent messengers to Tekoa to bring a wise woman from there. He said to her, “Pretend to be very sad. Put on funeral clothes and don’t put lotion on yourself. Act like a woman who has been crying many days for someone who died. 3Then go to the king and say these words.” Then Joab told her what to say.
4So the woman from Tekoa spoke to the king. She bowed facedown on the ground to show respect and said, “My king, help me!”
5King David asked her, “What is the matter?”
The woman said, “I am a widow; my husband is dead. 6I had two sons. They were out in the field fighting, and no one was there to stop them. So one son killed the other son. 7Now all the family group is against me. They said to me, ‘Bring the son who killed his brother so we may kill him for killing his brother. That way we will also get rid of the one who would receive what belonged to his father.’ My son is like the last spark of a fire. He is all I have left. If they kill him, my husband’s name and property will be gone from the earth.”
8Then the king said to the woman, “Go home. I will take care of this for you.”
9The woman of Tekoa said to him, “Let the blame be on me and my father’s family. My master and king, you and your throne are innocent.”
10King David said, “Bring me anyone who says anything bad to you. Then he won’t bother you again.”
11The woman said, “Please promise in the name of the Lord your God. Then my relative who has the duty of punishing a murderer won’t add to the destruction by killing my son.”
David said, “As surely as the Lord lives, no one will hurt your son. Not one hair from his head will fall to the ground.”
12The woman said, “Let me say something to you, my master and king.”
The king said, “Speak.”
13Then the woman said, “Why have you decided this way against the people of God? When you judge this way, you show that you are guilty for not bringing back your son who was forced to leave home. 14We will all die someday. We’re like water spilled on the ground; no one can gather it back. But God doesn’t take away life. Instead, he plans ways that those who have been sent away will not have to stay away from him! 15My master and king, I came to say this to you because the people have made me afraid! I thought, ‘Let me talk to the king. Maybe he will do what I ask. 16Maybe he will listen. Perhaps he will save me from those who want to keep both me and my son from getting what God gave us.’
17“Now I say, ‘May the words of my master the king give me rest. Like an angel of God, you know what is good and what is bad. May the Lord your God be with you!’ ”
18Then King David said, “Do not hide the truth. Answer me one question.”
The woman said, “My master the king, please ask your question.”
19The king said, “Did Joab tell you to say all these things?”
The woman answered, “As you live, my master the king, no one could avoid that question. You are right. Your servant Joab did tell me to say these things. 20Joab did it so you would see things differently. My master, you are wise like an angel of God who knows everything that happens on earth.”
Absalom Returns to Jerusalem
21The king said to Joab, “Look, I will do what I promised. Bring back the young man Absalom.”
22Joab bowed facedown on the ground and blessed the king. Then he said, “Today I know you are pleased with me, because you have done what I asked.”
23Then Joab got up and went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 24But King David said, “Absalom must go to his own house. He may not come to see me.” So Absalom went to his own house and did not go to see the king.
25Absalom was greatly praised for his handsome appearance. No man in Israel was as handsome as he. No blemish was on him from his head to his foot. 26At the end of every year, Absalom would cut his hair, because it became too heavy. When he weighed it, it would weigh about five pounds by the royal measure.
27Absalom had three sons and one daughter. His daughter’s name was also Tamar, and she was a beautiful woman.
28Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two full years without seeing King David. 29Then Absalom sent for Joab so he could send him to the king, but Joab would not come. Absalom sent a message a second time, but Joab still refused to come. 30Then Absalom said to his servants, “Look, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley growing there. Go burn it.” So Absalom’s servants set fire to Joab’s field.
31Then Joab went to Absalom’s house and said to him, “Why did your servants burn my field?”
32Absalom said to Joab, “I sent a message to you, asking you to come here. I wanted to send you to the king to ask him why he brought me home from Geshur. It would have been better for me to stay there! Now let me see the king. If I have sinned, he can put me to death!”
33So Joab went to the king and told him Absalom’s words. Then the king called for Absalom. Absalom came and bowed facedown on the ground before the king, and the king kissed him.