1There happened to be there a wicked fellow, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite; and he blew the trumpet, and said, “We have no portion in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to his tents, Israel!”
2So all the men of Israel went up from following David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah joined with their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem. 3David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in custody, and provided them with sustenance, but didn’t go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.
4Then the king said to Amasa, “Call me the men of Judah together within three days, and be here present.”
5So Amasa went to call the men of Judah together; but he stayed longer than the set time which he had appointed him. 6David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your lord’s servants, and pursue after him, lest he get himself fortified cities, and escape out of our sight.”
7Joab’s men went out after him, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men; and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. 8When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was clothed in his apparel of war that he had put on, and on it was a sash with a sword fastened on his waist in its sheath; and as he went along it fell out. 9Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand. So he struck him with it in the body, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and didn’t strike him again; and he died. Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. 11One of Joab’s young men stood by him, and said, “He who favours Joab, and he who is for David, let him follow Joab!”
12Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the highway. When the man saw that all the people stood still, he carried Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a garment over him, when he saw that everyone who came by him stood still. 13When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab, to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. 14He went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, and to Beth Maacah, and all the Berites. They were gathered together, and went also after him. 15They came and besieged him in Abel of Beth Maacah, and they cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart; and all the people who were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down. 16Then a wise woman cried out of the city, “Hear, hear! Please say to Joab, ‘Come near here, that I may speak with you.’” 17He came near to her; and the woman said, “Are you Joab?”
He answered, “I am.”
Then she said to him, “Hear the words of your servant.”
He answered, “I’m listening.”
18Then she spoke, saying, “They used to say in old times, ‘They shall surely ask counsel at Abel;’ and so they settled a matter. 19I am amongst those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?”
20Joab answered, “Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy. 21The matter is not so. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against the king, even against David. Just deliver him, and I will depart from the city.”
The woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.”
22Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. They cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. He blew the trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, every man to his tent. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. 23Now Joab was over all the army of Israel, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites, 24Adoram was over the men subject to forced labour, Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder, 25Sheva was scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests, 26and Ira the Jairite was chief minister to David.