Joab Brings Absalom to Jerusalem
1Now Joab son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was on Absalom.
2So Joab sent word to Tekoa and brought a wise woman from there. He said to her, “Please pretend to be a mourner and put on mourning clothes. Do not anoint yourself with oil but be like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead.
3Then go to the king and speak to him these words.” Then Joab put the words in her mouth.
4When the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, bowed down and said, “Help, O king!”
5“What’s the matter with you?” the king said to her. “Truly, I am a widow, my husband is dead,” she said.
6“Your handmaid had two sons, but the two of them fought with each other in the field, where there was no one to separate them. So one struck the other and killed him.
7Now behold, the whole clan has risen against your handmaid and said, ‘Hand over the one who struck down his brother so we may put him to death, for the life of his brother whom he slew.’ So they will also destroy the heir and extinguish my one remaining ember, leaving to my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth!”
8Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your home. I will issue an order concerning you.”
9The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord the king, let the iniquity be on me and on my father’s house but may the king and his throne be innocent.”
10“Whoever speaks to you,” the king said, “bring him to me and he shall not touch you anymore.”
11“Please, let the king remember Adonai your God,” she said, “so that the avenger of blood does not destroy any more, so they won’t destroy my son.” “As Adonai lives,” he said, “not one hair of your son will fall to the ground.”
12Then the woman said, “Please, let your handmaid speak a word to my lord the king.” “Say on,” he said.
13The woman said, “Why have you devised a situation just like this against God’s people? For by speaking this word, the king is like the guilty one—by not bringing back the one he banished.
14For we will all surely die and be like water spilt on the ground that cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life but rather, He devises plans so that a banished person may not remain an outcast from Him.
15Now the reason I came to speak this word to my lord the king is because the people have made me afraid. So your handmaid thought, ‘I must speak to the king—perhaps the king will fulfill the request of his maidservant.
16Surely the king will hear, to deliver his maidservant from the hand of the one who would eliminate both me and my son together out of the inheritance of God.’
17Then your handmaid also thought, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king bring relief. For like an angel of God so is my lord the king to discern good and evil.’ So may Adonai your God be with you.”
18Then the king answered and said to the woman, “Please do not hide anything from me concerning what I am about to ask you.” “Please let my lord the king speak,” the woman said.
19Then the king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” “As your soul lives, my lord the king,” the woman answered, “no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. Yes, your servant Joab was the one who commanded me and put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid.
20Your servant Joab did this thing in order to bring about a change in the situation. But my lord is wise—like the wisdom of an angel of God—to know all that goes on in the land.”
21Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I will do this thing. So go, bring the young man Absalom back.”
22Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself and blessed the king. Then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your eyes, my lord the king, since the king has done the word of your servant.”
23So Joab got up, went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
24However, the king said, “He may go directly to his own house, but he may not see my face.” So Absalom went directly to his own house and did not see the king’s face.
25Now in all Israel there was none as handsome as Absalom—so highly praised. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
26When he cut the hair of his head—at the end of every year he would cut it because the hair got so heavy on him that he had to cut it. The weight of the hair from his head was 200 shekels by the royal weight.
27To Absalom were born three sons and one daughter, whose name was Tamar—she was a beautiful woman.
28Now Absalom had lived two full years in Jerusalem but he never saw the king’s face.
29Then Absalom sent for Joab, in order to send him to the king, but he was unwilling to come to him. So he sent word again a second time, but he still would not come.
30So he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s field is next to mine and he has barley there—go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.
31Then Joab arose, came to Absalom at his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?”
32“Look, I sent word to you,” Absalom said to Joab, “saying, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there.’” So now, let me see the king’s face and if there is iniquity in me, let him put me to death.”
33So Joab went to the king and told him. When he summoned Absalom, he came to the king and bowed down on his face to the ground before the king, and then, the king kissed Absalom.