1Now a despicable man named Sheba, Bichri’s son, from Benjamin, was also there. He sounded the trumpet and said:
"We don’t care about David!
We have no stake in Jesse’s son!
Go back to your homes, Israel!"
2So all the Israelites left David to follow Bichri’s son Sheba. But all the people of Judah stayed close to their king from the Jordan River all the way to Jerusalem.
3When David arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, the king took the ten secondary wives he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them, but he didn’t have sex with them. They were confined until the day they died, and lived like widows.
4Then the king said to Amasa, "Call everyone in Judah here to me three days from now. You should be here too." 5So Amasa went to call Judah together, but he took longer than the allotted time.
6David told Abishai, "Bichri’s son Sheba will cause more trouble for us than Absalom did. Take your master’s servants and chase after him before he finds fortified cities and escapes from us." 7So Joab’s men marched out after Sheba—this included the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the warriors. They marched out of Jerusalem to pursue Bichri’s son Sheba.
8When they got to the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was dressed in his soldier’s uniform. Over the tunic at his waist he wore a sword in its sheath. As Joab went forward it slipped out.
9"How are you, my brother?" Joab asked Amasa, and with his right hand he took hold of Amasa’s beard as if to kiss him. 10But Amasa didn’t notice the sword in Joab’s hand. Joab struck him in the stomach with it so that Amasa’s intestines spilled out on the ground. He died without Joab striking him a second time. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba, Bichri’s son.
11One of Joab’s men stood by Amasa and said, "Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, follow Joab!" 12Amasa was writhing in blood in the middle of the road, and the man saw that everyone was stopping. When he saw this, he dragged Amasa from the road into a field and threw a robe over him. 13Once Amasa was moved out of the road, everyone who followed Joab marched past in pursuit of Bichri’s son Sheba.
14Sheba went through all the Israelite tribes up to Abel of Beth-maacah. All the Bichrites#Cf LXX, Vulg; MT Berites assembled and followed Sheba in. 15Then Joab’s men arrived and attacked Sheba at Abel of Beth-maacah. They piled up a ramp against the city, and it stood against the outer wall.#Heb uncertain All of Joab’s troops were hammering the wall, trying to bring it down.
16Then a wise woman called from the city, "Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come over here, so I can talk to him."
17So Joab approached her, and the woman said, "Are you Joab?"
"I am," he answered.
"Pay close attention to the words of your female servant," she said.
"I’m listening," Joab replied.
18She said, "People used to say long ago: ‘Ask your question at Abel,’ and that settled the matter. 19I am one of the peaceful and faithful in Israel, but you are trying to kill a city that is one of Israel’s mothers! Why would you annihilate the LORD’s inheritance?"
20Joab answered, "I would never, ever annihilate or destroy such a thing! 21That’s not the issue. A man named Sheba, Bichri’s son, who is from the Ephraim highlands, has rebelled against King David. Just hand him over, and I’ll leave the city alone."
The woman said to Joab, "His head will be thrown over the wall to you!"
22When the woman went to everyone with her wise counsel, they cut off the head of Sheba, Bichri’s son, and threw it out to Joab. Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and his troops left the city, returning to their homes. But Joab returned to the king in Jerusalem.
23Now Joab was in command of Israel’s army; Jehoiada’s son Benaiah commanded the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24Adoram was in charge of the forced labor; Ahilud’s son Jehoshaphat was the recorder; 25Sheva was secretary; Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26and Ira from Jair was also a priest for David.