1 THERE HAPPENED to be there a base and contemptible fellow named Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjamite. He blew a trumpet and said, We have no portion in David and no inheritance in the son of Jesse! Every man to his tents, O Israel!
2 So all the men of Israel withdrew from David and followed Sheba son of Bichri; but the men of Judah stayed faithfully with their king, from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
3 So David 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 away under guard and provided for them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.
4 Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble the men of Judah to me within three days, and you be present here.
5 So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah, but he tarried longer than the set time which had been appointed him.
6 And David said to Abishai, Now will Sheba son of Bichri do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your lord's servants and pursue him, lest he get for himself fenced cities and snatch away our very eyes.
7 And there went after him Joab's men and [David's bodyguards] the Cherethites and Pelethites and all the mighty men; they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bichri.
8 When they were at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing a soldier's garment, and over it was a sheathed sword fastened around his hips; and as he went forward, it fell out.
9 Joab said to Amasa, Are you well, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand [as if] to kiss him.
10 But Amasa did not notice the sword in Joab's hand. So [Joab] struck him [who was to have been his successor] with it in the body, shedding his bowels to the ground without another blow; and [soon] he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba son of Bichri.
11 And one of Joab's men stood by him and said, Whoever favors Joab and is for David, follow Joab!
12 And Amasa wallowed in his blood in the highway. And when the man saw that all the people who came by stood still, he removed Amasa out of the highway into the field and spread a cloth over him.
13 When Amasa was removed from the highway, all the people went on after Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bichri.
14 Joab went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah, and all the Berites assembled and also went after [Sheba] ardently.
15 And they came and besieged Sheba in Abel of Beth-maacah, and they cast up a siege mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart; and all the men with Joab battered and undermined the wall to make it fall.
16 Then a wise woman of the city cried, Hear, hear! Say to Joab, Come here so I can speak to you.
17 And when he came near her, the woman said, Are you Joab? He answered, I am. Then she said to him, Hear the words of your handmaid. He answered, I am listening.
18 Then she said, People used to say, Let them but ask counsel at Abel, and so they settled the matter.
19 I am one of the peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city which is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?
20 Joab answered, Far be it, far be it from me that I should swallow up or destroy!
21 That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David. Deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said, Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.
22 Then the woman in her wisdom went to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and cast it down to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his own home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. [Eccl. 9:13-16.]
23 Joab was over the host of Israel; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over [the king's bodyguards] the Cherethites and Pelethites;
24 Adoram was over the tribute; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder;
25 Sheva was scribe; and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests;
26 Also Ira the Jairite was chief minister to David.