1 Now Joab, the son of Zeruiah, understood that the heart of the king had been turned toward Absalom,
2 so he sent to Tekoa, and he brought from there a wise woman. And he said to her: "Feign that you are in mourning, and put on the clothing of one who mourns. And do not anoint yourself with oil, so that you may be like a woman who is still grieving for someone who died some time ago.
3 And you shall enter to the king, and you shall speak words to him in this manner." Then Joab put the words in her mouth.
4 And so, when the woman of Tekoa had entered to the king, she fell before him on the ground, and she reverenced, and she said, "Save me, O king."
5 And the king said to her, "What problem do you have?" And she responded: "Alas, I am a woman who is a widow. For my husband has died.
6 And your handmaid had two sons. And they quarreled against one another in the field. And there was no one there who would be able to stop them. And one struck the other, and killed him.
7 And behold, the whole family, rising up against your handmaid, said: 'Deliver him who struck down his brother, so that we may kill him for the life of his brother, whom he killed, and so that we may do away with the heir.' And they are seeking to extinguish my spark that is left, so that there may not survive a name for my husband, nor a remnant upon the earth."
8 And the king said to the woman, "Go to your own house, and I will make a decree on your behalf."
9 And the woman of Tekoa said to the king: "May the iniquity be upon me, my lord, and upon the house of my father. But may the king and his throne be innocent."
10 And the king said, "Whoever will contradict you, bring him to me, and he will never touch you again."
11 And she said, "Let the king remember the Lord his God, so that close blood relatives may not be multiplied in order to take revenge, and so that they may by no means kill my son." And he said, "As the Lord lives, not one hair from your son shall fall to the ground."
12 Then the woman said, "Let your handmaid speak a word to my lord the king." And he said, "Speak."
13 And the woman said: "Why have you thought such a thing against the people of God, and why has the king spoken this word, so that he sins and does not lead back the one whom he rejected?
14 We are all dying, and we are all like waters that flow into the ground and do not return. God does not will to lose a soul. Instead, he renews his efforts, thinking that what has been rejected might not perish altogether.
15 Therefore, now I have come to speak this word to my lord the king, in the presence of the people. And your handmaid said: I will speak to the king, for perhaps there may be some way for the king to accomplish the word of his handmaid.
16 And the king listened, and he freed his handmaid from the hand of all who were willing to take away me and my son together, from the inheritance of God.
17 Therefore, let your handmaid speak, so that the word of my lord the king may be like a sacrifice. For even like an Angel of God, so is my lord the king, so that he is moved by neither a blessing, nor a curse. Then too, the Lord your God is with you."
18 And in response, the king said to the woman, "You shall not conceal from me a word of what I ask you." And the woman said to him, "Speak, my lord the king."
19 And the king said, "Is not the hand of Joab with you in all this?" And the woman answered and said: "By the welfare of your soul, my lord the king, it is neither to the left, nor to the right, in all these things that my lord the king has spoken. For your servant Joab himself instructed me, and he himself placed all these words in the mouth of your handmaid.
20 Thus did I turn to this figure of speech, because your servant Joab instructed it. But you, my lord the king, are wise, just as an Angel of God has wisdom, so that you understand all that is upon the earth."
21 And the king said to Joab: "Behold, your word has succeeded in appeasing me. Therefore, go and call back the boy Absalom."
22 And falling to the ground upon his face, Joab reverenced, and he blessed the king. And Joab said: "Today your servant has understood that I have found grace in your sight, my lord the king. For you have accomplished the word of your servant."
23 Then Joab rose up, and he went away to Geshur. And he brought Absalom into Jerusalem.
24 But the king said, "Let him return to his own house, but let him not see my face." And so, Absalom returned to his own house, but he did not see the face of the king.
25 Now in all of Israel, there was no man so handsome, and so very stately as Absalom. From the sole of the foot to the top of the head, there was no blemish in him.
26 And when he shaved off his hair, for he shaved it off once a year, because his long hair was burdensome to him, he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, by the public weights.
27 Then three sons were born to Absalom, and one daughter, of elegant form, whose name was Tamar.
28 And Absalom remained for two years in Jerusalem, and he did not see the face of the king.
29 And so, he sent to Joab, so that he might send him to the king. But he refused to come to him. And when he had sent a second time, and he had refused to come to him,
30 he said to his servants: "You know that the field of Joab, the one that is near my field, has a harvest of barley. Therefore, go and set it on fire." And so, the servants of Absalom set fire to the grain field. And the servants of Joab, arriving with their garments torn, said, "The servants of Absalom have set fire to part of the field!"
31 And Joab rose up, and he went to Absalom at his house, and he said, "Why have your servants set fire to my grain field?"
32 And Absalom responded to Joab: "I sent to you, begging that you might come to me, and that I might send you to the king, and that you might say to him: 'Why was I brought from Geshur? It would have been better for me to be there.' I beg you, therefore, that I may see the face of the king. And if he is mindful of my iniquity, let him put me to death."
33 And so, Joab, entering to the king, reported everything to him. And Absalom was summoned. And he entered to the king, and he reverenced on the face of the earth. And the king kissed Absalom.
Loading reference in secondary version...