1 NOW JOAB son of Zeruiah knew that the king's heart was toward Absalom.
2 And Joab sent to Tekoah and brought from there a wise woman and said to her, Pretend to be a mourner; put on mourning apparel, do not anoint yourself with oil, but act like a woman who has long been mourning for the dead.
3 And go to the king and speak thus to him. And Joab told her what to say.
4 When the woman of Tekoah spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and did obeisance, and said, Help, O king!
5 The king asked her, What troubles you? She said, I am a widow; my husband is dead.
6 And your handmaid had two sons, and they quarreled with one another in the field. There was no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him.
7 And behold, our whole family has risen against your handmaid, and they say, Deliver him who slew his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he slew; and so they would destroy the heir also. And so quenching my coal which is left, they would leave to my husband neither name nor remnant upon the earth.
8 David said to the woman, Go home, and I will give orders concerning you.
9 And the woman of Tekoah said to the king, My lord, O king, let the guilt be on me and on my father's house; let the king and his throne be guiltless.
10 The king said, If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you again.
11 Then she said, I pray you, let the king remember the Lord your God, that the avenger of blood destroy not any more, lest they destroy my son. And David said, As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of your son fall to the earth.
12 Then the woman said, Let your handmaid, I pray you, speak one word to my lord the king. He said, Say on.
13 [She] said, Why then have you planned such a thing against God's people? For in speaking this word the king is like one who is guilty, in that [he] does not bring home his banished one.
14 We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. And God does not take away life, but devises means so that he who is banished may not be an utter outcast from Him.
15 And now I have come to speak of this thing to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. And I thought, I will speak to the king; it may be that he will perform the request of his servant.
16 For the king will hear to deliver his handmaid from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together from [Israel] the inheritance of God.
17 And the woman said, The word of my lord the king will now give me rest and security, for as an angel of God is my lord the king to hear and discern good and evil. May the Lord your God be with you!
18 Then the king said to the woman, Hide not from me anything I ask you. And the woman said, Let my lord the king speak.
19 The king said, Is the hand of Joab with you in all this? And the woman answered, As your soul lives, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything my lord the king has said. It was your servant Joab who directed me; he put all these words in my mouth.
20 In order to change the course of matters [between Absalom and his father] your servant Joab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God–to know all things that are on the earth.
21 Then the king said to Joab, Behold now, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Absalom.
22 And Joab fell to the ground on his face and did obeisance and thanked the king. And Joab said, Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord, O king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant.
23 So Joab arose, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
24 And the king said, Let him go to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom went to his own house and did not see the king's face.
25 But in all Israel there was none so much to be praised for his beauty as Absalom; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
26 And when he cut the hair of his head, he weighed it–for at each year's end he cut it, because its weight was a burden to him–and it weighed 200 shekels by the king's weight.
27 There were born to Absalom three sons and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a beautiful woman.
28 Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem and did not see the king's face.
29 So Absalom sent for Joab to send him to the king, but he would not come to him; even when he sent again the second time, he would not come.
30 Therefore Absalom said to his servants, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire. So Absalom's servants set the field afire.
31 Then Joab arose and went to Absalom at his house and said to him, Why have your servants set my field on fire?
32 Absalom answered Joab, I sent to you, saying, Come here, that I may send you to the king to ask, Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still. Now therefore [Joab], let me see the king, and if there is iniquity and guilt in me, let him kill me.
33 So Joab came to the king and told him. And when David had called for Absalom, he came to him and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king; and [David] kissed Absalom.