Sheba Leads a Revolt
1Now a man of wickedness was found there whose name was Sheba the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite. He blew the horn and said, “There is no share for us in David, and there is no inheritance for us in the son of Jesse; each to his tents, O Israel!” 2Then all the men of Israel went up from following after David, following instead after Sheba the son of Bicri, but the men of Judah stuck to their king from the Jordan up to Jerusalem. 3David went up to his house in Jerusalem, then the king took the ten concubines whom he had left to look after the house, and he put them under confinement.#Literally “a house of guard” However, he provided for them, but he did not sleep with them.#Literally “he did not come into them” So they were confined until the day of their death, like a lifetime of widowhood.
Joab Assassinates Amasa
4Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon for me the men of Judah within three days, and be here yourself.”#Literally “and you stand here” 5So Amasa went to summon Judah, but he tarried more than the appointed time which he had set for him. 6Then David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bicri will do us more harm than Absalom. You take the servants of your lord and pursue after him, lest he find fortified cities for himself and escape from us.” 7Then the men of Joab, the Kerethites and the Pelethites, and all the mighty warriors went out after him; they went out from Jerusalem to pursue after Sheba the son of Bicri. 8They were near the big rock that is in Gibeon, and Amasa came before them. Joab was dressed in his military clothing,#Literally “was dressed his garment his clothing” with a utility belt on him and a sword strapped to his waist in its scabbard. Now he went out, and it fell out. 9Then Joab said to Amasa, “Is it peace, O you my brother?” Then the right hand of Joab took hold of the beard of Amasa as if to kiss him. 10Now Amasa was not on his guard against the sword that was in Joab’s hand, and he struck him with it into the stomach, and his entrails poured out to the ground. He did not strike him again, and he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bicri. 11A young man stood over him, from the young men of Joab, and he said, “Whoever takes delight in Joab and whoever is for David, follow after Joab.” 12Now Amasa was wallowing in the blood in the middle of the highway; when the man saw that all the people stood there, he turned Amasa over from the highway into the field, and he threw a garment over him because he had seen that all who had come by him had stopped. 13After he was removed from the highway, all the men passed by after Joab to pursue after Sheba the son of Bicri.
Wisdom from a Woman under Siege
14(He#i.e., “Sheba” had passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel and Beth Maacah; now all of the Berites had been treated badly, so they also followed after him.) 15And they came and besieged him in Abel Beth Maacah. They threw up a siege ramp against the city, and they stood against the ramparts. And all the army who were with Joab were battering to cause the wall to fall. 16Then a wise woman from the city called out, “Listen, listen! Please speak to Joab to come near here so that I may speak to you.” 17Then he came near to her, and the woman asked, “Are you Joab?” And he said, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” He said, “I am listening.” 18Then she said, “In former times, they would always say,#Literally “speaking they would speak” ‘By all means, let them inquire in Abel,’ and so they settled things. 19I am one of the faithful representatives of Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow the inheritance of Yahweh?” 20Then Joab answered and said, “Far be it, far be it from me that I should swallow or I should destroy. 21That is not the matter. But a man from the mountains of Ephraim, whose name is Sheba the son Bicri, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Give only him to us, and I will depart from the city.” The woman said to Joab, “Look, his head is being thrown down to you over the wall.” 22The woman went to all of the people with her wise plan, so they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bicri and threw it to Joab. Then he blew the horn and dispersed from the city, each to his tent. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. 23Now Joab was over all the army of Israel and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Carites and over the Pelethites. 24Adoram was over the forced labor, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder. 25Shiya was secretary, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests. 26Also Ira the Jairite was priest for David.