The Woman of Tekoa
1 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the R379 king's heart was inclined toward Absalom. 2 So Joab sent to Tekoa R380 and brought F154 a wise woman from there and said to her, "Please pretend to be a mourner, and put on mourning garments now, and do not anoint R381 yourself with oil, but be like a woman who has been mourning for the dead many days; 3 then go to the king and speak to him in this manner." So Joab put the R382 words in her mouth.
4 Now when the woman of Tekoa spoke F155 to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated R383 herself and said, "Help, R384 O king." 5 The king said to her, "What is your trouble?" And she answered, F156 "Truly I am a widow, for my husband is dead. 6 "Your maidservant had two sons, but the two of them struggled together in the field, and there was no one F157 to separate them, so one struck the other and killed him. 7 "Now behold, the R385 whole family has risen against your maidservant, and they say, `Hand over the one who struck his brother, that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed, and R386 destroy the heir also.' Thus they will extinguish my coal which is left, so as to leave F158 my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth."
8 Then the king said to the woman, "Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you." 9 The woman of Tekoa said to the king, "O my lord, the king, the R387 iniquity is on me and my father's house, but the R388 king and his throne are guiltless." 10 So the king said, "Whoever speaks to you, bring him to me, and he will not touch you anymore." 11 Then she said, "Please let the king remember the LORD your God, so R389 that the avenger of blood will not continue to destroy, otherwise they will destroy my son." And he said, "As R390 the LORD lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground."
12 Then the woman said, "Please let your maidservant speak a word to my lord the king." And he said, "Speak." 13 The woman said, "Why R391 then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in speaking this word the king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring back his R392 banished one. 14 "For we R393 will surely die and are like R394 water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life, but plans ways F159 so that the R395 banished one will not be cast out from him. 15 "Now the F160 reason I have come to speak this word to my lord the king is that the people have made me afraid; so your maidservant said, `Let me now speak to the king, perhaps the king will perform the request F161 of his maidservant. 16 `For the king will hear and F162 deliver his maidservant from the hand F163 of the man who would destroy both F164 me and my son from the R396 inheritance of God.' 17 "Then your maidservant said, `Please let the word of my lord the king be comforting, F165 for as the R397 angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and evil. And may the LORD your God be with you.' "
18 Then the king answered and said to the woman, "Please do not hide anything from me that I am about to ask you." And the woman said, "Let my lord the king please speak." 19 So the king said, "Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?" And the woman replied, "As your soul lives, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. Indeed, it was your R398 servant Joab who commanded me, and it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your maidservant; 20 in order to change the appearance of things your servant Joab has done this thing. But my lord is wise, like R399 the wisdom of the angel of God, to know all that is in the earth."
Absalom Is Recalled
21 Then the king said to Joab, "Behold now, I R400 will surely do this thing; go therefore, bring back the young man Absalom." 22 Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself and blessed the king; then Joab said, "Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, O my lord, the king, in that the king has performed the request F166 of his servant." 23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur R401 and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 However the king said, "Let him turn to his R402 own house, and let him not see my face." So Absalom turned to his own house and did not see the king's face.
25 Now in all Israel was no one as handsome as Absalom, so highly praised; from R403 the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no defect in him. 26 When he cut R404 the hair of his head (and it was at the end of every year that he cut it, for it was heavy on him so he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head at 200 shekels by the king's weight. 27 To R405 Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar; R406 she was a woman of beautiful appearance.
28 Now Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, and R407 did not see the king's face. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but he would not come to him. So he sent again a second time, but he would not come. 30 Therefore he said to his servants, "See, Joab's R408 field F167 is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire." So Absalom's servants set the field F167 on fire. 31 Then Joab arose, came to Absalom at his house and said to him, "Why have your servants set my field F168 on fire?" 32 Absalom answered F169 Joab, "Behold, I sent for you, saying, `Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me still to be there."' Now therefore, let me see the king's face, and R409 if there is iniquity in me, let him put me to death." 33 So when Joab came to the king and told him, he called for Absalom. Thus he came to the king and prostrated himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the R410 king kissed Absalom.
F154: Lit took
F155: Many mss and ancient versions read came
F156: Lit said
F157: Lit deliverer between
F158: Lit set
F159: Lit devices
F160: Lit that
F161: Lit word
F162: Lit to
F163: Lit palm
F164: Lit together
F165: Lit for rest
F166: Lit word
F167: Lit portion
F167: Lit portion
F168: Lit portion
F169: Lit said to
R379: 2 Samuel 13:39
R380: 2 Samuel 23:26; 2 Chronicles 11:6; Amos 1:1
R381: 2 Samuel 12:20
R382: 2 Samuel 14:19
R383: 1 Samuel 25:23
R384: 2 Kings 6:26-28
R385: Numbers 35:19; Deuteronomy 19:12,13
R386: Matthew 21:38
R387: Genesis 43:9; 1 Samuel 25:24
R388: 1 Kings 2:33
R389: Numbers 35:19,21; Deuteronomy 19:4-10
R390: 1 Samuel 14:45; 1 Kings 1:52; Matthew 10:30
R391: 2 Samuel 12:7; 1 Kings 20:40-42
R392: 2 Samuel 13:37,38
R393: Job 1:30:23; 34:15; Hebrews 9:27
R394: Psalms 58:7
R395: Numbers 35:15,25,28
R396: Deuteronomy 32:9; 1 Samuel 26:19
R397: 1 Samuel 29:9; 2 Samuel 14:20; 19:27
R398: 2 Samuel 14:3
R399: 2 Samuel 14:17; 19:27
R400: 2 Samuel 14:11
R401: Deuteronomy 3:14; 2 Samuel 13:37,38
R402: 2 Samuel 13:20
R403: Deuteronomy 28:35; Job 1:2:7; Isaiah 1:6
R404: Ezekiel 44:20
R405: 2 Samuel 18:18
R406: 2 Samuel 13:1
R407: 2 Samuel 14:24
R408: Judges 15:3-5
R409: 1 Samuel 20:8; Proverbs 28:13
R410: Genesis 33:4; Luke 15:20