2 Samuel 14

Joab causes a woman to tell a sad story to David

1 Zeruiah's son, Joab knew how much the king wanted to see Absalom. 2 So he sent a servant to Tekoa to bring a wise woman from there. He said to her, ‘Dress in special clothes. The king must think that somebody in your family has died. Do not put oil with a sweet smell on yourself. You must be like a woman who has been sad for a long time. 3 Then go to the king. This is what you must say to him.’ Then Joab told her the words.

4 So the woman from Tekoa went to the king. She fell on the floor in front of him because she wanted to honour him. Then she said, ‘You are the king. Please help me!’

14:4In those days, the king was a judge. People could go to the king if they had a difficult problem.

5 The king asked her, ‘What is your trouble?’

She said, ‘My husband is dead 6 and I had two sons. They were fighting in the fields and there was nobody near to stop them. One son hit the other son. And he killed him. 7 Now the whole family is against me. They want me to give to them the son who killed his brother. They want to punish him because he killed his brother. They want to kill him now. If they do that, I will have no son. And there will be nobody to continue my husband's name.’

8 The king said, ‘Go to your house. I will tell them that they must not kill him.’

9 Then the woman from Tekoa spoke. ‘My lord, the king, I want God to punish me for this and not the king or his family.’

10 The king replied, ‘If anyone says anything bad to you, bring him to me. After that, he will not cause you any more trouble.’

11 Then she said, ‘I do not want the man who should punish my son to kill him. That would be a worse thing than the death of my other son. Please pray to the Lord your God that it will not happen.’

‘I promise the living Lord that he will not touch one hair of his head,’ he said.

12 Then the woman spoke again. ‘Can I say one more thing to my lord the king?’

‘Speak,’ he replied.

13 Then the woman said, ‘Why have you done such a wrong thing to God's own people? You have not let your own son return to his home. He is still in a foreign city. You are like someone who has done a wrong thing. I can say that because of what you have just said. 14 We are like water that falls on the ground. We cannot put it into the pot that it fell out of. We must all die. But God does not kill us. He thinks of a way to bring a man back from the place where he sent him away.

15 I am saying this to the king because the people have made me afraid. Your servant thought, “I will speak to the king. Perhaps he will do what I ask. 16 Perhaps he will save me from the man who wants to kill my son. So that man will not take our family from the land that God gave to us.”

17 Now I say, “I pray that your promise will keep us safe.” That is because the king is like an angel of God. He knows what is good. And he knows what is evil. I pray that the Lord your God will be with you!’

The king knows now what Joab has done

18 Then the king spoke to the woman. ‘You must answer to me this one question. Say only what is true. Do not hide anything.’

‘Ask me anything, sir,’ she replied.

19 ‘Has Joab told you what to say?’ he asked.

‘I cannot hide the answer to your question, my lord the king,’ the woman said. ‘Yes, it was your servant Joab. He told me what to do. And he told me what to say. 20 He did it to change things. My lord is as wise as God's angels. He knows everything that happens in Israel.’

21 The king spoke to Joab. ‘I have decided to do what you want. Go and bring back the young man Absalom.’

22 Joab fell with his face to the ground in front of the king because he wanted to honour him. He said, ‘I pray that God will bless you sir. You have given me what I asked for. So now I know that I have given you pleasure.’

Joab brings Absalom back to Jerusalem

23 Then Joab went to Geshur and he brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 24 But the king said, ‘He must go to his own house. I do not want him to come to see me.’ So Absalom went to his own house. He did not see the king.

Absalom in Jerusalem

25 Everyone in Israel thought that Absalom was the most handsome man in the whole country. In his body, everything from head to toe was completely good to look at. 26 Sometimes he cut his hair because it was too heavy. The hair that he cut off weighed about 4 pounds (2 kilos).

27 Absalom had three sons and one daughter. He called her Tamar and she became a very beautiful woman.

28 For two whole years Absalom lived in Jerusalem. But he never saw the king. 29 Then Absalom sent a servant to Joab with a message. He wanted Joab to come and to see him. But Joab would not come. So he sent another servant but Joab refused to come. 30 Then Absalom spoke to his servants. ‘Joab's field is next to mine. And barley is growing in it. Now go and cause it to burn.’ So Absalom's servants did as he asked.

31 Then Joab did go to Absalom's house. ‘Why did your servants burn my field?’ he asked.

The king lets Absalom come to see him

32 Absalom replied, ‘I sent my servants to ask you to come. But you did not come to see me. I wanted to send you to the king. I wanted you to ask him why he had brought me from Geshur to Jerusalem. It would have been better for me to stay there! Now I want to go to see the king. So he can say himself if I have done anything wrong. Then he can kill me for any wrong thing that I have done.’

33 So Joab went to the king and he told the king about it. Then the king sent servants to bring Absalom to him. He came in and he bent down in front of the king. He put his face to the ground. And the king kissed Absalom.