1. Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was toward Absalom.
2. And Joab sent to Tekoah and brought a wise woman from there. And he said to her, “Please pretend yourself to be a mourner and put on mourning clothes now, but do not anoint yourself with oil. And be like a woman who has mourned for the dead a long time.
3. Then come to the king and speak in this way to him.” And Joab put the words in her mouth.
4. And 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. And the king said to her, “What ails you?” And she answered, “I am indeed a widow and my husband died.
6. And your handmaid had two sons, and the two of them fought together in the field. And there was no deliverer between them, but the one struck the other and killed him.
7. And behold, the whole family has risen against your handmaid. And they said, ‘Deliver him who struck his brother so that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he killed. And we will destroy the heir also.’ And so they shall quench my only remaining ember, and shall leave to my husband neither name nor remnant upon the face of the earth.”
8. And the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give command concerning you.”
9. And the woman of Tekoah said to the king. “My lord, O king, may the iniquity be on me and on my father’s house. And may the king and his throne be without guilt.”
10. And the king said, “Whoever speaks to you, you also bring him to me and he shall not touch you any more.”
11. Then she said, “Please let the king remember the LORD your God, that you would not allow the avengers of blood to destroy any more, lest they should destroy my son.” And he said, “As the LORD lives, there shall not one hair of your son fall to the earth.”
12. Then the woman said, “Please let your handmaid speak one more word to my lord the king.” And he said, “Say on!”
13. And the woman said, “Why then have you thought such a thing against the people of God? For the king speaks this thing as one who is at fault in that the king does not bring his banished one home again,
14. For we must all die, and we are as water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. And God does not take a life, but has devised plans so that the outcast is not cast out 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 your handmaid said, ‘I will now speak to the king. It may be that the king will do what his handmaid has asked,
16. For the king will hear, to deliver his handmaid out of the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God.’
17. And your handmaid said, ‘The word of my lord the king shall now be comforting, for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king, to see what is good and evil. And the LORD your God will be with you.’ ”
18. And the king answered and said to the woman, “Please do not hide from me the thing that I shall ask you.” And the woman said, “Let my lord the king now speak.”
19. And the king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” And the woman answered and said, “As your soul lives, my lord the king, none shall turn to the right hand or to the left from anything which my lord the king has spoken, for your servant Joab commanded me. And he put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid.
20. Your servant Joab has done this thing to change the face of the matter. And my lord is wise according to the wisdom of an angel of God to know all that is in the land.”
21. And the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I have done this thing. Go therefore and bring the young man Absalom again.”
22. And Joab fell to the ground on his face and bowed himself, and thanked the king. And Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found grace in your sight, my lord, O, king, in that the king has done what your servant has asked.”
23. And Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
24. And the king said, “Let him return to his own house, but let him not see my face.” And Absalom returned to his own house and did not see the king’s face.
25. But in all Israel there was not a man handsome like Absalom. From the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head, there was no blemish in him.
26. And when he sheared his head—for it was at every year’s end that he sheared it because it was heavy on him—and when he sheared it, then he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, according to the king’s weight.
27. And there were born three sons to Absalom, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar. She was a woman with a beautiful face.
28. And Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem and did not see the king’s face.
29. And Absalom sent to Joab to send him to the king. But he would not come to him. And when he sent again a second time, he would not come.
30. And he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s field is near mine and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire!” And Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.
31. Then Joab arose and came to Absalom’s house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?”
32. And Absalom answered Joab, “Behold, I sent to you, saying, ‘Come here so that I may send you to the king, to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It was good for me to be there still.” ‘ And now let me see the king’s face, and if there is iniquity in me, let him kill me.”
33. And Joab came to the king and told him. And when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom.
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