2 Samuel 19-20, Luke 18:1-23 (Easy-to-Read Version)
2 Samuel 19-20
Joab Scolds David
19 People told Joab what had happened, “Look, the king is crying and mourning for Absalom.” 2 So the joy of victory turned to sadness for everyone. It was a very sad day because the people heard, “The king is mourning for his son.”
3 The people came into the city quietly as if they were the ones who had been defeated in battle. 4 The king had covered his face and was crying loudly, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
5 Joab came into the king’s palace and said to the king, “You are humiliating every one of your officers! Look, they saved your life today and the lives of your sons and daughters and your wives and slave women. 6 It seems that you love those who hate you, and you hate those who love you! Today you have made it clear to your officers and men that they mean nothing to you. It appears as if you would have been perfectly happy if Absalom had lived and the rest of us had been killed today! 7 Now get up and go encourage your officers. I swear by the Lord, if you don’t go out and do that right now, not one man will be with you tonight. And that will be worse for you than all the trouble you have had since you were a child.”
8 So the king went to the city gate.[a] The news spread that the king was at the gate, so all the people came to see him, except for the Israelites who had run away to their homes.
David Is King Again
9 The tribes of Israel began discussing what to do next. They said, “King David saved us from the Philistines and our other enemies. David left the country because he was running away from Absalom. 10 We anointed Absalom to be the king, but he was killed in battle. So we should bring David back to be the king again.”
11 King David sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. David said, “Speak to the leaders of Judah and tell them, ‘Why are you the last tribe to bring King David back home? See, all the Israelites are talking about bringing the king back home. 12 You are my brothers, my family, so why are you the last tribe to bring the king back?’ 13 Also tell Amasa, ‘You are part of my family. I swear that I will make you captain of the army in Joab’s place.’”
14 David touched the hearts of the people of Judah, and they all agreed as one. The people of Judah sent a message to the king, saying, “You and all your officers come back!”
15 King David came to the Jordan River. The people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and take him across the Jordan River.
Shimei Asks David to Forgive Him
16 Shimei son of Gera, from the tribe of Benjamin, lived in Bahurim. Shimei rushed down to meet King David, with the rest of the people of Judah. 17 About 1000 people from the tribe of Benjamin came with Shimei. Ziba the servant from Saul’s family also came. Ziba brought his 15 sons and 20 servants with him. All these people hurried to the Jordan River to meet King David.
18 The people went across the Jordan River to help bring the king’s family back to Judah. They did whatever the king wanted. While the king was crossing the river, Shimei son of Gera came to meet him. He bowed down to the ground in front of the king. 19 Shimei said to the king, “My lord, don’t think about the wrong things I did. My lord and king, don’t remember the bad things I did when you left Jerusalem. 20 I know that I sinned. That is why today I am the first person from Joseph’s family[b] to come down and meet you, my lord and king.”
21 Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Let’s kill him for all the bad things he said about the Lord’s chosen king.[c]”
22 David said, “What should I do with you, sons of Zeruiah? Are you trying to cause me trouble? No one will be put to death in Israel today! Today I know that I am king over Israel.”
23 Then the king said to Shimei, “You will not die.” The king made a promise to Shimei that he himself would not kill Shimei.[d]
Mephibosheth Goes to See David
24 Saul’s grandson,[e] Mephibosheth, came down to meet King David. Mephibosheth had not cared for his feet, trimmed his mustache, or washed his clothes since the day the king left Jerusalem. 25 When he met the king at Jerusalem, the king said, “Mephibosheth, why didn’t you go with me when I ran away from Jerusalem?”
26 Mephibosheth answered, “My lord and king, my servant tricked me. I am crippled so I said to my servant, Ziba, ‘Go saddle a donkey for me so that I can go with the king.’ 27 But my servant tricked me and said bad things about me. My lord and king, you are like an angel from God. Do whatever you think is right. 28 You could have killed all my grandfather’s[f] family, but you did not do that. Instead, you included me among the people who eat at your own table. So I don’t have a right to complain to the king about anything.”
29 The king said to Mephibosheth, “Don’t say anything more about your problems. This is what I have decided: You and Ziba will divide the land.”
30 Mephibosheth said to the king, “My lord and king, it is enough that you have come home in peace. Let Ziba have the land.”
David Asks Barzillai to Come With Him
31 Barzillai of Gilead came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan River with King David and send him on his way home. 32 Barzillai was a very old man, 80 years old. He had given the king food and other things when David was staying at Mahanaim. Barzillai could do this because he was a very rich man. 33 David said to Barzillai, “Come across the river with me. I will take care of you if you will live in Jerusalem with me.”
34 But Barzillai said to the king, “Do you know how old I am? Do you think I can go with you to Jerusalem? 35 I am 80 years old! I am too old to tell what is bad or good. I cannot taste what I eat or drink or hear the voices of men and women singers. Why should you want to be bothered with me? 36 I don’t need any of the things that you want to give me. I will cross the Jordan River with you. 37 Then please let me go back so that I can die in my own town and be buried in the grave of my father and mother. But here is Kimham; take him back with you as a servant, my lord and king. Do whatever you want with him.”
38 The king answered, “Kimham will go back with me. I will be kind to him for you. I will do anything for you.”
David Goes Back Home
39 The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Barzillai went back home, and the king and all the people went across the river.
40 The king crossed the Jordan River to Gilgal. Kimham went with him. All the people of Judah and half the people of Israel led David across the river.
Israelites Argue With the People of Judah
41 All the Israelites came to the king and said to him, “Why did our brothers, the people of Judah, steal you away? Why did they bring you and your family back across the Jordan River with your men?”
42 All the people of Judah answered the Israelites, “We did it because the king is our close relative. Why are you angry with us about this? We have not eaten food at the king’s expense. The king did not give us any gifts.”
43 The Israelites answered, “We have ten shares in David,[g] so we have more right to David than you do. Why did you ignore us? We were the first ones to talk about bringing our king back.”
But the people of Judah replied with words that were even louder and angrier than those of the Israelites.
Sheba Leads Israel Away From David
20 At that place there was a man named Sheba son of Bicri. Sheba was a worthless troublemaker from the tribe of Benjamin. He blew a trumpet to gather the people together and said,
“We have no share in David.
We have no part in the son of Jesse.
Israel, let’s all go home.”
2 So all the Israelites[h] left David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the people from Judah stayed with their king all the way from the Jordan River to Jerusalem.
3 David went back to his house in Jerusalem. He had left ten of his slave women to take care of the house. He put these women in a special house.[i] Then he put guards around the house. They stayed in this house until they died. David took care of the women and gave them food, but he did not have sexual relations with them. They lived like widows until they died.
4 The king told Amasa, “Tell the people of Judah to meet with me in three days. You must be here, too.”
5 So Amasa called the people of Judah together, but he took longer than the king had told him.
David Tells Abishai to Kill Sheba
6 David said to Abishai, “Sheba son of Bicri is more dangerous to us than Absalom was. So take my officers and chase Sheba. Hurry before he gets into cities with walls. If he gets into the well-protected cities, we will not be able to get him.”
7 So Joab took the Kerethites and Pelethites[j] and the other soldiers with him and left Jerusalem to chase after Sheba son of Bicri.
Joab Kills Amasa
8 When Joab and the army came to Big Rock at Gibeon, Amasa came out to meet them. Joab was wearing his uniform with a belt that held a knife. As he walked toward Amasa, the knife on the belt came out. 9 Joab asked Amasa, “How are you doing, brother?” Joab reached out with his right hand and grabbed Amasa by the beard to greet him with a kiss. 10 Amasa didn’t see the knife that was now in Joab’s other hand. Joab stabbed him in the belly, and Amasa’s intestines spilled out on the ground. There was no need for Joab to stab him again; he was already dead.
David’s Men Continue to Look for Sheba
Then Joab and his brother Abishai resumed the chase after Sheba son of Bicri. 11 One of Joab’s young soldiers stood by Amasa’s body and said, “All of you who support Joab and David, let’s follow Joab.”
12 Amasa was there in the middle of road, lying in his own blood. The young soldier noticed that all the people kept stopping to look at the body, so he rolled the body off the road and into the field and covered it with a cloth. 13 Once the body was out of the way, the people simply passed it by and joined up with Joab to go after Sheba son of Bicri.
Sheba Escapes to Abel Beth Maacah
14 Sheba son of Bicri passed through all the tribes of Israel on his way to Abel Beth Maacah. All the Berites[k] joined together and followed Sheba.
15 When Joab and his men came to Abel Beth Maacah, they surrounded the town. They piled dirt up against the city wall and began breaking stones out of the wall to make it fall down.
16 But there was a very wise woman in that city who shouted out to them and said, “Listen to me! Tell Joab to come here. I want to talk with him.”
17 Joab went to talk with the woman. She asked him, “Are you Joab?”
Joab answered, “Yes, I am.”
Then the woman said, “Listen to me.”
Joab said, “I am listening.”
18 Then the woman said, “In the past people would say, ‘Ask for help in Abel and you will get what you need.’ 19 I am one of many peaceful, loyal people in this town. You are trying to destroy an important city of Israel. Why do you want to destroy something that belongs to the Lord?”
20 Joab answered, “I don’t want to destroy anything. I don’t want to ruin your city. 21 But there is a man in your city from the hill country of Ephraim. He is named Sheba son of Bicri. He rebelled against King David. Bring him to me, and I will leave the city alone.”
The woman said to Joab, “All right. His head will be thrown over the wall to you.”
22 Then the woman spoke very wisely to all the people of the city. They cut off the head of Sheba son of Bicri and threw it over the city wall to Joab.
So Joab blew the trumpet and the army left the city. The soldiers went home, and Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.
The People on David’s Staff
23 Joab was captain of the whole army of Israel. Benaiah son of Jehoiada led the Kerethites and Pelethites. 24 Adoniram led the men who were forced to do hard work. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the historian. 25 Sheva was the secretary. Zadok and Abiathar were the priests. 26 And Ira from Jair was David’s personal priest.[l]
- 2 Samuel 19:8 city gate This was where the public meetings were held.
- 2 Samuel 19:20 Joseph’s family This probably means the Israelites who followed Absalom. Many times the name Ephraim (a son of Joseph) is used for all the tribes in northern Israel.
- 2 Samuel 19:21 chosen king Literally, “anointed one.”
- 2 Samuel 19:23 David did not kill Shimei. But a few years later, David’s son Solomon ordered Shimei to be put to death. See 1 Kings 2:44-46.
- 2 Samuel 19:24 grandson Literally, “son.”
- 2 Samuel 19:28 grandfather’s Literally, “father’s.”
- 2 Samuel 19:43 ten shares in David Judah and Benjamin were two of the tribes that later became the kingdom of Judah after the kingdom split. The other ten tribes were in the kingdom of Israel.
- 2 Samuel 20:2 Israelites Here, this means the tribes not united with Judah.
- 2 Samuel 20:3 David … special house David’s son Absalom had ruined David’s concubines by having sexual relations with them. See 2 Sam. 16:21-22.
- 2 Samuel 20:7 Kerethites and Pelethites David’s special group of fighting men. Also in verse 23.
- 2 Samuel 20:14 Berites The Greek and Latin versions have “Bicrites.”
- 2 Samuel 20:26 personal priest Or “chief servant” or “advisor.”
God Will Answer His People
18 Then Jesus taught the followers that they should always pray and never lose hope. He used this story to teach them: 2 “Once there was a judge in a town. He did not care about God. He also did not care what people thought about him. 3 In that same town there was a woman whose husband had died. She came many times to this judge and said, ‘There is a man who is doing bad things to me. Give me my rights!’ 4 But the judge did not want to help the woman. After a long time, the judge thought to himself, ‘I don’t care about God. And I don’t care about what people think. 5 But this woman is bothering me. If I give her what she wants, then she will leave me alone. But if I don’t give her what she wants, she will bother me until I am sick.’”
6 The Lord said, “Listen, there is meaning in what the bad judge said. 7 God’s people shout to him night and day, and he will always give them what is right. He will not be slow to answer them. 8 I tell you, God will help his people quickly. But when the Son of Man comes again, will he find people on earth who believe in him?”
Being Right With God
9 There were some people who thought they were very good and looked down on everyone else. Jesus used this story to teach them: 10 “One time there was a Pharisee and a tax collector. One day they both went to the Temple to pray. 11 The Pharisee stood alone, away from the tax collector. When the Pharisee prayed, he said, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not as bad as other people. I am not like men who steal, cheat, or commit adultery. I thank you that I am better than this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, and I give a tenth of everything I get!’
13 “The tax collector stood alone too. But when he prayed, he would not even look up to heaven. He felt very humble before God. He said, ‘O God, have mercy on me. I am a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, when this man finished his prayer and went home, he was right with God. But the Pharisee, who felt that he was better than others, was not right with God. People who make themselves important will be made humble. But those who make themselves humble will be made important.”
Jesus Welcomes Children
15 Some people brought their small children to Jesus so that he could lay his hands on them to bless them. But when the followers saw this, they told the people not to do this. 16 But Jesus called the little children to him and said to his followers, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people who are like these little children. 17 The truth is, you must accept God’s kingdom like a little child accepts things, or you will never enter it.”
A Rich Man Refuses to Follow Jesus
18 A religious leader asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”
19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. 20 And you know his commands: ‘You must not commit adultery, you must not murder anyone, you must not steal, you must not tell lies about others, you must respect your father and mother ….’[a]”
21 But the leader said, “I have obeyed all these commands since I was a boy.”
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to the leader, “But there is still one thing you need to do. Sell everything you have and give the money to those who are poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow me.” 23 But when the man heard Jesus tell him to give away his money, he was sad. He didn’t want to do this, because he was very rich.