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Joab the Terminator

20 Now a worthless fellow happened to be there, a Benjamite named Sheba son of Bichri. He blew the shofar and said, “We have no portion in David, no inheritance in the son of Jesse! Every man to his tents, O Israel!” So all the men of Israel withdrew from following David and followed Sheba son of Bichri, but the men of Judah kept close to their king from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

Now when David arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to take care of the palace, and put them in a guarded house. He provided for them but he did not cohabit with them. So they were confined until the day they died, living in widowhood.

Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon to me the men of Judah within three days and be here yourself.” So Amasa went to summon Judah but he took longer than the set time that he had allotted him.

Then David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom. So take your lord’s servants and pursue him lest he find for himself fortified cities and escape from our sight.” So Joab’s men went after him, along with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the mighty men, and set out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bichri. When they were at the great stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was dressed in his military uniform, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened on his waist; and as he stepped forward, it fell out. Then Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you my brother?” With his right hand Joab took Amasa by the beard to kiss him. 10 But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s other hand. So he stabbed him with it in the groin and poured out his entrails to the ground, and did not strike him again, for he died.

Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bichri. 11 Meanwhile, one of Joab’s young men stood over Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” 12 Yet Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the midst of the highway. So when the man saw that all the people stood still, he dragged Amasa from the highway into the field and threw a garment over him because he saw that everyone passing by him paused.  13 Once he removed him from the highway, everyone passed on, following Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bichri.

14 Now he went through all the tribes of Israel, to Abel and Beth-Maacah. All the Berites gathered together and indeed followed him. 15 They came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-Maacah and cast up a siege ramp against the city. It stood against the outer fortification and all the people with Joab battered the wall in order to topple it.

16 Then a wise woman cried out from the city, “Listen! Listen! Please tell Joab to come over here that I may speak with him.” 17 When he approached her, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?”

“I am,” he answered.

Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your handmaid.”

“I’m listening,” he answered.

18 Then she spoke up saying, “They used to say in old time, ‘They shall surely seek counsel at Abel and that’s how they settled any dispute. 19 I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. Are you seeking to destroy a mother city in Israel? Why would you devour Adonai’s inheritance?”

20 Joab replied saying, “Never! Far be it from me that I would devour up or ruin. 21 The matter is not so; but a fellow from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba son of Bichri his name, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give him up alone and I will withdraw from the city.”

So the woman replied to Joab, “Look here, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” 22 Then the woman approached all the people wisely. So they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and threw it over to Joab. He then blew the shofar and they were dismissed from the city, each to his tent. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.

23 Now Joab remained over all the army of Israel; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24 Adoram was over the forced labor; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25 Sheba was scribe; Zadok and Abiathar were kohanim; 26 and Ira the Jairite also was a kohen to David.