2 Samuel 13:38-15:12
Christian Standard Bible
38 After Absalom had fled to Geshur and had been there three years, 39 King David[a] longed to go to Absalom, for David had finished grieving over Amnon’s death.
Absalom Restored to David
14 Joab son of Zeruiah realized that the king’s mind was on Absalom. 2 So Joab sent someone to Tekoa(A) to bring a wise(B) woman from there. He told her, “Pretend to be in mourning: dress in mourning clothes and don’t put on any oil.(C) Act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for a long time. 3 Go to the king and speak these words to him.” Then Joab told her exactly what to say.[b]
5 “What’s the matter?” the king asked her.
“Sadly, I am a widow; my husband died,” she said.(E) 6 “Your servant had two sons. They were fighting in the field with no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him. 7 Now the whole clan has risen up against your servant and said, ‘Hand over the one who killed his brother so we may put him to death for the life of the brother he murdered. We will eliminate the heir!’ They would extinguish my one remaining ember by not preserving my husband’s name or posterity on earth.”(F)
8 The king told the woman, “Go home. I will issue a command on your behalf.”
9 Then the woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord the king, may any blame be on me(G) and my father’s family, and may the king and his throne be innocent.”
10 “Whoever speaks to you,” the king said, “bring him to me. He will not trouble you again!”
11 She replied, “Please, may the king invoke the Lord your God, so that the avenger of blood will not increase the loss, and they will not eliminate my son!” (H)
“As the Lord lives,” he vowed, “not a hair of your son will fall to the ground.”(I)
12 Then the woman said, “Please, may your servant speak a word to my lord the king?”
“Speak,” he replied.
13 The woman asked, “Why have you devised something similar against the people of God? When the king spoke as he did about this matter, he has pronounced his own guilt. The king has not brought back his own banished one. 14 We will certainly die(J) and be like water poured out on the ground, which can’t be recovered. But God would not take away a life; he would devise plans so that the one banished from him does not remain banished.
15 “Now therefore, I’ve come to present this matter to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. Your servant thought: I must speak to the king. Perhaps the king will grant his servant’s request. 16 The king will surely listen in order to keep his servant from the grasp of this man who would eliminate both me and my son from God’s inheritance. 17 Your servant thought: May the word of my lord the king bring relief, for my lord the king is able to discern the good and the bad like the angel of God.(K) May the Lord your God be with you.”
18 Then the king answered the woman, “I’m going to ask you something; don’t conceal it from me!”
“Let my lord the king speak,” the woman replied.
19 The king asked, “Did Joab put you up to[d] all this?”
The woman answered. “As you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or left from all my lord the king says. Yes, your servant Joab is the one who gave orders to me; he told your servant exactly what to say.[e] 20 Joab your servant has done this to address the issue indirectly,[f] but my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God, knowing everything on earth.”
21 Then the king said to Joab, “I hereby grant this request. Go, bring back the young man Absalom.”
22 Joab fell with his face to the ground in homage and blessed the king. “Today,” Joab said, “your servant knows I have found favor with you, my lord the king, because the king has granted the request of your servant.”
23 So Joab got up, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom(L) to Jerusalem. 24 However, the king added, “He may return to his house, but he may not see my face.” So Absalom returned to his house, but he did not see the king.[g]
25 No man in all Israel was as handsome(M) and highly praised as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the top of his head, he did not have a single flaw. 26 When he shaved his head—he shaved it at the end of every year because his hair got so heavy for him that he had to shave it off—he would weigh the hair from his head and it would be five pounds[h] according to the royal standard.
27 Three sons were born to Absalom, and a daughter named Tamar, who was a beautiful woman. 28 Absalom resided in Jerusalem two years but never saw the king. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab was unwilling to come to him. So he sent again, a second time, but he still would not come. 30 Then Absalom said to his servants, “See, Joab has a field right next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set fire to it!” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.[i]
31 Then Joab came to Absalom’s house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?”
32 “Look,” Absalom explained to Joab, “I sent for you and said, ‘Come here. I want to send you to the king to ask: Why have I come back from Geshur? I’d be better off if I were still there.’ So now, let me see the king. If I am guilty, let him kill me.”
33 Joab went to the king and told him. So David summoned Absalom, who came to the king and paid homage with his face to the ground before him. Then the king kissed Absalom.
15 After this, Absalom got himself a chariot, horses, and fifty men to run before him.(N) 2 He would get up early and stand beside the road leading to the city gate.(O) Whenever anyone had a grievance to bring before the king for settlement, Absalom called out to him and asked, “What city are you from?” If he replied, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel,” 3 Absalom said to him, “Look, your claims are good and right, but the king does not have anyone to listen to you.” 4 He added, “If only someone would appoint me judge in the land. Then anyone who had a grievance or dispute could come to me, and I would make sure he received justice.” 5 When a person approached to pay homage to him, Absalom reached out his hand, took hold of him, and kissed him.(P) 6 Absalom did this to all the Israelites who came to the king for a settlement. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
7 When four[j] years had passed, Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go to Hebron to fulfill a vow I made to the Lord. 8 For your servant made a vow when I lived in Geshur of Aram,(Q) saying, ‘If the Lord really brings me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the Lord in Hebron.’”[k](R)
9 “Go in peace,” the king said to him.(S) So he went to Hebron.
11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem went with Absalom. They had been invited and were going innocently, for they did not know the whole situation. 12 While he was offering the sacrifices, Absalom sent for David’s adviser Ahithophel the Gilonite,(V) from his city of Giloh. So the conspiracy grew strong, and the people supporting Absalom continued to increase.
- 13:39 DSS, LXX, Tg read David’s spirit
- 14:3 Lit Joab put the words into her mouth
- 14:4 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Tg, Vg; other Hb mss read spoke
- 14:19 Lit “Is the hand of Joab in
- 14:19 Lit he put all these words into the mouth of your servant
- 14:20 Lit to go around the face of the matter
- 14:24 Lit king’s face
- 14:26 Lit 200 shekels
- 14:30 DSS, LXX add So Joab’s servants came to him with their clothes torn and said, “Absalom’s servants have set the field on fire!”
- 15:7 Some LXX mss, Syr, Vg; other LXX mss, MT read 40
- 15:8 Some LXX mss; MT omits in Hebron