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20 There happened to be there a scoundrel whose name was Sheva the son of Bikhri, a Binyamini. He sounded the shofar and said, “We have no share in David, no inheritance in the son of Yishai; so, Isra’el, every man to his tent!” All the men of Isra’el left off following David and went after Sheva the son of Bikhri. But the men of Y’hudah stuck with their king, from the Yarden to Yerushalayim.

When David arrived at his palace in Yerushalayim, the king took the ten women who were his concubines, whom he had left to care for the palace, and put them under guard. He provided for their needs but never slept with them again. They were kept in confinement until the day of their death, living like widows with their husband still alive.

The king said to ‘Amasa, “Summon the men of Y’hudah to come to me within three days; and you, be here too.” ‘Amasa went to summon the men of Y’hudah but took longer than the time he had been given. David said to Avishai, “Sheva the son of Bikhri is going to do us more harm than Avshalom. Take your lord’s servants and pursue him, so that he won’t take over fortified cities and escape us.” With him went Yo’av’s men, the K’reti, the P’leti and all the experienced soldiers; they left Yerushalayim in pursuit of Sheva the son of Bikhri.

On arrival at the big rock in Giv‘on, ‘Amasa came to meet them. Yo’av was wearing his battle clothes, over which he had girded a belt with a sheathed sword; but as he came forward it fell out. Yo’av said to ‘Amasa, “Is it going well with you, my brother? Then, with his right hand, Yo’av took ‘Amasa by the beard to kiss him. 10 ‘Amasa took no notice of the sword in Yo’av’s hand, so Yo’av stabbed him in the groin. His insides poured out on the ground, and he died without being stabbed a second time.

Yo’av and Avishai his brother continued in pursuit of Sheva the son of Bikhri. 11 One of Yo’av’s young men standing by Yo’av said, “Whoever is on Yo’av’s side, whoever is for David — let him follow Yo’av.” 12 ‘Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the road; so that as the troops came up, they all halted there. When the man saw that all the people were standing still, he dragged ‘Amasa off the road into the field and threw a cloak over him. 13 Once he had been removed from the road, all the troops went on after Yo’av, to pursue Sheva the son of Bikhri.

14 Sheva went through all the tribes of Isra’el, to Avel and Beit-Ma‘akhah, and to all the Berim; they assembled and followed him. 15 Yo’av’s troops came and put him under siege in Avel of Beit-Ma‘akhah — they put up a ramp in the moat against the city wall; and all the people with Yo’av battered the wall in order to bring it down. 16 Then a wise woman in the city shouted, “Listen! Listen! Please tell Yo’av, ‘Come over here, so that I can speak with you.’” 17 He approached her, and the woman asked, “Are you Yo’av?” He answered, “I am.” She said to him, “Listen to what your servant has to say.” He answered, “I’m listening.” 18 Then she said, “In the old days they used to say, ‘They will ask advice at Avel’; and that would end the discussion. 19 We are among those in Isra’el who are peaceful and faithful. Why are you destroying a city and a mother in Isra’el? Why swallow up the inheritance of Adonai?” 20 Yo’av answered, “Heaven forbid! Heaven forbid that I should swallow or destroy anything! 21 That’s not how it is. Rather, a man from the hills of Efrayim, Sheva the son of Bikhri, has raised his hand against the king, against David. Just turn him over to me, and I will leave the city.” The woman said to Yo’av, “All right, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” 22 Then the woman went to all the people with her wise plan. They cut off the head of Sheva the son of Bikhri and threw it out to Yo’av. So he sounded the shofar, and they left the city, sending each man to his tent; while Yo’av returned to the king in Yerushalayim.

23 Once again Yo’av was commander over the whole army of Isra’el, while B’nayah the son of Y’hoyada was over the K’reti and P’leti, 24 Adoram was in charge of forced labor, Y’hoshafat the son of Achilud was secretary of state, 25 Sh’va was recorder, Tzadok and Evyatar were cohanim, 26 and ‘Ira the Ya’iri was David’s cohen.

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