2 Samuel 19-20 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
19 Someone told Joab, “The king is crying because Absalom is dead.”
2 David’s army found out he was crying because his son had died, and their day of victory suddenly turned into a day of sadness. 3 The troops were sneaking into Mahanaim, just as if they had run away from a battle and were ashamed.
4 David held his hands over his face and kept on crying loudly, “My son, Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!”
5 Joab went to the house where David was staying and told him:
You’ve made your soldiers ashamed! Not only did they save your life, they saved your sons and daughters and wives as well. 6 You’re more loyal to your enemies than to your friends. What you’ve done today has shown your officers and soldiers that they don’t mean a thing to you. You would be happy if Absalom was still alive, even if the rest of us were dead.
7 Now get up! Go out there and thank them for what they did. If you don’t, I swear by the Lord that you won’t even have one man left on your side tomorrow morning. You may have had a lot of troubles in the past, but this will be the worst thing that has ever happened to you!
8 David got up and went to the town gate and sat down. When the people heard that he was sitting there, they came to see him.
Israel and Judah Want David Back
After Israel’s soldiers had all returned home, 9-10 everyone in Israel started arguing. They were saying to each other, “King David rescued us from the Philistines and from our other enemies. But then we chose Absalom to be our new leader, and David had to leave the country to get away. Absalom died in battle, so why hasn’t something been done to bring David back?”
11 When David found out what they were saying, he sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. It said:
Say to the leaders of Judah, “Why are you the last tribe to think about bringing King David back home? 12 He is your brother, your own relative! Why haven’t you done anything to bring him back?”
13 And tell Amasa, “You’re my nephew, and with God as a witness, I swear I’ll make you commander of my army instead of Joab.”
14 Soon the tribe of Judah again became followers of David, and they sent him this message: “Come back, and bring your soldiers with you.”
David Starts Back for Jerusalem
15 David started back and had gone as far as the Jordan River when he met the people of Judah. They had gathered at Gilgal and had come to help him cross the river.
16 Shimei[a] the son of Gera was there with them. He had hurried from Bahurim to meet David. Shimei was from the tribe of Benjamin, and 17 a thousand others from Benjamin had come with him.
Ziba, the chief servant of Saul’s family, also came to the Jordan River. He and his fifteen sons and twenty servants waded across[b] to meet David. 18 Then they brought David’s family and servants back across the river, and they did everything he wanted them to do.
Shimei Meets with David
Shimei crossed the Jordan River and bowed down in front of David. 19 He said, “Your Majesty, I beg you not to punish me! Please, forget what I did when you were leaving Jerusalem. Don’t even think about it. 20 I know I was wrong. That’s why I wanted to be the first one from the northern tribes to meet you.”
21 But Abishai shouted, “You should be killed for cursing the Lord’s chosen king!”
22 David said, “Abishai, what will I ever do with you and your brother Joab? Is it your job to tell me who has done wrong? I’ve been made king of all Israel today, and no one will be put to death!” 23 Then David promised Shimei that he would not be killed.
Mephibosheth Meets with David
24 Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul, also came to meet David. He had missed David so much that he had not taken a bath or trimmed his beard or washed his clothes the whole time David was gone.
25 After they had gone back to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth came to see David, who asked him, “Why didn’t you go with me?”
26 He answered, “Your Majesty, you know I can’t walk. I told my servant to saddle a donkey for me[c] so I could go with you. But my servant left without me, and 27 then he lied about me. You’re as wise as an angel of God, so do what you think is right. 28 After all, you could have killed my whole family and me. But instead, you let me eat at your own table. Your Majesty, what more could I ask?”
29 David answered, “You’ve said enough! I’ve decided to divide the property[d] between you and Ziba.”
30 Mephibosheth replied, “He can have it all! I’m just glad you’ve come home safely.”
Barzillai Returns Home
31 Barzillai came from Rogelim in Gilead to meet David at the Jordan River and go across with him. 32 Barzillai was eighty years old. He was very rich and had sent food to David in Mahanaim.
33 David said to him, “Cross the river and go to Jerusalem with me. I will take care of you.”
34 Barzillai answered:
Your Majesty, why should I go to Jerusalem? I don’t have much longer to live. 35 I’m already eighty years old, and my body is almost numb. I can’t taste my food or hear the sound of singing, and I would be nothing but a burden. 36 I’ll cross the river with you, but I’ll only go a little way on the other side. You don’t have to be so kind to me. 37 Just let me return to my hometown, where I can someday be buried near my father and mother. My servant Chimham[e] can go with you, and you can treat him as your own.
38 David said, “I’ll take Chimham with me, and whatever you ask me to do for him, I’ll do. And if there’s anything else you want, I’ll also do that.”
39 David’s soldiers went on across the river, while he stayed behind to tell Barzillai good-by and to wish him well. Barzillai returned home, but 40 Chimham crossed the river with David.
Israel and Judah Argue
All of Judah’s army and half of Israel’s army were there to help David cross the river. 41 The soldiers from Israel came to him and said, “Why did our relatives from Judah sneak you and your family and your soldiers across the Jordan?”
42 The people of Judah answered, “Why are you so angry? We are the king’s relatives. He didn’t give us any food, and we didn’t take anything for ourselves!”
43 Those from Israel said, “King David belongs to us ten times more than he belongs to you.[f] Why didn’t you think we were good enough to help you? After all, we were the first ones to think of bringing him back!”
The people of Judah spoke more harshly than the people of Israel.
Sheba Rebels against David
20 A troublemaker from the tribe of Benjamin was there. His name was Sheba the son of Bichri, and he blew a trumpet to get everyone’s attention. Then he said, “People of Israel, David the son of Jesse doesn’t belong to us! Let’s go home.”
2 So they stopped following David and went off with Sheba. But the people of Judah stayed close to David all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
David’s Ten Wives
3 David had left ten of his wives in Jerusalem to take care of his palace. But when he came back, he had them taken to another house, and he placed soldiers there to guard them. He gave them whatever they needed, but he never slept with any of them again.[g] They had to live there for the rest of their lives as if they were widows.
The Army Goes after Sheba
4 David said to Amasa, “Three days from now I want you and all of Judah’s army to be here!”
5 Amasa started bringing the army together, but it was taking him more than three days. 6 So David said to Abishai, “Sheba will hurt us more than Absalom ever did. Take my best soldiers and go after him. We don’t want him to take over any walled cities and get away from us.”[h]
Joab Kills Amasa
7 Abishai left Jerusalem to try and capture Sheba. He took along Joab and his soldiers, as well as David’s bodyguard[i] and best troops. 8 They had gone as far as the big rock at Gibeon when Amasa caught up with them. Joab had a dagger strapped around his waist over his military uniform, but it fell out as he started toward Amasa.
9 Joab said, “Amasa, my cousin, how are you?” Then Joab took hold of Amasa’s beard with his right hand, so that he could greet him with a kiss. 10 Amasa did not see the dagger in Joab’s other hand. Joab stuck it in Amasa’s stomach, and his insides spilled out on the ground. Joab only struck him once, but Amasa was dying.
Joab and his brother Abishai went off to chase Sheba. 11 One of Joab’s soldiers stood by Amasa and shouted, “If any of you like Joab, and if you are for David, then follow Joab!”
12 Amasa was still rolling in his own blood in the middle of the road. The soldier who had shouted noticed that everyone who passed by would stop, so he dragged Amasa off the road and covered him with a blanket. 13 After this, no one else stopped. They all walked straight past him on their way to help Joab capture Sheba.
Sheba Hides Out in the Town of Abel
14 Sheba had gone through all of the tribes of Israel when he came to the town of Abel Beth-Maacah. All of his best soldiers[j] met him there and followed him into the town.
15 Joab and his troops came and surrounded Abel, so that no one could go in or come out. They made a dirt ramp up to the town wall and then started to use a battering ram to knock the wall down.
A Wise Woman Saves the Town
16 A wise woman shouted from the top of the wall,[k] “Listen to me! Listen to me! I have to talk to Joab! Tell him to come here!” 17 When he came, the woman said, “Are you Joab?”
“Yes, I am,” he answered.
She said, “Please, listen to what I have to say.”
“All right,” he said. “I’ll listen.”
18 She said, “Long ago people used to say, ‘If you want good advice, go to the town of Abel to get it.’ The answers they got here were all that was needed to settle any problem. 19 We are Israelites, and we want peace! You can trust us. Why are you trying to destroy a town that’s like a mother in Israel? Why do you want to wipe out the Lord’s people?”
20 Joab answered, “No, no! I’m not trying to wipe you out or destroy your town! 21 That’s not it at all. There’s a man in your town from the hill country of Ephraim. His name is Sheba, and he is the leader of a rebellion against King David. Turn him over to me, and we will leave your town alone.”
The woman told Joab, “We will throw his head over the wall.”
22 She went to the people of the town and talked them into doing it. They cut off Sheba’s head and threw it to Joab.
Joab blew a signal on his trumpet, and the soldiers returned to their homes. Joab went back to David in Jerusalem.
Another List of David’s Officials[l]
23 Joab was the commander of Israel’s entire army.
Luke 18:1-23 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
A Widow and a Judge
18 Jesus told his disciples a story about how they should keep on praying and never give up:
2 In a town there was once a judge who didn’t fear God or care about people. 3 In that same town there was a widow who kept going to the judge and saying, “Make sure that I get fair treatment in court.”
4 For a while the judge refused to do anything. Finally, he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 I will help this widow because she keeps on bothering me. If I don’t help her, she will wear me out.”
6 The Lord said:
Think about what that crooked judge said. 7 Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? 8 He will surely hurry and help them. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find on this earth anyone with faith?
A Pharisee and a Tax Collector
9 Jesus told a story to some people who thought they were better than others and who looked down on everyone else:
10 Two men went into the temple to pray.[a] One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.[b] 11 The Pharisee stood over by himself and prayed,[c] “God, I thank you that I am not greedy, dishonest, and unfaithful in marriage like other people. And I am really glad that I am not like that tax collector over there. 12 I go without eating[d] for two days a week, and I give you one tenth of all I earn.”
13 The tax collector stood off at a distance and did not think he was good enough even to look up toward heaven. He was so sorry for what he had done that he pounded his chest and prayed, “God, have pity on me! I am such a sinner.”
14 Then Jesus said, “When the two men went home, it was the tax collector and not the Pharisee who was pleasing to God. If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
15 Some people brought their little children for Jesus to bless. But when his disciples saw them doing this, they told the people to stop bothering him. 16 So Jesus called the children over to him and said, “Let the children come to me! Don’t try to stop them. People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom.[e] 17 You will never get into God’s kingdom unless you enter it like a child!”
A Rich and Important Man
18 An important man asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?”
19 Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Be faithful in marriage. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Respect your father and mother.’”
21 He told Jesus, “I have obeyed all these commandments since I was a young man.”
22 When Jesus heard this, he said, “There is one thing you still need to do. Go and sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and be my follower.” 23 When the man heard this, he was sad, because he was very rich.
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