2 Samuel 14:1-20 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
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 to bring a wise woman from there. He told her, “Pretend to be in mourning: dress in mourning clothes and don’t put on any oil. 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.[a]
4 When the woman from Tekoa came[b] to the king, she fell facedown to the ground, paid homage, and said, “Help me, Your Majesty!”
5 “What’s the matter?” the king asked her.
“Sadly, I am a widow; my husband died,” she said. 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.”
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 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!”
“As the Lord lives,” he vowed, “not a hair of your son will fall to the ground.”
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 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. 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[c] 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.[d] 20 Joab your servant has done this to address the issue indirectly,[e] but my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God, knowing everything on earth.”
2 Samuel 14:1-20 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Absalom Returns to Jerusalem
14 Now Joab son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s mind was on Absalom. 2 Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman. He said to her, “Pretend to be a mourner; put on mourning garments, do not anoint yourself with oil, but behave like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead. 3 Go to the king and speak to him as follows.” And Joab put the words into her mouth.
4 When the woman of Tekoa came to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and did obeisance, and said, “Help, O king!” 5 The king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead. 6 Your servant had two sons, and they fought with one another in the field; there was no one to part them, and one struck the other and killed him. 7 Now the whole family has risen against your servant. They say, ‘Give up the man who struck his brother, so that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he murdered, even if we destroy the heir as well.’ Thus they would quench my one remaining ember, and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.”
8 Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.” 9 The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “On me be the guilt, my lord the king, and on my father’s house; let the king and his throne be guiltless.” 10 The king said, “If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall never touch you again.” 11 Then she said, “Please, may the king keep the Lord your God in mind, so that the avenger of blood may kill no more, and my son not be destroyed.” He said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”
12 Then the woman said, “Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king.” He said, “Speak.” 13 The woman said, “Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in giving this decision the king convicts himself, inasmuch as the king does not bring his banished one home again. 14 We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. But God will not take away a life; he will devise plans so as not to keep an outcast banished forever from his presence.[a] 15 Now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid; your servant thought, ‘I will speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant. 16 For the king will hear, and deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would cut both me and my son off from the heritage of God.’ 17 Your servant thought, ‘The word of my lord the king will set me at rest’; for my lord the king is like the angel of God, discerning good and evil. The Lord your God be with you!”
18 Then the king answered the woman, “Do not withhold from me anything I ask you.” The woman said, “Let my lord the king speak.” 19 The king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” The woman answered and said, “As surely as you live, my lord the king, one cannot turn right or left from anything that my lord the king has said. For it was your servant Joab who commanded me; it was he who put all these words into the mouth of your servant. 20 In order to change the course of affairs your servant Joab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God to know all things that are on the earth.”