14 Meanwhile, Zeruiah’s son Joab knew that the king’s attention was focused on Absalom,[a] 2 so he[b] sent messengers[c] to Tekoa to bring a wise woman from there. He told her, “Please play the role of a mourner, wear the clothes of a mourner, and refrain from using makeup.[d] Act like a woman who’s been in mourning for the dead for many days. 3 Then go to the king and speak to him like this…” Then Joab told her what to say.
4 When the woman from Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, prostrating herself to address him, “Help, your majesty!”
5 The king asked her, “What’s your problem?”[e]
“I’ve been a widowed woman[f] ever since my husband died,” she answered. 6 “Your humble servant used to have two sons, but they got into a fight out in the field. Because there was no one to keep them apart, one of them attacked the other and killed him. 7 Now please pay attention closely! My[g] whole family is attacking your humble servant! They’re saying, ‘Turn over the one who attacked his brother and we’ll put him to death in retribution for his brother, whose life he took. That way, we’ll kill the heir also!’ They’re going to extinguish the only light[h] left in my family, leaving my late husband neither an ongoing name nor a survivor on the face of the earth!”
8 Then the king replied to the woman, “Go home and I’ll issue a special order just for you.”
9 But the woman from Tekoa told the king, “Your majesty, let any guilt for this be on me and on my ancestors’ household, and not on my king or his throne!”
10 The king replied, “Bring anyone who talks to you about this to me, and he certainly won’t be bothering[i] you anymore!”
11 Then she said, “Your majesty, please remember the Lord your God, so that blood avengers don’t do any more damage! Otherwise, they’ll destroy my son!”
So he promised, “As the Lord lives, not even a single hair from your son’s head[j] will fall to the ground!”
12 At this, the woman responded, “Would your majesty the king please allow your humble servant to say one more thing?”
“Say it…”[k] he replied.
13 “Why, then,” the woman asked, “are you planning to act just like this against God’s people? Based on what your majesty has said, you’re acting like one who is guilty himself, because you’re not bringing back the one whom you’ve banished! 14 After all, even though we all die,[l] and we’re[m] all like water being spilled on the ground that cannot be recovered, nevertheless God doesn’t take away life, but carries out his plans so as not to cast away permanently from him those who are presently estranged.[n]
15 “Now as to why I’ve come to speak with your majesty the king, it’s because the people have made me afraid, so your humble servant told herself,[o] ‘I’ll go speak to the king, so perhaps the king will do what his humble servant has requested. 16 Perhaps the king will listen and deliver his humble servant from the oppression[p] of the man who intends to eliminate both me and my son from what God has apportioned to us!’[q]
17 “So your humble servant is saying, ‘Please, your majesty, let what the king has to say be of comfort, because just as the angel of God is, so also is your majesty the king to discern both good and evil. And may the Lord your God remain present with you.’”
18 In reply, the king asked the woman, “Please don’t conceal anything about which I’m going to be asking you now.”
So the woman replied, “Please, your majesty, let the king speak.”
19 Then the king asked, “Is Joab behind all of this with you?”[r]
“As your soul lives, your majesty, the king,” the woman answered, “no one can divert anything left or right from what your majesty the king has spoken! As a matter of fact, it was your servant Joab! He was there, giving me precise orders about everything that your humble servant was to say. Your servant Joab did this, 20 intending to change the outcome of this matter. Nevertheless, your majesty is wise, like the wisdom of the angel of God, to be aware of everything that’s going on throughout the earth.”[s]
21 Then the king addressed Joab, “Look! I’ll do this thing that you’ve requested.[t] Go bring back the young man Absalom.”
22 At this, Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrating himself to bless the king, and then[u] said, “Today your servant realizes that he’s found favor with you, your majesty, in that the king has acted on the request of his servant.” 23 Then Joab got up, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem.
24 Nevertheless, the king said, “Let him return to his own home and not show his face to me.” So Absalom returned to his own home and did not show his face to the king.
25 Now throughout all of Israel no one was as handsome as Absalom or so highly praised, from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there wasn’t a single thing wrong about him. 26 Whenever he cut his hair —he cut it at the end of every year, because it grew thick on his head,[v] which is why he cut it—his hair weighed in at 200 shekels[w] measured by the royal standard.[x] 27 Absalom fathered three sons and one daughter, whom he named Tamar. She was a beautiful woman, both in form and appearance.
28 Meanwhile, Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years, but never saw the king’s face. 29 After this, Absalom sent for Joab, intending to send him to the king, but Joab[y] would not come. Absalom[z] sent for him a second time, but he still[aa] would not come. 30 So Absalom[ab] told his servants, “Observe that Joab’s grain field lies next to mine. He has barley planted there. Go set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.
31 At this, Joab got up, went to Absalom’s home, and demanded of him, “Why did your servants set fire to my grain field?”
32 In answer to Joab, Absalom replied, “Look, I sent for you, telling you ‘Come here so I can send you to the king to ask him “What’s the point in moving here from Geshur? I would have been better off to have remained there!”’ So let me see the king’s face, and if I’m guilty of anything, let him execute me!”
33 So when Joab approached the king and told him what Absalom had said,[ac] he summoned Absalom, who then came to the king and fell to the ground on his face in front of him.[ad] Then the king kissed Absalom.
15 Sometime later, Absalom acquired a chariot equipped with horses and recruited[ae] 50 men to accompany[af] him.[ag] 2 Then he[ah] would get up early, stand near the passageway to the palace[ai] gate, and when anyone arrived to file a legal complaint for a hearing before the king, Absalom would call to him and ask, “You’re from what city?” If[aj] he replied, “Your servant is from one of Israel’s tribes,” 3 Absalom would respond, “Look, your claims are valid and defensible, but nobody will listen to you on behalf of the king. 4 Who will appoint me to be a judge in the land? When anyone arrived to file a legal complaint or other cause, he could approach me for justice and I would settle it!” 5 Furthermore, if a man approached him to bow down in front of him, he would put out his hand, grab him, and embrace him. 6 By doing all of this to anyone who came to the king for a hearing, Absalom stole the loyalty[ak] of the men of Israel.
7 And so it was that forty[al] years after Israel had demanded a king,[am] Absalom asked the king, “Please let me go to Hebron so I can pay my vow that I made to the Lord, 8 because when I was living at Geshur in Aram, your servant made this solemn promise:[an] ‘If the Lord ever brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.’”
9 The king replied to him, “Go in peace!” So Absalom[ao] got up and left for Hebron.
10 But Absalom sent agents throughout all of the tribes of Israel, telling them, “When you hear the sound of the battle trumpet, you’re to announce that Absalom is king in Hebron.” 11 Meanwhile, 200 men left Jerusalem with Absalom. They had been invited to go along, but were innocent, not knowing anything about what was happening.[ap] 12 Absalom also sent for Ahithophel[aq] the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come[ar] from his home town of Giloh while Absalom[as] was presenting the sacrificial offerings. And so the conspiracy widened, because the common people increasingly sided with Absalom.
14 So David told all of his staff who were with him in Jerusalem, “Let’s get up and get out of here! Otherwise, none of us will escape from Absalom. Hurry, or he’ll overtake us quickly, bring disaster on all of us, and execute the inhabitants of the city!”
15 “Look!” the king’s staff replied. “Your servants will do whatever the king chooses.” 16 So the king left, taking his entire household with him except for ten mistresses,[av] who were to keep the palace in order. 17 The king left, along with all of his people with him, and they paused at the last house. 18 All of his staff were going on ahead of[aw] him—that is, all of the special forces[ax] and mercenaries,[ay] all of the Gittites, and 600 men who had come to serve[az] him from Gath, went on ahead of the king.
19 Then the king suggested to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you have to go with us? Return and stay with the new[ba] king, since you’re a foreigner and exile. Stay where you want to stay.[bb] 20 It seems only yesterday that you arrived, so should I make you wander around with us while I go wherever I can? Go back, and take your brothers with you. May gracious love and truth accompany you!”
21 “As the Lord lives,” Ittai answered in reply, “and as your majesty the king lives, wherever your majesty my king may be—whether living or dying—that’s where your servant will be!”
22 So David replied, “Come along, then!” So Ittai the Gittite went along also, accompanied by all of his men and all of his little ones.
18 After Jesus had said all of this, he went with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas took a detachment of soldiers and some officers from the high priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
4 Then Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen, went forward and asked them, “Who are you looking for?”
5 They answered him, “Jesus from Nazareth.”[a]
Jesus told them, “I AM.” Judas, the man who betrayed him, was standing with them.
6 When Jesus[b] told them, “I AM,” they backed away and fell to the ground.
7 So he asked them again, “Who are you looking for?”
They said, “Jesus from Nazareth.”[c]
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shouldn’t I drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
12 Then the soldiers, along with their commander and the Jewish officers, arrested Jesus and tied him up. 13 First they brought him to Annas, because he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the person who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one man die for the people.
15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Since the other disciple was known to the high priest, he accompanied Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. 16 Peter, however, stood outside the gate. So this other disciple who was known to the high priest went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter inside. 17 The young woman at the gate asked Peter, “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples, too, are you?”
“I am not,” he replied.
18 Meanwhile, the servants and officers were standing around a charcoal fire they had built and were warming themselves because it was cold. Peter was also standing with them, keeping himself warm.
19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his own teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in the synagogue or in the Temple, where all Jews meet together, and I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you question me? Question those who heard what I said. These are the people who know what I said.”
22 When he said this, one of the officers standing nearby slapped Jesus on the face and demanded, “Is that any way to answer the high priest?”
23 Jesus answered him, “If I have said anything wrong, tell me what it was.[f] But if I have told the truth, why do you hit me?” 24 Then Annas sent him, with his hands tied, to Caiaphas the high priest.
97 How I love your instruction![a]
Every day it is my meditation.
98 Your commands make me wiser than my adversaries,
since they are always with me.
99 I am more insightful than my teachers,
because your decrees are my meditations.
100 I have more common sense than the elders,
for I observe your precepts.
101 I keep away from every evil choice[b]
so that I may keep your word.[c]
102 I do not avoid your judgments,
for you pointed them out to me.
103 How pleasing is what you have to say to me—
tasting better than honey.
104 I obtain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every false way.
105 Your word is[d] a lamp for my feet,
a light for my pathway.
106 I have given my word and affirmed it,
to keep your righteous judgments.
107 I am severely afflicted.
Revive me, Lord, according to your word.
108 Lord, please accept my voluntary offerings of praise,[e]
and teach me your judgments.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I do not forget your instruction.[f]
110 Though the wicked lay a trap for me,
I haven’t wandered away from your precepts.
111 I have inherited your decrees forever,
because they are the joy of my heart.
112 As a result, I am determined
to carry out your statutes forever.