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14 Joab, Zeruiah’s son, knew the king was still thinking about Absalom. 2 So Joab sent someone to Tekoa to get a clever woman from there. He told her, “Please act like a mourner, and dress in mourning clothes. Don’t rub olive oil on yourself,[a] but act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for a long time. 3 Go to the king, and tell him this. . . .” Then Joab told her exactly what to say.
4 The woman from Tekoa came[b] to the king and immediately bowed down with her face touching the ground. “Help me, Your Majesty,” she said.
5 The king asked her, “What can I do for you?”
She answered, “I’m a widow; my husband is dead. 6 I had two sons who quarreled in the field, and there was no one to separate them. One killed the other. 7 Then the entire family turned against me. They said, ‘Give us the man who killed his brother so that we can kill him because he took his brother’s life. We’re going to destroy the one who now would be the heir.’ In this way they wish to extinguish the one burning coal that is left for me. They will not let my husband’s name or descendants remain on the face of the earth.”
8 “Go home,” the king told the woman. “I will order someone to take care of this matter.”
9 The woman from Tekoa said to the king, “Let me be held responsible for the sin, Your Majesty. Let my father’s family be held responsible. Your Majesty and your throne are innocent.”
10 The king said, “If anyone says anything against you, bring him to me. He’ll never harm you again.”
11 She said, “Your Majesty, please pray to the Lord your God in order to keep an avenger from doing more harm by destroying my son.”
“I solemnly swear, as the Lord lives,” he said, “not a hair on your son’s head will fall to the ground.”
12 The woman said, “Please let me say something else to you.”
“Speak,” he said.
13 “Why have you devised something like this against God’s people?” she said. “When you say this, you condemn yourself because you haven’t brought back the one you banished! 14 We are all going to die; we are all like water that is poured on the ground and can’t be gathered up. But doesn’t God forgive a person? He never plans to keep a banished person in exile.
15 “I’ve come to say this to you because the people have frightened me. So I thought, ‘I will speak to the king about this. Maybe the king will do something for me, his subject. 16 Maybe the king will listen and rescue me, his subject, from the man who wants to cut off both me and my son from our God-given inheritance.’ 17 I thought that you would reassure me. You are like God’s Messenger, who is able to distinguish right from wrong. May the Lord your God be with you!”
18 The king said to the woman, “Please don’t refuse to answer the question I’m going to ask you.”
The woman responded, “Please speak, Your Majesty.”
19 “Did Joab put you up to this?” the king asked.
The woman answered, “I solemnly swear on your life, Your Majesty, you are absolutely right. Yes, your servant Joab ordered me to do this. He told me to say exactly what I said. 20 Your servant Joab has done this to portray the matter in a different light. You are as wise as God’s Messenger, who knows everything on earth.”
21 Then the king told Joab, “This is what you’ll do. Bring back the young man Absalom.”
22 Joab quickly bowed down with his face touching the ground, and he blessed the king. He said, “Today I know that you have been kind to me because you have done what I wanted.”
23 So Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 24 But the king said, “Absalom should return to his own house. He will not see me.” So Absalom returned to his house and didn’t see the king.
25 Now, no one in all Israel was praised for his good looks as much as Absalom was. He had no blemish from head to toe. 26 At the end of every year, he used to cut his hair because it became heavy for him. When he cut the hair on his head and weighed it, it weighed five pounds according to the royal standard. 27 Absalom had three sons and one daughter. His daughter Tamar was a beautiful woman.
28 Absalom stayed in Jerusalem two full years without seeing the king. 29 So Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab refused to come. Absalom sent for him a second time, but he still refused to come. 30 So Absalom said to his servants, “Look, Joab’s field is next to mine. He has barley in it. Go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set it on fire.
Joab’s servants came to him in grief and said, “Absalom’s servants have set your field on fire.”[c]
31 Then Joab immediately went to Absalom at his home. “Why did your servants set my field on fire?” he asked.
32 Absalom answered Joab, “I sent someone to tell you to come here because I wanted to send you to the king to ask him why I had to come from Geshur. It would be better for me if I were still there. Let me see the king now! If I’m guilty of a sin, he should kill me.”
33 Joab went to the king and told him this. The king then called for Absalom, who came to the king and bowed down with his face touching the ground. And the king kissed Absalom.
15 Soon after this, Absalom acquired a chariot, horses, and 50 men to run ahead of him. 2 Absalom used to get up early and stand by the road leading to the city gate. When anyone had a case to be tried by King David, Absalom would ask, “Which city are you from?”
After the person had told him which tribe in Israel he was from, 3 Absalom would say, “Your case is good and proper, but the king hasn’t appointed anyone to hear it.” 4 He would add, “I wish someone would make me judge in the land. Then anyone who had a case to be tried could come to me, and I would make sure that he got justice.” 5 When anyone approached him and bowed down, Absalom would reach out, take hold of him, and kiss him. 6 This is what he did for all Israelites who came to the king to have him try their case. So Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
7 Four years later Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and keep the vow I made to the Lord. 8 I made a vow while I was living at Geshur in Aram. I said, ‘If the Lord will bring me back to Jerusalem, I will serve the Lord.’”
9 “Go in peace,” the king told him.
So he went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent his loyal supporters to all the tribes of Israel and said, “When you hear the sound of the ram’s horn, say, ‘Absalom has become king in Hebron.’”
11 Two hundred men invited from Jerusalem went with Absalom. They went innocently, knowing nothing about Absalom’s plans. 12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, David’s adviser, to come from his home in Giloh. Meanwhile, the conspiracy grew stronger, and the number of people siding with Absalom kept getting larger.
13 Someone came to tell David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”
14 David told all his men who were with him in Jerusalem, “Let’s flee immediately, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Let’s leave right away, or he’ll catch up to us and bring disaster on us when he massacres the city.”
15 The king’s servants told him, “No matter what happens, we are Your Majesty’s servants.”
16 The king left on foot, and his whole household followed him except ten concubines[d] whom the king left behind to take care of the palace. 17 As the king and his troops were leaving the city on foot, they stopped at the last house. 18 All his mercenaries passed by him; all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, Ittai, and all 600 men who had followed him from Gath were marching past the king.
19 The king asked Ittai from Gath, “Why should you go with us? Go back, and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. 20 You came to us just yesterday. Should I make you wander around with me when I don’t even know where I’m going? Go back, and take your countrymen with you. May the Lord always show you kindness.”
21 But Ittai answered the king, “I solemnly swear, as the Lord and the king live: Wherever you are, whether you’re dead or alive, I’ll be there.”
22 So David told Ittai, “Go ahead and keep marching.” So Ittai from Gath marched on with all his men and all the families who were with him.
18 After Jesus finished his prayer, he went with his disciples to the other side of the Kidron Valley. They entered the garden that was there.
2 Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples often gathered there. 3 So Judas took a troop of soldiers and the guards from the chief priests and Pharisees and went to the garden. They were carrying lanterns, torches, and weapons.
4 Jesus knew everything that was going to happen to him. So he went to meet them and asked, “Who are you looking for?”
5 They answered him, “Jesus from Nazareth.”
Jesus told them, “I am he.”
Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with the crowd. 6 When Jesus told them, “I am he,” the crowd backed away and fell to the ground.
7 Jesus asked them again, “Who are you looking for?”
They said, “Jesus from Nazareth.”
8 Jesus replied, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these other men go.” 9 In this way what Jesus had said came true: “I lost none of those you gave me.”
10 Simon Peter had a sword. He drew it, attacked the chief priest’s servant, and cut off the servant’s right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11 Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword away. Shouldn’t I drink the cup of suffering that my Father has given me?”
12 Then the army officer and the Jewish guards arrested Jesus. They tied Jesus up 13 and took him first to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas, the chief priest that year, 14 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 followed Jesus. The other disciple was well-known to the chief priest. So that disciple went with Jesus into the chief priest’s courtyard. 16 Peter, however, was standing outside the gate. The other disciple talked to the woman who was the gatekeeper and brought Peter into the courtyard.
17 The gatekeeper asked Peter, “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples too?”
Peter answered, “No, I’m not!”
18 The servants and the guards were standing around a fire they had built and were warming themselves because it was cold. Peter was standing there, too, and warming himself with the others.
19 The chief priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teachings.
20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly for everyone to hear. I have always taught in synagogues or in the temple courtyard, where all the Jews gather. I haven’t said anything in secret. 21 Why do you question me? Question those who heard what I said to them. They know what I’ve said.”
22 When Jesus said this, one of the guards standing near Jesus slapped his face and said, “Is that how you answer the chief priest?”
23 Jesus replied to him, “If I’ve said anything wrong, tell me what it was. But if I’ve told the truth, why do you hit me?”
24 Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas, the chief priest. Jesus was still tied up.
97 Oh, how I love your teachings!
They are in my thoughts all day long.
98 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
because your commandments are always with me.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
because your written instructions are in my thoughts.
100 I have more wisdom than those with many years of experience,
because I have obeyed your guiding principles.
101 I have kept my feet from walking on any evil path
in order to obey your word.
102 I have not neglected your regulations,
because you have taught me.
103 How sweet the taste of your promise is!
It tastes sweeter than honey.
104 From your guiding principles I gain understanding.
That is why I hate every path that leads to lying.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet
and a light for my path.
106 I took an oath, and I will keep it.
I took an oath to follow your regulations,
which are based on your righteousness.
107 I have suffered so much.
Give me a new life, O Lord, as you promised.
108 Please accept the praise I gladly give you, O Lord,
and teach me your regulations.
109 I always take my life into my own hands,
but I never forget your teachings.
110 Wicked people have set a trap for me,
but I have never wandered away from your guiding principles.
111 Your written instructions are mine forever.
They are the joy of my heart.
112 I have decided to obey your laws.
They offer a reward that never ends.
8 Better a few possessions gained honestly
than many gained through injustice.
9 A person may plan his own journey,
but the Lord directs his steps.