191Joab was told that King David was weeping and mourning for Absalom. 2And so the joy of victory was turned into sadness for all David's troops that day, because they heard that the king was mourning for his son. 3They went back into the city quietly, like soldiers who are ashamed because they are running away from battle. 4The king covered his face and cried loudly, “O my son! My son Absalom! Absalom, my son!”
5Joab went to the king's house and said to him, “Today you have humiliated your men — the men who saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and of your wives and concubines. 6You oppose those who love you and support those who hate you! You have made it clear that your officers and men mean nothing to you. I can see that you would be quite happy if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. 7Now go and reassure your men. I swear by the LORD's name that if you don't, not one of them will be with you by tomorrow morning. That would be the worst disaster you have suffered in all your life.” 8Then the king got up, and went and sat near the city gate. His men heard that he was there, and they all gathered round him.
Meanwhile all the Israelites had fled to their own homes. 9All over the country they started quarrelling among themselves. “King David saved us from our enemies,” they said to one another. “He rescued us from the Philistines, but now he has fled from Absalom and left the country. 10We anointed Absalom as our king, but he has been killed in battle. So why doesn't somebody try to bring King David back?”
11The news of what the Israelites were saying reached King David.19.11 Some ancient translations The news… David; Hebrew The news… David, to his palace, and places this sentence at the end of the verse. So he sent the priests Zadok and Abiathar to ask the leaders of Judah, “Why should you be the last to help bring the king back to his palace? 12You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood; why should you be the last to bring me back?” 13David also told them to say to Amasa, “You are my relative. From now on I am putting you in charge of the army in place of Joab. May God strike me dead if I don't!” 14David's words won the complete loyalty of all the men of Judah, and they sent him word to return with all his officials.
15On his way back the king was met at the River Jordan by the men of Judah, who had come to Gilgal to escort him across the river. 16
At the same time the Benjaminite Shimei son of Gera from Bahurim hurried to the Jordan to meet King David. 17He had with him a thousand men from the tribe of Benjamin. And Ziba, the servant of Saul's family, also came with his fifteen sons and twenty servants, and they arrived at the Jordan before the king. 18They crossed19.18 Probable text They crossed; Hebrew The crossing crossed. the river to escort the royal party across and to do whatever the king wanted.
As the king was getting ready to cross, Shimei threw himself down in front of him 19and said, “Your Majesty, please forget the wrong I did that day you left Jerusalem. Don't hold it against me or think about it any more. 20I know, sir, that I have sinned, and this is why I am the first one from the northern tribes to come and meet Your Majesty today.”
21Abishai son of Zeruiah spoke up: “Shimei should be put to death because he cursed the one whom the LORD chose as king.”
22But David said to Abishai and his brother Joab, “Who asked your opinion? Are you going to give me trouble? I am the one who is king of Israel now, and no Israelite will be put to death today.” 23And he said to Shimei, “I give you my word that you will not be put to death.”
Then Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, came down to meet the king. He had not washed his feet, trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes from the time the king left Jerusalem until he returned victorious. 25When Mephibosheth arrived from19.25 One ancient translation from; Hebrew at. Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, “Mephibosheth, you didn't go with me. Why not?”
26He answered, “As you know, Your Majesty, I am crippled. I told my servant to saddle my donkey so that I could ride along with you, but he betrayed me. 27He lied about me to Your Majesty, but you are like God's angel, so do what seems right to you. 28All my father's family deserved to be put to death by Your Majesty, but you gave me the right to eat at your table. I have no right to ask for any more favours from Your Majesty.”
29The king answered, “You don't have to say anything more. I have decided that you and Ziba will share Saul's property.”
30“Let Ziba have it all,” Mephibosheth answered. “It's enough for me that Your Majesty has come home safely.”
Barzillai, from Gilead, had also come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan. 32Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years old. He was very rich and had supplied the king with food while he was staying at Mahanaim. 33The king said to him, “Come with me to Jerusalem, and I will take care of you.”
34But Barzillai answered, “I haven't long to live; why should I go with Your Majesty to Jerusalem? 35I am already eighty years old, and nothing gives me pleasure any more. I can't taste what I eat and drink, and I can't hear the voices of singers. I would only be a burden to Your Majesty. 36I don't deserve such a great reward. So I will go just a little way with you beyond the Jordan. 37Then let me go back home and die near my parents' grave. Here is my son Chimham, who will serve you; take him with you, Your Majesty, and do for him as you think best.”
38The king answered, “I will take him with me and do for him whatever you want. And I will do for you anything you ask.” 39Then David and all his men crossed the Jordan. He kissed Barzillai and gave him his blessing, and Barzillai went back home.
40When the king had crossed, escorted by all the people of Judah and half the people of Israel, he went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went with him. 41Then all the Israelites went to the king and said to him, “Your Majesty, why did our brothers, the men of Judah, think they had the right to take you away and escort you, your family, and your men across the Jordan?”
42The men of Judah answered, “We did it because the king is one of us. So why should this make you angry? He hasn't paid for our food nor has he given us anything.”
43The Israelites replied, “We have ten times as many claims on King David as you have, even if he is one of you. Why do you look down on us? Don't forget that we were the first to talk about bringing the king back!”
But the men of Judah were more violent in making their claims than the men of Israel.
There happened to be in Gilgal a worthless character named Sheba son of Bikri, of the tribe of Benjamin. He blew the trumpet and called out, “Down with David! We won't follow him! Men of Israel, let's go home!” 2So the Israelites deserted David and went with Sheba, but the men of Judah remained loyal and followed David from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
When David arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace, and put them under guard. He provided for their needs, but did not have intercourse with them. They were kept confined for the rest of their lives, living like widows.
4The king said to Amasa, “Call the men of Judah together and be back here with them by the day after tomorrow.” 5Amasa went to call them, but he did not get back by the time the king had set. 6So the king said to Abishai, “Sheba will give us more trouble than Absalom. Take my men and go after him, or else he may occupy some fortified towns and escape from us.” 7So Joab's men, the royal bodyguard, and all the other soldiers left Jerusalem with Abishai to go after Sheba. 8When they reached the large rock at Gibeon, Amasa met them. Joab was dressed for battle, with a sword in its sheath fastened to his belt. As he came forward, the sword fell out. 9Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my friend?” and took hold of his beard with his right hand in order to kiss him. 10Amasa was not on guard against the sword that Joab was holding in his other hand, and Joab stabbed him in the belly, and his entrails spilt out on the ground. He died immediately, and Joab did not have to strike again.
Then Joab and his brother Abishai went on after Sheba. 11One of Joab's men stood by Amasa's body and called out, “Everyone who is for Joab and David follow Joab!” 12Amasa's body, covered with blood, was lying in the middle of the road. Joab's man saw that everybody was stopping, so he dragged the body from the road into the field and threw a blanket over it. 13After the body had been removed from the road, everyone followed Joab in pursuit of Sheba.
14Sheba passed through the territory of all the tribes of Israel and came to the city of Abel Beth Maacah, and all the members of the clan of Bikri20.14 Probable text Bikri; Hebrew Beri. assembled and followed him into the city. 15Joab's men heard that Sheba was there, and so they went and besieged the city. They built ramps of earth against the outer wall and also began to dig under the wall to make it fall down. 16There was a wise woman in the city who shouted from the wall, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here; I want to speak with him.” 17Joab went, and she asked, “Are you Joab?”
“Yes, I am,” he answered.
“Listen to me, sir,” she said.
“I'm listening,” he answered.
18She said, “Long ago they used to say, ‘Go and get your answer in the city of Abel’ — and that's just what they did. 19Ours is a great city, one of the most peaceful and loyal in Israel. Why are you trying to destroy it? Do you want to ruin what belongs to the LORD?”
20“Never!” Joab answered. “I will never ruin or destroy your city! 21That is not our plan. A man named Sheba son of Bikri, who is from the hill country of Ephraim, started a rebellion against King David. Hand over this one man, and I will withdraw from the city.”
“We will throw his head over the wall to you,” she said. 22Then she went to the people of the city with her plan, and they cut off Sheba's head and threw it over the wall to Joab. He blew the trumpet as a signal for his men to leave the city, and they went back home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.
23Joab was in command of the army of Israel; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was in charge of David's bodyguard; 24Adoniram was in charge of the forced labour; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was in charge of the records; 25Sheva was the court secretary; Zadok and Abiathar were the priests, 26and Ira from the town of Jair was also one of David's priests.
211During David's reign there was a severe famine which lasted for three full years. So David consulted the LORD about it, and the LORD said, “Saul and his family are guilty of murder; he put the people of Gibeon to death.” 2
(The people of Gibeon were not Israelites; they were a small group of Amorites whom the Israelites had promised to protect, but Saul had tried to destroy them because of his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah.) 3So David summoned the people of Gibeon and said to them, “What can I do for you? I want to make up for the wrong that was done to you, so that you will bless the LORD's people.”
4They answered, “Our quarrel with Saul and his family can't be settled with silver or gold, nor do we want to kill any Israelite.”
“What, then, do you think I should do for you?” David asked.
5They answered, “Saul wanted to destroy us and leave none of us alive anywhere in Israel. 6So hand over seven of his male descendants, and we will hang them before the LORD at Gibeah, the town of Saul, the LORD's chosen king.”
“I will hand them over,” the king answered.
But because of the sacred promise that he and Jonathan had made to each other, David spared Jonathan's son Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul. 8
However, he took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons that Rizpah the daughter of Aiah had borne to Saul; he also took the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai, who was from Meholah. 9David handed them over to the people of Gibeon, who hanged them on the mountain before the LORD — and all seven of them died together. It was late in the spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest, when they were put to death.
10Then Saul's concubine Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, used sackcloth to make a shelter for herself on the rock where the corpses were, and she stayed there from the beginning of harvest until the autumn rains came. During the day she would keep the birds away from the corpses, and at night she would protect them from wild animals.
11When David heard what Rizpah had done, 12
he went and got the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan from the people of Jabesh in Gilead. (They had stolen them from the public square in Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hanged the bodies on the day they killed Saul on Mount Gilboa.) 13David took the bones of Saul and Jonathan and also gathered up the bones of the seven men who had been hanged. 14Then they buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan in the grave of Saul's father Kish, in Zela in the territory of Benjamin, doing all that the king had commanded. And after that, God answered their prayers for the country.
15There was another war between the Philistines and Israel, and David and his men went and fought the Philistines. During one of the battles David grew tired. 16A giant named Ishbibenob, who was carrying a bronze spear that weighed about 3.5 kilogrammes and who was wearing a new sword, thought he could kill David. 17
But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David's help, attacked the giant, and killed him. Then David's men made David promise that he would never again go out with them to battle. “You are the hope of Israel, and we don't want to lose you,” they said.
18After this there was a battle with the Philistines at Gob, during which Sibbecai from Hushah killed a giant named Saph.
19There was another battle with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan son of Jair21.19 Probable text (see 1 Chr 20.5) Jair; Hebrew Jaareoregim. from Bethlehem killed Goliath from Gath, whose spear had a shaft as thick as the bar on a weaver's loom.
20Then there was another battle at Gath, where there was a giant who loved to fight. He had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. 21He defied the Israelites, and Jonathan, the son of David's brother Shammah, killed him.
22These four were descendants of the giants of Gath, and they were killed by David and his men.