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.
221When the LORD saved David from Saul and his other enemies, David sang this song to the LORD:
2The LORD is my protector;
he is my strong fortress.
3My God is my protection,
and with him I am safe.
He protects me like a shield;
he defends me and keeps me safe.
He is my saviour;
he protects me and saves me from violence.
4I call to the LORD,
and he saves me from my enemies.
Praise the LORD!
5The waves of death were all round me;
the waves of destruction rolled over me.
6The danger of death was round me,
and the grave set its trap for me.
7In my trouble I called to the LORD;
I called to my God for help.
In his temple he heard my voice;
he listened to my cry for help.
8Then the earth trembled and shook;
the foundations of the sky rocked and quivered
because God was angry!
9Smoke poured out of his nostrils,
a consuming flame and burning coals from his mouth.
10He tore the sky apart and came down,
with a dark cloud under his feet.
11He flew swiftly on his winged creature;22.11 winged creature: See Word List.
he travelled on the wings of the wind.
12He covered himself with darkness;
thick clouds, full of22.12 Some ancient translations (and see Ps 18.11) full of; Hebrew unclear. water, surrounded him;
13burning coals flamed up from the lightning before him.
14Then the LORD thundered from the sky,
and the voice of Almighty God was heard.
15He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;
with flashes of lightning he sent them running.
16The floor of the ocean was laid bare,
and the foundations of the earth were uncovered
when the LORD rebuked his enemies
and roared at them in anger.
17The LORD reached down from above and took hold of me;
he pulled me out of the deep waters.
18He rescued me from my powerful enemies
and from all those who hate me —
they were too strong for me.
19When I was in trouble, they attacked me,
but the LORD protected me.
20He helped me out of danger;
he saved me because he was pleased with me.
21The LORD rewards me because I do what is right;
he blesses me because I am innocent.
22I have obeyed the law of the LORD;
I have not turned away from my God.
23I have observed all his laws;
I have not disobeyed his commands.
24He knows that I am faultless,
that I have kept myself from doing wrong.
25And so he rewards me because I do what is right,
because he knows that I am innocent.
26O LORD, you are faithful to those who are faithful to you,
and completely good to those22.26 Probable text (see Ps 18.25) those; Hebrew the strong. who are perfect.
27You are pure to those who are pure,
but hostile to those who are wicked.
28You save those who are humble,
but you humble those who are proud.
29You, LORD, are my light;
you dispel my darkness.
30You give me strength to attack my enemies
and power to overcome their defences.
31This God — how perfect are his deeds,
how dependable his words!
He is like a shield
for all who seek his protection.
32The LORD alone is God;
God alone is our defence.
33This God is my strong refuge;
he makes22.33 Probable text (see Ps 18.32) he makes; Hebrew unclear. my pathway safe.
He makes me sure-footed as a deer;
he keeps me safe on the mountains.
35He trains me for battle,
so that I can use the strongest bow.
36O LORD, you protect me and save me;
your help has made me great.
37You have kept me from being captured,
and I have never fallen.
38I pursue my enemies and defeat them;
I do not stop until I destroy them.
39I strike them down, and they cannot rise;
they lie defeated before me.
40You give me strength for the battle
and victory over my enemies.
41You make my enemies run from me;
I destroy those who hate me.
42They look for help, but no one saves them;
they call to the LORD, but he does not answer.
43I crush them, and they become like dust;
I trample on them like mud in the streets.
44You saved me from my rebellious people
and maintained my rule over the nations;
people I did not know have now become my subjects.
45Foreigners bow before me;
when they hear me, they obey.
46They lose their courage
and come trembling22.46 Probable text (see Ps 18.45) come trembling; Hebrew come ready to fight. from their fortresses.
47The LORD lives! Praise my defender!
Proclaim the greatness of the strong God who saves me!
48He gives me victory over my enemies;
he subdues the nations under me
49and saves me from my foes.
O LORD, you give me victory over my enemies
and protect me from violent men.
And so I praise you among the nations;
I sing praises to you.
51God gives great victories to his king;
he shows constant love to the one he has chosen,
to David and his descendants for ever.