Now Joab, Zeruiah's son, could see that the king's mind was on Absalom.
So Joab sent someone to Tekoa and brought a wise woman from there. He said to her, "Pretend to be in mourning. Dress in mourning clothes. Don't anoint yourself with oil. Act like a woman who has spent a long time mourning over someone who has died.
Go to the king and speak to him as follows." Then Joab told her what to say.
When the woman from Tekoa came to the king, she fell facedown, bowing low out of respect. "King, help me!" she said.
"What is wrong?" the king asked her. "It's terrible!" she said. "I am a widow; my husband is dead.
Your servant had two sons, but the two of them fought in the field. No one could separate them, and one struck the other and killed him.
Now the entire clan has turned against your servant. They say, ‘Hand over the one who killed his brother so we can execute him for murdering his brother, even though we would destroy the heir as well.' So they would snuff out the one ember I have left, leaving my husband without name or descendant on the earth."
The king said to the woman, "Return home, and I will issue an order in your behalf."
The woman of Tekoa said to the king, "My master and king, let the guilt be on me and on my father's household. The king and his throne are innocent."
"If anyone speaks against you, bring him to me, and he will never trouble you again," the king replied.
She said, "Please let the king remember the LORD your God so that the one seeking revenge doesn't add to the destruction and doesn't kill my son." "As surely as the LORD lives," David said, "not one of your son's hairs will fall to the ground."
Then the woman said, "May your female servant say something to my master the king?" "Speak!" he said.
The woman said, “Why have you planned the very same thing against God's people? In giving this order, the king has become guilty because the king hasn't restored his own banished son.
We all have to die—we're like water spilled out on the ground that can't be gathered up again. But God doesn't take life away; instead, he makes plans so those banished from him don't stay that way.
"I have come to my master the king to talk about this because people have made me afraid. Your servant thought, I must speak with the king. Maybe the king will act on the request of his servant,
because the king will agree to deliver his servant from the power of anyone who would destroy both me and my son from the inheritance God gave.
Your servant thought, The word of my master the king will definitely comfort me, because my master the king is like one of God's messengers, understanding good and evil. May the LORD your God be with you!"
The king answered the woman, "I must ask you something—don't hide anything from me!" The woman said, "Please, my master and king, speak."
So the king said, "Has Joab put you up to this?" The woman answered, "As surely as you live, my master and king, no one can deviate a bit from whatever my master and king says. Yes, it was your servant Joab who directed me, and it was Joab who told your female servant to say all these things.
Your servant Joab did this to change the way things look. But my master's wisdom is like the wisdom of one of God's own messengers—he knows everything that takes place in the land."
So the king said to Joab, "All right then. I will do it. Go and bring back my boy Absalom."
Joab fell facedown, bowing low out of respect, and he blessed the king. "Today your servant knows that you think well of me, my master and king," Joab said, "because the king has followed up on his servant's recommendation."
So Joab got up, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem.
The king said, "He must go straight to his own house. He must not see my face." So Absalom went straight to his own house and did not see the king.
No man throughout Israel was as praised for his good looks as Absalom. From the soles of his feet to the crown of his head there was nothing wrong with him.
When he shaved his head—he had to shave his head at the end of each year because his hair was so heavy that he had to shave it—the weight of the hair from his head was two hundred shekels by the royal weight.
Absalom had three sons and one daughter. The daughter's name was Tamar. She was a beautiful woman.
Absalom lived in Jerusalem two years without ever seeing the king's face.
Absalom called for Joab in order to send Joab to the king, but Joab refused to come. Absalom called for Joab a second time, but he still wouldn't come.
So Absalom said to his servants, "Look, Joab's property is next to mine. He has barley there. Go and set it on fire." So Absalom's servants set the property on fire. Then Joab's servants went to Joab with their clothes torn. "Absalom's servants set the property on fire," they said.
So Joab went straight to Absalom's house and said to him, "Why have your servants set my property on fire?"
Absalom answered Joab, "Look, I sent you a message: Come here so I can send you to the king to ask, ‘Why have I returned from Geshur? I would be better off if I were still there!' Please let me see the king's face. If I'm guilty, then the king can kill me."
Joab went to the king and reported this to him. Then the king called for Absalom, and Absalom came to the king. He bowed low out of respect, nose to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom.
Some time later, Absalom got a chariot and horses for his own use, along with fifty men to run ahead of him.
Absalom would get up early and stand by the side of the road that went through the city gate. Whenever anyone had a lawsuit to bring before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him, "What city are you from?" When the person said, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel,"
then Absalom would say to him, "No doubt your claims are correct and valid, but the king won't listen to you.
If only I were made a judge in the land," Absalom would continue, "then anyone with a lawsuit could come to me, and I would give them justice."
Whenever anyone came near to Absalom, bowing low out of respect, he would reach his hand out, grab them, and kiss them.
This is how Absalom treated every Israelite who came to the king seeking justice. This is how Absalom stole the hearts of the Israelites.
At the end of four years, Absalom said to the king, "Please let me go to Hebron so I can fulfill a promise I made to the LORD.
Your servant made this promise when I lived in Geshur, in Aram. I promised that if the LORD would bring me back to Jerusalem, then I would worship the LORD in Hebron."
"Go in peace," the king said. So Absalom left and went to Hebron.
But Absalom sent secret agents throughout the tribes of Israel with this message: "When you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom has become king in Hebron!'"
Two hundred invited guests went with Absalom from Jerusalem. They were innocent and knew nothing of this matter when they went.
While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he summoned David's advisor Ahithophel, who was from Giloh, to come from his hometown. So the conspiracy grew stronger, and Absalom's following grew.
A messenger came to David, reporting, "The hearts of the Israelites have gone over to Absalom."
Then David told all the servants who were with him in Jerusalem, "Come on! We have to run for it, or we won't be able to escape Absalom. Hurry, or he will catch up with us in no time, destroy us, and attack the city with the sword."
The king's servants said to him, "Your servants are ready to do whatever our master the king decides."
So the king left, with his entire household following him, but he left ten secondary wives behind to take care of the palace.
So the king left, with all his people following him, and they stopped at the last house.
All the king's servants marched past him, as did all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and the six hundred Gittites who had followed him from Gath.
The king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why are you coming with us too? Go back! Stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner and an exile from your own country.
You just got here yesterday. So today should I make you wander around with us while I go wherever I have to go? No. Go back, and take your relatives with you. May the LORD show you loyal love and faithfulness."
But Ittai answered the king, "As surely as the LORD lives and as surely as my master the king lives, wherever my master the king may be, facing death or facing life, your servant will be there too."
"Okay then," David replied to Ittai. "Keep marching!" So Ittai the Gittite and all of his men and all the little children with him marched past.
The whole countryside cried loudly as all the troops marched past. The king crossed the Kidron Valley, and all the troops passed by on the Olive road into the wilderness.
Zadok was there too, along with all the Levites carrying the chest containing God's covenant. They set God's chest down, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the troops had finished marching out of the city.
Then the king said to Zadok, "Carry God's chest back into the city. If the LORD thinks well of me, then he will bring me back and let me see it and its home again.
But if God says, ‘I'm not pleased with you,' then I am ready. Let him do to me whatever pleases him."
"Do you understand?" the king said to the priest Zadok. "Go back to the city in safety—you and Abiathar with your two sons, your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan.
I will be waiting in the desert plains until you send word telling me what to do."
So Zadok and Abiathar took God's chest back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
But David, his head covered, walked barefoot up the slope of the Mount of Olives crying. All the people who were with him covered their heads too and cried as they went up.
David was told that Ahithophel was also among the conspirators with Absalom, so he prayed, "Please, LORD, make Ahithophel's advice foolish."
When David came to the summit where people used to worship God, Hushai from Erek met him. Hushai's clothes were ripped, and dirt was on his head.
David said to him, "If you come with me, you will be a burden to me.
But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘King, I am your servant! Please spare my life! I was your father's servant in the past, but now I am your servant,' then you can help me by countering Ahithophel's advice.
The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be with you there. So report everything you hear in the king's palace to the priests Zadok and Abiathar.
Their two sons, Zadok's son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan, are also there. Use them to report to me everything you hear."
So David's friend Hushai went into Jerusalem, just as Absalom was entering the city.
Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause people to trip and fall into sin must happen, but how terrible it is for the person through whom they happen.2 It would be better for them to be thrown into a lake with a large stone hung around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to trip and fall into sin.3 Watch yourselves! If your brother or sister sins, warn them to stop. If they change their hearts and lives, forgive them.4 Even if someone sins against you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times and says, ‘I am changing my ways,' you must forgive that person."
The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. 7
"Would any of you say to your servant, who had just come in from the field after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Come! Sit down for dinner'?8 Wouldn't you say instead, ‘Fix my dinner. Put on the clothes of a table servant and wait on me while I eat and drink. After that, you can eat and drink'?9 You won't thank the servant because the servant did what you asked, will you?10 In the same way, when you have done everything required of you, you should say, ‘We servants deserve no special praise. We have only done our duty.'"
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.
As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him,
they raised their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, show us mercy!"
When Jesus saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." As they left, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice.
He fell on his face at Jesus' feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan.
Jesus replied, "Weren't ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?18 No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?"
Then Jesus said to him, "Get up and go. Your faith has healed you."