Joab was told, "The king is crying and mourning for Absalom."
The victory of that day was turned into mourning because all the troops heard that the king was grieving for his son.
That day the troops sneaked into the city as if they had fled from battle and were ashamed of it.
The king covered his face and cried loudly, "My son Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!"
Then Joab came into the house. "Today you have made all your men feel ashamed," he said. "They saved your life and the lives of your sons, daughters, wives, and concubines today.
You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. Today, you have made it clear that your commanders and servants mean nothing to you. I think you would be pleased if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead.
Now, get up, go out, and encourage your men. I swear to you by the LORD that if you don't go out, no one will stay with you tonight, and that will be worse than all the trouble you've had in your entire life."
The king sat in the gateway. When all the troops were told, "The king is sitting in the gateway," they came to the king. Meanwhile, Israel had fled and went back to their own homes.
All the people in all the tribes of Israel were arguing with one another, saying, "The king rescued us from our enemies and saved us from the Philistines, but now he has fled from Absalom and left the country.
However, Absalom, whom we anointed to rule us, has died in battle. Why is no one talking about bringing back the king?"
What all Israel was saying reached the king at his house. So King David sent [this message] to the priests Zadok and Abiathar: "Ask the leaders of Judah, 'Why should you be the last [tribe] to bring the king back to his palace?
You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood. Why should you be the last to bring back the king?'
And tell Amasa, 'Aren't you my flesh and blood? May God strike me dead unless you are given Joab's place to serve me always as the commander of the army.'"
All the people of Judah were in total agreement. So they sent the king this message: "Come back with all your servants."
The king came back to the Jordan River, and the people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and bring him across the Jordan River.
Shimei, Gera's son from the tribe of Benjamin and the town of Bahurim, hurried down with the people of Judah to meet King David.
One thousand people from Benjamin were with him. And Ziba, the servant of Saul's family, rushed to the Jordan River across from the king. Ziba brought his 15 sons and 20 servants.
They crossed the river to bring over the king's family and to do anything else the king wanted. Shimei, Gera's son, bowed down in front of the king as he was going to cross the Jordan River.
He pleaded with the king, "Don't remember the crime I committed the day you left Jerusalem. Don't hold it against me or even think about it, Your Majesty.
I know I've sinned. Today I've come as the first of all the house of Joseph to meet you."
But Abishai, Zeruiah's son, replied, "Shouldn't Shimei be put to death for cursing the LORD's anointed king?"
David responded, "Are you sure we're from the same family, sons of Zeruiah? You are my enemies today. Should anyone in Israel be killed today? Don't I know that I'm king of Israel again?"
The king promised Shimei, "You won't die," and the king swore to it.
Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, went to meet the king. He had not tended to his feet, trimmed his mustache, or washed his clothes from the day the king left until he came home safely.
When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, "Why didn't you go with me, Mephibosheth?"
He answered, "My servant deceived me, Your Majesty. Since I am disabled, I said, 'Saddle the donkey for me, and I'll ride on it and go with the king.'
He told you lies about me, Your Majesty. However, you are like God's Messenger. Do what you think is right.
You could have killed anyone in my entire family, Your Majesty. Instead, you've seated me with those who eat at your table. So I no longer have the right to complain to the king."
The king asked him, "Why do you keep talking about it? I've said that you and Ziba should divide the land."
"Let him take it all," Mephibosheth told the king. "It's enough for me that you've come home safely."
Barzillai, the man from Gilead, came from Rogelim with the king to the Jordan River to send him on his way.
Barzillai was an elderly man, 80 years old. Because he was a very rich man, he had provided the king with food while he was staying at Mahanaim.
The king told Barzillai, "Cross the river with me. I'll provide for you in Jerusalem."
Barzillai replied, "I don't have much longer to live. I shouldn't go with Your Majesty to Jerusalem.
I'm 80 years old now. How can I tell what is pleasant and what is not? Can I taste what I eat or drink? Can I still hear the singing of men and women? Why should I now become a burden to you, Your Majesty?
I'll just cross the Jordan River with you. Why should you give me such a reward?
Please let me go back so that I can die in my city near the grave of my father and mother. But here is Chimham. Let him go across with you. And do for him what you think is right."
"Chimham will go across with me," the king said. "I will do for him whatever you want. Anything you wish I'll do for you."
All the troops crossed the Jordan River, and then the king crossed. The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Then Barzillai went back home.
The king crossed the river to Gilgal, and Chimham went with him. All the troops from Judah and half of the troops from Israel brought the king across.
Then all the people of Israel kept coming to the king. They asked, "Why did our cousins, the people of Judah, kidnap you and bring Your Majesty and your family and men across the Jordan River?"
All the people of Judah answered the people of Israel, "Because the king is our relative. Why are you angry about this? Did we eat the king's food, or did he give us any gifts?"
The people of Israel answered the people of Judah, "We have ten times your interest in the king and a greater claim on David than you have. Why, then, do you despise us? Weren't we the first to suggest bringing back our king?" But the people of Judah spoke [even] more harshly than the people of Israel.
A good-for-nothing man by the name of Sheba, Bichri's son, from the tribe of Benjamin happened to be at Gilgal. He blew a ram's horn [to announce], "We have no share in David's kingdom. We won't receive an inheritance from Jesse's son. Everyone to his own tent, Israel!"
So all the people of Israel left David to follow Sheba, Bichri's son. But the people of Judah remained loyal to their king [on his way] from the Jordan River to Jerusalem.
When David came to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to look after the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them but no longer slept with them. So they lived like widows in confinement until they died.
The king told Amasa, "Call the people of Judah together for me, and in three days be here yourself."
Amasa went to call Judah together, but he took longer to do it than David had given him.
David then told Abishai, "Sheba, son of Bichri, will do us more harm than Absalom. Take my men and go after him, or he will find some fortified cities and take the best ones for himself."
So Joab's men, the Cherethites, Pelethites, and all the soldiers went with Abishai. They left Jerusalem to pursue Sheba, Bichri's son.
When they were at the large rock in Gibeon, Amasa met them there. Joab wore a military uniform, and strapped over it at his hip was a sword in a scabbard. As he stepped forward, the sword dropped [into his hand].
"How are you, my brother?" Joab asked Amasa. He took hold of Amasa's beard with his right hand to kiss him.
Amasa wasn't on his guard against the sword in Joab's [left] hand. Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and his intestines poured out on the ground. (He died without being stabbed again.) Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba, son of Bichri.
One of Joab's young men stood beside Amasa and said, "Anyone who favors Joab and is on David's side should follow Joab."
Amasa was wallowing in his blood in the middle of the road. When the man saw that all the troops stopped as they came to the body, he carried Amasa from the road to the field and threw a sheet over him.
As soon as he was moved from the road, everyone followed Joab and pursued Sheba, Bichri's son.
Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel (Beth Maacah). All the Berites were gathered together and followed him to the city.
Joab's army came and attacked him in Abel (Beth Maacah). They put up a dirt ramp against the city, and it stood level with the outer wall. All the troops with Joab were trying to destroy the wall and tear it down.
Then a clever woman called from the city, "Listen, listen! Tell Joab to come here so that I can talk to him."
He came near, and she asked, "Are you Joab?" "I am," he answered. "Listen to what I have to say," she told him. "I'm listening," he answered.
So she said, "There's an old saying: 'Be sure to ask at Abel [before doing anything]. That's the way they settle matters.'
We are peaceful and faithful Israelites. Are you trying to destroy a mother city in Israel? Why should you swallow up what belongs to the LORD?"
Joab answered, "That's unthinkable! I don't wish to swallow [it] up or destroy [it].
That isn't the case. A man from the mountains of Ephraim by the name of Sheba, son of Bichri, has rebelled against King David. Give him to me, and I'll withdraw from the city." "That's fine," the woman told Joab. "His head will be thrown to you from the wall."
Then the woman went to all the people with her clever plan. They cut off Sheba's head and threw it to Joab. He blew the ram's horn, and everyone scattered and withdrew from the city and went home. Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.
Now, Joab was put in charge of Israel's whole army. Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, was in charge of the Cherethites and Pelethites.
Adoram was in charge of forced labor. Jehoshaphat, son of Ahilud, was the royal historian.
Sheva was the royal scribe. Zadok and Abiathar were priests.
And Ira, a descendant of Jair, was a priest to David.
In the time of David, there was a famine for three successive years, and David asked the LORD's advice about it. The LORD answered, "It's because of Saul and his family. They are guilty of murder because they killed the people of Gibeon."
(The Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were left over from the Amorites. Although the Israelites had sworn [to spare them], Saul, in his eagerness, tried to destroy them for Israel and Judah.) The king called the Gibeonites
and asked them, "What can I do for you? What should I [give you] to make peace with you so that you will bless what belongs to the LORD?"
"We do not want silver or gold from Saul's family," the Gibeonites answered him. "And none of us wants to kill [anyone] in Israel." The king asked, "What are you saying that I should do for you?"
They answered the king, "Give us seven of the male descendants of the man who wanted to finish us off. He planned to wipe us out to keep us from staying anywhere in Israel's territory.
We will execute them in the LORD's presence at Saul's town Gibeah." (It was Saul whom the LORD had chosen.) "I will give them [to you]," the king said.
But the king spared Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son and Saul's grandson, because of the oath in the LORD's name between David and Jonathan, son of Saul.
The king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons whom Rizpah (Aiah's daughter) gave birth to for Saul, and five sons whom Merab (Saul's daughter) gave birth to for Adriel, son of Barzillai from Meholah.
The king handed them over to the Gibeonites, who executed them on the mountain in the LORD's presence. All seven died together. They were killed at the beginning of the harvest, when people started harvesting barley.
Rizpah (Aiah's daughter) took sackcloth and stretched it out on the rock for herself from the beginning of the harvest until the sky rained on the dead bodies. She wouldn't let any birds land on them during the day or any wild animals come near them during the night.
When David was told what Saul's concubine Rizpah (Aiah's daughter) had done,
David went and took the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. They had stolen them from the public square of Beth Shean, where the Philistines had hung them the day they killed Saul at Gilboa.
When David brought up the bones of Saul and Jonathan, his men gathered the bones of those who had been executed.
Then they buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin, in Zela, in the tomb of Saul's father Kish. They did everything the king ordered. After that, God answered the prayers for the land.
Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. So David and his men went to fight the Philistines, but David became exhausted.
A descendant of Haraphah named Benob, who had a bronze spear weighing 7½ pounds which he wore on a new belt, captured David and intended to kill him.
But Abishai, son of Zeruiah, came to help David. He attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David's men swore an oath, saying, "You'll never go into battle with us again. The lamp of Israel must never be extinguished."
After this, there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, another descendant of Haraphah.
When more fighting broke out with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan, son of Jaare Oregim from Bethlehem, killed Goliath of Gath. (The shaft of Goliath's spear was like a beam used by weavers.)
In another battle at Gath, there was a tall man who had a total of 24 fingers and toes: six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. He also was a descendant of Haraphah.
When he challenged Israel, Jonathan, son of David's brother Shimei, killed him.
These four were descendants of Haraphah from Gath, and David and his men killed them.