2 Samuel 14 (New Living Translation)

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1 Joab realized how much the king longed to see Absalom. 2 So he sent for a woman from Tekoa who had a reputation for great wisdom. He said to her, "Pretend you are in mourning; wear mourning clothes and don't bathe or wear any perfume. Act like a woman who has been in deep sorrow for a long time. 3 Then go to the king and tell him the story I am about to tell you." Then Joab told her what to say. 4 When the woman approached the king, she fell with her face down to the floor in front of him and cried out, "O king! Help me!" 5 "What's the trouble?" the king asked. "I am a widow," she replied. 6 "My two sons had a fight out in the field. And since no one was there to stop it, one of them was killed. 7 Now the rest of the family is demanding, 'Let us have your son. We will execute him for murdering his brother. He doesn't deserve to inherit his family's property.' But if I do that, I will have no one left, and my husband's name and family will disappear from the face of the earth." 8 "Leave it to me," the king told her. "Go home, and I'll see to it that no one touches him." 9 "Oh, thank you, my lord," she replied. "And I'll take the responsibility if you are criticized for helping me like this." 10 "Don't worry about that!" the king said. "If anyone objects, bring them to me. I can assure you they will never complain again!" 11 Then she said, "Please swear to me by the LORD your God that you won't let anyone take vengeance against my son. I want no more bloodshed." "As surely as the LORD lives," he replied, "not a hair on your son's head will be disturbed!" 12 "Please let me ask one more thing of you!" she said. "Go ahead," he urged. "Speak!" 13 She replied, "Why don't you do as much for all the people of God as you have promised to do for me? You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son. 14 All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. That is why God tries to bring us back when we have been separated from him. He does not sweep away the lives of those he cares about -- and neither should you! 15 "But I have come to plead with you for my son because my life and my son's life have been threatened. I said to myself, 'Perhaps the king will listen to me 16 and rescue us from those who would cut us off from God's people. 17 Yes, the king will give us peace of mind again.' I know that you are like an angel of God and can discern good from evil. May the LORD your God be with you." 18 "I want to know one thing," the king replied. "Yes, my lord?" she asked. 19 "Did Joab send you here?" And the woman replied, "My lord the king, how can I deny it? Nobody can hide anything from you. Yes, Joab sent me and told me what to say. 20 He did it to place the matter before you in a different light. But you are as wise as an angel of God, and you understand everything that happens among us!" 21 So the king sent for Joab and told him, "All right, go and bring back the young man Absalom." 22 Joab fell to the ground before the king and blessed him and said, "At last I know that I have gained your approval, for you have granted me this request!" 23 Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 24 But the king gave this order: "Absalom may go to his own house, but he must never come into my presence." So Absalom did not see the king. 25 Now no one in Israel was as handsome as Absalom. From head to foot, he was the perfect specimen of a man. 26 He cut his hair only once a year, and then only because it was too heavy to carry around. When he weighed it out, it came to five pounds! a 27 He had three sons and one daughter. His daughter's name was Tamar, and she was very beautiful. 28 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years without getting to see the king. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab to ask him to intercede for him, but Joab refused to come. Absalom sent for him a second time, but again Joab refused to come. 30 So Absalom said to his servants, "Go and set fire to Joab's barley field, the field next to mine." So they set his field on fire, as Absalom had commanded. 31 Then Joab came to Absalom and demanded, "Why did your servants set my field on fire?" 32 And Absalom replied, "Because I wanted you to ask the king why he brought me back from Geshur if he didn't intend to see me. I might as well have stayed there. Let me see the king; if he finds me guilty of anything, then let him execute me." 33 So Joab told the king what Absalom had said. Then at last David summoned his estranged son, and Absalom came and bowed low before the king, and David kissed him.
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