2 Samuel 20 (New Living Translation)

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1 Then a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bicri, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, blew a trumpet and shouted, "We have nothing to do with David. We want no part of this son of Jesse. Come on, you men of Israel, let's all go home!" 2 So the men of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba. But the men of Judah stayed with their king and escorted him from the Jordan River to Jerusalem. 3 When the king arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, he instructed that the ten concubines he had left to keep house should be placed in seclusion. Their needs were to be cared for, he said, but he would no longer sleep with them. So each of them lived like a widow until she died. 4 Then the king instructed Amasa to mobilize the army of Judah within three days and to report back at that time. 5 So Amasa went out to notify the troops, but it took him longer than the three days he had been given. 6 Then David said to Abishai, "That troublemaker Sheba is going to hurt us more than Absalom did. Quick, take my troops and chase after him before he gets into a fortified city where we can't reach him." 7 So Abishai and Joab set out after Sheba with an elite guard from Joab's army and the king's own bodyguard. a 8 As they arrived at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa met them, coming from the opposite direction. Joab was wearing his uniform with a dagger strapped to his belt. As he stepped forward to greet Amasa, he secretly slipped the dagger from its sheath. 9 "How are you, my cousin?" Joab said and took him by the beard with his right hand as though to kiss him. 10 Amasa didn't notice the dagger in his left hand, and Joab stabbed him in the stomach with it so that his insides gushed out onto the ground. Joab did not need to strike again, and Amasa soon died. Joab and his brother Abishai left him lying there and continued after Sheba. 11 One of Joab's young officers shouted to Amasa's troops, "If you are for Joab and David, come and follow Joab." 12 But Amasa lay in his blood in the middle of the road, and Joab's officer saw that a crowd was gathering around to stare at him. So he pulled him off the road into a field and threw a cloak over him. 13 With Amasa's body out of the way, everyone went on with Joab to capture Sheba. 14 Meanwhile, Sheba had traveled across Israel to mobilize his own clan of Bicri at the city of Abel-beth-maacah. 15 When Joab's forces arrived, they attacked Abel-beth-maacah and built a ramp against the city wall and began battering it down. 16 But a wise woman in the city called out to Joab, "Listen to me, Joab. Come over here so I can talk to you." 17 As he approached, the woman asked, "Are you Joab?" "I am," he replied.So she said, "Listen carefully to your servant." "I'm listening," he said. 18 Then she continued, "There used to be a saying, 'If you want to settle an argument, ask advice at the city of Abel.' 19 I am one who is peace loving and faithful in Israel. But you are destroying a loyal city. Why do you want to destroy what belongs to the LORD?" 20 And Joab replied, "Believe me, I don't want to destroy your city! 21 All I want is a man named Sheba son of Bicri from the hill country of Ephraim, who has revolted against King David. If you hand him over to me, we will leave the city in peace." "All right," the woman replied, "we will throw his head over the wall to you." 22 Then the woman went to the people with her wise advice, and they cut off Sheba's head and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet and called his troops back from the attack, and they all returned to their homes. Joab returned to the king at Jerusalem. 23 Joab once again became the commander of David's army. Benaiah son of Jehoiada was commander of the king's bodyguard. 24 Adoniram b was in charge of the labor force. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian. 25 Sheva was the court secretary. Zadok and Abiathar were the priests. 26 Ira the Jairite was David's personal priest.
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