2 Samuel 14; 2 Samuel 15; Luke 17:1-19

1 Joab son of Zeruiah observed that the king's mind was on Absalom. 2 So Joab sent someone to Tekoa to bring a clever woman from there. He told her, "Pretend to be in mourning: dress in mourning clothes and don't put on any oil. Act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for a long time. 3 Go to the king and speak these words to him." Then Joab told her exactly what to say. 4 When the woman from Tekoa came to the king, she fell with her face to the ground in homage and said, "Help me, my king!" 5 "What's the matter?" the king asked her. "To tell the truth, I am a widow; my husband died," she said. 6 "Your servant had two sons. They were fighting in the field with no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him. 7 Now the whole clan has risen up against your servant and said, 'Hand over the one who killed his brother so we may put him to death for the life of the brother he murdered. We will destroy the heir!' They would extinguish my one remaining ember by not preserving my husband's name or posterity on earth." 8 The king told the woman, "Go home. I will issue a command on your behalf." 9 Then the woman of Tekoa said to the king, "My lord the king, may any blame be on me and my father's house, and may the king and his throne be innocent." 10 "Whoever speaks to you," the king said, "bring him to me. He will not trouble you again!" 11 She replied, "Please, may the king invoke the Lord your God, so that the avenger of blood will not increase the loss, and they will not eliminate my son!" "As the Lord lives," he vowed, "not a hair of your son will fall to the ground." 12 Then the woman said, "Please, may your servant speak a word to my lord the king?" "Speak," he replied. 13 The woman asked, "Why have you devised something similar against the people of God? When the king spoke as he did about this matter, he has pronounced his own guilt. The king has not brought back his own banished one. 14 For we will certainly die and be like water poured out on the ground, which can't be recovered. But God would not take away a life; He would devise plans so that the one banished from Him does not remain banished. 15 "Now therefore, I've come to present this matter to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. Your servant thought: I must speak to the king. Perhaps the king will grant his servant's request. 16 The king will surely listen in order to rescue his servant from the hand of this man who would eliminate both me and my son from God's inheritance. 17 Your servant thought: May the word of my lord the king bring relief, for my lord the king is able to discern the good and the bad like the Angel of God. May the Lord your God be with you." 18 Then the king answered the woman, "I'm going to ask you something; don't conceal it from me!" "Let my lord the king speak," the woman replied. 19 The king asked, "Did Joab put you up to all this?" The woman answered. "As surely as you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or left from all my lord the king says. Yes, your servant Joab is the one who gave orders to me; he told your servant exactly what to say. 20 Joab your servant has done this to address the issue indirectly, but my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the Angel of God, knowing everything on earth." 21 Then the king said to Joab, "I hereby grant this request. Go, bring back the young man Absalom." 22 Joab fell with his face to the ground in homage and praised the king. "Today," Joab said, "your servant knows I have found favor with you, my lord the king, because the king has granted the request of your servant." 23 So Joab got up, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 However, the king added, "He may return to his house, but he may not see my face." So Absalom returned to his house, but he did not see the king. 25 No man in all Israel was as handsome and highly praised as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the top of his head, he did not have a single flaw. 26 When he shaved his head-he shaved [it] every year because [his hair] got so heavy for him that he had to shave it off-he would weigh the hair from his head and it would be five pounds according to the royal standard. 27 Three sons were born to Absalom, and a daughter named Tamar, who was a beautiful woman. 28 Absalom resided in Jerusalem two years but never saw the king. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab was unwilling to come. So he sent again, a second time, but he still wouldn't come. 30 Then Absalom said to his servants, "See, Joab has a field right next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set fire to it!" So Absalom's servants set the field on fire. 31 Then Joab came to Absalom's house and demanded, "Why did your servants set my field on fire?" 32 "Look," Absalom explained to Joab, "I sent for you and said, 'Come here. I want to send you to the king to ask: Why have I come back from Geshur? I'd be better off if I were still there.' So now, let me see the king. If I am guilty, let him kill me." 33 Joab went to the king and told him. So David summoned Absalom, who came to the king and bowed down with his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom.
1 After this, Absalom got himself a chariot, horses, and 50 men to run before him. 2 He would get up early and stand beside the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone had a grievance to bring before the king for settlement, Absalom called out to him and asked, "What city are you from?" If he replied, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel," 3 Absalom said to him, "Look, your claims are good and right, but the king does not have anyone to listen to you." 4 He added, "If only someone would appoint me judge in the land. Then anyone who had a grievance or dispute could come to me, and I would make sure he received justice." 5 When a person approached to bow down to him, Absalom reached out his hand, took hold of him, and kissed him. 6 Absalom did this to all the Israelites who came to the king for a settlement. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 7 When four years had passed, Absalom said to the king, "Please let me go to Hebron to fulfill a vow I made to the Lord. 8 For your servant made a vow when I lived in Geshur of Aram, saying: If the Lord really brings me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the Lord in Hebron." 9 "Go in peace," the king said to him. So he went to Hebron. 10 Then Absalom sent messengers throughout the tribes of Israel with this message: "When you hear the sound of the ram's horn, you are to say, 'Absalom has become king in Hebron!' " 11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem went with Absalom. They had been invited and were going innocently, for they knew nothing about the whole matter. 12 While he was offering the sacrifices, Absalom sent for David's adviser Ahithophel the Gilonite, from his city of Giloh. So the conspiracy grew strong, and the people supporting Absalom continued to increase. 13 Then an informer came to David and reported, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom." 14 David said to all the servants with him in Jerusalem, "Get up. We have to flee, or we will not escape from Absalom! Leave quickly, or he will overtake us, heap disaster on us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword." 15 The king's servants said to him, "Whatever my lord the king decides, we are your servants." 16 Then the king set out, and his entire household followed him. But he left behind 10 concubines to take care of the palace. 17 So the king set out, and all the people followed him. They stopped at the last house 18 while all his servants marched past him. Then all the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and the Gittites-600 men who came with him from Gath-marched past the king. 19 The king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why are you also going with us? Go back and stay with the king since you're both a foreigner and an exile from your homeland. 20 Besides, you only arrived yesterday; should I make you wander around with us today while I go wherever I can? Go back and take your brothers with you. May the Lord show you kindness and faithfulness." 21 But in response, Ittai vowed to the king, "As surely as the Lord lives and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king is, whether it means life or death, your servant will be there!" 22 "March on," David replied to Ittai. So Ittai the Gittite marched past with all his men and the children who were with him. 23 Everyone in the countryside was weeping loudly while all the people were marching past. As the king was crossing the Kidron Valley, all the people were marching past on the road that leads to the desert. 24 Zadok was also there, and all the Levites with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set the ark of God down, and Abiathar offered [sacrifices] until the people had finished marching past. 25 Then the king instructed Zadok, "Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the Lord's eyes, He will bring me back and allow me to see both it and its dwelling place. 26 However, if He should say, 'I do not delight in you,' then here I am-He can do with me whatever pleases Him." 27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, "Look, return to the city in peace and your two sons with you: your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan. 28 Remember, I'll wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me." 29 So Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem and stayed there. 30 David was climbing the slope of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he ascended. His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot. Each of the people with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they ascended. 31 Then someone reported to David: "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." "Lord," David pleaded, "please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!" 32 When David came to the summit where he used to worship God, there to meet him was Hushai the Archite with his robe torn and dust on his head. 33 David said to him, "If you go away with me, you'll be a burden to me, 34 but if you return to the city and tell Absalom, 'I will be your servant, my king! Previously, I was your father's servant, but now I will be your servant,' then you can counteract Ahithophel's counsel for me. 35 Won't Zadok and Abiathar the priests be there with you? Report everything you hear from the king's palace to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Take note: their two sons, Zadok's son Ahimaaz and Abiathar's son Jonathan, are there with them. Send me everything you hear through them." 37 So Hushai, David's personal adviser, entered Jerusalem just as Absalom was entering the city.
1 He said to His disciples, "Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' you must forgive him." 5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." 6 "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed," the Lord said, "you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you. 7 "Which one of you having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he comes in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'? 8 Instead, will he not tell him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, get ready, and serve me while I eat and drink; later you can eat and drink'? 9 Does he thank that slave because he did what was commanded? 10 In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, 'We are good-for-nothing slaves; we've only done our duty.' " 11 While traveling to Jerusalem, He passed between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He entered a village, 10 men with serious skin diseases met Him. They stood at a distance 13 and raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" 14 When He saw them, He told them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And while they were going, they were healed. 15 But one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned and, with a loud voice, gave glory to God. 16 He fell facedown at His feet, thanking Him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus said, "Were not 10 cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Didn't any return to give glory to God except this foreigner?" 19 And He told him, "Get up and go on your way. Your faith has made you well."
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