2 Samuel 19; 2 Samuel 20; Luke 18:1-23

1 Joab was told that King David was weeping and mourning for Absalom. 2 And so the joy of victory was turned into sadness for all of David's troops that day, because they heard that the king was mourning for his son. 3 They went back into the city quietly, like soldiers who are ashamed because they are running away from battle. 4 The king covered his face and cried loudly, "O my son! My son Absalom! Absalom, my son!" 5 Joab went to the king's house and said to him, "Today you have humiliated your men - the men who saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and of your wives and concubines. 6 You oppose those who love you and support those who hate you! You have made it clear that your officers and men mean nothing to you. I can see that you would be quite happy if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. 7 Now go and reassure your men. I swear by the Lord's name that if you don't, not one of them will be with you by tomorrow morning. That would be the worst disaster you have suffered in all your life." 8 Then the king got up, and went and sat near the city gate. His men heard that he was there, and they all gathered around him. Meanwhile all the Israelites had fled to their own hometowns. 9 All over the country they started quarreling among themselves. "King David saved us from our enemies," they said to one another. "He rescued us from the Philistines, but now he has fled from Absalom and left the country. 10 We anointed Absalom as our king, but he has been killed in battle. So why doesn't somebody try to bring King David back?" 11 The news of what the Israelites were saying reached King David. So he sent the priests Zadok and Abiathar to ask the leaders of Judah, "Why should you be the last to help bring the king back to his palace? 12 You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood; why should you be the last to bring me back?" 13 David also told them to say to Amasa, "You are my relative. From now on I am putting you in charge of the army in place of Joab. May God strike me dead if I don't!" 14 David's words won the complete loyalty of all the men of Judah, and they sent him word to return with all his officials. 15 On his way back the king was met at the Jordan River by the men of Judah, who had come to Gilgal to escort him across the river. 16 At the same time the Benjaminite Shimei son of Gera from Bahurim hurried to the Jordan to meet King David. 17 He had with him a thousand men from the tribe of Benjamin. And Ziba, the servant of Saul's family, also came with his fifteen sons and twenty servants, and they arrived at the Jordan before the king. 18 They crossed the river to escort the royal party across and to do whatever the king wanted. As the king was getting ready to cross, Shimei threw himself down in front of him 19 and said, "Your Majesty, please forget the wrong I did that day you left Jerusalem. Don't hold it against me or think about it any more. 20 I know, sir, that I have sinned, and this is why I am the first one from the northern tribes to come and meet Your Majesty today." 21 Abishai son of Zeruiah spoke up: "Shimei should be put to death because he cursed the one whom the Lord chose as king." 22 But David said to Abishai and his brother Joab, "Who asked your opinion? Are you going to give me trouble? I am the one who is king of Israel now, and no Israelite will be put to death today." 23 And he said to Shimei, "I give you my word that you will not be put to death." 24 Then Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, came down to meet the king. He had not washed his feet, trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes from the time the king left Jerusalem until he returned victorious. 25 When Mephibosheth arrived from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, "Mephibosheth, you didn't go with me. Why not?" 26 He answered, "As you know, Your Majesty, I am crippled. I told my servant to saddle my donkey so that I could ride along with you, but he betrayed me. 27 He lied about me to Your Majesty, but you are like God's angel, so do what seems right to you. 28 All of my father's family deserved to be put to death by Your Majesty, but you gave me the right to eat at your table. I have no right to ask for any more favors from Your Majesty." 29 The king answered, "You don't have to say anything more. I have decided that you and Ziba will share Saul's property." 30 "Let Ziba have it all," Mephibosheth answered. "It's enough for me that Your Majesty has come home safely." 31 Barzillai, from Gilead, had also come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan. 32 Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years old. He was very rich and had supplied the king with food while he was staying at Mahanaim. 33 The king said to him, "Come with me to Jerusalem, and I will take care of you." 34 But Barzillai answered, "I don't have long to live; why should I go with Your Majesty to Jerusalem? 35 I am already eighty years old, and nothing gives me pleasure any more. I can't taste what I eat and drink, and I can't hear the voices of singers. I would only be a burden to Your Majesty. 36 I don't deserve such a great reward. So I will go just a little way with you beyond the Jordan. 37 Then let me go back home and die near my parents' grave. Here is my son Chimham, who will serve you; take him with you, Your Majesty, and do for him as you think best." 38 The king answered, "I will take him with me and do for him whatever you want. And I will do for you anything you ask." 39 Then David and all of his men crossed the Jordan. He kissed Barzillai and gave him his blessing, and Barzillai went back home. 40 When the king had crossed, escorted by all the people of Judah and half the people of Israel, he went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went with him. 41 Then all the Israelites went to the king and said to him, "Your Majesty, why did our brothers, the men of Judah, think they had the right to take you away and escort you, your family, and your men across the Jordan?" 42 The men of Judah answered, "We did it because the king is one of us. So why should this make you angry? He hasn't paid for our food nor has he given us anything." 43 The Israelites replied, "We have ten times as many claims on King David as you have, even if he is one of you. Why do you look down on us? Don't forget that we were the first to talk about bringing the king back!" But the men of Judah were more violent in making their claims than the men of Israel.
1 There happened to be in Gilgal a worthless character named Sheba son of Bikri, of the tribe of Benjamin. He blew the trumpet and called out, "Down with David! We won't follow him! Men of Israel, let's go home!" 2 So the Israelites deserted David and went with Sheba, but the men of Judah remained loyal and followed David from the Jordan to Jerusalem. 3 When David arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace, and put them under guard. He provided for their needs, but did not have intercourse with them. They were kept confined for the rest of their lives, living like widows. 4 The king said to Amasa, "Call the men of Judah together and be back here with them by the day after tomorrow." 5 Amasa went to call them, but he did not get back by the time the king had told him to. 6 So the king said to Abishai, "Sheba will give us more trouble than Absalom. Take my men and go after him, or else he may occupy some fortified towns and escape from us." 7 So Joab's men, the royal bodyguards, and all the other soldiers left Jerusalem with Abishai to go after Sheba. 8 When they reached the large rock at Gibeon, Amasa met them. Joab was dressed for battle, with a sword in its sheath fastened to his belt. As he came forward, the sword fell out. 9 Joab said to Amasa, "How are you, my friend?" and took hold of his beard with his right hand in order to kiss him. 10 Amasa was not on guard against the sword that Joab was holding in his other hand, and Joab stabbed him in the belly, and his insides spilled out on the ground. He died immediately, and Joab did not have to strike again. Then Joab and his brother Abishai went on after Sheba. 11 One of Joab's men stood by Amasa's body and called out, "Everyone who is for Joab and David follow Joab!" 12 Amasa's body, covered with blood, was lying in the middle of the road. Joab's man saw that everybody was stopping, so he dragged the body from the road out into the field and threw a blanket over it. 13 After the body had been removed from the road, everyone followed Joab in pursuit of Sheba. 14 Sheba passed through the territory of all the tribes of Israel and came to the city of Abel Beth Maacah, and all the members of the clan of Bikri assembled and followed him into the city. 15 Joab's men heard that Sheba was there, and so they went and besieged the city. They built ramps of earth against the outer wall and also began to dig under the wall to make it fall down. 16 There was a wise woman in the city who shouted from the wall, "Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here; I want to speak with him." 17 Joab went, and she asked, "Are you Joab?" "Yes, I am," he answered. "Listen to me, sir," she said. "I'm listening," he answered. 18 She said, "Long ago they used to say, "Go and get your answer in the city of Abel' - and that's just what they did. 19 Ours is a great city, one of the most peaceful and loyal in Israel. Why are you trying to destroy it? Do you want to ruin what belongs to the Lord?" 20 "Never!" Joab answered. "I will never ruin or destroy your city! 21 That is not our plan. A man named Sheba son of Bikri, who is from the hill country of Ephraim, started a rebellion against King David. Hand over this one man, and I will withdraw from the city." "We will throw his head over the wall to you," she said. 22 Then she went to the people of the city with her plan, and they cut off Sheba's head and threw it over the wall to Joab. He blew the trumpet as a signal for his men to leave the city, and they went back home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. 23 Joab was in command of the army of Israel; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was in charge of David's bodyguards; 24 Adoniram was in charge of the forced labor; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was in charge of the records; 25 Sheva was the court secretary; Zadok and Abiathar were the priests, 26 and Ira from the town of Jair was also one of David's priests.
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they should always pray and never become discouraged. 2 "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. 3 And there was a widow in that same town who kept coming to him and pleading for her rights, saying, "Help me against my opponent!' 4 For a long time the judge refused to act, but at last he said to himself, "Even though I don't fear God or respect people, 5 yet because of all the trouble this widow is giving me, I will see to it that she gets her rights. If I don't, she will keep on coming and finally wear me out!' " 6 And the Lord continued, "Listen to what that corrupt judge said. 7 Now, will God not judge in favor of his own people who cry to him day and night for help? Will he be slow to help them? 8 I tell you, he will judge in their favor and do it quickly. But will the Son of Man find faith on earth when he comes?" 9 Jesus also told this parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else. 10 "Once there were two men who went up to the Temple to pray: one was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, "I thank you, God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like that tax collector over there. 12 I fast two days a week, and I give you one tenth of all my income.' 13 But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his face to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, "God, have pity on me, a sinner!' 14 I tell you," said Jesus, "the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great." 15 Some people brought their babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. The disciples saw them and scolded them for doing so, 16 but Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Remember this! Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it." 18 A Jewish leader asked Jesus, "Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?" 19 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked him. "No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: "Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; respect your father and your mother.' " 21 The man replied, "Ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments." 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "There is still one more thing you need to do. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me." 23 But when the man heard this, he became very sad, because he was very rich.
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