2 Samuel 19; 2 Samuel 20; 2 Samuel 21

1 People told Joab, "Look, the king is sad and crying because of Absalom." 2 David's army had won the battle that day. But it became a very sad day for all the people, because they heard that the king was very sad for his son. 3 The people came into the city quietly that day. They were like an army that had been defeated in battle and had run away. 4 The king covered his face and cried loudly, "My son Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!" 5 Joab went into the king's house and said, "Today you have shamed all your men. They saved your life and the lives of your sons, daughters, wives, and slave women. 6 You have shamed them because you love those who hate you, and you hate those who love you. Today you have made it clear that your commanders and men mean nothing to you. What if Absalom had lived and all of us were dead? I can see you would be pleased. 7 Now go out and encourage your servants. I swear by the Lord that if you don't go out, no man will be left with you by tonight! That will be worse than all the troubles you have had from your youth until today." 8 So the king went to the city gate. When the news spread that the king was at the gate, everyone came to see him. All the Israelites who had followed Absalom had run away to their homes. 9 People in all the tribes of Israel began to argue, saying, "The king saved us from the Philistines and our other enemies, but he left the country because of Absalom. 10 We appointed Absalom to rule us, but now he has died in battle. We should make David the king again." 11 King David sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, that said, "Speak to the older leaders of Judah. Say, 'Even in my house I have heard what all the Israelites are saying. So why are you the last tribe to bring the king back to his palace? 12 You are my brothers, my own family. Why are you the last tribe to bring back the king?' 13 And say to Amasa, 'You are part of my own family. May God punish me terribly if I don't make you commander of the army in Joab's place!'" 14 David touched the hearts of all the people of Judah at once. They sent a message to the king that said, "Return with all your men." 15 Then the king returned as far as the Jordan River. The men of Judah came to Gilgal to meet him and to bring him across the Jordan. 16 Shimei son of Gera, a Benjaminite who lived in Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 With Shimei came a thousand Benjaminites. Ziba, the servant from Saul's family, also came, bringing his fifteen sons and twenty servants with him. They all hurried to the Jordan River to meet the king. 18 The people went across the Jordan to help bring the king's family back to Judah and to do whatever the king wanted. As the king was crossing the river, Shimei son of Gera came to him and bowed facedown on the ground in front of the king. 19 He said to the king, "My master, don't hold me guilty. Don't remember the wrong I did when you left Jerusalem! Don't hold it against me. 20 I know I have sinned. That is why I am the first person from Joseph's family to come down and meet you today, my master and king!" 21 But Abishai son of Zeruiah said, "Shimei should die because he cursed you, the Lord's appointed king!" 22 David said, "This does not concern you, sons of Zeruiah! Today you're against me! No one will be put to death in Israel today. Today I know I am king over Israel!" 23 Then the king promised Shimei, "You won't die." 24 Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, also went down to meet King David. Mephibosheth had not cared for his feet, cut his beard, or washed his clothes from the time the king had left Jerusalem until he returned safely. 25 When Mephibosheth came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, "Mephibosheth, why didn't you go with me?" 26 He answered, "My master, my servant Ziba tricked me! I said to Ziba, 'I am crippled, so saddle a donkey. Then I will ride it so I can go with the king.' 27 But he lied about me to you. You, my master and king, are like an angel from God. Do what you think is good. 28 You could have killed all my grandfather's family. Instead, you put me with those people who eat at your own table. So I don't have a right to ask anything more from the king!" 29 The king said to him, "Don't say anything more. I have decided that you and Ziba will divide the land." 30 Mephibosheth said to the king, "Let Ziba take all the land now that my master the king has arrived safely home." 31 Barzillai of Gilead came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan River with the king. 32 Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years old. He had taken care of the king when David was staying at Mahanaim, because Barzillai was a very rich man. 33 David said to Barzillai, "Cross the river with me. Come with me to Jerusalem, and I will take care of you." 34 But Barzillai answered the king, "Do you know how old I am? Do you think I can go with you to Jerusalem? 35 I am eighty years old! I am too old to taste what I eat or drink. I am too old to hear the voices of men and women singers. Why should you be bothered with me? 36 I am not worthy of a reward from you, but I will cross the Jordan River with you. 37 Then let me go back so I may die in my own city near the grave of my father and mother. But here is Kimham, your servant. Let him go with you, my master and king. Do with him whatever you want." 38 The king answered, "Kimham will go with me. I will do for him anything you wish, and I will do anything for you that you wish." 39 The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Then Barzillai returned home, and the king and all the people crossed the Jordan. 40 When the king crossed over to Gilgal, Kimham went with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel led David across the river. 41 Soon all the Israelites came to the king and said to him, "Why did our relatives, the people of Judah, steal you away? Why did they bring you and your family across the Jordan River with your men?" 42 All the people of Judah answered the Israelites, "We did this because the king is our close relative. Why are you angry about it? We have not eaten food at the king's expense or taken anything for ourselves!" 43 The Israelites answered the people of Judah, "We have ten tribes in the kingdom, so we have more right to David than you do! But you ignored us! We were the first ones to talk about bringing our king back!" But the people of Judah spoke even more unkindly than the people of Israel.
1 It happened that a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bicri from the tribe of Benjamin was there. He blew the trumpet and said: "We have no share in David! People of Israel, let's go home!" 2 So all the Israelites left David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the people of Judah stayed with their king all the way from the Jordan River to Jerusalem. 3 David came back to his palace in Jerusalem. He had left ten of his slave women there to take care of the palace. Now he put them in a locked house. He gave them food, but he did not have sexual relations with them. So they lived like widows until they died. 4 The king said to Amasa, "Tell the men of Judah to meet with me in three days, and you must also be here." 5 So Amasa went to call the men of Judah together, but he took more time than the king had said. 6 David said to Abishai, "Sheba son of Bicri is more dangerous to us than Absalom was. Take my men and chase him before he finds walled cities and escapes from us." 7 So Joab's men, the Kerethites and the Pelethites, and all the soldiers went with Abishai. They went out from Jerusalem to chase Sheba son of Bicri. 8 When Joab and the army came to the great rock at Gibeon, Amasa came out to meet them. Joab was wearing his uniform, and at his waist he wore a belt that held his sword in its case. As Joab stepped forward, his sword fell out of its case. 9 Joab asked Amasa, "Brother, is everything all right with you?" Then with his right hand he took Amasa by the beard to kiss him. 10 Amasa was not watching the sword in Joab's hand. So Joab pushed the sword into Amasa's stomach, causing Amasa's insides to spill onto the ground. Joab did not have to stab Amasa again; he was already dead. Then Joab and his brother Abishai continued to chase Sheba son of Bicri. 11 One of Joab's young men stood by Amasa's body and said, "Everyone who is for Joab and David should follow Joab!" 12 Amasa lay in the middle of the road, covered with his own blood. When the young man saw that everyone was stopping to look at the body, he dragged it from the road, laid it in a field, and put a cloth over it. 13 After Amasa's body was taken off the road, all the men followed Joab to chase Sheba son of Bicri. 14 Sheba went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel Beth Maacah. All the Berites also came together and followed him. 15 So Joab and his men came to Abel Beth Maacah and surrounded it. They piled dirt up against the city wall, and they began hacking at the walls to bring them down. 16 But a wise woman shouted out from the city, "Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here. I want to talk to him!" 17 So Joab came near her. She asked him, "Are you Joab?" He answered, "Yes, I am." Then she said, "Listen to what I say." Joab said, "I'm listening." 18 Then the woman said, "In the past people would say, 'Ask for advice at Abel,' and the problem would be solved. 19 I am one of the peaceful, loyal people of Israel. You are trying to destroy an important city of Israel. Why must you destroy what belongs to the Lord?" 20 Joab answered, "I would prefer not to destroy or ruin anything! 21 That is not what I want. But there is a man here from the mountains of Ephraim, who is named Sheba son of Bicri. He has turned against King David. If you bring him to me, I will leave the city alone." The woman said to Joab, "His head will be thrown over the wall to you." 22 Then the woman spoke very wisely to all the people of the city. They cut off the head of Sheba son of Bicri and threw it over the wall to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and the army left the city. Every man returned home, and Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem. 23 Joab was commander of all the army of Israel. Benaiah son of Jehoiada led the Kerethites and Pelethites. 24 Adoniram was in charge of the men who were forced to do hard work. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the recorder. 25 Sheba was the royal secretary. Zadok and Abiathar were the priests, 26 and Ira the Jairite was David's priest.
1 During the time David was king, there was a shortage of food that lasted for three years. So David prayed to the Lord. The Lord answered, "Saul and his family of murderers are the reason for this shortage, because he killed the Gibeonites." 2 (Now the Gibeonites were not Israelites; they were a group of Amorites who were left alive. The Israelites had promised not to hurt the Gibeonites, but Saul had tried to kill them, because he was eager to help the people of Israel and Judah.) King David called the Gibeonites together and spoke to them. 3 He asked, "What can I do for you? How can I make up for the harm done so you can bless the Lord's people?" 4 The Gibeonites said to David, "We cannot demand silver or gold from Saul or his family. And we don't have the right to kill anyone in Israel." Then David asked, "What do you want me to do for you?" 5 The Gibeonites said, "Saul made plans against us and tried to destroy all our people who are left in the land of Israel. 6 So bring seven of his sons to us. Then we will kill them and hang them on stakes in the presence of the Lord at Gibeah, the hometown of Saul, the Lord's chosen king." The king said, "I will give them to you." 7 But the king protected Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the promise he had made to Jonathan in the Lord's name. 8 The king did take Armoni and Mephibosheth, sons of Rizpah and Saul. (Rizpah was the daughter of Aiah.) And the king took the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab. (Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite was the father of Merab's five sons.) 9 David gave these seven sons to the Gibeonites. Then the Gibeonites killed them and hung them on stakes on a hill in the presence of the Lord. All seven sons died together. They were put to death during the first days of the harvest season at the beginning of barley harvest. 10 Aiah's daughter Rizpah took the rough cloth that was worn to show sadness and put it on a rock for herself. She stayed there from the beginning of the harvest until the rain fell on her sons' bodies. During the day she did not let the birds of the sky touch her sons' bodies, and during the night she did not let the wild animals touch them. 11 People told David what Aiah's daughter Rizpah, Saul's slave woman, was doing. 12 Then David took the bones of Saul and Jonathan from the men of Jabesh Gilead. (The Philistines had hung the bodies of Saul and Jonathan in the public square of Beth Shan after they had killed Saul at Gilboa. Later the men of Jabesh Gilead had secretly taken them from there.) 13 David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from Gilead. Then the people gathered the bodies of Saul's seven sons who were hanged on stakes. 14 The people buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan at Zela in Benjamin in the tomb of Saul's father Kish. The people did everything the king commanded. Then God answered the prayers for the land. 15 Again there was war between the Philistines and Israel. David and his men went out to fight the Philistines, but David became tired. 16 Ishbi-Benob, one of the sons of Rapha, had a bronze spearhead weighing about seven and one-half pounds and a new sword. He planned to kill David, 17 but Abishai son of Zeruiah killed the Philistine and saved David's life. Then David's men made a promise to him, saying, "Never again will you go out with us to battle. If you were killed, Israel would lose its greatest leader." 18 Later, at Gob, there was another battle with the Philistines. Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, another one of the sons of Rapha. 19 Later, there was another battle at Gob with the Philistines. Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim from Bethlehem killed Goliathn from Gath. His spear was as large as a weaver's rod. 20 At Gath another battle took place. A huge man was there; he had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot -- twenty-four fingers and toes in all. This man also was one of the sons of Rapha. 21 When he challenged Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David's brother, killed him. 22 These four sons of Rapha from Gath were killed by David and his men.
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