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2 Samuel 19; 2 Samuel 20; 2 Samuel 21

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2 Samuel 19

1 Someone told Joab, "The king is sobbing over Absalom. He's filled with sadness because his son has died."
2 The army had won a great battle that day. But their joy turned into sadness. That's because someone had told the troops, "The king is filled with sorrow because his son is dead."
3 The men came quietly into the city that day. They were like fighting men who are ashamed because they've run away from a battle.
4 The king covered his face. He sobbed out loud, "My son Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!"
5 Then Joab went into the king's house. He said to him, "Today you have made all of your men feel ashamed. They have just saved your life. They have saved the lives of your sons and daughters. And they have saved the lives of your wives and concubines.
6 "You love those who hate you. You hate those who love you. The commanders and their troops don't mean anything to you. You made that very clear today. I can see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead.
7 "Now go out there and cheer up your men. If you don't, you won't have any of them left with you by sunset. That will be worse for you than all of the troubles you have ever had in your whole life. That's what I promise you with an oath in the LORD's name."
8 So the king got up and took his seat in the entrance of the city gate. His men were told, "The king is sitting in the entrance of the gate." Then all of them came and stood in front of him. While all of that was going on, the Israelites had run back to their homes.
9 People from all of the tribes of Israel began to argue with one another. They were saying, "The king saved us from the power of our enemies. He saved us from the power of the Philistines. But now he has left the country because of Absalom.
10 We anointed Absalom to rule over us. But he has died in battle. So why aren't any of you talking about bringing the king back?"
11 King David sent a message to the priests Zadok and Abiathar. It said, "Speak to the elders of Judah. Tell them I said, 'News has reached me where I'm staying. People all over Israel are talking about bringing me back to my palace. Why should you be the last to do something about it?
12 You are my relatives. You are my own flesh and blood. So why should you be the last to bring me back?'
13 "Say to Amasa, 'Aren't you my own flesh and blood? From now on you will be the commander of my army in place of Joab. If that isn't true, may God punish me greatly.' "
14 So the hearts of all of the men of Judah were turned toward David. All of them had the same purpose in mind. They sent a message to the king. It said, "We want you to come back. We want all of your men to come back too."
15 Then the king returned. He went as far as the Jordan River. The men of Judah had come to Gilgal to welcome the king back. They had come to bring him across the Jordan.
16 Shimei, the son of Gera, was among them. Shimei was from Bahurim in the territory of Benjamin. He hurried down to welcome King David back.
17 There were 1,000 people from Benjamin with him. Ziba, the manager of Saul's house, was with him too. And so were Ziba's 15 sons and 20 servants. All of them rushed down to the Jordan River. That's where the king was.
18 They went across at the place where people usually cross it. Then they brought the king's family back over with them. They were ready to do anything he wanted them to do. Shimei, the son of Gera, had also gone across the Jordan. When he did, he fell down flat with his face toward the ground in front of the king.
19 He said to him, "You are my king and master. Please don't hold me guilty. Please forgive me for the wrong things I did on the day you left Jerusalem. Please forget all about them.
20 I know I've sinned. But today I've come down here to welcome you. I'm the first member of Joseph's whole family to do it."
21 Then Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, said, "Shouldn't Shimei be put to death for what he did? He called down curses on you. And you are the LORD's anointed king."
22 But David replied, "You and Joab are sons of Zeruiah. What do you and I have in common? Abishai, you have now become my enemy! Should anyone be put to death in Israel today? Don't I know that today I am king over Israel again?"
23 So the king took an oath and made a promise to Shimei. He said to him, "You aren't going to be put to death."
24 Mephibosheth was Saul's grandson. He had also gone down to welcome the king back. He had not taken care of his feet. He hadn't trimmed his mustache or washed his clothes. He hadn't done any of those things from the day the king left Jerusalem until the day he returned safely.
25 He came from Jerusalem to welcome the king. The king asked him, "Mephibosheth, why didn't you go with me?"
26 He said, "You are my king and master. I'm disabled. So I thought, 'I'll have a saddle put on my donkey. I'll ride on it. Then I can go with the king.' But my servant Ziba turned against me.
27 He has told you lies about me. King David, you are like an angel of God. So do what pleases you.
28 You should have put all of the members of my grandfather's family to death, including me. Instead, you always provided what I needed. So what right do I have to make any more appeals to you?"
29 The king said to him, "You don't have to say anything else. I order you and Ziba to divide up Saul's fields between you."
30 Mephibosheth said to the king, "I'm happy that you have arrived home safely. So just let Ziba have everything."
31 Barzillai had also come down to go across the Jordan River with the king. He wanted to send the king on his way from there. Barzillai was from Rogelim in the land of Gilead.
32 He was a very old man. He was 80 years old. He had given the king everything he needed while the king was staying in Mahanaim. That's because Barzillai was very wealthy.
33 The king said to Barzillai, "Come across the river with me. Stay with me in Jerusalem. I'll take good care of you."
34 But Barzillai said to the king, "I won't live for many more years. So why should I go up to Jerusalem with you?
35 I'm already 80 years old. I can hardly tell the difference between what is good and what isn't. I can hardly taste what I eat and drink. I can't even hear the voices of male and female singers anymore. So why should I add my problems to yours?
36 "I'll go across the Jordan River with you for a little way. Why should you reward me by taking care of me?
37 Let me go back home. Then I can die in my own town. I can be buried there in the tomb of my father and mother. But let Kimham take my place. Let him go across the river with you. Do for him what pleases you."
38 The king said, "Kimham will go across with me. I'll do for him what pleases you. And I'll do for you anything you want me to do."
39 So all of the people went across the Jordan River. Then the king crossed over. The king kissed Barzillai and gave him his blessing. And Barzillai went back home.
40 After the king had gone across the river, he went to Gilgal. Kimham had gone across with him. All of the troops of Judah and half of the troops of Israel had taken the king across.
41 Soon all of the men of Israel were coming to the king. They were saying to him, "Why did the men of Judah take you away from us? They are our relatives. What right did they have to bring you and your family across the Jordan River? What right did they have to bring all of your men over with you?"
42 All of the men of Judah answered the men of Israel. They said, "We did that because the king is our close relative. So why should you be angry about what happened? Have we eaten any of the king's food? Have we taken anything for ourselves?"
43 Then the men of Israel answered the men of Judah. They said, "We have ten of the 12 tribes in the kingdom. So we have a stronger claim on David than you have. Why then are you acting as if you hate us? Weren't we the first ones to talk about bringing back our king?" But the men of Judah answered in an even meaner way than the men of Israel.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

2 Samuel 20

1 An evil man who always stirred up trouble happened to be in Gilgal. His name was Sheba, the son of Bicri. Sheba was from the tribe of Benjamin. He blew his trumpet. Then he shouted, "We don't have any share in David's kingdom! Jesse's son is not our king! Men of Israel, every one of you go back home!"
2 So all of the men of Israel deserted David. They followed Sheba, the son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed with their king. They remained with him from the Jordan River all the way to Jerusalem.
3 David returned to his palace in Jerusalem. He had left ten concubines there to take care of the palace. He put them in a house and kept them under guard. He gave them what they needed. But he didn't make love to them. They were kept under guard until the day they died. They lived as if they were widows.
4 The king said to Amasa, "Send for the men of Judah. Tell them to come to me within three days. And be here yourself."
5 So Amasa went to get the men of Judah. But he took longer than the time the king had set for him.
6 David said to Abishai, "Sheba, the son of Bicri, will do more harm to us than Absalom ever did. Take my men and go after him. If you don't, he'll find cities that have high walls around them. He'll go into one of them and escape from us."
7 So Joab's men marched out with the Kerethites and Pelethites. They went out with all of the mighty soldiers. All of them were under Abishai's command. They marched out from Jerusalem and went after Sheba, the son of Bicri.
8 They arrived at the great rock in Gibeon. Amasa went there to welcome them. Joab was wearing his military clothes. Over them at his waist he strapped on a belt that held a dagger. As he stepped forward, the dagger fell out.
9 Joab said to Amasa, "How are you, my friend?" Then Joab reached out his right hand. He took hold of Amasa's beard to kiss him.
10 Amasa didn't pay any attention to the dagger that was in Joab's left hand. Joab stuck it into his stomach. His insides spilled out on the ground. Joab didn't have to stab him again. Amasa was already dead. Then Joab and his brother Abishai went after Sheba, the son of Bicri.
11 One of Joab's men stood beside Amasa's body. He said to the other men, "Are you pleased with Joab? Are you on David's side? Then follow Joab!"
12 Amasa's body lay covered with his blood in the middle of the road. The man saw that all of the troops stopped there. He realized that everyone was stopping to look at Amasa's body. So he dragged it from the road into a field. Then he threw some clothes on top of it.
13 After that happened, all of the men continued on with Joab. They went after Sheba, the son of Bicri.
14 Sheba passed through all of the territory of the tribes of Israel. He arrived at the city of Abel Beth Maacah. He had gone through the entire area of the Berites. They had gathered together and followed him.
15 Joab and all of his troops came to Abel Beth Maacah. They surrounded it because Sheba was there. They built a ramp up to the city. It stood against the outer wall. They pounded the wall with huge logs to bring it down.
16 While that was going on, a wise woman called out from the city. She shouted, "Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here. I want to speak to him."
17 So Joab went toward her. She asked, "Are you Joab?" "I am," he answered. She said, "Listen to what I have to say." "I'm listening," he said.
18 She continued, "Long ago people used to say, 'Get your answer at Abel.' And that would settle the matter.
19 We are the most peaceful and faithful people in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is like a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up what belongs to the LORD?"
20 "I would never do anything like that!" Joab said. "I would never swallow up or destroy what belongs to the LORD!
21 That isn't what I have in mind at all. There's a man named Sheba, the son of Bicri, in your city. He's from the hill country of Ephraim. He's trying to kill King David. Hand that man over to me. Then I'll pull my men back from your city." The woman said to Joab, "We'll throw his head down to you from the wall."
22 Then the woman gave her wise advice to all of the people in the city. They cut off the head of Sheba, the son of Bicri. They threw it down to Joab. So he blew his trumpet. Then his men pulled back from the city. Each of them returned to his home. And Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.
23 Joab was commander over Israel's entire army. Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, was commander over the Kerethites and Pelethites.
24 Adoniram was in charge of those who were forced to work hard. Jehoshaphat, the son of Ahilud, kept the records.
25 Sheva was the secretary. Zadok and Abiathar were priests.
26 Ira, the Jairite, was David's priest.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

2 Samuel 21

1 For three years in a row there wasn't enough food in the land. That was while David was king. So David asked the LORD why he wasn't showing his favor to his people. The LORD said, "It is because Saul and his family committed murder. He put the people of Gibeon to death."
2 The people of Gibeon weren't a part of Israel. Instead, they were some of the Amorites who were still left alive. The people of Israel had promised with an oath to spare them. But Saul had tried to put an end to them. That's because he wanted to make Israel and Judah strong. So now King David sent for the people of Gibeon and spoke to them.
3 He asked them, "What would you like me to do for you? How can I make up for the wrong things that were done to you? I want you to be able to pray that the LORD will once again bless his land."
4 The people of Gibeon answered him. They said, "No amount of silver or gold can make up for what Saul and his family did to us. And we can't put anyone in Israel to death." "What do you want me to do for you?" David asked.
5 They answered the king, "Saul nearly destroyed us. He made plans to wipe us out. We don't have anywhere to live in Israel.
6 So let seven of the males in his family line be given to us. We'll kill them. We'll put their dead bodies out in the open in the sight of the Lord. We'll do it at Gibeah of Saul. Saul was the LORD's chosen king." So King David said, "I'll give seven males to you."
7 The king spared Mephibosheth. He was the son of Jonathan and the grandson of Saul. David had taken an oath in the sight of the Lord. He had promised to be kind to Jonathan and the family line of his father Saul.
8 But the king chose Armoni and another Mephibosheth. They were the two sons of Aiah's daughter Rizpah. Saul was their father. The king also chose the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab. Adriel, the son of Barzillai, was their father. Adriel was from Meholah.
9 King David handed them over to the people of Gibeon. They killed them. They put their dead bodies out in the open on a hill in the sight of the Lord. All seven of them died together. They were put to death during the first days of the harvest. It happened just when people were beginning to harvest the barley.
10 Aiah's daughter Rizpah got some black cloth. She spread it out for herself on a rock. She stayed there from the beginning of the harvest until it rained. The rain poured down from the sky on the dead bodies of the seven males. She didn't let the birds of the air touch them by day. She didn't let the wild animals touch them at night.
11 Someone told David what Rizpah had done. She was Aiah's daughter and Saul's concubine.
12 David got the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan. He got them from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. They had taken them in secret from the main street in Beth Shan. That's where the Philistines had hung their bodies up on the city wall. They had done it after they struck Saul down on Mount Gilboa.
13 David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from Jabesh Gilead. The bones of the seven males who had been killed and put out in the open were also gathered up.
14 The bones of Saul and his son Jonathan were buried in the tomb of Saul's father Kish. The tomb was at Zela in the territory of Benjamin. Everything the king commanded was done. After that, God answered prayer and blessed the land.
15 Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines. He became very tired.
16 Ishbi-Benob belonged to the family line of Rapha. The tip of his bronze spear weighed seven and a half pounds. He was also armed with a new sword. He said he would kill David.
17 But Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, came to save David. He struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David's men took an oath and made a promise. They said to David, "We never want you to go out with us to battle again. You are the lamp of Israel's kingdom. We want that lamp to keep on burning brightly."
18 There was another battle against the Philistines. It took place at Gob. At that time Sibbecai killed Saph. Sibbecai was a Hushathite. Saph was from the family line of Rapha.
19 In another battle against the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan killed Goliath's brother. Elhanan was the son of Jaare-Oregim from Bethlehem. Goliath was from the city of Gath. His spear was as big as a weaver's rod.
20 There was still another battle. It took place at Gath. A huge man lived there. He had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. So the total number of his toes and fingers was 24. He was also from the family of Rapha.
21 He made fun of Israel. So Jonathan killed him. Jonathan was the son of David's brother Shimeah.
22 Those four Philistine men lived in Gath. They were from the family line of Rapha. David and his men killed them.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.