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1Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was toward Absalom. 2Joab sent to Tekoa, and fetched there a wise woman, and said to her, please act like a mourner, and put on mourning clothing, Please, and don’t anoint yourself with oil, but be as a woman who has a long time mourned for the dead: 3and go in to the king, and speak on this manner to him. So Joab put the words in her mouth. 4When the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and said, Help, O king. 5The king said to her, What ails you? She answered, Of a truth I am a widow, and my husband is dead. 6Your handmaid had two sons, and they two strove together in the field, and there was none to part them, but the one struck the other, and killed him. 7Behold, the whole family is risen against your handmaid, and they say, Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he killed, and so destroy the heir also. Thus will they quench my coal which is left, and will leave to my husband neither name nor remainder on the surface of the earth. 8The king said to the woman, Go to your house, and I will give charge concerning you. 9The woman of Tekoa said to the king, My lord, O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father’s house; and the king and his throne be guiltless. 10The king said, Whoever says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you any more. 11Then said she, Please let the king remember Yahweh your God, that the avenger of blood destroy not any more, lest they destroy my son. He said, As Yahweh lives, there shall not one hair of your son fall to the earth. 12Then the woman said, Please let your handmaid speak a word to my lord the king. He said, Say on. 13The woman said, Why then have you devised such a thing against the people of God? for in speaking this word the king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring home again his banished one. 14For we must needs die, and are as water split on the ground, which can’t be gathered up again; neither does God take away life, but devises means, that he who is banished not be an outcast from him. 15Now therefore seeing that I have come to speak this word to my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid: and your handmaid said, I will now speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant. 16For the king will hear, to deliver his servant out of the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God. 17Then your handmaid said, Please let the word of my lord the king be comfortable; for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: and Yahweh your God be with you. 18Then the king answered the woman, Please don’t hide anything from me that I shall ask you. The woman said, Let my lord the king now speak. 19The king said, Is the hand of Joab with you in all this? The woman answered, As your soul lives, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken; for your servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid; 20to change the face of the matter has your servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth. 21The king said to Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring the young man Absalom back. 22Joab fell to the ground on his face, and did obeisance, and blessed the king: and Joab said, Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord, king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant. 23So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24The king said, Let him turn to his own house, but let him not see my face. So Absalom turned to his own house, and didn’t see the king’s face. 25Now in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26When he cut the hair of his head (now it was at every year’s end that he cut it; because it was heavy on him, therefore he cut it); he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, after the king’s weight. 27To Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a beautiful face. 28Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem; and he didn’t see the king’s face. 29Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king; but he would not come to him: and he sent again a second time, but he would not come. 30Therefore he said to his servants, Behold, Joab’s field is near mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire. Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. 31Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom to his house, and said to him, Why have your servants set my field on fire? 32Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent to you, saying, Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say, Why am I come from Geshur? it were better for me to be there still. Now therefore let me see the king’s face; and if there be iniquity in me, let him kill me. 33So Joab came to the king, and told him; and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.
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