2 Samuel 20
Berean Study Bible Par ▾ 

Sheba’s Rebellion

1Now a worthless man named Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjamite, happened to be there, and he blew the ram’s horn and shouted:

“We have no share in David,

no inheritance in Jesse’s son.

Every man to his tent,

O Israel!”

2So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bichri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

3When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to care for the palace, and he placed them in a house under guard. He provided for them, but he no longer slept with them. They were confined until the day of their death, living as widows.

4Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and be here yourself.”

5So Amasa went to summon Judah, but he took longer than the time allotted him.

6And David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom. Take your lord’s servants and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and elude us.a

7So Joab’s men, along with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the mighty men, marched out of Jerusalem in pursuit of Sheba son of Bichri. 8And while they were at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa joined them.

Now Joab was dressed in military attire, and over it was a belt around his waist with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, the sword fell out. 9“Are you well, my brother?” Joab asked Amasa. And with his right hand Joab grabbed Amasa by the beard to kiss him.

10Amasa was not on guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand, and Joab stabbed him in the stomach and spilled out his intestines on the ground. And Joab did not need to strike him again, for Amasa was dead. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bichri.

11One of Joab’s young men stood near Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” 12But Amasa wallowed in his blood in the middle of the road, and when the man saw that all the troops were stopping there, he dragged the body off the road into a field and threw a garment over it. 13As soon as Amasa’s body was removed from the road, all the men went on with Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bichri.

14Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel toward Abel-Beth-Maacah,b through the entire region of the Berites,c who gathered together and followed him.

15And Joab’s troops came and besieged Sheba in Abel-Beth-Maacah and built a siege ramp against the outer rampart of the city.

As all the troops with Joab were battering the wall to topple it, 16a wise woman called out from the city, “Listen! Listen! Please tell Joab to come here so that I may speak with him.”

17When he had come near to her, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?”

“I am,” he replied.

“Listen to the words of your servant,” she said.

“I am listening,” he answered.

18Then the woman said, “Long ago they used to say, ‘Seek counsel at Abel,’ and that is how disputes were settled. 19I am among the peaceable and faithful in Israel, but you are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the LORD’s inheritance?”

20“Far be it!” Joab declared. “Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy! 21That is not the case. But a man named Sheba son of Bichri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Deliver him alone, and I will depart from the city.”

“Look,” the woman replied, “his head will be thrown to you over the wall.”

22Then the woman went to all the people with her wise counsel, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So he blew the ram’s horn and his men dispersed from the city, each to his own home. And Joab returned to the king in Jerusalem.

23Now Joab was over the whole army of Israel; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and Pelethites; 24Adoniramd was in charge of forced labor; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25Sheva was the scribe; Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26and Ira the Jairitee was David’s priest.

Footnotes:

6 a Or and snatch away our eyes or and do us serious harm
14 b Compare 20:15; Hebrew Abel and Beth-maacah
14 c Hebrew; LXX and Vulgate Bicrites
24 d Some LXX manuscripts (see also 1 Kings 4:6 and 5:14); Hebrew Adoram
26 e Hebrew; some LXX manuscripts and Syriac (see also 2 Samuel 23:38) Ithrite

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