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2 Samuel Chapter 14 | Parsha:

1Joab son of Zeruiah could see that the king’s mind was on Absalom; 2so Joab sent to Tekoa and brought a clever woman from there. He said to her, “Pretend you are in mourning; put on mourning clothes and don’t anoint yourself with oil; and act like a woman who has grieved a long time over a departed one. 3Go to the king and say to him thus and thus.” And Joab told her what to say.

4The woman of Tekoa came to the king, flung herself face down to the ground, and prostrated herself. She cried out, “Help, O king!” 5The king asked her, “What troubles you?” And she answered, “Alas, I am a widow, my husband is dead. 6Your maidservant had two sons. The two of them came to blows out in the fields where there was no one to stop them, and one of them struck the other and killed him. 7Then the whole clan confronted your maidservant and said, ‘Hand over the one who killed his brother, that we may put him to death for the slaying of his brother, even though we wipe out the heir.’ Thus they would quench the last ember remaining to me, and leave my husband without name or remnant upon the earth.” 8The king said to the woman, “Go home. I will issue an order in your behalf.” 9And the woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord king, may the guilt be on me and on my ancestral house; Your Majesty and his throne are guiltless.” 10The king said, “If anyone says anything more to you, have him brought to me, and he will never trouble you again.” 11She replied, “Let Your Majesty be mindful of the Lord your God and restrain the blood avenger bent on destruction, so that my son may not be killed.” And he said, “As the Lord lives, not a hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”

12Then the woman said, “Please let your maidservant say another word to my lord the king.” “Speak on,” said the king. 13And the woman said, “Why then have you planned the like against God’s people? In making this pronouncement, Your Majesty condemns himself in that Your Majesty does not bring back his own banished one. 14We must all die; we are like water that is poured out on the ground and cannot be gathered up. God will not take away the life of one who makes plans so that no one may be kept banished. 15And the reason I have come to say these things to the king, my lord, is that the people have frightened me. Your maidservant thought I would speak to Your Majesty; perhaps Your Majesty would act on his handmaid’s plea. 16For Your Majesty would surely agree to deliver his handmaid from the hands of anyone [who would seek to] cut off both me and my son from the heritage of God. 17Your maidservant thought, ‘Let the word of my lord the king provide comfort; for my lord the king is like an angel of God, understanding everything, good and bad.’ May the Lord your God be with you.”

18In reply, the king said to the woman, “Do not withhold from me anything I ask you!” The woman answered, “Let my lord the king speak.” 19The king asked, “Is Joab in league with you in all this?” The woman replied, “As you live, my lord the king, it is just as my lord the king says. Yes, your servant Joab was the one who instructed me, and it was he who told your maidservant everything she was to say. 20It was to conceal the real purpose of the matter that your servant Joab did this thing. My lord is as wise as an angel of God, and he knows all that goes on in the land.”

21Then the king said to Joab, “I will do this thing. Go and bring back my boy Absalom.” 22Joab flung himself face down on the ground and prostrated himself. Joab blessed the king and said, “Today your servant knows that he has found favor with you, my lord king, for Your Majesty has granted his servant’s request.” 23And Joab went at once to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24But the king said, “Let him go directly to his house and not present himself to me.” So Absalom went directly to his house and did not present himself to the king.

25No one in all Israel was so admired for his beauty as Absalom; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head he was without blemish. 26When he cut his hair—he had to have it cut every year, for it grew too heavy for him—the hair of his head weighed two hundred shekels by the royal weight. 27Absalom had three sons and a daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a beautiful woman.

28Absalom lived in Jerusalem two years without appearing before the king. 29Then Absalom sent for Joab, in order to send him to the king; but Joab would not come to him. He sent for him a second time, but he would not come. 30So [Absalom] said to his servants, “Look, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire.” And Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. 31Joab came at once to Absalom’s house and said to him, “Why did your servants set fire to my field?” 32Absalom replied to Joab, “I sent for you to come here; I wanted to send you to the king to say [on my behalf]: ‘Why did I leave Geshur? I would be better off if I were still there. Now let me appear before the king; and if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death!’” 33Joab went to the king and reported to him; whereupon he summoned Absalom. He came to the king and flung himself face down to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom.

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