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The Bible in Living English
14 and Joab the son of Serujah perceived that the king was well disposed toward Absalom. 2 And Joab sent to Tekoaʽ and got a wise woman from there, and said to her “Go into mourning, put on mourning clothes and do not rub yourself with oil, and be like a woman who has been in mourning for a death these many days; 3 and come to the king and say this word to him—” and Joab dictated the words to her. 4 And the Tekoʽite woman came to the king and threw herself down flat on her face and did reverence, and said “Help, your majesty!” 5 And the king said “What is the matter?” And she said “You see, I am a widow woman, my husband is dead; 6 and your servant had two sons, and the two of them had a tussle out on the range, with no one to part them, and he hit him—one of them hit the other one—and killed him. 7 And there the whole clan stood up against your servant and said ‘Give us the brother-killer to be put to death for the life of his brother whom he killed, so that we can make away with the heir too’; and they will put out the spark that is left me, not giving my husband a name and remnant on the face of the earth.” 8 And the king said to the woman “Go to your home, and I will give orders about you.” 9 And the Tekoʽite woman said to the king “On me be the offense, your majesty, and on my family; and may the king and his throne go clear.” 10 And the king said “Anyone who speaks to you, bring him to me and he shall not touch you again.” 11 And she said “Will your majesty please name your God Jehovah for assurance that the blood-reclaimer shall not ravage by wholesale and that they shall not make away with my son?” And he said “By Jehovah, not a hair of your son shall fall to the ground.” 12 And the woman said “Will you let your servant say something to your majesty?” and he said “Say it.” 13 And the woman said “And why have you had such a design as this against God’s people—which, by the word the king has said, amounts to guilt—that the king should not bring home his outcast? 14* because die we do, and are like water spilled on the ground, that is not to be picked up; and God will not take away the life of one who lays plans not to banish an outcast from him. 15 And now as to my having come to speak of this thing to your majesty, it was because the people frightened me, and your servant thought ‘let’s speak to the king, perhaps the king will do as his servant says 16 when the king hears, rescue his servant out of the hand of the man who is trying to make away with me and my son together out of God’s estate.’ 17 And your servant thought ‘let his majesty’s word settle it; for his majesty is like the Angel of God at making out what is good and what is bad.’ And may your God Jehovah be with you.” 18 And the king answered the woman “Do not refuse to answer a question I am going to ask you”; and she said “Say it, your majesty.” 19* And the king said “Does Joab have a hand in all this business of yours?” And the woman answered “By your life, your majesty, there is no getting by anything that your majesty has said: it was your servant Joab that told me to do it and put all these words in your servant’s mouth. 20 It was for the sake of facing the thing a different way that your servant Joab did this thing; and your majesty is as wise as the Angel of God is, so as to know everything on earth.” 21 And the king said to Joab “Well, I am doing the thing: go bring back the boy—Absalom.” 22 And Joab threw himself down flat on his face and did reverence, and blessed the king, and said “I thank, your majesty heartily that today your majesty has done the thing your servant said”; 23 and Joab went off to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 But the king said “Have him go along to his house, and not see my face”; so Absalom went along to his house and did not see the king’s face. 25 Now there was no man in all Israel so handsome as Absalom, thoroughly admirable: from foot to crown there was not a flaw in him. 26* When he shaved his head (from time to time he did shave it; he shaved it when it felt heavy) he weighed the hair of it, and it came to three and a half pounds of the king’s standard. 27 And Absalom had three sons born to him, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar; she was a beauty. 28 And Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years’ time without seeing the king’s face. 29 And Absalom sent for Joab to send him to the king, but he would not come to him; and he sent again, but he would not come. 30 And he said to his servants “Look here: Joab’s lot is next me, and he has barley there; go set it on fire.” And Absalom’s servants set the lot on fire; 31 and Joab went off and went into the house where Absalom was, and said to him “Why have your servants set that lot of mine on fire?” 32 and Absalom said to Joab “I was sending you word ‘Come here so that I can send you to the king to say “Why have I come from Geshur? I should be better off if I were still there; now let me see the king’s face, and if there is crime in me let him put me to death.”’” 33 And Joab went in to the king and told him; and the king called for Absalom, and he went in to the king and prostrated himself on the ground in reverence before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.