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20 And there happened to be there a rascal named Shebaʽ the son of Bikri, a Benjamite; and he blew the ram-horn and said “We have no share in David, nor estate in Jesse’s son; to your homes, Israel!” 2 and all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Shebaʽ the son of Bikri. But the men of Judah kept with their king from the Jordan to Jerusalem; 3 * so David came home to Jerusalem. And the king took the ten concubine wives he had left to keep the house and put them in a guarded house and furnished them food, but did not go in to them; so they were bottled up in grass-widowhood till the day of their death. 4 And the king said to ʽAmasa “Call out the men of Judah; be here in three days”; 5 and ʽAmasa went to call the Judahites out, but delayed beyond the date that was set for him. 6 * And David said to Abishai “Now Shebaʽ the son of Bikri is going to be worse for us than Absalom was; take the palace troops yourself and pursue him, for fear he should have got fortified cities and should darken our eyes.” 7 And Joab and the Cretans and the Pletans and all the champions followed Abishai out from Jerusalem to pursue Shebaʽ the son of Bikri. 8 ** They were by the great stone at Gibeon when ʽAmasa came at the head of the people. And Joab was belted with his brigandine (his garment), and over it belted with a sword fastened horizontally to his waist in its sheath; and it came out and fell down. 9 And Joab said to ʽAmasa “How are you, brother?” and with his right hand took hold of ʽAmasa’s beard to kiss him; 10 * and, ʽAmasa not being on his guard against the sword in Joab’s hand, he stabbed him with it below the waist so that his entrails poured out on the ground, and he died without a second blow, while Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Shebaʽ the son of Bikri. 11 And one of Joab’s squires stood over him and said “Whoever likes Joab and whoever is for David, follow Joab!” 12 while ʽAmasa was wallowing in blood in the middle of the highway. And the man saw that all the people halted; 13 and he moved ʽAmasa out of the highway into the field and threw a blanket over him, when he saw everybody who came to him halt. When he was put out of the highway, everybody went on with Joab to pursue Shebaʽ the son of Bikri, 14 *** who went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel and Beth-Maʽacah and all the Berites; and they despised him, 15 * and came after him, and came and besieged him in Abel-Beth-Maʽacah, and threw up a ramp toward the city, which topped the outwork, while all the people Joab had with him were mining to bring down the wall. 16 And a wise woman called out from the city “Listen, listen; tell Joab to come near here and let me speak to him”; 17 and he came near her. And the woman said “Are you Joab?” and he said “Yes”; and she said to him “Listen to your servant’s words”; and he said “I am listening.” 18 And she said “In former times the word in Israel used to be ‘We will ask at Abel,’ and they closed a question so. 19 We are peaceable loyal Israelites; you are trying to end the life of a city, a mother in Israel; why would you wreck Jehovah’s estate?” 20 And Joab answered “Away, away with the thought that I should wreck or ravage; no such thing; 21 but a man from the highland of Ephraim, named Shebaʽ the son of Bikri, has raised his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will raise the siege.” And the woman said to Joab “You shall have his head thrown to you over the wall.” 22 * And the woman spoke with her wisdom to all the city, and they cut off Shebaʽ the son of Bikri’s head and threw it to Joab, and he blew the ram-horn and the people dispersed to their homes. And Joab went back to Jerusalem to the king. 23 And Joab was over the whole army, and Benajah the son of Jehojadaʽ over the Cretans and the Pletans, 24 and Adoniram superintendent of the corvée, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud the private secretary, 25 and Shausha secretary for documents, and Sadok and Abiathar priests; 26 and ʽIra the Jairite too was priest to David.
^ 20:3 (bottled up) Lit. done up in a bundle
^ 20:6 (darken our eyes) Unc.
^ 20:8 Codd. when Amasa’ came in ahead of them
^ 20:8 Susp.
^ 20:10 Conj. Joab’s left hand
^ 20:14 Conj. all the Bikrites
^ 20:14 Var. they assembled and came after him
^ 20:14 Var. came after him too
^ 20:15 Or battering Var. engineering
^ 20:22 Var. came with her wisdom to all the people