2 Samuel 19-21 Revised Standard Version

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David Returns to Jerusalem

19 1  It was told Jo'ab, "Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Ab'salom." 2  So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people; for the people heard that day, "The king is grieving for his son." 3  And the people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. 4  The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, "O my son Ab'salom, O Ab'salom, my son, my son!" 5  Then Jo'ab came into the house to the king, and said, "You have today covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who have this day saved your life, and the lives of your sons and your daughters, and the lives of your wives and your concubines, 6  because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you; for today I perceive that if Ab'salom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. 7  Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants; for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night; and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now." 8  Then the king arose, and took his seat in the gate. And the people were all told, "Behold, the king is sitting in the gate"; and all the people came before the king. Now Israel had fled every man to his own home.

9  And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies, and saved us from the hand of the Philistines; and now he has fled out of the land from Ab'salom. 10  But Ab'salom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?" 11  And King David sent this message to Zadok and Abi'athar the priests, "Say to the elders of Judah, 'Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house, when the word of all Israel has come to the king? 12  You are my kinsmen, you are my bone and my flesh; why then should you be the last to bring back the king?' 13  And say to Ama'sa, 'Are you not my bone and my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if you are not commander of my army henceforth in place of Jo'ab.'" 14  And he swayed the heart of all the men of Judah as one man; so that they sent word to the king, "Return, both you and all your servants." 15  So the king came back to the Jordan; and Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and to bring the king over the Jordan.

16  And Shim'e-i the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, from Bahu'rim, made haste to come down with the men of Judah to meet King David; 17  and with him were a thousand men from Benjamin. And Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants, rushed down to the Jordan before the king, 18  and they crossed the ford to bring over the king's household, and to do his pleasure. And Shim'e-i the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan, 19  and said to the king, "Let not my lord hold me guilty or remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem; let not the king bear it in mind. 20  For your servant knows that I have sinned; therefore, behold, I have come this day, the first of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king." 21  Abi'shai the son of Zeru'iah answered, "Shall not Shim'e-i be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord'S anointed?" 22  But David said, "What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeru'iah, that you should this day be as an adversary to me? Shall any one be put to death in Israel this day? For do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?" 23  And the king said to Shim'e-i, "You shall not die." And the king gave him his oath.

24  And Mephib'osheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king; he had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came back in safety. 25  And when he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, "Why did you not go with me, Mephib'osheth?" 26  He answered, "My lord, O king, my servant deceived me; for your servant said to him, 'Saddle an ass for me, that I may ride upon it and go with the king.' For your servant is lame. 27  He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like the angel of God; do therefore what seems good to you. 28  For all my father's house were but men doomed to death before my lord the king; but you set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right have I, then, to cry to the king?" 29  And the king said to him, "Why speak any more of your affairs? I have decided: you and Ziba shall divide the land." 30  And Mephib'osheth said to the king, "Oh, let him take it all, since my lord the king has come safely home."

31  Now Barzil'lai the Gileadite had come down from Ro'gelim; and he went on with the king to the Jordan, to escort him over the Jordan. 32  Barzil'lai was a very aged man, eighty years old; and he had provided the king with food while he stayed at Mahana'im; for he was a very wealthy man. 33  And the king said to Barzil'lai, "Come over with me, and I will provide for you with me in Jerusalem." 34  But Barzil'lai said to the king, "How many years have I still to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35  I am this day eighty years old; can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? 36  Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king recompense me with such a reward? 37  Pray let your servant return, that I may die in my own city, near the grave of my father and my mother. But here is your servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do for him whatever seems good to you." 38  And the king answered, "Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you; and all that you desire of me I will do for you." 39  Then all the people went over the Jordan, and the king went over; and the king kissed Barzil'lai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home.

40  The king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him; all the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, brought the king on his way. 41  Then all the men of Israel came to the king, and said to the king, "Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen you away, and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David's men with him?" 42  All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, "Because the king is near of kin to us. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king's expense? Or has he given us any gift?" 43  And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, "We have ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?" But the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.

The Revolt of Sheba

20 1  Now there happened to be there a worthless fellow, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite; and he blew the trumpet, and said, "We have no portion in David, and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to his tents, O Israel!" 2  So all the men of Israel withdrew from David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah followed their king steadfastly from the Jordan to Jerusalem. 3  And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten concubines whom he had left to care for the house, and put them in a house under guard, and provided for them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as if in widowhood.

4  Then the king said to Ama'sa, "Call the men of Judah together to me within three days, and be here yourself." 5  So Ama'sa went to summon Judah; but he delayed beyond the set time which had been appointed him. 6  And David said to Abi'shai, "Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Ab'salom; take your lord's servants and pursue him, lest he get himself fortified cities, and cause us trouble." 7  And there went out after Abi'shai, Jo'ab and the Cher'ethites and the Pel'ethites, and all the mighty men; they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. 8  When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Ama'sa came to meet them. Now Jo'ab was wearing a soldier's garment, and over it was a girdle with a sword in its sheath fastened upon his loins, and as he went forward it fell out. 9  And Jo'ab said to Ama'sa, "Is it well with you, my brother?" And Jo'ab took Ama'sa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10  But Ama'sa did not observe the sword which was in Jo'ab's hand; so Jo'ab struck him with it in the body, and shed his bowels to the ground, without striking a second blow; and he died. Then Jo'ab and Abi'shai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. 11  And one of Jo'ab's men took his stand by Ama'sa, and said, "Whoever favors Jo'ab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Jo'ab." 12  And Ama'sa lay wallowing in his blood in the highway. And any one who came by, seeing him, stopped; and when the man saw that all the people stopped, he carried Ama'sa out of the highway into the field, and threw a garment over him. 13  When he was taken out of the highway, all the people went on after Jo'ab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.

14  And Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-ma'acah; and all the Bichrites assembled, and followed him in. 15  And all the men who were with Jo'ab came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-ma'acah; they cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart; and they were battering the wall, to throw it down. 16  Then a wise woman called from the city, "Hear! Hear! Tell Jo'ab, 'Come here, that I may speak to you.'" 17  And he came near her; and the woman said, "Are you Jo'ab?" He answered, "I am." Then she said to him, "Listen to the words of your maidservant." And he answered, "I am listening." 18  Then she said, "They were wont to say in old time, 'Let them but ask counsel at Abel'; and so they settled a matter. 19  I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel; you seek to destroy a city which is a mother in Israel; why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord?" 20  Jo'ab answered, "Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! 21  That is not true. But a man of the hill country of E'phraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David; give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city." And the woman said to Jo'ab, "Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall." 22  Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Jo'ab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his home. And Jo'ab returned to Jerusalem to the king.

David's Officers

23  Now Jo'ab was in command of all the army of Israel; and Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada was in command of the Cher'ethites and the Pel'ethites; 24  and Ador'am was in charge of the forced labor; and Jehosh'aphat the son of Ahi'lud was the recorder; 25  and Sheva was secretary; and Zadok and Abi'athar were priests; 26  and Ira the Ja'irite was also David's priest.

The Avenging of the Gibeonites

21 1  Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the face of the Lord. And the Lord said, "There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gib'eonites to death." 2  So the king called the Gib'eonites. Now the Gib'eonites were not of the people of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had sought to slay them in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah. 3  And David said to the Gib'eonites, "What shall I do for you? And how shall I make expiation, that you may bless the heritage of the Lord?" 4  The Gib'eonites said to him, "It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put any man to death in Israel." And he said, "What do you say that I shall do for you?" 5  They said to the king, "The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel, 6  let seven of his sons be given to us, so that we may hang them up before the Lord at Gibeon on the mountain of the Lord." And the king said, "I will give them." 7  But the king spared Mephib'osheth, the son of Saul's son Jonathan, because of the oath of the Lord which was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. 8  The king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Ai'ah, whom she bore to Saul, Armo'ni and Mephib'osheth; and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to A'dri-el the son of Barzil'lai the Meho'lathite; 9  and he gave them into the hands of the Gib'eonites, and they hanged them on the mountain before the Lord, and the seven of them perished together. They were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest.

10  Then Rizpah the daughter of Ai'ah took sackcloth, and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell upon them from the heavens; and she did not allow the birds of the air to come upon them by day, or the beasts of the field by night. 11  When David was told what Rizpah the daughter of Ai'ah, the concubine of Saul, had done, 12  David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from the men of Ja'besh-gil'ead, who had stolen them from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, on the day the Philistines killed Saul on Gilbo'a; 13  and he brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan; and they gathered the bones of those who were hanged. 14  And they buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of Kish his father; and they did all that the king commanded. And after that God heeded supplications for the land.

Abishai Rescues David from the Giant

15  The Philistines had war again with Israel, and David went down together with his servants, and they fought against the Philistines; and David grew weary. 16  And Ish'bi-be'nob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was girded with a new sword, thought to kill David. 17  But Abi'shai the son of Zeru'iah came to his aid, and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David's men adjured him, "You shall no more go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel."

The Giants Slain by David's Men

18  After this there was again war with the Philistines at Gob; then Sib'becai the Hu'shathite slew Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants. 19  And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob; and Elha'nan the son of Ja'areor'egim, the Bethlehemite, slew Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. 20  And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also was descended from the giants. 21  And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shim'e-i, David's brother, slew him. 22  These four were descended from the giants in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

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