Sheba’s Rebellion

1 There happened to be there a wicked man whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite, and he blew the trumpet and said, “We have no portion in David, nor have we inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to his tents, Israel!”

2 So all the men of Israel went up from following David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri, but the men of Judah joined with their king, from the Jordan to Jerusalem. 3 David came to his house at Jerusalem, and the king took the his ten concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in confinement and provided them with sustenance, but did not go in to them. So they were sequestered to the day of their death, living in widowhood.

4 Then the king said to Amasa, “Call the men of Judah together to me within three days and be present here.”

5 So Amasa went to call the men of Judah together, but he stayed longer than the set time which the king had appointed for him. 6 David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your lord’s servants, and pursue after him, lest he find fortified cities and escape from us.”

Amasa Slain

7 Joab’s men went out after him along with the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the warriors, and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. 8 When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was clothed in his military attire, and on it was a sash with a sword fastened on his waist in its sheath, and as he went along it fell out. 9 Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand. So he struck him in the stomach with it. His bowels spilled out to the ground, and without another strike, he died. Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. 11 One of Joab’s young men stood by him and said, “He who favors Joab, and he who is for David, let him follow Joab!”

12 Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the highway. When the man saw that all the people stood still, he carried Amasa from the highway into the field, and threw a garment over him. 13 When Amasa was removed from the highway, all the people went on after Joab, to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.

The Rebellion Stopped

14 Sheba went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, and to Beth Maacah and all the Berites. They were gathered together, and also went after him. 15 They came and besieged him in Abel of Beth Maacah, and they cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart, and all the people who were with Joab battered the wall, to bring it down. 16 Then a wise woman cried out of the city, “Hear, hear! Please say to Joab, ‘Come near here, that I may speak with you.’ ” 17 He came near to her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?”
He answered, “I am.”

Then she said to him, “Hear the words of your servant.”
He answered, “I’m listening.”

18 Then she spoke, saying, “They used to say in olden days, ‘They shall surely ask counsel at Abel,’ and thus they settled a matter. 19 I am among those who are peace-loving and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why will you devour the inheritance of the Lord?”

20 Joab answered, “Far be it, far be it from me that I should devour or destroy. 21 This is not the case. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Just deliver him, and I will depart from the city.”

The woman said to Joab, “Very well, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.”

22 Then the woman, in her wisdom, went to all the people. They cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab. He blew the trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, every man to his tent. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. 23 Now Joab was over all the army of Israel, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites, 24 Adoram was over the men subject to forced labor, Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder, 25 Sheva was scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests, 26 and Ira the Jairite was chief minister to David.

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