1 Now Joʹab the son of Zeruʹiah learned that the king’s heart longed for Abʹsalom.
2 So Joʹab sent to Tekoʹa and summoned from there a clever woman and told her: “Act like you are in mourning, please, and put on garments of mourning, and do not rub yourself with oil. Behave like a woman who has been mourning over someone dead for a long time.
3 Then go in and speak to the king like this.” With that Joʹab put the words in her mouth.
4 The Tekoʹite woman went in to the king and fell with her face to the ground and prostrated herself and said: “Help me, O king!”
5 The king replied to her: “What is the matter?” To this she said: “Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead.
6 And I, your servant, had two sons, and the two of them fought with each other in the field. There was no one to separate them, and one struck the other down and killed him.
7 Now the whole family has risen up against me, your servant, and they are saying, ‘Hand over the one who struck his brother, so that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed, even if it means wiping out the heir!’ They would extinguish the last glowing coal that I have left and leave to my husband neither a name nor a survivor on the surface of the earth.”
8 Then the king said to the woman: “Go to your home, and I will issue an order regarding you.”
9 At this the Tekoʹite woman said to the king: “O my lord the king, let the guilt be on me and on my father’s house, while the king and his throne are innocent.”
10 The king then said: “If anyone speaks further to you, bring him to me, and he will never trouble you again.”
11 But she said: “Please, let the king remember Jehovah your God, so that the avenger of blood does not bring ruin and annihilate my son.” To this he said: “As surely as Jehovah is living, not one of your son’s hairs will fall to the ground.”
12 The woman now said: “Let your servant, please, speak a word to my lord the king.” So he said: “Speak!”
13 The woman said: “Why, then, have you thought to do something like this against the people of God? When the king speaks this way, he makes himself guilty, for the king does not bring back his own banished son.
14 We will surely die and be like waters that are poured out on the ground, which cannot be recovered. But God would not take away a life, and he considers reasons why the banished one should not always be banished from him.
15 I have come in to say this to my lord the king because the people made me afraid. So your servant said, ‘Let me speak, please, to the king. Perhaps the king will act on the request of his slave.
16 The king may listen and rescue his slave from the hand of the man seeking to annihilate me and my only son from the inheritance God gave us.’
17 Then your servant said, ‘May the word of my lord the king please give me relief,’ for my lord the king is just like an angel of the true God in distinguishing what is good from what is bad. May Jehovah your God be with you.”
18 The king now answered the woman: “Please do not hide from me anything I ask you.” The woman replied: “Let my lord the king speak, please.”
19 The king then asked: “Did Joʹab put you up to all of this?” The woman answered: “As surely as you are living, O my lord the king, it is just as my lord the king says, for it was your servant Joʹab who instructed me and put all these words in the mouth of your servant.
20 Your servant Joʹab has done this to change the appearance of things, but my lord has wisdom like that of the angel of the true God and knows all that is happening in the land.”
21 The king then said to Joʹab: “All right, I will do this thing. Go and bring back the young man Abʹsalom.”
22 At this Joʹab fell with his face to the ground and prostrated himself and praised the king. Joʹab said: “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your eyes, O my lord the king, because the king has acted on the request of his servant.”
23 Then Joʹab got up and went to Geshʹur and brought Abʹsalom to Jerusalem.
24 However, the king said: “Let him return to his own house, but he may not see my face.” So Abʹsalom returned to his own house, and he did not see the face of the king.
25 Now in all Israel, no man was as highly praised for his handsome appearance as Abʹsalom. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head, there was no flaw in him.
26 When he shaved his head—he had to shave it at the end of every year because it was so heavy for him—the hair of his head weighed 200 shekels by the royal stone weight.
27 To Abʹsalom were born three sons and one daughter, whose name was Taʹmar. She was a very beautiful woman.
28 And Abʹsalom continued living in Jerusalem for two full years, but he did not see the face of the king.
29 So Abʹsalom summoned Joʹab in order to send him to the king, but Joʹab would not come to him. Then he sent for him again, a second time, and he still refused to come.
30 Finally he said to his servants: “Joʹab’s plot of land is next to mine, and he has some barley there. Go and set it on fire.” So the servants of Abʹsalom set the plot of land on fire.
31 At this Joʹab got up and came to Abʹsalom’s house and said to him: “Why did your servants set my plot of land on fire?”
32 Abʹsalom replied to Joʹab: “Look! I sent this message to you, ‘Come and let me send you to the king to ask: “Why have I come from Geshʹur? It would have been better for me to stay there. Now let me see the face of the king, and if there is guilt in me, then he should put me to death.”’”
33 So Joʹab went in to the king and told him. Then he called Abʹsalom, who came in to the king and prostrated himself before him, falling with his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Abʹsalom.