Sheba’s Rebellion
Now a worthless man named Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjamite, happened to be there, and he blew the ram’s horn and shouted:
We have no share in David,
no inheritance in Jesse’s son.
Every man to his tent,
O Israel!”
So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bichri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to care for the palace, and he placed them in a house under guard. He provided for them, but he no longer slept with them. They were confined until the day of their death, living as widows.
Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and be here yourself.”
So Amasa went to summon Judah, but he took longer than the time allotted him.
And David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom. Take your lord’s servants and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and elude us.*
So Joab’s men, along with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the mighty men, marched out of Jerusalem in pursuit of Sheba son of Bichri. And while they were at the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa joined them.
Now Joab was dressed in military attire, with a dagger strapped to his belt. And as he stepped forward, he slipped the dagger from its sheath. Are you well, my brother?” Joab asked Amasa. And with his right hand Joab grabbed Amasa by the beard to kiss him.
10 Amasa was not on guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand, and Joab stabbed him in the stomach and spilled out his intestines on the ground. And Joab did not need to strike him again, for Amasa was dead. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bichri.
11 One of Joab’s young men stood near Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” 12 But Amasa wallowed in his blood in the middle of the road, and when the man saw that all the troops were stopping there, he dragged the body off the road into a field and threw a garment over it. 13 As soon as Amasa’s body was removed from the road, all the men went on with Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bichri.
14 Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel-beth-maacah and through the entire region of the Berites,§ who gathered together and followed him.
15 And Joab’s troops came and besieged Sheba in Abel-beth-maacah and built a siege ramp against the outer rampart of the city.
As all the troops with Joab were battering the wall to topple it, 16 a wise woman called out from the city, “Listen! Listen! Please tell Joab to come here so that I may speak with him.”
17 When he had come near to her, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?”
I am,” he replied.
Listen to the words of your servant,” she said.
I am listening,” he answered.
18 Then the woman said, “Long ago they used to say, ‘Seek counsel at Abel,’ and that is how disputes were settled. 19 I am among the peaceable and faithful in Israel, but you are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the LORD’s inheritance?”
20 Far be it!” Joab declared. “Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy! 21 That is not the case. But a man named Sheba son of Bichri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Deliver him alone, and I will depart from the city.”
Look,” the woman replied, “his head will be thrown to you over the wall.”
22 Then the woman went to all the people with her wise counsel, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So he blew the ram’s horn and his men dispersed from the city, each to his own home. And Joab returned to the king in Jerusalem.
23 Now Joab was over the whole army of Israel; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and Pelethites; 24 Adoram* was in charge of the forced labor; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25 Sheva was the scribe; Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26 and Ira the Jairite was David’s priest.
* 20:6 Or and snatch away our eyes or and do us serious harm 20:8 Literally Now Joab was dressed in military attire, and over it was a belt around his waist with a dagger in its sheath. And as he stepped forward, it fell out. 20:14 Hebrew to Abel and Beth-maacah; see verse 15. § 20:14 Hebrew; LXX and Vulgate Bicrites * 20:24 Adoram is a variant of Adoniram and Hadoram; see 1 Kings 4:6 and 2 Chronicles 10:18. 20:25 Sheva is also called Seraiah, Shisha, and Shavsha; see 2 Samuel 8:17, 1 Kings 4:3, and 1 Chronicles 18:16. 20:26 Hebrew; some LXX manuscripts and Syriac Ithrite; see 2 Samuel 23:38.