1At that place, there was a man named Sheba son of Bicri. Sheba was a good-for-nothing troublemaker from the family group of Benjamin. Sheba blew a trumpet ˻to gather the people together˼. Then he said, “We have no share in David. We have no part in the son of Jesse. Israel, let’s all go home to our own tents.” 2So all the Israelites left David and followed Sheba son of Bicri. But the people of Judah stayed with their king all the way from the Jordan River to Jerusalem. 3David went back to his house in Jerusalem. David had left ten of his wives to take care of the house. David had put these women in a special house. He put guards around this house. The women stayed in this house until they died. David took care of the women and gave them food, but he did not have sexual relations with them. They lived like widows until they died. 4The king said to Amasa, “Tell the people of Judah to meet with me in three days. And you must also be here.” 5Then Amasa went to call the people of Judah together. But he took longer than the time that the king had told him. 6David said to Abishai, “Sheba son of Bicri is more dangerous to us than Absalom was. So take my officers and chase Sheba. Hurry before Sheba gets into cities with walls. If Sheba gets into the well protected cities, we won’t be able to get him.” 7So Joab left Jerusalem to chase after Sheba son of Bicri. Joab brought his own men and the Kerethites and Pelethites and the other soldiers with him. 8When Joab and the army came to Big Rock at Gibeon, Amasa came out to meet them. Joab was wearing his uniform. Joab had on a belt, and his sword was in its sheath. As Joab was walking ˻to meet Amasa˼, Joab’s sword fell out of its sheath. ˻Joab picked up the sword and was holding it in his hand.˼ 9Joab asked Amasa, “How are you doing, brother?” Then Joab reached out with his right hand and grabbed Amasa by the beard to kiss him hello. 10Amasa didn’t pay any attention to the sword that was in Joab’s ˻left˼ hand. But then Joab stabbed Amasa in the belly with his sword. Amasa’s inside parts spilled out on the ground. Joab didn’t have to stab Amasa again—he was already dead. Then Joab and his brother Abishai again started to chase after Sheba son of Bicri. 11One of Joab’s young soldiers stood by Amasa’s body. This young soldier said, “All of you men who support Joab and David, let’s follow Joab.” 12Amasa was there in the middle of road, lying in his own blood. The young soldier noticed that all the people kept stopping to look at the body. So the young soldier rolled the body off the road and into the field. Then he covered the body with a cloth. 13After Amasa’s body was taken off the road, the people just passed it by and followed Joab. They joined Joab and chased after Sheba son of Bicri. 14Sheba son of Bicri passed through all the family groups of Israel on his way to Abel Beth Maacah. All the Berites also came together and followed Sheba. 15Joab and his men came to Abel Beth Maacah. Joab’s army surrounded the town. They piled dirt up against the city wall. They did this so they could climb over the wall. Then Joab’s men also began breaking stones out of the wall to make it fall down. 16But there was a very wise woman in that city. She shouted out from the city. She said, “Listen to me! Tell Joab to come here. I want to talk with him.” 17Joab went to talk with the woman. The woman asked him, “Are you Joab?” Joab answered, “Yes, I am.” Then the woman said, “Listen to me.” Joab said, “I am listening.” 18Then the woman said, “In the past people would say, 'Ask for help in Abel and you will get what you need.’ 19I am one of many peaceful, loyal people in this town. You are trying to destroy an important city of Israel. Why do you want to destroy something that belongs to the Lord?” 20Joab answered, “Hey, I don’t want to destroy anything! I don’t want to ruin your town. 21But there is a man in your city from the hill country of Ephraim. He is named Sheba son of Bicri. He has rebelled against King David. Bring him to me, and I will leave the city alone.” The woman said to Joab, “All right. His head will be thrown over the wall to you.” 22Then the woman spoke very wisely to all the people of the city. The people cut off the head of Sheba son of Bicri. Then the people threw Sheba’s head over the city wall to Joab. So Joab blew the trumpet and the army left the city. The soldiers went home, and Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem. 23Joab was captain of all the army of Israel. Benaiah son of Jehoiada led the Kerethites and Pelethites. 24Adoniram led the men who were forced to do hard work. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the historian. 25Sheva was the secretary. Zadok and Abiathar were the priests. 26And Ira the Jairite was David’s chief servant.
2 Samuel 20