1 Joab son of Zeruiah knew the king was still thinking about Absalom.
2 Joab sent someone to Tekoa to get a wise woman from there. He told her: »Please act like a mourner. Dress in mourning clothes. Do not use any cosmetic lotions. Act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for a long time.
3 »Go to the king and speak to him in this way.« Then Joab told her exactly what to say.
4 The woman from Tekoa came to the king. She immediately bowed down with her face touching the ground. »Help me, Your Majesty,« she said.
5 The king asked her: »What can I do for you?« She answered: »I am a widow; my husband is dead.
6 »I had two sons who fought with each other in the field. There was no one to separate them. One killed the other.
7 »All my relatives have turned against me and are demanding that I hand my son over to them. They want to kill him for murdering his brother. If they do this, I will be left without a son. They will destroy my last hope. They will leave my husband without a son to keep his name alive.«
8 The king responded: »Go back home. I will take care of the matter.«
9 »Your Majesty,« she said, »do whatever you must. My family and I will take the blame. You and the royal family are innocent.«
10 The king replied: »If someone threatens you, bring him to me. He will never bother you again.«
11 She said: »Please pray to Jehovah your God, Your Majesty, so that my relative who is responsible for avenging the death of my son will not commit a greater crime by killing my other son.« »I promise by the living Jehovah,« David replied, »your son will not be harmed.«
12 She added: »Your Majesty, May I say something?« »Yes,« he answered.
13 The woman said: »Have you been hurting Gods people? Your own son had to leave the country. When you judged in my favor, it was the same as admitting that you should have let him come back.
14 »We each must die and disappear like water poured out on the ground. But God does not take our lives. Instead, he figures out ways of bringing us back when we run away.
15 »Your Majesty, I came here to tell you about my problem. I was afraid of what someone might do to me. I decided to come to you, because I thought you could help.
16 »In fact, I knew that you would listen and save my son and me from those who want to take the land that God gave us.
17 »I can rest easy now that you have given your decision. You know the difference between right and wrong just like an angel of God. I pray that Jehovah your God will be with you.«
18 David said: »Now I ask you a question. Do not try to hide the truth!« The woman replied: »Please go ahead, Your Majesty.«
19 »Did Joab put you up to this?« The king asked. The woman answered: »I solemnly swear on your life, Your Majesty, you are absolutely right! Yes, your servant Joab ordered me to do this. He told me to say exactly what I said.
20 »Your servant Joab has done this to view this matter from a different angle. You are as wise as an angel of God messenger of God, who knows everything on earth.«
21 Later on the king said to Joab: »I have decided to do what you want. Go and get the young man Absalom and bring him back here.«
22 Joab quickly bowed down with his face touching the ground. He blessed the king. He said: »Today I know that you have been kind to me because you did what I wanted.«
23 Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem.
24 The king said: »Absalom should return to his own house. Do not let him see me.« So Absalom returned to his house. He did not see the king.
25 No one in all Israel was praised for his good looks as much as Absalom was. He had no blemish from head to toe.
26 From time to time, he used to cut his hair because it became heavy for him. When he cut the hair on his head and weighed it, it weighed five pounds according to the kings standard.
27 Absalom had three sons and one daughter. His daughter Tamar was a beautiful woman.
28 Absalom stayed in Jerusalem two years without seeing the king.
29 So Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king. Joab refused to come. Absalom sent for him a second time. He still refused to come.
30 Finally, Absalom told his servants: »Joabs barley field is next to mine. Set it on fire!« So they set it on fire.
31 Joab went to Absaloms house and demanded: »Why have your servants set my field on fire?«
32 Absalom answered: »You did not pay any attention when I sent for you. I want you to ask my father why he told me to come back from Geshur. I was better off there. I want to see my father now! If I am guilty, let him kill me.«
33 So Joab went to King David. He told him what Absalom said. The king sent for Absalom. He went to the king and bowed down to the ground in front of him. The king welcomed him with a kiss.