1And Joab the son of Zeruiah knew that the heart of the king was toward Absalom.
2And Joab sent to Tekoa, and took thence a cunning woman, and said to her, Mourn, I pray thee, and put on mourning apparel, and anoint thee not with oil, and thou shalt be as a woman mourning for one that is dead thus for many days.
3And thou shalt go to the king, and speak to him according to this word. And Joab put the words in her mouth.
4So the woman of Tekoa went in to the king and fell upon her face to the earth, and did him obeisance, and said, Help, O king, help.
5And the king said to her, What is the matter with thee? And she said, I am indeed a widow woman, and my husband is dead.
6And moreover thy handmaid had two sons, and they fought together in the field, and there was no one to part them; and the one smote the other his brother, and slew him.
7And behold the whole family rose up against thy handmaid, and they said, Give up the one that smote his brother, and we will put him to death for the life of his brother, whom he slew, and we will take away even your heir: so they will quench my coal that is left, so as not to leave my husband remnant or name on the face of the earth.
8And the king said to the woman, Go in peace to thy house, and I will give commandment concerning thee.
9And the woman of Tekoa said to the king, On me, my lord, O king, and on my father’s house be the iniquity, and the king and his throne be guiltless.
10And the king said, Who was it that spoke to thee? thou shalt even bring him to me, and one shall not touch him anymore.
11And she said, Let now the king remember concerning his Lord God in that the avenger of blood is multiplied to destroy, and let them not take away my son. And he said, As the Lord lives, not a hair of thy son shall fall to the ground.
12And the woman said, Let now thy servant speak a word to my lord the king. And he said, Say on.
13And the woman said, Why hast thou devised this thing against the people of God? or is this word out of the king’s mouth as a transgression, so that the king should not bring back his banished?
14For we shall surely die, and be as water poured upon the earth, which shall not be gathered up, and God shall take the life, even as he devises to thrust forth from him his outcast.
15And now whereas I came to speak this word to my lord the king, the reason is that the people will see me, and thy handmaid will say, Let one now speak to my lord the king, if peradventure the king will perform the request of his handmaid;
16for the king will hear. Let him rescue his handmaid out of the hand of the man that seeks to cast out me and my son from the inheritance of God.
17And the woman said, If now the word of my lord the king be gracious—well: for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king, to hear good and evil: and the Lord thy God shall be with thee.
18And the king answered, and said to the woman, Hide not from me, I pray thee, the matter which I ask thee. And the woman said, Let my lord the king by all means speak.
19And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab in all this matter with thee? and the woman said to the king, As thy soul lives, my lord, O king, there is no turning to the right hand or to the left from all that my lord the king has spoken; for thy servant Joab himself charged me, and he put all these words in the mouth of thy handmaid.
20In order that this form of speech might come about it was that thy servant Joab has framed this matter: and my lord is wise as is the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.
21And the king said to Joab, Behold now, I have done to thee according to this thy word: go, bring back the young man Absalom.
22And Joab fell on his face to the ground, and did obeisance, and blessed the king: and Joab said, Today thy servant knows that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O king, for my lord the king has performed the request of his servant.
23And Joab arose, and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
24And the king said, Let him return to his house, and not see my face. And Absalom returned to his house, and saw not the king’s face.
25And there was not a man in Israel so very comely as Absalom: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
26And when he polled his head (and it was at the beginning of every year that he polled it, because it grew heavy upon him), even when he polled it, he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels according to the royal shekel.
27And there were born to Absalom three sons and one daughter, and her name was Tamar: she was a very beautiful woman, and she becomes the wife of Rehoboam son of Solomon, and she bears to him Abijah.
28And Absalom remained in Jerusalem two full years, and he saw not the king’s face.
29And Absalom sent to Joab to bring him in to the king, and he would not come to him: and he sent to him the second time, and he would not come.
30And Absalom said to his servants, Behold, Joab’s portion in the field is next to mine, and he has in it barley; go and set it on fire. And the servants of Absalom set the field on fire: and the servants of Joab come to him with their clothes rent, and they said to him, The servants of Absalom have set the field on fire.
31And Joab arose, and came to Absalom into the house, and said to him, Why have thy servants set my field on fire?
32And Absalom said to Joab, Behold, I sent to thee, saying, Come hither, and I will send thee to the king, saying, Why did I come out of Geshur? it would have been better for me to have remained there: and now, behold, I have not seen the face of the king; but if there is iniquity in me, then put me to death.
33And Joab went in to the king, and brought him word: and he called Absalom, and he went in to the king, and did him obeisance, and fell upon his face to the ground, even in the presence of the king; and the king kissed Absalom.