1 Now Joab, the son of Zeruiah, perceived that the king's heart was toward Absalom. 2 And Joab sent to Tekoa and brought an astute woman from there and said unto her, I pray thee, feign thyself to be a mourner and put on mourning apparel and do not anoint thyself with oil, but be as a woman that has mourned for a long time for someone who is dead 3 and come to the king and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.
4 And when the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and did obeisance and said, Save me, O king.
5 And the king said unto her, What ails thee? And she answered, I am a widow woman, and my husband is dead. 6 And thy handmaid had two sons, and the two strove together in the field, and there was no one to part them, but the one smote the other and slew him. 7 And, behold, the whole family is risen against thy handmaid, and they said, Deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he slew, and we will destroy the heir also. So they shall quench my coal which is left and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth.
8 And the king said unto the woman, Go to thy house, and I will give a command concerning thee.
9 And the woman of Tekoa said unto the king, My lord, O king, the iniquity be on me and on my father's house; and the king and his throne be guiltless.
10 And the king said, Whoever speaks against thee, bring him to me, and he shall not touch thee any more.
11 Then she said, I pray thee, let the king remember the LORD thy God, that thou will not allow the avengers of blood to increase the damage by destroying my son. And he said, As the LORD lives, not one hair of thy son shall fall to the earth.
12 Then the woman said, Let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak one word unto my lord the king. And he said, Say on.
13 And the woman said, Why then hast thou thought such a thing against the people of God? For the king speaks this word as one who is guilty in that the king does not bring home again his banished. 14 For it is certain that we die and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither does God respect any person; yet he does devise means that his outcasts not be expelled from him.
15 Now, therefore, that I have come to speak of this thing unto my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. But thy handmaid said to herself, I will now speak unto the king; it may be that the king will perform the word of his handmaid. 16 For the king will hear, to deliver his handmaid out of the hand of the man that would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God. 17 Then thy handmaid said, Let the word of my lord the king bring rest; for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and evil; and let the LORD thy God be with thee.
18 Then the king answered and said unto the woman, Hide not from me, I pray thee, the thing that I shall ask thee. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak.
19 And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this? And the woman answered and said, By the life of thy soul, my lord the king, I can not turn to the right hand or to the left from all that my lord the king has spoken; for thy slave Joab, he commanded me, and he put all these words in the mouth of thy handmaid; 20 to bring about this form of speech thy slave Joab has done this thing; but my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know that which is done in the earth.
21 Then the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing; go, therefore, bring the young man Absalom again.
22 And Joab fell to the ground on his face and worshipped and blessed the king, and Joab said, Today thy slave knows that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O king, in that the king has fulfilled the word of his slave.
23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 But the king said, Let him go to his own house and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and did not see the king's face.
25 And in all Israel there was no one to be so greatly praised as Absalom for his beauty; from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 And when he shaved his head (for it was at every year's end that he shaved it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore, he shaved it), the hair of his head weighed two hundred shekels after the king's weight.
27 And unto Absalom there were born three sons and one daughter, whose name was Tamar, who was a beautiful woman to behold. 28 So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem and did not see the king's face. 29 Therefore, Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would not come to him; and when he sent again the second time, he would not come. 30 Therefore, he said unto his slaves, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom's slaves set the field on fire.
31 Then Joab arose and came to Absalom unto his house and said unto him, Why have thy slaves set my field on fire?
32 And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I have sent for thee, saying, Come here, that I may send thee to the king, to say, Why have I come from Geshur? It would have been better for me to have been there still. Now, therefore, let me see the king's face; and if there is any iniquity in me, let him kill me.