1An evil man who always stirred up trouble happened to be in Gilgal. His name was Sheba, the son of Bicri. Sheba was from the tribe of Benjamin. He blew his trumpet. Then he shouted, “We don't have any share in David's kingdom! Jesse's son is not our king! Men of Israel, every one of you go back home!”2So all of the men of Israel deserted David. They followed Sheba, the son of Bicri. But the men of Judah stayed with their king. They remained with him from the Jordan River all the way to Jerusalem.3David returned to his palace in Jerusalem. He had left ten concubines there to take care of the palace. He put them in a house and kept them under guard. He gave them what they needed. But he didn't make love to them. They were kept under guard until the day they died. They lived as if they were widows.4The king said to Amasa, “Send for the men of Judah. Tell them to come to me within three days. And be here yourself.”5So Amasa went to get the men of Judah. But he took longer than the time the king had set for him.6David said to Abishai, “Sheba, the son of Bicri, will do more harm to us than Absalom ever did. Take my men and go after him. If you don't, he'll find cities that have high walls around them. He'll go into one of them and escape from us.”7So Joab's men marched out with the Kerethites and Pelethites. They went out with all of the mighty soldiers. All of them were under Abishai's command. They marched out from Jerusalem and went after Sheba, the son of Bicri.8They arrived at the great rock in Gibeon. Amasa went there to welcome them. Joab was wearing his military clothes. Over them at his waist he strapped on a belt that held a dagger. As he stepped forward, the dagger fell out.9Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my friend?” Then Joab reached out his right hand. He took hold of Amasa's beard to kiss him.10Amasa didn't pay any attention to the dagger that was in Joab's left hand. Joab stuck it into his stomach. His insides spilled out on the ground. Joab didn't have to stab him again. Amasa was already dead. Then Joab and his brother Abishai went after Sheba, the son of Bicri.11One of Joab's men stood beside Amasa's body. He said to the other men, “Are you pleased with Joab? Are you on David's side? Then follow Joab!”12Amasa's body lay covered with his blood in the middle of the road. The man saw that all of the troops stopped there. He realized that everyone was stopping to look at Amasa's body. So he dragged it from the road into a field. Then he threw some clothes on top of it.13After that happened, all of the men continued on with Joab. They went after Sheba, the son of Bicri.14Sheba passed through all of the territory of the tribes of Israel. He arrived at the city of Abel Beth Maacah. He had gone through the entire area of the Berites. They had gathered together and followed him.15Joab and all of his troops came to Abel Beth Maacah. They surrounded it because Sheba was there. They built a ramp up to the city. It stood against the outer wall. They pounded the wall with huge logs to bring it down.16While that was going on, a wise woman called out from the city. She shouted, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here. I want to speak to him.”17So Joab went toward her. She asked, “Are you Joab?” “I am,” he answered. She said, “Listen to what I have to say.” “I'm listening,” he said.18She continued, “Long ago people used to say, ‘Get your answer at Abel.’ And that would settle the matter.19We are the most peaceful and faithful people in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is like a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up what belongs to the Lord?”20“I would never do anything like that!” Joab said. “I would never swallow up or destroy what belongs to the Lord!21That isn't what I have in mind at all. There's a man named Sheba, the son of Bicri, in your city. He's from the hill country of Ephraim. He's trying to kill King David. Hand that man over to me. Then I'll pull my men back from your city.” The woman said to Joab, “We'll throw his head down to you from the wall.”22Then the woman gave her wise advice to all of the people in the city. They cut off the head of Sheba, the son of Bicri. They threw it down to Joab. So he blew his trumpet. Then his men pulled back from the city. Each of them returned to his home. And Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.23Joab was commander over Israel's entire army. Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, was commander over the Kerethites and Pelethites.24Adoniram was in charge of those who were forced to work hard. Jehoshaphat, the son of Ahilud, kept the records.25Sheva was the secretary. Zadok and Abiathar were priests.26Ira, the Jairite, was David's priest.
2 Samuel 20
English Standard Version
The Rebellion of Sheba
1Now there happened to be there a worthless man, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite. And he blew the trumpet and said, “We have no portion in David, and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to his tents, O Israel!” (De 13:13; 2Sa 19:43; 2Sa 20:22; 1Ki 12:16; 2Ch 10:16)2So all the men of Israel withdrew from David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah followed their king steadfastly from the Jordan to Jerusalem.3And David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten concubines whom he had left to care for the house and put them in a house under guard and provided for them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as if in widowhood. (2Sa 15:16; 2Sa 16:21)4Then the king said to Amasa, “Call the men of Judah together to me within three days, and be here yourself.” (2Sa 17:25; 2Sa 19:13)5So Amasa went to summon Judah, but he delayed beyond the set time that had been appointed him.6And 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, lest he get himself to fortified cities and escape from us.” (2Sa 11:11; 1Ki 1:33)7And there went out after him Joab’s men and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men. They went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. (2Sa 8:18; 2Sa 20:23)8When they were at the great stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was wearing a soldier’s garment, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened on his thigh, and as he went forward it fell out.9And Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. (Mt 26:49; Mr 14:45; Lu 22:47)10But Amasa did not observe the sword that was in Joab’s hand. So Joab struck him with it in the stomach and spilled his entrails to the ground without striking a second blow, and he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. (2Sa 2:23; 1Ki 2:5)11And one of Joab’s young men took his stand by Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab.”12And Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the highway. And anyone who came by, seeing him, stopped. And when the man saw that all the people stopped, he carried Amasa out of the highway into the field and threw a garment over him.13When he was taken out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.14And Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah, and all the Bichrites assembled and followed him in. (Nu 21:16; 2Ki 15:29)15And all the men who were with Joab came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah. They cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart, and they were battering the wall to throw it down. (2Sa 20:14; 2Ki 19:32; Isa 37:33; Jer 6:6; Eze 4:2; Eze 26:8)16Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, that I may speak to you.’”17And he came near her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” And he answered, “I am listening.”18Then she said, “They used to say in former times, ‘Let them but ask counsel at Abel,’ and so they settled a matter. (2Sa 20:14)19I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord?” (1Sa 26:19; 2Sa 17:16)20Joab answered, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! (2Sa 20:19)21That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.” (Jos 24:33)22Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. (1Sa 4:10; 2Sa 20:16; Ec 9:14)23Now Joab was in command of all the army of Israel; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was in command of the Cherethites and the Pelethites; (2Sa 8:16; 1Ki 4:3)24and Adoram was in charge of the forced labor; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder; (1Ki 12:18)25and Sheva was secretary; and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; (2Sa 15:24; 2Sa 19:11)26and Ira the Jairite was also David’s priest. (2Sa 23:38)