2 Samuel

The Woman of Tekoa

Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was drawn toward Absalom. So Joab sent a messenger to Tekoa and [a]brought a wise woman from there, and said to her, “Please follow mourning rites, and put on mourning garments now, and do not anoint yourself with oil but be like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for many days. Then go to the king and speak to him in this way.” So Joab put the words in her mouth.

Now when the woman of Tekoa [b]spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated herself, and said, “Help, O king!” And the king said to her, “What is troubling you?” And she [c]answered, “Truly I am a widow, for my husband is dead. And your servant had two sons, but the two of them fought in the field, and there was no [d]one to save [e]them from each other, so one struck the other and killed him. Now behold, the entire family has risen against your servant, and they have said, ‘Hand over the one who struck his brother, so that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed, and eliminate the heir as well.’ So they will extinguish my coal which is left, so as to [f]leave my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.”

Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your home, and I will issue orders concerning you.” The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord, the king, the guilt is on me and my father’s house, but the king and his throne are guiltless.” 10 So the king said, “Whoever speaks to you, bring him to me, and he will not touch you anymore.” 11 Then she said, “May the king please remember the Lord your God, so that the avenger of blood will not continue to destroy, otherwise they will destroy my son.” And he said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”

12 Then the woman said, “Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king.” And he said, “Speak.” 13 The woman said, “Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in speaking this word the king is like one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring back his banished one. 14 For we will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. Yet God does not take away life, but makes plans so that the banished one will not be cast out from Him. 15 Now then, [g]the reason I have come to speak this word to my lord the king is that the people have made me afraid; so your servant said, ‘Let me now speak to the king, perhaps the king will perform the [h]request of his slave. 16 For the king will listen, to save his slave from the [i]hand of the man who would eliminate [j]both me and my son from the inheritance of God.’ 17 Then your servant said, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king be [k]comforting, for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and evil. And may the Lord your God be with you.’”

18 Then the king answered and said to the woman, “Please do not hide anything from me that I am about to ask you.” And the woman said, “Let my lord the king please speak.” 19 So the king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” And the woman replied, “As your soul lives, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. Indeed, it was your servant Joab who commanded me, and it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your servant. 20 In order to change the appearance of things your servant Joab has done this thing. But my lord is wise, like the wisdom of the angel of God, to know all that is on the earth.”

Absalom Returns

21 Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I [l]will certainly do this thing; go then, bring back the young man Absalom.” 22 And Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself, and blessed the king; then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has performed the [m]request of his servant.” 23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 However, the king said, “He shall return to his own house, but he shall not see my face.” So Absalom returned to his own house and did not see the king’s face.

25 Now in all Israel there was no one as handsome as Absalom, so highly praised; from the sole of his foot to the top of his head there was no impairment in him. 26 And when he cut the hair of his head (and it was at the end of every year that he cut it, because it was heavy on him, so he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head at [n]two hundred shekels by the king’s weight. 27 And to Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a woman of beautiful appearance.

28 Now Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, yet he did not see the king’s face. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but he would not come to him. So he sent word again a second time, but he would not come. 30 Therefore he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s plot is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the plot on fire. 31 Then Joab got up, came to Absalom at his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my plot on fire?” 32 Absalom [o]answered Joab, “Behold, I sent for you, saying, ‘Come here, so that I may send you to the king, to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me still to be there.”’ Now then, let me see the king’s face, and if there is guilt in me, he can have me executed.” 33 So when Joab came to the king and told him, he summoned Absalom. Then Absalom came to the king and prostrated himself [p]with his face to the ground before the king; and the king kissed Absalom.


  1. 2 Samuel 14:2 Lit took
  2. 2 Samuel 14:4 Many mss and ancient versions came
  3. 2 Samuel 14:5 Lit said
  4. 2 Samuel 14:6 Lit deliverer between
  5. 2 Samuel 14:6 Lit between them
  6. 2 Samuel 14:7 Lit establish for
  7. 2 Samuel 14:15 Lit that I
  8. 2 Samuel 14:15 Lit word
  9. 2 Samuel 14:16 Lit palm
  10. 2 Samuel 14:16 Lit together
  11. 2 Samuel 14:17 Lit for rest
  12. 2 Samuel 14:21 Lit have done
  13. 2 Samuel 14:22 Lit word
  14. 2 Samuel 14:26 About 4 lb. or 1.8 kg
  15. 2 Samuel 14:32 Lit said to
  16. 2 Samuel 14:33 Lit on his