April 13

2 Samuel 20:11 — 22:33

20 Now there happened to be there a good-for-nothing man, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri a Benjaminite; and he proceeded to blow the horn and say: “We have no share in David, and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every one to his gods, O Israel!” 2 At that all the men of Israel began to go up from following David to follow Sheba the son of Bichri; but as for the men of Judah, they stuck to their king from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

3 Eventually David came to his house at Jerusalem. Then the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left behind to take care of the house, and he put them in a house of confinement, but he kept on supplying food to them. And with them he did not have any relations, but they continued shut up closely until the day of their dying, in a widowhood with a living [husband].

4 The king now said to Amasa: “Call the men of Judah together to me within three days, and you yourself stand here.” 5 So Amasa went to call Judah together; but he came later than the fixed time that he had appointed for him. 6 Then David said to Abishai: “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will be worse for us than Absalom. You yourself take the servants of your lord and chase after him, that he may not actually find for himself fortified cities and escape before our eyes.” 7 Accordingly the men of Joab and the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men went out after him; and they went on out of Jerusalem to chase after Sheba the son of Bichri. 8 They were close by the great stone that is in Gibeon, and Amasa himself came to meet them. Now Joab was girded, clothed with a garment; and upon him there was girded a sword attached to his hip, in its sheath. And he himself came forth, and so it fell out.

9 And Joab proceeded to say to Amasa: “Is it all right with you, my brother?” Then Joab’s right hand took hold of Amasa’s beard so as to kiss him. 10 As for Amasa, he was not on guard against the sword that was in Joab’s hand; so that he struck him with it in the abdomen, and his intestines spilled out to the earth, and he did not have to do it to him again. So he died. And Joab and Abishai his brother, for their part, chased after Sheba the son of Bichri.

11 And a certain one of Joab’s young men stood over him and kept saying: “Whoever has found delight in Joab and whoever belongs to David, let him follow Joab!” 12 All the while Amasa was wallowing in the blood in the middle of the highway. When the man saw that all the people stood still, then he moved Amasa from the highway to the field. Finally he cast a garment over him, as he saw that everyone coming up to him stood still. 13 As soon as he had removed him from the highway, each man passed by following Joab to chase after Sheba the son of Bichri.

14 And [Sheba] went passing through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah. As for all the Bichrites, they then congregated together and also went in after him.

15 And they proceeded to come and lay siege against him in Abel of Beth-maacah and cast up a siege rampart against the city, as it was standing within a rampart. And all the people that were with Joab were undermining the wall, to throw it down. 16 And a wise woman began to call from the city: “Listen, men, listen! Say, please, to Joab, ‘Come near as far as here, and let me speak to you.’” 17 So he went near to her, and the woman then said: “Are you Joab?” to which he said: “I am.” At this she said to him: “Listen to the words of your slave girl.” In turn he said: “I am listening.” 18 And she went on to say: “Without exception they used to speak in former times, saying, ‘Let them but inquire in Abel, and thus they will certainly end the matter.’ 19 I represent the peaceable and faithful ones of Israel. You are seeking to put to death a city and a mother in Israel. Why should you swallow up the inheritance of Jehovah?” 20 To this Joab answered and said: “It is altogether unthinkable on my part that I should swallow up and that I should bring to ruin. 21 The matter is not that way, but a man from the mountainous region of Ephraim, whose name is Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David. YOU people, give him over by himself, and I will withdraw from the city.” Then the woman said to Joab: “Look! His head [will be] pitched to you over the wall!”

22 At once the woman went in her wisdom to all the people, and they proceeded to cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and pitch it to Joab. Upon that he blew the horn, and so they were scattered from the city, each one to his home; and Joab himself returned to Jerusalem to the king.

23 And Joab was over all the army of Israel; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites. 24 And Adoram was over those conscripted for forced labor; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder. 25 And Sheva was secretary, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests. 26 And Ira the Jairite also became a priest of David.

21 Now there came to be a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David proceeded to consult the face of Jehovah. Then Jehovah said: “Upon Saul and upon his house there is bloodguilt, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” 2 So the king called the Gibeonites and talked to them. (Incidentally, the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel, but of the remainder of the Amorites; and the sons of Israel themselves had sworn to them, but Saul sought to strike them down in his feeling jealous for the sons of Israel and Judah.) 3 And David went on to say to the Gibeonites: “What shall I do to YOU, and with what shall I make atonement, that YOU may certainly bless the inheritance of Jehovah?” 4 So the Gibeonites said to him: “It is not a matter of silver or gold for us in connection with Saul and his household, neither is it ours to put a man to death in Israel.” At that he said: “Whatever YOU are saying I shall do for YOU.” 5 At this they said to the king: “The man that exterminated us and that schemed to annihilate us from subsisting in any of the territory of Israel, 6 let there be given to us seven men of his sons; and we must expose them to Jehovah in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen one of Jehovah.” Accordingly the king said: “I myself shall give them.”

7 However, the king felt compassion upon Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan the son of Saul on account of the oath of Jehovah that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. 8 Consequently the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth, and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 9 Then he gave them into the hand of the Gibeonites and they proceeded to expose them on the mountain before Jehovah, so that the seven of them fell together; and they themselves were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the start of the barley harvest. 10 However, Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself upon the rock from the start of harvest until water poured down upon them from the heavens; and she did not allow the fowls of the heavens to rest upon them by day nor the wild beasts of the field by night.

11 At length it was reported to David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Saul’s concubine, had done. 12 So David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the landowners of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them on the day that the Philistines struck down Saul on Gilboa. 13 And he proceeded to bring up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; furthermore, they gathered the bones of the men being exposed. 14 Then they buried the bones of Saul and of Jonathan his son in the land of Benjamin in Zela in the burial place of Kish his father, that they might do everything that the king had commanded. So God let himself be entreated for the land after this.

15 And the Philistines came to have war again with Israel. Accordingly David and his servants with him went down and fought the Philistines; and David grew tired. 16 And Ishbi-benob, who was among those born of the Rephaim, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of copper and who was girded with a new sword, got to think of striking David down. 17 At once Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his help and struck the Philistine down and put him to death. At that time the men of David swore to him, saying: “You must not go out with us to the battle anymore, that you may not extinguish the lamp of Israel!”

18 And it came about after this that war arose once more with the Philistines at Gob. Then it was that Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was among those born of the Rephaim.

19 And war arose once again with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite got to strike down Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like the beam of loom workers.

20 And war arose yet again at Gath, when there happened to be a man of extraordinary size, with six fingers on each of his hands and six toes on each of his feet, twenty-four in number; and he too had been born to the Rephaim. 21 And he kept taunting Israel. Finally Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down.

22 These four had been born to the Rephaim in Gath; and they came to fall by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

22  And David proceeded to speak to Jehovah the words of this song in the day that Jehovah had delivered him out of the palm of all his enemies and out of Saul’s palm; 2 and he went on to say:

“Jehovah is my crag and my stronghold and the Provider of escape for me.

 3 My God is my rock. I shall take refuge in him,

My shield and my horn of salvation, my secure height,

And my place for flight, my Savior; from violence you save me.

 4 On the One to be praised, Jehovah, I shall call,

And from my enemies I shall be saved.

 5 For deadly breaking waves encircled me;

There were flash floods of good-for-nothing [men] that kept terrifying me.

 6 The ropes of Sheol themselves surrounded me;

The snares of death confronted me.

 7 In my distress I kept calling upon Jehovah,

And to my God I kept calling.

Then out of his temple he heard my voice,

With my cry for help in his ears.

 8 And back and forth the earth began to shake and to rock;

The foundations of the heavens themselves became agitated,

And they kept shaking back and forth because he had been angered.

 9 Smoke went up at his nostrils, and fire itself from his mouth kept devouring;

Coals themselves blazed up from him.

10 And he proceeded to bend the heavens down and to descend;

And thick gloom was beneath his feet.

11 And he came riding upon a cherub and came flying;

And he was visible upon the wings of a spirit.

12 Then he put a darkness around him as booths,

Dark waters, thick clouds.

13 From the brightness in front of him burning coals of fire blazed up.

14 From heaven Jehovah began to thunder,

And the Most High himself began to give forth his voice.

15 And he kept sending out arrows, that he might scatter them;

Lightning, that he might throw them into confusion.

16 And the streambeds of the sea became visible,

The foundations of the productive land became uncovered,

At the rebuke of Jehovah, from the blast of the breath of his nostrils.

17 He was sending from on high, he was taking me,

He was drawing me out of great waters.

18 He was delivering me from my strong enemy,

From those hating me; because they were stronger than I was.

19 They kept confronting me in the day of my disaster,

But Jehovah became my support.

20 And he proceeded to bring me out into a roomy place;

He was rescuing me, because he had found delight in me.

21 Jehovah rewards me according to my righteousness;

According to the cleanness of my hands he repays me.

22 For I have kept the ways of Jehovah,

And I have not wickedly departed from my God.

23 For all his judicial decisions are in front of me;

And as for his statutes, I shall not turn aside from them.

24 And I shall prove myself faultless toward him,

And I will keep myself from error on my part.

25 And let Jehovah repay me according to my righteousness,

According to my cleanness in front of his eyes.

26 With someone loyal you will act in loyalty;

With the faultless, mighty one you will deal faultlessly;

27 With the one keeping clean you will show yourself clean,

And with the crooked one you will act as silly.

28 And the humble people you will save;

But your eyes are against the haughty ones, [that] you may bring [them] low.

29 For you are my lamp, O Jehovah,

And it is Jehovah that makes my darkness shine.

30 For by you I can run against a marauder band;

By my God I can climb a wall.

31 As for the [true] God, perfect is his way;

The saying of Jehovah is a refined one.

A shield he is to all those taking refuge in him.

32 For who is a God besides Jehovah,

And who is a rock besides our God?