Chapter 5

  1. And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city. And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah and have taken the city of waters. Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called after my name.
  2. And David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah, and fought against it and took it. And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones, and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance. And he brought forth the people that were therein and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick kiln. And thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.
  3. And it came to pass after this that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar. And Amnon the son of David loved her. And Amnon was so vexed that he fell sick for his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and Amnon thought it hard for him to do anything to her.
  4. But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. And Jonadab was a very subtle man. And he said unto him, Why are you, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? Will you not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister. And Jonadab said unto him, Lay down on your bed and make yourself sick. And when your father comes to see you, say unto him, I pray you, let my sister Tamar come and give me food, and dress the meal in my sight, that I may see it and eat it at her hand.
  5. So Amnon lay down and made himself sick. And when the king had come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray you, let Tamar my sister come and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.
  6. Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to your brother Amnon’s house, and dress him a meal. So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, and he was laid down. And she took flour and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes. And she took a pan and poured them out before him, but he refused to eat.
  7. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out, every man from him. And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat of your hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made and brought them into the chamber, to Amnon her brother.
  8. And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister. And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel. Do not this folly. And I, where shall I cause my shame to go? And as for you, you shall be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray you, speak unto the king, for he will not withhold me from you. Nevertheless, he would not listen unto her voice, but being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.
  9. Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone. And she said unto him, There is no cause; this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that you did unto me. But he would not listen unto her.
  10. Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her. And she had a garment of diverse colors upon her, for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out and bolted the door after her. And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of diverse colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.
  11. And Absalom her brother said unto her, Has Amnon your brother been with you? But hold now your peace, my sister. He is your brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. But when king David heard of all these things, he was very angry. And Absalom spoke unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon because he had forced his sister Tamar.
  12. And it came to pass, after two full years, that Absalom had sheep shearers in Baal-Hazor, which is beside Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons. And Absalom came to the king and said, Behold now, your servant has sheep shearers; let the king, I implore you, and his servants go with your servant. And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all now go, lest we be burdensome unto you. And he pressed him. Nevertheless, he would not go, but blessed him. Then said Absalom, If not, I pray you, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with you? But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.
  13. Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine; and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon, then kill him. Fear not; have not I commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant. And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man got himself up upon his mule and fled.
  14. And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom has slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left. Then the king arose, and tore his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.
  15. And Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men, the king’s sons, for Amnon only is dead. For by the appointment of Absalom this has been determined, from the day that he forced his sister Tamar. Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead, for Amnon only is dead.
  16. But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there came many people by the way of the hillside behind him. And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come; as your servant said, so it is. And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that behold, the king’s sons came, and lifted up their voice and wept; and the king also, and all his servants, wept very bitterly.
  17. But Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom, for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.
  18. Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was toward Absalom. And Joab sent to Tekoa and fetched from there a wise woman, and said unto her, I pray you, feign yourself to be a mourner, and put on now mourning apparel, and anoint not yourself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead; and come to the king, and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.
  19. And when the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and paid homage, and said, Help, O king. And the king said unto her, What ails you? And she answered, I am indeed a widow woman, and my husband is dead. And your handmaid had two sons, and they two quarreled together in the field and there was none to part them, but the one smote the other and slew him. And behold, the whole family is risen against your 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. And so they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth.
  20. And the king said unto the woman, Go to your house, and I will give charge concerning you. 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. And the king said, Whoever says anything unto you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you anymore. Then said she, I pray you, let the king remember the Lord your God, that you would not suffer the avengers of blood to destroy anymore, lest they destroy my son. And he said, As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of your son fall to the earth.
  21. Then the woman said, Let your handmaid, I pray you, speak one word unto my lord the king. And he said, Say on. And the woman said, Why then have you thought such a thing against the people of God? For the king does speak this thing as one who is faulty, in that the king does not fetch home again his banished. For we must die, and are as water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. Neither does God respect any person, yet does he devise means that his banished be not expelled from him.
  22. Now therefore that I have come to speak of this thing unto my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid. And your handmaid said, I will now speak unto the king, it may be that the king will perform the request of his handmaid; 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. Then your handmaid said, The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable; for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad. Therefore, the Lord your God will be with you.
  23. Then the king answered and said unto the woman, Hide not from me, I pray you, the thing that I shall ask you. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak. And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with you in all this? And the woman answered and said, As your soul lives, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken; for your servant Joab, he bid me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid. To fetch about this form of speech has your servant Joab done this thing. And my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.
  24. And the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing. Go, therefore, bring the young man Absalom again. And Joab fell to the ground on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king. And Joab said, Today your servant knows that I have found grace in your sight, my lord, O king, in that the king has fulfilled the request of his servant. So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king’s face.
  25. But in all Israel there was none to be so much 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. 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), he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king’s weight. And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a woman of a fair countenance.
  26. So Absalom dwelled two full years in Jerusalem and saw not the king’s face. 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. Therefore, he said unto his servants, See, Joab’s field is near mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire. And Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.
  27. Then Joab arose and came to Absalom, unto his house, and said unto him, Why have your servants set my field on fire? And Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent unto you, saying, Come here, that I may send you to the king to say, Why have I come from Geshur? It would have been good for me to have been there still. Now therefore let me see the king’s face; and if there be any iniquity in me, let him kill me. So Joab came to the king and told him. And when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.
  28. And it came to pass after this that Absalom prepared himself chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early and stood beside the way of the gate. And it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him and said, Of what city are you? And he said, Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said unto him, See, your matters are good and right, but there is no man deputed of the king to hear you. Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man who has any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice. And it was so, that when any man came near to him to pay him homage, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.