The Second Book of Samuel

Chapter 14

Joab, suborning a widow of Tekoah by a parable to incline the king's heart to fetch home Absalom, brings him to Jerusalem, 1-24. Absalom's beauty, hair, and children, 25-27. After two years, Absalom is brought into the king's presence by Joab, 28-33.

1 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart was toward Absalom. 2 And Joab sent to Tekoah and brought from there a wise woman and said to her, "I pray you, feign yourself to be a mourner and put on mourning apparel and do not anoint yourself with oil, but be as a woman who had a long time mourned for the dead. 3 And come to the king and speak in this manner to him." So Joab put the words in her mouth.

4 And when the woman of Tekoah spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and did obeisance and said, "Help, O king." 5 And the king said to her, "What ails you?" And she answered, "I am indeed a widow woman, and my husband is dead. 6 And your servant had two sons, and the two of them strove together in the field, and there was no one to part them, but one smote the other and slew him. 7 And behold, the whole family has risen against your servant and they said, 'Deliver him who smote his brother so that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he slew. And we will destroy the heir also.' And so they will quench my coal which is left and will not leave to my husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth."

8 And the king said to the woman, "Go to your house, and I will give charge concerning you." 9 And the woman of Tekoah said to the king, "My lord, O king, the iniquity is on me and on my father's house. And the king and his throne are guiltless." 10 And the king said, "Whoever says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you anymore." 11 Then she said, "I pray you, let the king remember the LORD your God, that you would not allow the revengers 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."

12 Then the woman said, "Let your servant, I pray you, speak one word to my lord the king." And he said, "Say on." 13 And the woman said, "Why then have you thought such a thing against the people of God? For the king speaks this thing as one who is faulty, in that the king does not bring his banished back home. 14 For we must die and are as water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. God does not respect any person, yet he devises means so that his banished is not expelled from him. 15 Now therefore, seeing that I have come to speak of this thing to my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid. And your servant said, 'I will now speak to the king. It may be that the king will perform the request of his servant. 16 For the king will hear to deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God.' 17 Then your servant said, 'The word of my lord the king will 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.'"

18 Then the king answered and said to the woman, "Do not hide from me, I pray you, the thing that I shall ask you." And the woman said, "Let my lord the king now speak." 19 And the king said, "Is the hand of Joab not with you in all this?" And the woman answered and said, "As your soul lives, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. For your servant Joab, he told me and put all these words in the mouth of your servant. 20 In order to change the face of the matter, your servant Joab has done this thing. And my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are on the earth."

21 And the king said to 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, 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." 23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 And the king said, "Let him turn to his own house, and do not let him see my face." So Absalom returned to his own house and did not see the king's face.

25 But in all Israel there was no one 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. 26 And when he polled his head (for it was at every year's end that he polled it; because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it), he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after 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 a fair countenance.

28 So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem and did not see the king's face. 29 Therefore, Absalom sent for Joab so that he might send 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 to 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. 31 Then Joab arose and came to Absalom to his house and said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?" 32 And Absalom answered Joab, "Behold, I sent to 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 to be there still."' Now therefore, let me see the king's face, and if there is any iniquity in me, let him kill me." 33 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.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Samuel, Chapter 14[➚]