The Second Book of Samuel

Chapter 20

By occasion of the quarrel, Sheba makes a party in Israel, 1, 2. David's ten concubines are put in confinement for life, 3. Amasa, made captain over Judah, is slain by Joab, 4-13. Joab pursues Sheba to Abel, 14, 15. A wise woman saves the city by Sheba's head, 16-22. David's officers, 23-26.

1 And there happened to be a man of Belial there whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite. And he blew a trumpet and said, "We have no part in David, neither do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to his tents, O Israel."

2 So every man of Israel, withdrawing from David, followed Sheba the son of Bichri, but the men of Judah adhered to their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.

3 And David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten women his concubines whom he had left to keep the house and put them in custody and fed them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.

4 Then the king said to Amasa, "Assemble to me the men of Judah within three days and be present here yourself." 5 So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah, but he delayed longer than the set time which he had appointed him. 6 And David said to Abishai, "Now Sheba the son of Bichri shall do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your lord's servants and pursue him, lest he get for himself fortified cities and escape us." 7 And there went out after him Joab's men, the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the mighty men. And they went out of Jerusalem to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri. 8 When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa went before them. And Joab's garment that he had put on was girded to him, and upon it a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in its sheath, and as he went forth it fell out. 9 And Joab said to Amasa, "Are you in health, my brother?" And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him.

10 But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab's hand. So he smote him in the fifth rib and shed out his bowels to the ground and did not strike him again, and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri. 11 And one of Joab's men stood by him and said, "He who favors Joab and he who is for David, let him go after Joab." 12 And Amasa wallowed in blood in the midst of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he carried Amasa out of the highway into the field and cast a cloth upon him, because he saw that everyone who came by him stood still.

13 When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.

14 And he went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, and to Beth-maachah, and all the Berites, and they were assembled and went also after him. 15 And they came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maachah and cast up a siege-mound against the city, and it stood in the trench. And all the people who were with Joab battered the wall to throw it down. 16 Then a wise woman cried out from the city, "Hear, hear! I pray you, say to Joab, 'Come near here so that I may speak with you.'" 17 And when he had come near to her, the woman said, "Are you Joab?" And he answered, "I am he." Then she said to him, "Hear the words of your servant." And he answered, "I do hear." 18 Then she spoke, saying, "They were accustomed to speak in old time, saying, 'They will surely ask counsel at Abel,' and so they ended the matter. 19 I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?" 20 And Joab answered and said, "Far be it, far be it from me that I should swallow up or destroy. 21 The matter is not so. But a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against the king, even against David. Deliver him only, and I will depart from the city." And the woman said to Joab, "Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall." 22 Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to the king at Jerusalem.

23 Now Joab was over all the host of Israel, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites, 24 Adoram was over the tribute, Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder, 25 Sheva was scribe, Zadok and Abiathar were the priests, 26 And Ira also the Jairite was a chief minister to David.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Samuel, Chapter 20[➚]


[v.3] - "whom he had left to keep the house" - Reference, 2nd Samuel 15:16.