14 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah knew uthat the king's heart went out to Absalom. 2 And Joab sent to vTekoa and brought from there a wise woman and said to her, “Pretend to be a mourner and put on mourning garments. wDo not anoint yourself with oil, but behave like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead. 3 Go to the king and speak thus to him.” So Joab xput the words in her mouth.
4 When the woman of Tekoa came to the king, yshe fell on her face to the ground and paid homage and said, z“Save me, O king.” 5 And the king said to her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, a“Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead. 6 And your servant had two sons, and they quarreled with one another in the field. There was no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him. 7 And now the whole clan has risen against your servant, and they say, ‘Give up the man who struck his brother, that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed.’ And so they would bdestroy the heir also. Thus they would quench my coal that is left and leave to my husband neither name nor cremnant on the face of the earth.”
8 Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.” 9 And the woman of Tekoa said to the king, d“On me be the guilt, my lord the king, and on my father's house; let the king and his throne be guiltless.” 10 The king said, “If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall never touch you again.” 11 Then she said, “Please let the king invoke the Lord your God, that ethe avenger of blood kill no more, and my son be not destroyed.” He said, f“As the Lord lives, gnot 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.” He said, “Speak.” 13 And the woman said, “Why then have you planned such a thing against hthe people of God? For in giving this decision the king convicts himself, inasmuch as the king does not bring ihis banished one home again. 14 We must all die; we are jlike water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means kso that the banished one will not remain an outcast. 15 Now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid, and your servant thought, ‘I will speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant. 16 For the king will hear and deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together from lthe heritage of God.’ 17 And your servant thought, ‘The word of my lord the king will set me at rest,’ for my lord the king is mlike the angel of God to discern good and evil. The Lord your God be with you!”
18 Then the king answered the woman, “Do not hide from me anything I ask you.” And the woman said, “Let my lord the king speak.” 19 The king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” The woman answered and said, n“As surely as you live, my lord the king, one cannot turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has said. It was your servant Joab who commanded me; oit was he who put all these words in the mouth of your servant. 20 In order to change the course of things your servant Joab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of mthe angel of God to know all things that are on the earth.”
21 Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Absalom.” 22 And Joab fell on his face to the ground and paid homage pand blessed the king. And Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has granted the request of his servant.” 23 So Joab arose and went to qGeshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 And the king said, “Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence.” So Absalom lived apart in his own house and did not come into the king's presence.
25 Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. rFrom the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 And when he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he scut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels1 by the king's weight. 27 There were born tto Absalom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a beautiful woman.
28 So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king's presence. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but Joab would not come to him. And he sent a second time, but Joab would not come. 30 Then he said to his servants, “See, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom's servants set the field on fire.2 31 Then Joab arose and went to Absalom at his house and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” 32 Absalom answered Joab, “Behold, I sent word to you, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king, to ask, “Why have I come from qGeshur? It would be better for me to be there still.” Now therefore let me go into the presence of the king, uand if there is guilt in me, let him put me to death.’” 33 Then Joab went to the king and told him, and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.
2 kMake room in your hearts2 for us. lWe have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that myou are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 I am acting with ngreat boldness toward you; oI have great pride in you; pI am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.
5 For even qwhen we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—rfighting without and fear within. 6 But sGod, who comforts the downcast, tcomforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 8 For ueven if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though vI did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. 9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but wbecause you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
10 For xgodly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas yworldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, zwhat zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one awho did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore bwe are comforted.
And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit chas been refreshed by you all. 14 For dwhatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you ewas true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. 15 And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers fthe obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice, because I have complete gconfidence in you.
21 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 t“Son of man, uset your face toward Jerusalem and vpreach against the sanctuaries.1 Prophesy against the land of Israel 3 and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the Lord: wBehold, I am against you and will draw xmy sword from its sheath and ywill cut off from you both righteous and wicked. 4 Because I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword shall be drawn from its sheath against all flesh from south to north. 5 zAnd all flesh shall know that I am the Lord. I have drawn xmy sword from its sheath; ait shall not be sheathed again.
6 “As for you, son of man, bgroan; with breaking heart and bitter grief, cgroan before their eyes. 7 dAnd when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news ethat it is coming. fEvery heart will melt, and gall hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and gall knees will be weak as water. hBehold, it is ecoming, and it will be fulfilled,’” declares the Lord God.
8 And the word of the Lord came to me: 9 t“Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus says the Lord, say:
i“A sword, a sword is sharpened
10 jsharpened for slaughter,
jpolished to flash like lightning!
(Or kshall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, my son, lwith everything of wood.)2 11 So the sword is given to be polished, that it may be grasped in the hand. It is sharpened and polished mto be given into the hand of the slayer. 12 nCry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. oStrike therefore upon your thigh. 13 For it will not be a testing—what could it do if you despise pthe rod?”3 declares the Lord God.
14 “As for you, qson of man, prophesy. rClap your hands and let the sword come down twice, syes, three times,4 the sword for those to be slain. It is the sword for the great slaughter, which surrounds them, 15 that their hearts may melt, and many stumble.5 At all their gates I have given the glittering sword. Ah, it is made like lightning; tit is taken up6 for slaughter. 16 Cut sharply to the right; set yourself to the left, wherever your face is directed. 17 I also will rclap my hands, uand I will satisfy my fury; vI the Lord have spoken.”
18 The word of the Lord came to me again: 19 “As for you, son of man, mark two ways for wthe sword of the king of Babylon to come. Both of them shall come from the same land. And make xa signpost; make it xat the head of the way to a city. 20 Mark a way yfor the sword to come to Rabbah of the Ammonites and to Judah, into Jerusalem the fortified. 21 For the king of Babylon stands zat the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination. He shakes the arrows; he consults athe teraphim;7 he looks at the liver. 22 Into his right hand comes the divination for Jerusalem, bto set battering rams, to open the mouth with murder, to lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, cto cast up mounds, to build siege towers. 23 But to them it will seem like a false divination. dThey have sworn solemn oaths, but he brings their guilt to remembrance, ethat they may be taken.
24 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have made your guilt to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your deeds your sins appear—because you have come to remembrance, fyou shall be taken in hand. 25 And you, O profane8 gwicked one, prince of Israel, hwhose day has come, ithe time of your final punishment, 26 thus says the Lord God: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. jExalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted. 27 A ruin, ruin, ruin I will make it. kThis also shall not be, luntil he comes, the one to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to him.
28 “And you, mson of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord God nconcerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach; say, oA sword, a sword pis drawn for the slaughter. oIt is polished to consume and to flash like lightning—29 while qthey see for you false visions, while they divine lies for you—to place you on the necks of the profane wicked, rwhose day has come, the time of their final punishment. 30 pReturn it to its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, sI will judge you. 31 And tI will pour out my indignation upon you; uI will blow upon you with the fire of my wrath, and I will deliver you into the hands of vbrutish men, skillful to destroy. 32 You shall be fuel for the fire. Your blood shall be in the midst of the land. wYou shall be no more remembered, xfor I the Lord have spoken.”
1 Blessed is the man1
nor stands in cthe way of sinners,
and on his hlaw he meditates day and night.
3 He is like ia tree
planted by jstreams of water
and its kleaf does not wither.
lIn all that he does, he prospers.
but are like mchaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked nwill not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in othe congregation of the righteous;
against the Lord and against his tAnointed, saying,
3 “Let us uburst their bonds apart
5 Then he will speak to them in his xwrath,
6 “As for me, I have yset my King
The Lord said to me, b“You are my Son;
and cthe ends of the earth your possession.
and dash them in pieces like fa potter's vessel.”
for his lwrath is quickly kindled.
mBlessed are all who take refuge in him.