2 Samuel 20

1Sheba revolteth with the men of Israel. 3David on his return to Jerusalem shutteth up his ten concubines for life. 4Amasa, made captain of the host, is slain by Joab. 14Joab pursueth Sheba to Abel. 16By the persuasions of a wise woman Sheba's head is thrown over the wall, and the city saved. 23David's great officers.

1AND there happened to be there a man of 1Belial, whose name was 2Sheba, the son of Bichri, a 3Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: 4every man to his tents, O 5Israel.

1 See Deut. 13 on verse 13.

2 Hebr. Scheba.

3 See 2 Sam. 16 on verse 11.

4 Understand herewith: depart, set out himself.

5 He speaks to those of Israel, who were at strife with Judah, and complained that they were wronged. See 2 Sam. 19:41, 43.

2So every man of Israel went up 6from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah 7clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem.

6 That is, they left David and followed after Sheba.

7 They left him not, as the other tribes had done, but continued with him, conducting him on to Jerusalem.

3¶And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the 8ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and 9put them in ward, and fed them, but 10went not in unto them. So they were 11shut up unto the day of their death, 12living in widowhood.

8 See 2 Sam. 15:16.

9 See the cause hereof 2 Sam. 16:22.

10 See Gen. 6 on verse 4.

11 Hebr. bound, that is, so shut up as if they had been imprisoned and bound; it may be they had consented to Absalom’s act.

12In a widow-estate, that is, living as widows, or, being as widows all their life long; or, widows whose husbands were yet alive.

4¶Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah 13within three days, and be thou here 14present.

13 Or, against the third day. Hebr. the third of the days.

14 That is, be present and remain with me to receive charge from me; for, David had made him captain general in Joab’s stead, 2 Sam. 19:13.

5So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah: but he 15tarried longer than the set time which 16he had appointed him.

15 Other, he caused them, namely, those of Judah, to tarry, that is, he gave them longer time.

16 David.

6And David said to 17Abishai, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take thou 18thy lord’s servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us.

17 Joab’s brother, being also a commander, see 2 Sam. 18:2, whom David herein uses that he might give no occasion to Joab (who otherwise would have been the next) to intrude himself into the place of Amasa, to the hurt of Amasa, to whom the king had promised and confirmed by oath the generalship.

18 That is, my officers and soldiers. Some understand here Amasa, who at this present, as general, is called Abishai’s lord.

7And there went out after him 19Joab’s men, and the 20Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men: and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.

19 That is, Joab’s soldiers, as also Joab himself.

20 See 1 Kings 1 on verse 38.

8When they were at the great stone which is in 21Gibeon, Amasa went 22before them. And Joab’s 23garment 24that he had put on was girded unto him, and upon it a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as 25he went forth it 26fell out.

21 See Joshua 10.

22 That is, he came directly to meet them, returning from the journey whereon the king had sent him, or, he came before or beside them, or along the way where they may have stopped to rest.

23 Or, soldier’s coat, cassock, soldier’s cloak; a garment (as some perceive) much used in war and well-known in those times.

24 Hebr. of his clothing.

25 Namely, Joab, stepping aside from his rank, or the place where they rested to salute Amasa.

26 Namely, the sword; so that Amasa, having seen the sword fall, suspected not that Joab had taken it up with his left hand, as some do gather from the next verse.

9And Joab said to Amasa, 27Art thou in health, my 28brother? And 29Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to 30kiss him.

27 Hebr. Art thou peace? As 1 Sam. 25:6; 2 Sam. 17:3.

28 That is, cousin, kinsman. They were two sisters’ children, 1 Chron. 2:16, 17. See also 2 Sam. 17:25.

29 Hebr. Joab’s right hand took hold of the beard of Amasa.

30 As was usual in saluting, Gen. 29 on verse 11.

10But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab's hand: soa he 31smote him therewith in the 32fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not 33again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri.

a 1 Kings 2:5.

31 That is, stabbed.

32 See 2 Sam. 2 on verse 23.

33 Hebr. he doubled or repeated not on him, namely, the blow; that is, he stabbed him not the second time because he died instantly from the first stab. Compare 1 Sam. 26:8; Job 29:22.

11And one of Joab’s 34men stood by him, and said, 35He that favoureth Joab, and he that is for David, 36let him go after Joab.

34 That is, servants.

35 That is, let all those, who side with Joab and David, follow Joab. Compare Deut. 20:5, etc. Thus Joab, by means of the soldiery, thrusts himself straightway into the office of general in Amasa’s stead, whom he had murdered for that very intent and purpose.

36 Hebr. let him be after Joab: as above often, and in the sequel.

12And Amasa wallowed in blood in the midst of the highway. And when 37the man saw that all 38the people stood still, he removed Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a cloth upon him, when he saw that every one that came by him stood still.

37 Mentioned in the previous verse.

38 Who passed by that way, as in the end of this verse is declared.

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

14¶And 39he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to 40Beth-maachah, and all the 41Berites: and 42they were gathered together, and went also after him.

39 Joab, who pursued the fleeing Sheba through Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, Zebulon and Naphtali unto Abel, where he was now.

40 This city Abel was called by this surname to distinguish it from another city with the same name. This city was situated in the tribe of Naphtali, on the north end of Canaan over against Syria, where was a part of Syria called Maachah. See also 2 Kings 15:29 and here in the following verse.

41 A region situated by Abel.

42 The Israelites of the aforementioned places followed Joab likewise.

15And they came and besieged 43him in Abel of Beth-maachah, and they 44cast up a 45bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab 46battered the wall, to throw it down.

43 Sheba, the rebel.

44 Hebr. they poured out.

45 An earthen bank raised up high, that is, a bulwark or wall. Also 2 Kings 19:32; Jer. 32:24; 33:4.

46 Hebr. were spoiling to throw down the wall, that is, hewing, pushing, breaking, battering, perhaps also undermining; for, from the Hebrew word here used is derived another, which also signifies a ditch.

16¶Then cried a wise woman 47out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee.

47 From the wall of the city.

17And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I do hear.

18Then she spake, saying, They were 48wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall 49surely ask counsel at Abel: and 50so they ended the matter.

48 Hebr. speaking they spoke.

49 Hebr. inquiring they shall inquire, or, asking counsel they shall ask counsel. It seems to have been an old proverb, used to the honor of the inhabitants of this city, because wise and understanding people were found there, as it appears here by the example of this woman.

50 That is, when the counsel of this city was followed, things went well. Or, so ended they the difference or controversy. Other, so they shall accomplish or end the matter.

1951I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a 52city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the 53inheritance of the LORD?

51 She speaks in the name of the city of Abel.

52 Hebr. a city and a mother, etc., that is, a capital city, having under it other small towns and villages. Or understand by the mother, the inhabitants of a city which is as it were a mother of others, which she is wont to go before with good and wise counsel, as a mother does her children.

53 That is, His people, whom He loves as a man does his inheritance.

20And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, 54that I should swallow up or destroy.

54 Hebr. if I shall swallow up, etc. Understand with this, then let God do this and that to me; as is used in oath swearing.

2155The matter is not so: but a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his 56hand against the king, even against David: deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to thee over the wall.

55 As if he would say, I am not come for that intent, but to have Sheba.

56 Has risen up and raised rebellion.

22Then the woman went unto all the people 57in 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 58they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king.

57 Moving the inhabitants with wise and solid arguments to perform what she had promised Joab.

58 The besiegers.

23¶Now Joabbwas 59over all the host of Israel: and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the 60Cherethites and over the Pelethites:

b 2 Sam. 8:16, etc.

59 After Amasa’s death he was restored to his former place. See on verse 4. These officers are here mentioned once again, because David was reinstated as it were anew in his kingdom, 2 Sam. 19:22, and because there seems to have occurred some change and also an addition. Compare 2 Sam. 8:17, 18.

60 See verse 7.

24And Adoram was over the 61tribute: and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was 62recorder:

61 Other, levy. See 1 Kings 4 on verse 6.

62 See 1 Kings 4 on verse 3.

25And 63Sheva was scribe: and Zadok and Abiathar were the 64priests:

63 Hebr. Scheja, called in 2 Sam. 8:17 (according to the opinion of some) Seraiah.

64 See Num. 3 on verse 32; 2 Kings 23 on verse 4.

26And Ira also the Jairite was a 65chief ruler about David.

65 Hebr. cohen. See 2 Sam. 8 on verse 18.