2 Samuel 20 New Life Version (NLV)
David’s Men Follow Sheba
20 A man of no worth happened to be there whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite. He sounded the horn and said, “We have no share in David! We have no share in the son of Jesse! Every man to his tents, O Israel!” 2 So all the men of Israel stopped following David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah were not moved from following their king, from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
3 Then David came to his house at Jerusalem. The king took his ten women whom he had left to take care of the house, and had a prison soldier watch them. David gave them food, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as women whose husbands had died.
4 Then the king said to Amasa, “Call the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and you be here yourself.” 5 So Amasa went to call out the men of Judah. But he took longer than the time which had been given him. 6 David said to Abishai, “Now Bichri’s son Sheba will bring us more trouble than Absalom. Take your lord’s servants and go after him. Or he might find strong cities for himself, and get away from us.” 7 So Joab’s men went out after him. With them went the Cherethites, the Pelethites and all the strong men. They left Jerusalem to go after Sheba the son of Bichri. 8 Amasa came to meet them at the large stone in Gibeon. Now Joab was dressed in soldier’s clothing. Over his clothing was a belt with a sword in its holder tied at his side. As he walked, the sword fell out. 9 Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” And he took Amasa by the hair of his face with his right hand to kiss him. 10 But Amasa did not see the sword which was in Joab’s hand. So Joab hit him in the stomach with it, and poured his inside parts out on the ground. He did not hit him again, and Amasa died.
Then Joab and his brother Abishai went after Sheba the son of Bichri. 11 Now one of Joab’s young men stood by him and said, “Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab.” 12 But Amasa lay in his blood in the center of the road. When the man saw that all the people stood still, he took Amasa out of the road and into the field. And he threw a covering over him. 13 After he was taken out of the road, all the men went on and followed Joab to go after Sheba the son of Bichri.
14 Sheba passed through all the families of Israel to Abel Bethmaacah. Then all the Berites gathered together and followed him into the city. 15 And all the men who were with Joab came and gathered their armies around him in Abel Bethmaacah. They built up a hill of dirt against the wall of the city. And they were trying their best to make the wall fall down. 16 Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! I beg you, tell Joab to come here that I may speak with him.” 17 So he came to her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your woman servant.” And he answered, “I am listening.” 18 Then she said, “In the past they used to say, ‘Let them ask for words of wisdom at Abel.’ And so they would stop fighting. 19 I am one of peace and faith in Israel. You want to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the gift of the Lord?” 20 Joab answered, “Far be it from me! Far be it that I should swallow up or destroy! 21 That is not true. But a man from the hill country of Ephraim has turned against King David. His name is Sheba the son of Bichri. Give up only him, and I will leave the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “See, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” 22 Then the woman went to all the people with her plan. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So he sounded the horn and they left the city, every man going to his home. Joab returned to the king at Jerusalem.
23 Now Joab was the captain of the whole army of Israel. Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was captain of the Cherethites and the Pelethites. 24 Adoram was captain of those who were made to work. Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud wrote down the things that happened. 25 Sheva was the teacher. Zadok and Abiathar were religious leaders. 26 And Ira the Jairite was a religious leader to David also.
2 Samuel 20 New International Version (NIV)
Sheba Rebels Against David
20 Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted,
“We have no share in David,
2 So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bikri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
3 When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them but had no sexual relations with them. They were kept in confinement till the day of their death, living as widows.
4 Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon the men of Judah to come to me within three days, and be here yourself.” 5 But when Amasa went to summon Judah, he took longer than the time the king had set for him.
6 David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bikri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your master’s men and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities and escape from us.”[a] 7 So Joab’s men and the Kerethites and Pelethites and all the mighty warriors went out under the command of Abishai. They marched out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.
8 While they were at the great rock in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his military tunic, and strapped over it at his waist was a belt with a dagger in its sheath. As he stepped forward, it dropped out of its sheath.
9 Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bikri.
11 One of Joab’s men stood beside Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” 12 Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the road, and the man saw that all the troops came to a halt there. When he realized that everyone who came up to Amasa stopped, he dragged him from the road into a field and threw a garment over him. 13 After Amasa had been removed from the road, everyone went on with Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bikri.
14 Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel Beth Maakah and through the entire region of the Bikrites,[b] who gathered together and followed him. 15 All the troops with Joab came and besieged Sheba in Abel Beth Maakah. They built a siege ramp up to the city, and it stood against the outer fortifications. While they were battering the wall to bring it down, 16 a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him.” 17 He went toward her, and she asked, “Are you Joab?”
“I am,” he answered.
She said, “Listen to what your servant has to say.”
“I’m listening,” he said.
18 She continued, “Long ago they used to say, ‘Get your answer at Abel,’ and that settled it. 19 We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?”
20 “Far be it from me!” Joab replied, “Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy! 21 That is not the case. A man named Sheba son of Bikri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Hand over this one man, and I’ll withdraw from the city.”
The woman said to Joab, “His head will be thrown to you from the wall.”
22 Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bikri and threw it to Joab. So he sounded the trumpet, and his men dispersed from the city, each returning to his home. And Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.
23 Joab was over Israel’s entire army; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; 24 Adoniram[c] was in charge of forced labor; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder; 25 Sheva was secretary; Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26 and Ira the Jairite[d] was David’s priest.