Through the Bible – Day 111

Bible text(s)

1Joab knew that David couldn't stop thinking about Absalom, 2-3and he sent someone to bring in the wise woman who lived in Tekoa. Joab told her, “Put on funeral clothes and don't use any make up. Go to the king and pretend you have spent a long time mourning the death of a loved one.” Then he told her what to say.

4The woman from Tekoa went to David. She bowed very low and said, “Your Majesty, please help me!”

5David asked, “What's the matter?”

She replied:

My husband is dead, and I'm a widow. 6I had two sons, but they got into a fight out in a field where there was no one to pull them apart, and one of them killed the other. 7Now all my relatives have come to me and said, “Hand over your son! We're going to put him to death for killing his brother.” But what they really want is to get rid of him, so they can take over our land.

Please don't let them put out my only flame of hope! There won't be anyone left on this earth to carry on my husband's name.

8“Go home,” David told her. “I'll take care of this matter for you.”

9The woman said, “I hope your decision doesn't cause any problems for you. But if it does, you can blame me.”

10He said, “If anyone gives you any trouble, bring them to me, and it won't happen again!”

11“Please,” she replied, “swear by the LORD your God that no one will be allowed to kill my son!”

He said, “I swear by the living LORD that no one will touch even a hair on his head!”

12Then she asked, “Your Majesty, may I say something?”

“Yes,” he answered.

13The woman said:

Haven't you been hurting God's people? Your own son had to leave the country. And when you judged in my favour, it was the same as admitting that you should have let him come back. 14We each must die and disappear like water poured out on the ground. But God doesn't take our lives. Instead, he finds ways of bringing us back when we run away.

15Your Majesty, I came here to tell you about my problem, because I was afraid of what someone might do to me. I decided to come to you, because I thought you could help. 16In fact, I knew that you would listen and save my son and me from those who want to take the land that God gave us.

17I can rest easy now that you have given your decision. You know the difference between right and wrong just like an angel of God, and I pray that the LORD your God will be with you.

18Then David said to the woman, “Now I'm going to ask you a question, and don't try to hide the truth!”

The woman replied, “Please go ahead, Your Majesty.”

19David asked, “Did Joab put you up to this?”

The woman answered, “Your Majesty, I swear by your life that no one can hide the truth from you. Yes, Joab did tell me what to say, 20but only to show you the other side of this problem. You must be as wise as the angel of God to know everything that goes on in this country.”

21David turned to Joab and said, “It seems that I have already given my decision. Go and bring Absalom back.”

22Joab bowed very low and said, “Your Majesty, I thank you for giving your permission. It shows that you approve of me.”

23Joab went to Geshur to get Absalom. But when they came back to Jerusalem, 24David told Joab, “I don't want to see my son Absalom. Tell him to stay away from me.” So Absalom went to his own house without seeing his father.

Absalom was handsome

25No one in all Israel was as handsome and well-built as Absalom. 26He got his hair cut once a year, and when the hair was weighed, it came to over two kilogrammes.

27Absalom had three sons. He also had a daughter named Tamar, who grew up to be very beautiful.

Absalom finally sees David

28Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years without seeing his father. 29He wanted Joab to talk to David for him. So one day he sent a message asking Joab to come over, but Joab refused. Absalom sent another message, but Joab still refused. 30Finally, Absalom told his servants, “Joab's barley field is next to mine. Go and set it on fire!” And they did.

31Joab went to Absalom's house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?”

32Absalom answered, “You didn't pay any attention when I sent for you. I want you to ask my father why he told me to come back from Geshur. I was better off there. I want to see my father now! If I'm guilty, let him kill me.”

33Joab went to David and told him what Absalom had said. David sent for Absalom, and Absalom came. He bowed very low, and David leaned over and kissed him.

Absalom leads a rebellion

1Some time later, Absalom got himself a chariot with horses to pull it, and he had fifty men to run in front. 2He would get up early each morning and wait by the side of the road that led to the city gate. Anyone who had a complaint to bring to King David would have to go that way, and Absalom would ask each of them, “Where are you from?”

If they said, “I'm from a tribe in the north,” 3Absalom would say, “You deserve to win your case. But the king doesn't have anyone to hear complaints like yours. 4I wish someone would make me the judge around here! I would be fair to everyone.”

5Whenever anyone would come to Absalom and start bowing down, he would reach out and hug and kiss them. 6That's how he treated everyone from Israel who brought a complaint to the king. Soon everyone in Israel liked Absalom better than they liked David.

7Four years later, Absalom said to David, “Please, let me go to Hebron. I have to keep a promise that I made to the LORD, 8when I was living with the Arameans in Geshur. I promised that if the LORD would bring me back to live in Jerusalem, I would worship him in Hebron.”

9David gave his permission, and Absalom went to Hebron. 10-12He took two hundred men from Jerusalem with him, but they had no idea what he was going to do. Absalom offered sacrifices in Hebron and sent someone to Gilo to tell David's adviser Ahithophel to come.

More and more people were joining Absalom and supporting his plot. Meanwhile, Absalom had secretly sent some messengers to the northern tribes of Israel. The messengers told everyone, “When you hear the sound of the trumpets, you must shout, ‘Absalom now rules as king in Hebron!’ ”

David has to leave Jerusalem

13A messenger came and told David, “Everyone in Israel is on Absalom's side!”

14David's officials were in Jerusalem with him, and he told them, “Let's get out of here! We'll have to leave soon, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Hurry! If he moves fast, he could catch us while we're still here. Then he will kill us and everyone else in the city.”

15The officials said, “Your Majesty, we'll do whatever you say.”

16-17David left behind ten of his wives to take care of the palace, but the rest of his family and his officials and soldiers went with him.

They stopped at the last house at the edge of the city. 18Then David stood there and watched while his regular troops and his bodyguards marched past. The last group was the six hundred soldiers who had followed him from Gath. Their commander was Ittai.

19David spoke to Ittai and said, “You're a foreigner from the town of Gath. You don't have to leave with us. Go back and join the new king! 20You haven't been with me very long, so why should you have to follow me, when I don't even know where I'm going? Take your soldiers and go back. I pray that the Lord will be kind and faithful to you.”

21Ittai answered, “Your Majesty, just as surely as you and the LORD live, I will go where you go, no matter if it costs me my life.”

22“Then come on!” David said.

So Ittai and all his men and their families walked on past David.

David sends the sacred chest back to Jerusalem

23The people of Jerusalem were crying and moaning as David and everyone with him passed by. He led them across Kidron Valley and along the road towards the desert.

24Zadok and Abiathar the priests were there along with several men from the tribe of Levi who were carrying the sacred chest. They set the chest down, and left it there until David and his followers had gone out of the city.

25Then David said:

Zadok, take the sacred chest back to Jerusalem. If the LORD is pleased with me, he will bring me back and let me see it and his tent again. 26But if he says he isn't pleased with me, then let him do what he knows is best.

27Zadok, you are a good judge of things, so return to the city and don't cause any trouble. Take your son Ahimaaz with you. Abiathar and his son Jonathan will also go back. 28I'll wait at the river crossing in the desert until I hear from you.

29Zadok and Abiathar took the sacred chest back into Jerusalem and stayed there. 30David went on up the slope of the Mount of Olives. He was barefoot and crying, and he covered his head to show his sorrow. Everyone with him was crying, and they covered their heads too.

31Someone told David, “Ahithophel is helping Absalom plot against you!”

David said, “Please, LORD, keep Ahithophel's plans from working!”

David sends Hushai back as a spy

32When David reached the top of the Mount of Olives, he met Hushai the Archite at a place of worship. Hushai's robe was torn, and dust was on his head. 33David told him:

If you come with me, you might slow us down. 34Go back into the city and tell Absalom, “Your Majesty, I am your servant. I will serve you now, just as I served your father in the past.”

Hushai, if you do that, you can help me ruin Ahithophel's plans. 35Zadok and Abiathar the priests will be there with you, and you can tell them everything you hear in the palace. 36Then they can send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what you've heard.

37David's adviser Hushai slipped back into Jerusalem, just about the same time that Absalom was coming in.

2 Samuel 14:1-15:37CEVOpen in Bible reader

Being a disciple

25Large crowds were walking along with Jesus, when he turned and said:

26You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life.

27You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me.

28Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won't you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it? 29Otherwise, you will start building the tower, but not be able to finish. Then everyone who sees what is happening will laugh at you. 30They will say, “You started building, but could not finish the job.”

31What will a king do if he has only ten thousand soldiers to defend himself against a king who is about to attack him with twenty thousand soldiers? Before he goes out to battle, won't he first sit down and decide if he can win? 32If he thinks he won't be able to defend himself, he will send messengers and ask for peace while the other king is still a long way off. 33So then, you cannot be my disciple unless you give away everything you own.

Jesus continued:

34Salt is good, but if it no longer tastes like salt, how can it be made to taste salty again? 35It is no longer good for the soil or even for the manure pile. People simply throw it out. If you have ears, pay attention!

One sheep

1Tax collectors and sinners were all crowding around to listen to Jesus. 2So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses started grumbling, “This man is friendly with sinners. He even eats with them.”

3Then Jesus told them this story:

4If any of you has a hundred sheep, and one of them gets lost, what will you do? Won't you leave the ninety-nine in the field and go and look for the lost sheep until you find it? 5And when you find it, you will be so glad that you will put it on your shoulder 6and carry it home. Then you will call in your friends and neighbours and say, “Let's celebrate! I've found my lost sheep.”

7Jesus said, “In the same way there is more happiness in heaven because of one sinner who turns to God than over ninety-nine good people who don't need to.”

One coin

8Jesus told the people another story:

What will a woman do if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them? Won't she light a lamp, sweep the floor, and look carefully until she finds it? 9Then she will call in her friends and neighbours and say, “Let's celebrate! I've found the coin I lost.”

10Jesus said, “In the same way God's angels are happy when even one person turns to him.”

Luke 14:25-15:10CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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