2 Samuel 14–15

1 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah recognized that the king’s mind was on Absalom. 2 So Joab sent a request to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman. He instructed her, “Act as if you are observing mourning rites. Put on mourning garments, and do not anoint yourself with oil, but act like a woman who has been mourning over the dead like this for many days. 3 Then come to the king and speak to him in this manner.” Thus Joab put the words in her mouth.

4 As the Tekoan woman spoke to the king, she fell on her face toward the ground and bowed low. Then she said, “Help me, O king.”

5 The king said to her, “What troubles you?”

She responded, “Alas, I am a widow, and my husband is dead. 6 Furthermore, your servant had two sons. The two of them were fighting in the field, but there was no one to separate them. One struck the other and killed him. 7 Now the entire family has risen up against your maidservant, and they said, ‘Deliver him who struck his brother, so that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he killed, and we will destroy the heir also.’ So they will extinguish my remaining ember, and leave my husband neither name nor remnant 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 The Tekoan woman responded to the king, “May guilt rest upon me and the house of my father, my lord the king, and may the king and his throne be blameless.”

10 The king said, “Whoever speaks to you, bring him to me, and he will not cause you harm again.”

11 Then she said, “May the king remember the Lord your God so that the avenger of blood will not continue to destroy, lest they exterminate my son.”

He said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son will fall to the ground.”

12 Then the woman said, “Allow your servant to speak a word to my lord the king.”

So he said, “Speak.”

13 The woman said, “Why have you planned like this against the people of God? The king’s speaking this word is like a self-conviction, for the king has not brought back his own banished one. 14 We will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away a life; He devises plans so that His banished ones will not be cast out from Him.

15 “So now I have come to speak to my lord the king about this matter because the people have made me afraid. So, I thought, ‘I will speak to the king. Perhaps the king will perform the request of his servant. 16 For the king may accept my request to deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son from the inheritance of God.’

17 “So, your servant thought, ‘May the word of my lord the king provide rest. For like the angel of God, my lord the king discerns good from evil. May the Lord your God be with you.’”

18 Then the king answered and said to the woman, “Please do not conceal from me anything that I ask you.”

The woman said, “May my lord the king please speak.”

19 The king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all of this?”

The woman answered and said, “As your soul lives, my lord the king, there is no turning right or left from anything that you spoke, my lord the king, for your servant Joab is the very one who commanded me and placed all of these words in my mouth. 20 In order to change this situation, your servant Joab did this thing; but my lord is wise, as with the wisdom of the angel of God, so as to discern everything happening in the land.”

21 Then the king said to Joab, “This is what I will do. Go and bring back the young man Absalom.”

22 Then Joab fell with his face to ground and bowed low and blessed the king. Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your eyes, my lord the king, since the king has granted the request of his servant.”

23 Then Joab arose and went to Geshur, and he brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 The king said, “Let him turn to his own house. He shall not come into my presence.” So Absalom turned to his house and did not come into the king’s presence.

25 In all of Israel, there was no man as handsome as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the top of his head, there was not a blemish on him. 26 When he cut the hair of his head (and at the end of every year he cut it, for it was heavy on him), he weighed the hair from his head at two hundred shekels, according to the king’s standard.

27 There were born to Absalom three sons and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a beautiful woman.

28 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two full years without coming into the king’s presence. 29 Then Absalom sent a message to Joab, requesting that he send him to the king, but he was not willing to come to him. So he sent a second message, but still he was not willing to come. 30 Then he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there. Go, set it on fire.” So the servants of Absalom set the field on fire.

31 Then Joab arose, came to Absalom at his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my plot of land on fire?”

32 Absalom said to Joab, “I sent a message to you, saying: Come, so that I may send you to the king, asking, ‘Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.’ Now, let me go before the king, and if there is still guilt with me, may he put me to death.”

33 So Joab came and reported this to him. Then he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king, bowed low to him, his face on the ground before the king; then the king kissed Absalom.

Chapter 15

1 After this Absalom acquired for himself a chariot, horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 Absalom would go early and stand beside the way into the gate. When any man who had a dispute concerning which he had come to the king for a judgment approached, Absalom would call to him and say, “Which city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” 3 Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claim is good and right, but there is no one to hear you on behalf of the king.” 4 Absalom would continue, “If I were appointed a judge in the land, then every man who had a claim could come and I would give him justice.”

5 When a man would approach to bow before him, he would reach out, embrace him, and kiss him. 6 Absalom acted this way toward every Israelite who came to the king for a judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

7 After forty years, Absalom said to the king, “Please allow me to go fulfill my vow that I made to the Lord in Hebron. 8 For your servant made a vow when I was dwelling in Geshur in Aram, saying: If indeed the Lord will bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.”

9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron.

10 But Absalom sent scouts throughout all of the tribes of Israel, saying, “When you hear the sound of the horn, say: Absalom has become king in Hebron.” 11 Now two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem, invited and unsuspecting; they did not know anything. 12 Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, the advisor of David, from his city Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. Now the conspiracy was strong, for the number of people with Absalom was continually growing.

13 A messenger came to David and said, “The hearts of the men of Israel are following Absalom.”

14 David said to all of his servants who were with him in Jerusalem, “Get up. We must flee or there will be no escape from Absalom for us. Hurry up and leave, or he will soon reach us and bring disaster upon us, striking the city with the edge of the sword.”

15 The king’s servants said to the king, “Whatever our lord the king decides, we are your servants.”

16 So the king left with his entire house after him, but he left behind ten women, concubines, to watch over the house. 17 So the king left with all of the people after him, and they came to a stop at the furthest house. 18 Now all his servants passed on beside him, all the Kerethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had followed him from Gath, passed on before the king.

19 The king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why are you also going with us? Go back and dwell with the king, for you are a foreigner and, moreover, exiled from your own place. 20 You came only yesterday. Shall I cause you to go roaming around with us today? I am going where I go. Go back, and take back your brothers with you. Mercy and truth be with you.”

21 Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives and as lives my lord the king, only in the place where my lord the king is, whether for death or for life, there alone will your servant be.”

22 So David said to Ittai, “Go on, pass by.” So Ittai the Gittite passed by, along with all of his men and all of the children and elderly who were with him.

23 The whole land wept with a loud voice as all the people passed by. Now the king was crossing over the brook Kidron, and all of the people were crossing over on the road to the wilderness.

24 And also Zadok and all of the Levites with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar came up until all of the people had finished passing from the city.

25 The king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back to the city. If I have found favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back and allow me to see both it and its resting place. 26 But if He should say now, ‘I take no delight in you,’ here I am. May He do to me what seems good to Him.”

27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace with your two sons, your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 I will wait at the fords of the wilderness until word from you comes to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar returned the ark of God to Jerusalem, and they remained there.

30 David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and he went barefoot. Then all of the people who were with him each covered his head and went up, weeping as they went. 31 Now it was reported to David that Ahithophel was conspiring with Absalom, and David said, “O Lord, make the advice of Ahithophel folly.”

32 When David came to the summit where he would worship God, Hushai the Arkite approached him with his coat torn and dirt on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you pass on with me, you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city, you may say to Absalom, ‘I am your servant, O king, as I was a servant of your father. As I was then, so now I am your servant,’ so as to counter the advice of Ahithophel. 35 Will not Zadok and Abiathar the priests be with you there? You shall report everything that you hear from the king’s house to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Their two sons Ahimaaz the son of Zadok and Jonathan the son of Abiathar will be there with them. You shall send word of everything that you hear to me by their hand.”

37 So Hushai, the friend of David, came to the city as Absalom entered Jerusalem.

Luke 17:1–19

1 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible except that offenses will come. But woe to him through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he was thrown into the sea, than to offend one of these little ones. 3 Take heed to yourselves.

“If your brother sins against you, rebuke him. And if he repents, forgive him. 4 If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

6 The Lord said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

7 “Which of you, having a servant plowing or herding sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come now and sit down for dinner’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare my supper, and dress yourself and serve me until I eat and drink. And afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? I think not. 10 So you also, when you have done everything commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done our duty.’”

11 As Jesus went to Jerusalem, He passed between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He entered a village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood at a distance. 13 They lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned with a loud voice glorifying God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus said, “Were not the ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found to return and give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then He said to him, “Rise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”