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The fourth, assigned the fourth month, was Asahel, brother of Joab; his son Zebadiah succeeded him. 1 His division consisted of 24,000 men.
The king said, “Did Joab put you up to all of this?” 1 The woman answered, “As surely as you live, my lord the king, there is no deviation to the right or to the left from all that my lord the king has said. For your servant Joab gave me instructions. He has put all these words in your servant’s mouth.
David said to Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?” Abishai replied, “I will go down with you.”
Joab son of Zeruiah and the servants of David also went out and confronted them at the pool of Gibeon. One group stationed themselves on one side of the pool, and the other group on the other side of the pool.
So Joab and Abishai chased Abner. At sunset they came to the hill of Ammah near Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon.
Then Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will turn bitter in the end? When will you tell the people to turn aside from pursuing their brothers?”
Now David’s soldiers 1 and Joab were coming back from a raid, bringing a great deal of plunder with them. Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, for David 2 had sent him away and he had left in peace.
When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside at the gate as if to speak privately with him. Joab then stabbed him 1 in the abdomen and killed him, avenging the shed blood of his brother Asahel. 2
David instructed Joab and all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes! Put on sackcloth! Lament before Abner!” Now King David followed 1 behind the funeral bier.
In the spring of the year, at the time when kings 1 normally conduct wars, 2 David sent out Joab with his officers 3 and the entire Israelite army. 4 They defeated the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed behind in Jerusalem. 5
David said to the messenger, “Tell Joab, ‘Don’t let this thing upset you. 1 There is no way to anticipate whom the sword will cut down. 2 Press the battle against the city and conquer 3 it.’ Encourage him with these words.” 4
So Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman. He told her, “Pretend to be in mourning 1 and put on garments for mourning. Don’t anoint yourself with oil. Instead, act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for some time. 2
Your servant Joab did this so as to change this situation. But my lord has wisdom like that of the angel of God, and knows everything that is happening in the land.” 1
So he said to his servants, “Look, Joab has a portion of field adjacent to mine and he has some barley there. Go and set it on fire.” 1 So Absalom’s servants set Joab’s 2 portion of the field on fire.
So Joab went to the king and informed him. The king 1 summoned Absalom, and he came to the king. Absalom 2 bowed down before the king with his face toward the ground and the king kissed him. 3
The king gave this order to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake deal gently with the young man Absalom.” Now the entire army was listening when the king gave all the leaders this order concerning Absalom.
Joab replied to the man who was telling him this, “What! You saw this? Why didn’t you strike him down right on the spot? 1 I would have given you ten pieces of silver 2 and a commemorative belt!” 3
But Joab said to him, “You will not be a bearer of good news today. You will bear good news some other day, but not today, 1 for the king’s son is dead.”
The king replied, “How is the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz replied, “I saw a great deal of confusion when Joab was sending the king’s servant and me, your servant, but I don’t know what it was all about.”
So Joab visited 1 the king at his home. He said, “Today you have embarrassed all your servants who have saved your life this day, as well as the lives of your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your concubines.