2 Samuel
Chapter 20

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1 And there happened to bee there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba the sonne of Bichri, a Beniamite, & hee blew a trumpet, and said, Wee haue no part in Dauid, neither haue we inheritance in the sonne of Iesse: euery man to his tents, O Israel.

2 So euery man of Israel went vp from after Dauid, and followed Sheba the sonne of Bichri: but the men of Iudah claue vnto their king, from Iordane euen to Ierusalem.

3 And Dauid came to his house at Ierusalem, and the king tooke the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in vnto them: so they were shut vp vnto the day of their death, liuing in widowhood.

4 Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Iudah within three dayes, and be thou here present.

5 So Amasa went to assemble the men of Iudah; but hee taried longer then the set time which he had appointed him.

6 And Dauid said to Abishai, Now shall Sheba the sonne of Bichri doe vs more harme then did Absalom: take thou thy lords seruants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape vs.

7 And there went out after him Ioabs men, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men: and they went out of Ierusalem, to pursue after Sheba the sonne of Bichri.

8 When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa went before them: and Ioabs garment that he had put on, was girded vnto him, and vpon it a girdle with a sword fastned vpon his loynes in the sheath thereof, and as hee went forth, it fell out.

9 And Ioab saide to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Ioab tooke Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kisse him.

10 But Amasa tooke no heed to the sword that was in Ioabs hand: so hee smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and strake him not againe, and he died: so Ioab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the sonne of Bichri.

11 And one of Ioabs men stood by him, and said, He that fauoureth Ioab, and hee that is for Dauid, let him goe after Ioab.

12 And Amasa wallowed in blood in the mids of the high way: and when the man saw that all the people stood still, he remoued Amasa out of the high way into the field, and cast a cloth vpon him, when hee saw that euery one that came by him, stood still.

13 When he was remoued out of the high way, all the people went on after Ioab, to pursue after Sheba the sonne of Bichri.

14 And hee went thorow all the tribes of Israel vnto Abel, and to Bethmaachah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.

15 And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast vp a banke against the citie, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Ioab, battered the wall, to throw it downe.

16 Then cried a wise woman out of the citie, Heare, heare; say, I pray you, vnto Ioab, Come neere hither, that I may speake with thee.

17 And when he was come neere vnto her, the woman said, Art thou Ioab? And he answered, I am he: Then shee said vnto him, Heare the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I doe heare.

18 Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speake in old time, saying, They shall surely aske counsell at Abel: and so they ended the matter.

19 I am one of them that are peaceable and faithfull in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a citie, and a mother in Israel: Why wilt thou swallow vp the inheritance of the Lord ?

20 And Ioab answered and saide, Farre be it, farre be it from me, that I should swallow vp or destroy.

21 The matter is not so: but a man of mount Ephraim (Sheba the sonne of Bichri by name) hath lift vp his hand against the king, euen against Dauid: deliuer him onely, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said vnto Ioab, Behold, his head shall be throwen to thee ouer the wall.

22 Then the woman went vnto all the people in her wisedome, and they cut off the head of Sheba the sonne of Bichri, and cast it out to Ioab: and hee blew a trumpet, and they retired from the citie, euery man to his tent: & Ioab returned to Ierusalem vnto the king.

23 Now Ioab was ouer all the hoste of Israel, and Benaiah the sonne of Iehoiada was ouer the Cherethites, and ouer the Pelethites.

24 And Adoram was ouer the tribute, and Iehoshaphat the sonne of Ahilud was Recorder.

25 And Sheua was scribe, and Zadok, and Abiathar were the Priests.

26 And Ira also the Iairite, was a chiefe ruler about Dauid.

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Commentary for 2 Samuel 20

Sheba's rebellion. (1-3) Amasa slain by Joab. (4-13) Sheba takes refuge in Abel. (14-22) David's officers. (23-26)1-3 One trial arises after another for our good, till we reach the place where sin and sorrow are for ever done away. Angry disputers misunderstand or misconstrue one another's words; proud men will have every thing their own way, or wholly refuse their assistance. The favour of the many is not to be depended upon; and what have others to expect, when Hosanna to the Son of David was soon changed to Crucify him, crucify him?

4-13 Joab barbarously murdered Amasa. The more plot there is in a sin, the worse it is. Joab contentedly sacrificed the interest both of the king and the kingdom to his personal revenge. But one would wonder with what face a murderer could pursue a traitor; and how, under such a load of guilt, he had courage to enter upon danger: his conscience was seared.

14-22 Justly is that place attacked, which dares to harbour a traitor; nor will the heart fare better which indulges rebellious lusts, that will not have Christ to reign over them. A discreet woman, by her prudent management, satisfied Joab, and yet saved the city. Wisdom is not confined to rank or sex; it consists not in deep knowledge; but in understanding how to act as matters arise, that troubles may be turned away and benefits secured. A great deal of mischief would be prevented, if contending parties would understand one another. Let both sides be undeceived. The single condition of peace is, the surrender of the traitor. It is so in God's dealing with the soul, when besieged by conviction and distress; sin is the traitor; the beloved lust is the rebel: part with that, cast away the transgression, and all shall be well. There is no peace on any other terms.

23-26 Here is the state of David's court, after his restoration. It is well when able men are appointed to discharge public duties; let all seek to perform those duties, as faithful servants to the Son of David.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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