1. There happened to be there a base fellow named Sheba, son of Bichri, a Benjaminite, who sounded the trumpet and said, "We have nothing to do with David. What can we expect from the son of Jesse? Go back, O Israelites, each man to his home!"
2. So all the Israelites left David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. The men of Judah, however, steadfastly followed their king from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
3. When David reached his house at Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines whom he had left to keep the palace and put them under guard. He provided for them but had no relations with them. So they were secluded until the day of their death and lived like widows.
4. The king said to Amasa, "Assemble all the men of Judah within three days; then come here to me."
5. So Amasa left to summon the men of Judah but he failed to show up at the appointed time.
6. David then said to Abishai, "Sheba son of Bichri, will do us more harm than Absalom. Take my guards and pursue him lest he flee to any fortified city and escape from us."
7. So Abishai, with the men of Joab, the Cherethites, Pelethites and all the warriors, left Jerusalem to pursue Sheba, son of Bichri.
8. When they reached the big stone in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was wearing over his tunic a belt with a sheathed sword. The sword slipped out.
9. Joab said to Amasa, "How are you, my brother?" And he held Amasa's beard with his right hand as if to embrace him.
10. Amasa did not notice the sword which he held until Joab stabbed him, shedding his entrails to the ground. Amasa died on the spot without need of a second thrust. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba, son of Bichri.
11. Meantime, one of Joab's men stood beside Amasa and said, "Let him who is for Joab and stands by David follow Joab."
12. Amasa then lay bathed in his blood, lying on the highway. When the man saw the people stopping to look, he carried Amasa from the highway into the field and covered him with a garment.
13. When he was removed from the highway, the people followed Joab in pursuit of Sheba, son of Bichri.
14. Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel and entered Abel of Bethmaacah with all his allies who had assembled to follow him.
15. Joab's men came and attacked him in Abel of Bethmaacah. They set up a mound against the city, and all the men of Joab dug under the wall to throw it down.
16. Then a wise woman called out from the city, "Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here that I may speak to him."
17. As Joab approached, the woman asked, "Are you Joab?" He answered, "I am."
18. The woman continued, "They used to say in olden days to settle a matter, 'Seek advice at Abel if you want to know the ancient customs
19. of the faithful of Israel.' And you want to destroy a city which is a mother city in Israel. Why do you want to destroy the heritage of Yahweh?"
20. Joab answered, "By no means do I want to destroy it!
21. But a man from the hill country of Ephraim, named Sheba, son of Bichri, has rebelled against King David. Only surrender him and I will withdraw from the city." So the woman said to Joab, "We shall throw his head over the wall to you."
22. The woman then gathered the inhabitants and spoke to them so persuasively that they beheaded Sheba, son of Bichri, and threw his head out to Joab who then sounded the trumpet for the people to depart from the city. Then everyone went home and Joab himself returned to the king in Jerusalem.
23. Joab was in command of all the army of Israel while Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, was in command of the Cherethites and the Pelethites.
24. Adoram was in charge of the forced labor, and Jehoshaphat, son of Ahilud, was the recorder. Sheva was secretary,
25. and Zadok and Abiathar were priests,
26. and Ira the Jairite was David's priest.