The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Second Book of Kings
It chanced that there was a turbulent fellow there, called Seba, son of Bochri, from Benjamin, who now sounded his trumpet and raised the cry: David, then, is none of ours; not for us the son of Jesse; go back, men of Israel, to your homes!
Thereupon all the Israelites parted from David’s company, and marched away with Seba, son of Bochri; it was only the men of Juda that escorted David all the way from Jordan to Jerusalem.
So the king came home. As for the ten concubines he had left in charge of the palace, he shut these away, giving them their allowance of food still, but never again having commerce with them; they remained shut away in their widowhood as long as they lived.
And now the king said to Amasa, Muster all the warriors of Juda, three days from now, and present thyself here with them.
Amasa went to muster them, but dallied beyond the time which the king had named;
and David said to Abisai, This Seba, son of Bochri, will do us more harm than ever Absalom did. Take the royal troops with thee, and go in pursuit of him; or he will find refuge within city walls and escape us.
So in pursuit of Seba they went, under Abisai’s command, Joab’s men, and the Cerethites and Phelethites, and all the picked warriors in Jerusalem;
and when they reached the great stone of Gabaon, they fell in with Amasa. Joab was there, clad in a tight-fitting cloak of the same length as his coat, and girt with a dagger whose sheath only reached to his loins, such that he could draw it easily and strike.✻
Greetings to thee, brother, said Joab, and with that he clapped his right hand under Amasa’s chin, as if he would kiss him;
then, with the dagger that had gone unmarked, he struck him in the side, and spilt his entrails on the ground, so that he died without a second blow. After this, Joab and his brother Abisai continued their pursuit of Seba, son of Bochri.
And among Joab’s men, that stood beside the body, the word went round, Here he lies that would have been David’s chosen friend in place of Joab.✻
There Amasa lay, drenched in his own blood, till one who saw all the passers-by stopping to look at him, carried the body off into a field, away from the road; so they would halt on their journey no more.
And sure enough, when it had been taken aside from the road, all were ready to follow Joab in pursuit of Seba, the son of Bochri.
Seba had gone through all the tribes of Israel, till he reached Abela that is called Beth-Maacha; and all their choicest warriors had rallied to him.✻
So to Abela Beth-Maacha they went, and besieged him there, surrounding the city with works, so that it was quite cut off; nor did Joab’s men spare any pains to make a breach in the wall.
But now a wise woman cried out from within the city, A word with you, a word with you! Bid Joab come here, and let me speak to him.
Thou art Joab? she asked, as he came near; and when he answered to the name, Listen, she besought him, to what thy handmaid has to say. Listen I will, said he.
There is an old proverb, she told him, that says, They who ask counsel must ask it at Abela; and so they did.✻
Here dwells a woman that tells Israelites the truth; and wouldst thou overthrow such a city, a mother-city in Israel? Why wouldst thou bring ruin on the Lord’s chosen land?
Never that, never that, Joab answered; ruin and destruction are not for me.
The case stands otherwise; there is one Seba, son of Bochri, from the hill-country of Ephraim, that is in rebellion against king David; hand that one man over, and we will raise the siege. Wait then, said the woman; his head shall be thrown down to thee from the wall.
And with that she went in, and spoke to the defenders in the wisdom that was her craft; whereupon they cut off the head of Seba, son of Bochri, and cast it down to Joab. So he blew his trumpet, and his men raised the siege and went to their tents; Joab himself went back to the king’s court at Jerusalem.
Joab, then, commanded the army of Israel, and Banaias son of Joiada the Cerethites and Phelethites;
Aduram was overseer of the revenues, and Josaphat, son of Ahilud, kept the records;
Siva was secretary, Sadoc and Abiathar chief priests;
Ira, too, the Jairite, was one of David’s ministers.✻
The Holy Bible