David Becomes the King - Again
After Absalom was defeated, the people from the northern tribes of Israel began to remember all the good things David had done for them. They decided to ask him to return as their king. But, for some reason, the tribe of Judah was not included in this request. So David sent a message to the elders of Judah, “All of Israel is asking for me to come back and rule except for you. Don’t you want me to be your king? After all, you are my relatives, my own flesh and blood. I plan to make Amasa the commander of my army in place of Joab.” (This was a bold move designed to win over the hearts of the people of Judah.) Hearing this, they hurried to the Jordan River to escort their king. David was met by many people as he crossed back over the Jordan River. Some of them had previously condemned him as he had fled from Absalom. Others had always been faithful servants. Regardless, he welcomed everyone to return with him. Meanwhile, the northern tribes arrived and became very upset. “Why was Judah allowed to escort the king back into the country?” they wanted to know. “Who do they think they are?” “We are the king’s relatives,” the men of Judah explained. “We didn’t ask him for any favors. We just accompanied him across the river.” “But he is king over all of Israel, not just Judah,” the northerners replied. “We represent ten tribes, so he is actually ten times more our king than yours.” Angrily, a man named Sheba stepped forward and blew a ram’s horn. He announced, “David is not our king! Let Judah have him. Let’s go home.” With that, the people of Israel deserted David and another civil war began. The tribe of Judah escorted David all the way to Jerusalem. When they arrived, David ordered Amasa, his new commander, to quickly gather troops and go after Sheba. But Amasa was slow in getting the troops together, so David gave the assignment to Abishai, Joab’s brother. Joab joined his brother, and together they quickly organized an army. Along the way, Amasa finally caught up with them. Joab walked over to him as if to greet him. “Amasa, my cousin. How are you?” he asked as he approached. Amasa never saw the dagger in Joab’s hand. Joab stabbed his cousin in the stomach, and he fell to the ground. Joab left him in the road to die and went after Sheba. One of Joab’s men yelled to his fellow soldiers, “Follow Joab if you are loyal to king David.” The men weren’t sure what to do as they passed Amasa’s dying body. Finally a soldier pulled him off the road and covered him with a robe. Then the army quickly joined Joab. Joab and his men pursued Sheba all over the country. They discovered that he was hiding in a city called Abel. So they built a siege ramp, climbed the outer wall, and began battering the inner wall. Before they could knock it down, a wise woman called out to Joab. “Listen to me, Joab.” He stopped everything and came over to listen. She offered him a better solution. She had the town’s people capture Sheba, cut off his head, and throw it over the wall. When they did, Joab blew his ram’s horn, and the civil war ended.
Are you willing to speak up when you see someone doing something wrong or destructive? The wise woman in Abel was willing to confront Joab and offer him a better solution. Her advice prevented a lot of damage and saved many innocent lives.