Headhunting in northern Israel
David’s army takes home a rebel’s headDavid's army was looking for the right man to behead. They had to travel about a week's march north of Jerusalem—about 100 miles/160 km—to the borderland of northern Israel, to the town of Abel.
David's enemy was a rebel trying to pull the northern tribes of Israel away from the united kingdom. He was recruiting walled cities to join the cause. Walled cities are harder to attack without an overwhelming force.
The rebel was Sheba, from the tiny tribe of Benjamin, Judah's neighbor on the north.
David sent his new general and part of the army on the headhunt. The former general went along, Joab, whom David had demoted. Mistake on David's part. Joab had already killed one competing general, Abner, and David's own son, Absalom. He murdered this general, too, and took back his old job. He led the chase to Sheba.
David’s army lays siege in northern Israel
From 2 Samuel 2014Sheba went recruiting throughout the northern tribes of Israel. His extended family clan, the Bichri’s, followed him one day into the walled city of Abel Beth Maacah.
15Joab’s army surrounded the city. Some men started building a siege ramp to the top of the wall. Others used a battering ram to try breaking through the walls. 16A wise woman inside the town called out to the attacking soldiers. “Hey listen! Listen! Tell Joab I want to talk with him.”
Negotiating a peace17Joab came over and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He said, “Yes, I am.” She said, “Please listen to me.” He said, “Go ahead, I’m listening.” 18She said, “There’s an old saying in Israel, ‘Ask it in Abel.’ After that, people would work out their differences. 19I’m one of the peace-loving people in Israel. And I’m watching you destroy one of the mother cities of Israel. You’re tearing into the heritage of the LORD himself. Why would you do this?”
20Joab said, “That’s the last thing on my mind. No way would I want to destroy this place. 21That’s not my plan. But there’s a man inside who has launched a rebellion against King David. The man comes from the hills of Ephraim. His name is Sheba, a son of Bichri. Give him to me and we will leave your town.” The woman said, “We’ll toss his head over the wall.”
Sheba loses his head22The savvy woman pitched her survival plan to others in town. They cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it over to Joab. He ordered his trumpeter to blow the ram’s horn signal to stand down and withdraw. The soldiers went home. Joab went to see the king in Jerusalem.
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