2 Samuel chapter 20

The revolution of Sheba son of Bichri.





VERSE 1. There happened to be there a wicked fellow, whose name was Sheba the son of Bichri, a Benjamite; and he blew the shofar, and said, “We have no portion in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to his tents, Israel!”

There happened to be there a wicked fellow. There always happens to be a wicked fellow.

There is no shortage of wicked fellows. They live for opportunities to stir up trouble.

Every man to his tents. Sheba announces a revolutionary movement against David.

David was a man of violence. Back when David abused his power by having the husband of Bathsheba assassinated, the prophet Nathan spoke in the name of the LORD God:

2 Samuel 12:10. Now therefore the sword will never depart from your house, because you have despised me, and have taken Uriah the Hittite’s wife to be your wife.’


VERSE 2. So all the men of Israel went up from following David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah joined with their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.

all the men of Israel … followed Sheba. The loyalty of the crowd is fickle. The populace changes their loyalties like they change their clothing..

One minute they are shouting:

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

And the next they are shouting:

Crucify! Crucify! We want Barabbas!


VERSE 3. David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in custody and provided them with sustenance, but didn’t go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, living in widowhood.

the king took the ten women his concubines. David regathers his harem.

didn’t go in to them. David was no longer sexually active with these ten women. Doubtless that is because his son Absalom had sex with them.


VERSE 4. Then the king said to Amasa, “Call me the men of Judah together within three days, and be here present.”

Call me the men of Judah. David needs to deal with the revolution by Sheba. So he summons his army.


VERSE 5. So Amasa went to call the men of Judah together, but he stayed longer than the set time which had been appointed to him.


VERSE 6. David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom did. Take your lord’s servants and pursue after him, lest he get himself fortified cities, and escape out of our sight.”


VERSE 7. Joab’s men went out after him with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the mighty men; and they went out of Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.


VERSE 8. When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was clothed in his apparel of war that he had put on, and on it was a sash with a sword fastened on his waist in its sheath; and as he went along it fell out.

a sword fastened on his waist. In the Bible, the word “sword” can often be taken as a euphemism for “the Bible.” Here are the verses about this »

as he went along it fell out. This seems careless.


VERSE 9. Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him.


VERSE 10. But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand. So he struck him with it in the body and shed out his bowels to the ground, and didn’t strike him again; and he died. Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri.

he struck him with it in the body. Joab assassinates his cousin Amasa.


VERSE 11. One of Joab’s young men stood by him, and said, “He who favors Joab, and he who is for David, let him follow Joab!”


VERSE 12. Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the highway. When the man saw that all the people stood still, he carried Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a garment over him when he saw that everyone who came by him stood still.


VERSE 13. When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.

all the people went on after Joab. Joab takes command as though nothing had happened.


VERSE 14. He went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, to Beth Maacah, and all the Berites. They were gathered together, and went also after him.


VERSE 15. They came and besieged him in Abel of Beth Maacah, and they cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart; and all the people who were with Joab battered the wall to throw it down.

Abel of Beth Maacah. Joab finds Sheba safely ensconced behind the city wall.


VERSE 16. Then a wise woman cried out of the city, “Hear, hear! Please say to Joab, ‘Come near here, that I may speak with you.’ ”

a wise woman cried out. By daring to speak up, this lone woman was able to save her city from complete annihilation.


VERSE 17. He came near to her; and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Hear the words of your servant.” He answered, “I’m listening.”

I’m listening. Joab is listening to this wise woman.

In our day, listening is a rare occurrence. Very few people actually listen to others. Everyone talks; few listen.

That is true even among people in church ministry. Pastors are notorious for being bad listeners.


VERSE 18. Then she spoke, saying, “They used to say in old times, ‘They shall surely ask counsel at Abel,’ and so they settled a matter.


VERSE 19. I am among those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the LORD’s inheritance?”


VERSE 20. Joab answered, “Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.


VERSE 21. The matter is not so. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against the king, even against David. Just deliver him, and I will depart from the city.” The woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.”

Sheba the son of Bichri. Joab makes it clear that he is only after Sheba.

his head will be thrown to you over the wall. This is gruesome.


VERSE 22. Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. They cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. He blew the shofar, and they were dispersed from the city, every man to his tent. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.


VERSE 23. Now Joab was over all the army of Israel, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites,


VERSE 24. Adoram was over the men subject to forced labor, Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder,

the men subject to forced labor. That is, slaves.

Apparently David had slaves.


VERSE 25. Sheva was scribe, Zadok and Abiathar were priests,


VERSE 26. and Ira the Jairite was chief minister to David.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.