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CHAPTER 20 Aug. 3 
Sheba's Rebellion
There happened to be there a base fellow, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew the trumpet and said, We have no portion in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to his tents, Israel! 2So all the men of Israel changed 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. 3David 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. 4Then the king said to Amasa, Call me the men of Judah together within three days, and be here present. 5So Amasa went to call the men of Judah together; but he stayed longer than the set time which he had appointed him. 6David 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, otherwise he will get himself fortified cities, and escape out of our sight.
Joab Kills Amasa
 7There went out after him Joab’s men, and the Cherethites, the Pelethites and all the mighty men; and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri. 8When they were at the great stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was clothed in his battledress 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 forth it fell out. 9Joab said to Amasa, Is it well with you, my brother? Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10But 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 after Sheba the son of Bichri. 11There stood by him one of Joab’s young men and said, He who favours Joab, and he who is for David, let him follow Joab! 12Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the midst 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 everybody who came by him stood still.
Sheba Killed
 13When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri. 14He went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, and to Beth Maacah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him. 15They 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 at the wall, in order to throw it down. 16Then a wise woman cried out of the city, Hear, hear! Please say to Joab, ‘Come near here, that I may speak with you’. 17He 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 handmaid. He answered, I do hear. 18Then she spoke saying, They used to say in old times, ‘They shall surely ask counsel at Abel’; and so they resolved things. 19I 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 inheritance of Yahweh? 20Joab answered, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy. 21The 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. Deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. The woman said to Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall. 22Then 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 trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, each man to his tent. Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. 23Now Joab was over all the army of Israel; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites; 24and Adoram was over the men subject to forced labour; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25and Sheva was scribe; and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26and also Ira the Jairite was chief minister to David.


20:2 All the men of Israel changed- See on 15:13.
20:5 As Samuel tarried longer than Saul expected (1 Sam. 13:8), so Amasa "tarried longer than the set time which [David] had appointed him". Circumstances repeat within our lives and also between our experiences and those of characters in Biblical history. God through His Angels is working out a script for us, so that potentially we are enabled to see that God is teaching us through repetition and through re-framing circumstances in different contexts to see if we have really learnt the lesson intended. We learn from this that we are not in the hands of random fate, but rather there is meaning attached to every event, even if we can’t immediately discern it- and perhaps in some cases we will only finally discern it in the Kingdom.
20:8 It seemed that the sword at Joab’s side accidentally fell out of its scabbard as he went toward Amasa to greet him– but it was on purpose, of course. The Bible at times like this is recording situations according to how they appear to men, rather than how they are in ultimate reality. This helps us understand the apparently non-scientific parts of the Bible, e.g. the attribution of mental illness to ‘demons’ in the New Testament.

20:10 Amasa took no heed to the sword- Drivers can see a collision coming, but not swerve; there is a lack of cognition somewhere in the human psyche. Pilots take off at times knowing that their wings are frozen, and crash. Amasa saw the sword and must have seen the possibility of death, but didn’t take cognisance of it. Samson must have known, on one level, what Delilah would do. Jesus too was human, and knew what Judas would do from the beginning; and yet felt and acted as if He hadn’t taken cognisance of it. But mankind is in partial amnesia, somewhere, somehow, we fail to recognize the obvious. Likewise with the nearness of the Lord’s return, with the urgency of our task in witness, with the evident need to follow God’s word- this lack of cognisance so often comes into play. We really ought to pray, earnestly, for open hearts and eyes and obedient lives before our daily reading. 
20:24 The men subject to forced labour- 1 Kings 12:4