Study Guide

The Woman of Tekoa in 2 Samuel

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The Woman of Tekoa

Joab hires this wise woman from Tekoa to try to get David to forgive his son Absalom and let him back into the Jerusalem. She starts by telling David a story that closely mirrors his own, saying that one of her two sons murdered the other—and now people want to kill the murderer son, which won't do her any good, since he's all she has left. David feels sympathetic and promises to protect her remaining son.

Then, the wise woman admits her real aim and urges David to forgive Absalom, rising to a high level of eloquence: "We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. But God will not take away a life; he will devise plans so as not to keep an outcast banished forever from his presence." (2 Sam 14:13). Although she has to admit Joab put her up to this, her arguments successfully move David to forgive Absalom.

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