Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 20

The death of Sheba

2 Samuel 20:22

With her skilful speech, the woman at Abel Beth Maacah had persuaded Joab to give his promise. If the inhabitants of that city handed over Sheba, Joab would not continue to attack it. He would give the order, and his army would leave that place.

So now the woman went to the people in her city with her plan to save the city. They must kill Sheba, then they must throw his head over the wall to Joab’s men. In that way, Joab and his men would not need to enter the city. The army would leave the region; and after that, the leaders would be able to open the city’s gate safely again.

We do not know how the woman persuaded the leaders to agree to this plan. Sheba was their guest, and it was awful to deal with a guest in this manner. However verse 22 tells us that the woman spoke to all the people, and not only to the leaders. The people were all in a desperate state, and their situation seemed hopeless. She persuaded the people; and the people insisted that their leaders must follow her plan.

Joab had to examine Sheba’s head to make sure that it really was Sheba. Either he, or some of the men with him, knew Sheba well enough to recognise him. Then he sounded the trumpet, the loudest musical instrument. That was the signal for his men to return home. The battle had ended; and the revolution that Sheba started had failed.

David again ruled over the whole of Israel; and Joab had regained his position as Israel’s chief army commander.

Next part: David's government officials (2 Samuel 20:23-26)


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