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Our Young Folk's Josephus by  William Shepard
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AFTER the death of Absalom, the inhabitants of Jerusalem including all those who had sided with the rebels, sent to David to come back again to his kingdom. And the other tribes also sent messages to David. So David returned with his followers. When he reached the river Jordan, a number of the principal men of Israel came out to meet him, and laid a bridge of boats across the river, that the king might pass over with ease. Among these men came Shimei, who had cursed David when he was leaving Jerusalem. Shimei came upon the bridge and fell at David's feet, and besought him to forgive him, for he knew that he had sinned. Then Abishai, David's nephew, said,—

"Shall not this man die, because he cursed the king whom the Lord hath set over us?"

But David answered that he intended to forgive all men their sins against him, and he bade Shimei rise up and be of good courage, for he should be allowed to live.

Then David went on to Jerusalem and entered his royal [165] palace. There was a man, however, named Sheba, of the tribe of Benjamin, who refused to submit to David, and he stirred up a sedition and proclaimed himself king. Joab was sent out against him, and finding Sheba had fled to a strong city named Abel-beth-maachah, Joab went thither and besieged it.

Then a woman who lived in the town, and who was wise and prudent, appeared upon the walls and called for Joab. When he appeared, she said,—

"God ordained kings and generals of armies in order that they might cut off the enemies of the Israelites, but now thou art endeavoring to overthrow a town belonging to thy own people, which hath never done thee any harm."

Joab answered that he did not wish to kill any of the Israelites or destroy their cities, and if the citizens would deliver up Sheba, who had rebelled against the king, he would be glad to withdraw his army. Then the woman went down to the citizens, and said,—

"Are you willing to perish miserably for the sake of a vile fellow whom nobody knows? And will you have him for your king instead of David, who hath been your benefactor, and oppose your single city to his mighty armies?"

So she prevailed with them, and they cut off Sheba's head and threw it into Joab's army. When this was done the king's general sounded a retreat, and raised the siege.

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