Joab sees how distraught the king is over Absalom. So he gets a wise woman from Tekoa to go to the king and pretend to be in mourning.
She says things Joab wanted her to say, telling David that she is a widow. She says she had two sons who got into a fight and killed each other.
But when people demanded justice—wanting to kill the remaining son—she became upset, since this was her one remaining child and the only heir to his dead father's name.
David says that she can go back to her house and he will give orders concerning her.
She says that she will bear the guilt for keeping her son alive and not David.
David says he will make sure that she remains safe and promises that her son will be safe, too.
Easy on the Outcasts
Then, the woman asks to speak privately with David. She admits that she really is asking him why he won't forgive Absalom and let him return home.
The wise woman says that we're all going to die, but that God isn't interested in taking away a life prematurely or for bad reasons. He'll let outcasts re-enter his presence before they die.
David asks her if Joab put her up to this—and she admits this was the case.
David tells Joab he can bring Absalom back, but that Absalom won't be permitted to come into David's presence.
Joab thanks David and goes to retrieve Absalom.
Absalom, says the narrator, was the most handsome guy in all the land. He would grow his hair really long and only cut it once a year.
He had three sons and one daughter—a beautiful woman named Tamar, like his sister.
After two years of living in Jerusalem without seeing his father, Absalom decides it's time to make up. He tries to use Joab as a middleman to make things right, but Joab fails to respond to two of Absalom's requests.
So, Absalom has his servants set Joab's barley field on fire. When Joab comes to ask him why he did this, Absalom says it's because Joab has been ignoring him.
Absalom just wants to see the king, and if it gets him killed so be it.
So, Joab arranges the meeting. Absalom prostrates himself in front of David, and David kisses him, forgiving him.