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[181] Now David had a design to send to Absalom, not that he should come to be punished, but that he might be with him, for the effects of his anger were abated by length of time. It was Joab, the captain of his host, that chiefly persuaded him so to do; for he suborned an ordinary woman, that was stricken in age, to go to the king in mourning apparel, who said thus to him: - That two of her sons, in a coarse way, had some difference between them, and that in the progress of that difference they came to an open quarrel, and that one was smitten by the other, and was dead; and she desired him to interpose in this case, and to do her the favor to save this her son from her kindred, who were very zealous to have him that had slain his brother put to death, that so she might not be further deprived of the hopes she had of being taken care of in her old age by him; and that if he would hinder this slaughter of her son by those that wished for it, he would do her a great favor, because the kindred would not be restrained from their purpose by any thing else than by the fear of him. And when the king had given his consent to what the woman had begged of him, she made this reply to him: - "I owe thee thanks for thy benignity to me in pitying my old age, and preventing the loss of my only remaining child; but in order to assure me of this thy kindness, be first reconciled to thine own son, and cease to be angry with him; for how shall I persuade myself that thou hast really bestowed this favor upon me, while thou thyself continuest after the like manner in thy wrath to thine own son? for it is a foolish thing to add willfully another to thy dead son, while the death of the other was brought about without thy consent." And now the king perceived that this pretended story was a subornation derived from Joab, and was of his contrivance; and when, upon inquiry of the old woman, he understood it to be so in reality, he called for Joab, and told him he had obtained what he requested according to his own mind; and he bid him bring Absalom back, for he was not now displeased, but had already ceased to be angry with him. So Joab bowed himself down to the king, and took his words kindly, and went immediately to Geshur, and took Absalom with him, and came to Jerusalem.

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