1 Forsothe Joab, the sone of Saruye, vndirstood, that the herte of the kyng was turned to Absolon;
2 and he sente to Thecua, and took fro thennus a wise womman, and he seide to hir, Feyne thee to morene, and be thou clothid with clooth of duyl, and be thou anoyntid with oile, that thou be as a womman by morenynge `now in ful myche tyme a deed man.
3 And thou schalt entre to the kyng, and thou schalt speke to hym siche wordis. Sotheli Joab puttide the wordis in hir mouth.
4 Therfor whanne the womman of Thecua hadde entrid to the kyng, sche felde bifor hym on the erthe, and worschipide, and seide, A! kyng, kepe me.
5 And the kyng seide to hir, What hast thou of cause? And sche answeride, Alas! Y am a womman widewe, for myn hosebonde is deed;
6 and tweyne sones weren of thin handmayde, whiche debatiden ayens hem silf in the feeld, and `noon was that myyte forbede hem, and oon smoot `the tother, and killide hym.
7 And lo! al the kynrede risith ayens thin handmayde, and seith, Yyue thou hym that killide his brothir, that we sle hym for the lijf of his brother whom he killide, and that we do awei the eir; and thei seken to quenche my sparcle whych is lefte, that name dwelle not to myn hosebonde, and relikis, `ethir remenauntis, be not to him on erthe.
8 And the kyng seide to the womman, Go in to thin hows, and Y schal comaunde for thee.
9 And the womman of Thecua seide to the kyng, My lord the kyng, this wickidnesse be on me, and on the hows of my fadir; forsothe the kyng and his trone be innocent.
10 And the kyng seide, Brynge thou hym to me, that ayenseith thee, and he schal no more adde that he touche thee.
11 And sche seide, The kyng haue mynde on his Lord God, and the nexte men of blood to take veniaunce be not multiplied, and `thei schulen not sle my sone. And the kyng seide, The Lord lyueth, for noon of the heeris of thi sone schal falle on the erthe.
12 Therfor the womman seide, Thin handmayde speke a word to my lord the kyng. And the kyng seide, Speke thou.
13 And the womman seide, Whi `thouytist thou sich a thing ayens the puple of God? and the kyng spak this word, that he do synne, and brynge not ayen his sone cast out?
14 Alle we dyen, and as watris that schulen not turne ayen, we sliden in to erthe; and God nyl that a soule perische, but he withdrawith, and thenkith lest he perische outirly, which is cast awey.
15 Now therfor come thou, that Y speke to my lord the kyng this word, while the puple is present; and thin handmaide seide, Y schal speke to the kyng, if in ony maner the kyng do the word of his handmayde.
16 And the kyng herde the wordis, that he schulde delyuere his handmayde fro the hondis of alle men, that wolden do awei me, and my sone to gidere, fro the eritage of the Lord.
17 Therfor thin hand mayde seie, that the word of my lord the kyng be maad as sacrifice, `that is, that the sentence youun of hym be plesaunt to God, as sacrifice plesith God; for as an aungel of the Lord, so is my lord the kyng, that he be not mouyd bi blessyng nether bi cursyng. Wherfor and thi Lord God is with thee.
18 And the kyng answeride, and seide to the womman, Hide thou not fro me the word which Y axe thee. And the womman seide to hym, Speke thou, my lord the kyng.
19 And the kyng seide, Whether the hond of Joab is with thee in alle these thingis? The womman answeride, and seide, Bi the helthe of thi soule, my lord the kyng, nether to the left side nether to the riyt side is ony thing of alle these thingis, whiche my lord the kyng spak. For thi seruaunt Joab hym silf comaundide to me, and he puttide alle these wordis in to the mouth of thin handmaide,
20 that Y schulde turne the figure of this word; for thi seruaunt Joab comaundide this thing. Forsothe thou, my lord the kyng, art wijs, as an aungel of God hath wisdom, that thou vnderstonde alle thingis on erthe.
21 And the kyng seide to Joab, Lo! Y am plesid, and Y haue do thi word; therfor go thou, and ayen clepe thou the child Absolon.
22 And Joab felde on his face to erthe, and worschipide, and blesside the kyng; and Joab seide, Thi seruaunt hath vndirstonde to dai, that Y foond grace in thin iyen, my lord the kyng, for thou hast do the word of thi seruaunt.
23 Therfor Joab roos, and yede in to Gessur, and brouyte Absolon in to Jerusalem.
24 Forsothe the kyng seide, Turne he ayen in to his hows, and se not he my face.
25 Therfor Absolon turnede ayen in to his hows, and siy not the face of the kyng. Sotheli no man in al Israel was so fair as Absolon, and ful comeli; fro the step of the foot `til to the top, `no wem was in hym;
26 and in as myche as `he clippide more the heeris, bi so myche thei wexiden more; forsothe he was clippid onys in the yeer, for the heer greuede him. And whanne he clippide the heeris, he weiyide `the heeris of his heed bi twei hundrid siclis with comyn weiyte.
27 Forsothe thre sones, and a douyter, Thamar bi name, of `excellent forme weren borun to Absolon.
28 And Absolon dwellide in Jerusalem twei yeer, and he siy not the face of the kyng.
29 Therfor he sente to Joab, that he schulde sende hym to the kyng; which Joab nolde come to hym. And whanne he hadde sent the secounde tyme, and Joab nolde come,
30 Absolon seide to hise seruauntis, Ye knowen the feeld of Joab bisidis my feeld hauynge ripe barli; therfor go ye, and brenne ye it with fier. Therfor the seruauntis of Absolon brenten the corn with fier. And the seruauntis of Joab camen with her clothis to-rent, and seiden, The seruauntis
31 of Absolon han brent the part of feeld bi fier. And Joab roos, and cam to Absolon in to his hows, and seide, Whi
32 han thi seruauntis brent my corn bi fier? And Absolon answeride to Joab, Y sente to thee, and bisouyte that thou schuldist come to me, and that Y schulde sende thee to the kyng, that thou schuldist seie to hym, Whi cam Y fro Gessur? It was betere to me to be there; therfor Y biseche, that Y se the face of the kyng, that if he is myndeful of my wickidnesse, sle he me.
33 Joab entride to the kyng, and telde to hym. And Absolon was clepid, and entryde to the kyng, and worschipide on the face of erthe bifor hym, and the kyng kisside Absolon.