put words in someone’s mouth

to misrepresent a person’s opinions or what someone has said; to suggest what someone should say
—I did not say that I agreed with him. Stop putting words in my mouth. 

After the death of King Saul, David took over the throne of Israel. While David was a great king, his life was not without struggles. Some were caused by his own sins, and others were caused by the sins of his sons, beginning with his oldest, Amnon. Amnon was filled with lust for his half sister, Tamar, and raped her. Two years later, Absalom (full brother to Tamar and half brother to Amnon) took revenge by having his servants kill Amnon. After this murder, Absalom fled. Joab, the commander of David’s army, wanted the king to allow Absalom to return, so he came up with a plan. He told a woman to pretend that she was a widow in mourning and to tell a story to King David:

“Go to the king and speak to him in the following fashion.” Then Joab told her what to say [put the words in her mouth—KVJ]. (2 Samuel 14:3)

The story that the woman told to the king was this:

Your servant has two sons. When the two of them got into a fight in the field, there was no one present who could intervene. One of them struck the other and killed him. Now the entire family has risen up against your servant, saying, “Turn over the one who struck down his brother, so that we can execute him and avenge the death of his brother whom he killed. In so doing we will also destroy the heir.” They want to extinguish my remaining coal, leaving no one on the face of the earth to carry on the name of my husband.” (2 Samuel 14:6,7)

When David said that he would protect her son from harm, the woman challenged the king to show the same mercy to his own son and let him come back safely. The plan worked, and Absalom returned.

Comments are closed.
  • All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

    Scripture in brackets is from the King James Bible.

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed by Craig Thompson under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

    Any reproduction of this content using passages from the NET Bible must follow NET Bible's copyright policy for use of those passages.

    For information on creating translations of Putting Words in Our Mouths, please go here.

  • Visit My Blog: Clearing Customs

    Don’t Just Missionary On [—at A Life Overseas]

    Onward, Christian soldiers. Soldier on, Christians. These don’t mean the same thing, at least not to me. Paul uses the word soldier to describe someone faithfully acting in obedience to God when he exhorts Timothy, “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3 NIV). It’s a good thing to be […]

    Sing Along with Me: How Long? [—at A Life Overseas]

    Returning to the States after serving overseas was a hard time for my wife and me. We were grieving our losses and were struggling with the difficulties we’d already faced and those we saw ahead. We prayed and prayed but didn’t receive clear direction from God. In our spiritual malaise it was hard to slide […]