II Samuel 19

A good man and a good cause will again recover their credit and interest,
though, for a time, they may seem to have lost them.
The good services done will still be remembered when men come to their right minds.

1 And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom.

2 And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.

3 And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle.

4 But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!

5 And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines;

6 In that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well.

7 Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.

8 Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent.

9 ¶ And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom.

10 And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?

11 ¶ And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house.

12 Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones and my flesh: wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king?

13 And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone, and of my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab.

14 And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants.

15 So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan.

16 ¶ And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David.

17 And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king.

18 And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king’s household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan;

19 And said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart.

20 For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.

21 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD’S anointed?

22 And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?

23 Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.

24 ¶ And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace.

25 And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth?

26 And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame.

27 And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes.

28 For all of my father’s house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?

29 And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land.

30 And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.

31 ¶ And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan.

32 Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man.

33 And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem.

34 And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem?

35 I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?

36 Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward?

37 Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold thy servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee.

38 And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee: and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee.

39 And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place.

40 Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him: and all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel.

41 ¶ And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and have brought the king, and his household, and all David’s men with him, over Jordan?

42 And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us: wherefore then be ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the king’s cost? or hath he given us any gift?

43 And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.

2 Samuel 18:31-33; 19:1-8 – Mourning Too Late

   What an awful day that was for David, seated between the inner and outer gates, scanning the landscape, and speaking now and again to the sentry posted above him. Did not the Spirit work an even deeper repentance than ever before, recalling the self-indulgence, the failure to watch, the lapse of fellowship? But was it not also an hour when David put his finger on the Covenant and asked God, notwithstanding all, to do as he had said, II Samuel 7:15?
   As David waited, his heart interceded for Absalom. How exactly his attitude is that of many who read these words, who are unable to join in the activities of life, and who spend days and nights in uttering one dear name before God! But he loves our Absaloms more than we do! David wished that he might have died for his son, and you have felt the same. But did not Jesus die for the ungodly? We must leave all with Him, the Judge of all the earth, but also its Redeemer and Savior.

2 Samuel 19:9-20 – Bringing the King Back

   Joab’s remonstrance, though expressed in rough and uncourteous phrase, was perfectly just. The royal troops, instead of being welcomed with acclamation, had slunk into the city, as if defeated, immediate steps must be taken to counteract their depression. Private grief must yield to public interests.
   The revulsion of loyalty to David began with the ten tribes; but the concurrence of Judah was essential, and it was secured by the mission of the two priests and by the overtures of Amasa. These turned the scale, and Judah welcomed the king with joy, II Samuel 19:14. What a glimpse all this gives of the change that will be wrought when our Lord comes again—and apparently His advent is very nigh! Previous verdicts will be reversed. Shimeis will sue for mercy. Mephibosheths will be justified and Barzillais rewarded. What are we doing as individuals to secure the return of the King? Compare II Samuel 19:10 with II Peter 3:12. But have we brought the King back to His throne in our own hearts!

2 Samuel 19:21-30 – A Day to Forget Injuries

   Abishai’s reprobation of Shimei’s disloyalty was very natural; but at that supreme moment of triumph, David could afford to be magnanimous, and so he accepted Shimei’s abject apology and pleading. Evidently there was a growing alienation between the king and the sons of Zeruiah.
   Mephibosheth urged that Ziba had shamefully wronged and misrepresented him, taking away the ass on which he had intended to accompany the king into exile, and imputing his laxity to the hope that he might be restored to his grandfather’s throne. He pointed to his disordered appearance as evidence of his intense grief. Clearly, however, David was not altogether satisfied and, desiring not to make Ziba his enemy, ruled that the estate should be divided between them. But Mephibosheth professed his willingness for his late servant to own it all. He might well feel repaid and satisfied, now that he had seen David’s face once again in peace, Philippians 3:8.

2 Samuel 19:31-43 – Returning over Jordan

   David would willingly have taken Barzillai to his palace, but the famous Gileadite respectfully declined the invitation, alleging the infirmities of old age. However, the overtures which he refused for himself he gladly accepted for his son Chimham, who accompanied the king to the city and was treated with every consideration. In himself, the youth had no claims upon David, but he stood in the merits of another—his father. His title to the king’s favor consisted entirely in his being the son of Barzillai. Similarly the believer in Jesus, who is united to Him by a living faith, is “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). We are as near and as dear to God as Jesus is, and for His sake may stand in the palace.
   The invitation for David’s return had originated in the ten tribes, but, through some mismanagement, the actual welcome was given by Judah. This led to a renewed manifestation of the rivalry that at length brought about the division of the kingdom.

2 Samuel 19:42—The King is near of kin to us.

   There are two derivations for the word king: one from the word can – the king is the man that can do things; the other from the word kin – the king is closely related to us, of our kith and kin. In either case, there is a beautiful meaning, as touching our Lord and Savior. He is King, because He has overcome our enemies, and can overcome. He is King, because He has taken on Himself our flesh and blood, and has for ever made us one with Himself. The King is our kinsman. Our kinsman is King.
   It is very comforting to know how really our Lord has identified Himself with us. The Gospels are full of the wonderful story. His kinship was manifested in:
   His Prayers: He bade us speak to God as our Father; in that marvelous possessive pronoun, not only linking us all to one another, but including Himself in our petitions, save when we ask for forgiveness.
   His Infirmities: “We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). His hunger and thirst; his weariness and exhaustion; his suffering unto death; all accentuate the closeness of the tie between us.
   His Temptation: “In all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). The avenues through which the tempter could approach Him were those by which He assails us also. No temptation took Him, but such as is common to man. So to every lonely soldier of his He draws near, saying, “Be of good cheer; I have passed through it all. I am your brother in the fight; I feel for you with a quick sympathy; the glories of my throne do not alter my true hearted love.”