2 Samuel Chapter 19

Joab was the captain of the armies of David. He had been serving in this capacity for quite some time at this point. He had seen to the death of Absalom, the son of David, who had made himself an enemy to the king. David had commanded his captains, to allow Absalom to live through their battle, but Joab had gone against this command. Upon learning of the death of his son, David went to his room and mourned.

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.

Joab learned that David was mourning his son, and instead of celebrating their victory over the armies of Absalom, the people of David mourned. They secretly went back into the city, as if they had fled in battle. David continued to mourn for his son. Joab went to David and told him that he had brought shame to his servants who had fought for him and their people. Joab accused him of caring more for his enemy, than he did for those that had supported him and were his friends. Joab felt that if Absalom had been left alive, their people would have died, and David would have been okay with that. He told David to go and comfort his servants, be grateful to them for their service, or his people would not stay with him, and that would be the worse thing to happen to him since the days of his youth. David, got up and went to the gate of his house, where the people came to him from their own homes.

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?

There was a confusion and conflict in the land of Israel, because David had brought them peace from their enemies and then was forced to flee because of Absalom. Then, the king they had chosen, Absalom, was dead, and they were not sure if they were to bring David back as the king of Israel.

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.

David sent a message to the elders of Judah, to ask why they had not asked for him to return to his home in Jerusalem. They were his people and yet, they did not bring him back. His messengers, Zadok and Abiathar, were to ask Amasa to be the new captain of his army, in place of Joab. Amasa was family to both Joab and David. I think that Amasa was the cousin to Joab and the nephew to David. The men of Judah were unified and asked David and his people to return to Jerusalem. David met the men of Judah at the Jordan River, be escort the king over the river.

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.

A man of the tribe of Benjamin, Shimei, who had been the man to throw stones at David and his family as he had fled from Jerusalem, quickly went to the Jordan to meet the king, bringing a thousand of his men. Ziba and his family and sons, crossed over the Jordan before David, and a ferry was there to carry David and his household across the river. Shimei met the king and bowed down to him, begging to be forgiven for what he had done. Abishai advised David that Shimei should be put to death for cursing David, the Lord’s anointed king of Israel. In the laws given to Moses, the people had been commanded not to curse their leaders, or those that had been chosen by the Lord to lead them. However, David did not want to have any man put to death that day, so he pardoned Shemei for his actions against him. Many men in David’s position, would have followed the counsel of Abishai, but David was a more forgiving man. He has shown this quality as part of his character from his youth, especially with Saul. I am sure, that knowing his own need to be forgiven, David was more willing to forgive those who offended 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.

Mephibosheth, who had been falsely accused by his servant, met David, having waited for this day when the king would return in peace. David asked why Mephibosheth had not gone with him, and he told him how his servant, Ziba, had deceived him and then lied to the king. He told David to do what he would with him, because he knew he had been blessed by David when he took him in as one of his own family. David told him that he didn’t need to beg anymore, because he had been promised to have the land divided between him and Ziba. Mephibosheth said that Ziba could have it all, because the king had returned in peace. The header for this chapter says that in these words, Mephibosheth pledged allegiance to David.

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.

David was escorted by an aged man named Barzillai, who had been one to give provisions to David in the wilderness. David told him to return with him to Jerusalem, but he did not want to be a burden to David, as an old man with not much of a life left to live. He planned to escort the king for a little while, but not to be repaid for it. He asked instead to be allowed to return to his home, where he could be buried with his family, and he offered Chimham as a servant to David. David accepted the offer and offered to do what he could for Barzillai. The people crossed the Jordan, and David said goodbye to Barzillai and blessed him. David took Chimham with him, to Gilgal, and the people of Judah and some of Israel, escorted them back to Jerusalem.

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.

The men of Israel wanted to know why the men of Judah had been the ones to escort the king. The men of Judah said that it was because King David was family to them. They felt the others had no reason to be upset with them, because the king had not given them any special treatment or reward for doing this thing. The men of Israel responded that they had more of a right to the honor, and that they should have been consulted before the king was brought back. This started contention between the men of Israel and Judah.

With all that had happened leading up to this decision in bringing King David back, it seems that the nation of Israel was a broken nation. Many were deceived into thinking that David was not supportive of them, through the works of his son. Since they had peace with their surrounding nations and enemies, they turned to finding opportunities to fight from within. It seems that at this point, the people were working themselves up to greater contentions in the land. This has been a tool that Satan uses to break down the strong. Often times throughout the scriptures, people unite together in the cause to protect their nation from outside influences. Then once their issues with others are resolved and they have peace, they begin to find ways to fight between themselves. It often seems to come from a place of pride, or in other words, one group feeling they are better or deserve more than another. Satan knows that if people can be divided from within, the fall will be greater than anything that could happen from without. A lesson in this for us personally, is that we need to look to ourselves and our families, and be watchful for this tactic of the adversary. Contention within the home will break down the strongest family. This is the most effective way for the adversary to break down the good, righteous influences of society, because the family is the most basic unit in society. Our families deserve our greatest efforts. We should be working to strengthen our families in all times and seasons of our lives. I am so grateful for the family that God has given to me. I hope that I can and will do all that I am able to protect it and keep it whole, so that my family will have a greater chance to stand strong in the face of any trials and difficulties that may come our way.

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