2 Samuel 19

1 Joab was told that King David was weeping and mourning for Absalom.
2 And so the joy of victory was turned into sadness for all of David's troops that day, because they heard that the king was mourning for his son.
3 They went back into the city quietly, like soldiers who are ashamed because they are running away from battle.
4 The king covered his face and cried loudly, "O my son! My son Absalom! Absalom, my son!"
5 Joab went to the king's house and said to him, "Today you have humiliated your men - the men who saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and of your wives and concubines.
6 You oppose those who love you and support those who hate you! You have made it clear that your officers and men mean nothing to you. I can see that you would be quite happy if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead.
7 Now go and reassure your men. I swear by the Lord's name that if you don't, not one of them will be with you by tomorrow morning. That would be the worst disaster you have suffered in all your life."
8 Then the king got up, and went and sat near the city gate. His men heard that he was there, and they all gathered around him. Meanwhile all the Israelites had fled to their own hometowns.
9 All over the country they started quarreling among themselves. "King David saved us from our enemies," they said to one another. "He rescued us from the Philistines, but now he has fled from Absalom and left the country.
10 We anointed Absalom as our king, but he has been killed in battle. So why doesn't somebody try to bring King David back?"
11 The news of what the Israelites were saying reached King David. So he sent the priests Zadok and Abiathar to ask the leaders of Judah, "Why should you be the last to help bring the king back to his palace?
12 You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood; why should you be the last to bring me back?"
13 David also told them to say to Amasa, "You are my relative. From now on I am putting you in charge of the army in place of Joab. May God strike me dead if I don't!"
14 David's words won the complete loyalty of all the men of Judah, and they sent him word to return with all his officials.
15 On his way back the king was met at the Jordan River by the men of Judah, who had come to Gilgal to escort him across the river.
16 At the same time the Benjaminite Shimei son of Gera from Bahurim hurried to the Jordan to meet King David. 1
17 He had with him a thousand men from the tribe of Benjamin. And Ziba, the servant of Saul's family, also came with his fifteen sons and twenty servants, and they arrived at the Jordan before the king.
18 They crossed the river to escort the royal party across and to do whatever the king wanted. As the king was getting ready to cross, Shimei threw himself down in front of him
19 and said, "Your Majesty, please forget the wrong I did that day you left Jerusalem. Don't hold it against me or think about it any more.
20 I know, sir, that I have sinned, and this is why I am the first one from the northern tribes to come and meet Your Majesty today."
21 Abishai son of Zeruiah spoke up: "Shimei should be put to death because he cursed the one whom the Lord chose as king."
22 But David said to Abishai and his brother Joab, "Who asked your opinion? Are you going to give me trouble? I am the one who is king of Israel now, and no Israelite will be put to death today."
23 And he said to Shimei, "I give you my word that you will not be put to death."
24 Then Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, came down to meet the king. He had not washed his feet, trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes from the time the king left Jerusalem until he returned victorious. 2
25 When Mephibosheth arrived from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, "Mephibosheth, you didn't go with me. Why not?"
26 He answered, "As you know, Your Majesty, I am crippled. I told my servant to saddle my donkey so that I could ride along with you, but he betrayed me.
27 He lied about me to Your Majesty, but you are like God's angel, so do what seems right to you.
28 All of my father's family deserved to be put to death by Your Majesty, but you gave me the right to eat at your table. I have no right to ask for any more favors from Your Majesty."
29 The king answered, "You don't have to say anything more. I have decided that you and Ziba will share Saul's property."
30 "Let Ziba have it all," Mephibosheth answered. "It's enough for me that Your Majesty has come home safely."
31 Barzillai, from Gilead, had also come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan. 3
32 Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years old. He was very rich and had supplied the king with food while he was staying at Mahanaim.
33 The king said to him, "Come with me to Jerusalem, and I will take care of you."
34 But Barzillai answered, "I don't have long to live; why should I go with Your Majesty to Jerusalem?
35 I am already eighty years old, and nothing gives me pleasure any more. I can't taste what I eat and drink, and I can't hear the voices of singers. I would only be a burden to Your Majesty.
36 I don't deserve such a great reward. So I will go just a little way with you beyond the Jordan.
37 Then let me go back home and die near my parents' grave. Here is my son Chimham, who will serve you; take him with you, Your Majesty, and do for him as you think best."
38 The king answered, "I will take him with me and do for him whatever you want. And I will do for you anything you ask."
39 Then David and all of his men crossed the Jordan. He kissed Barzillai and gave him his blessing, and Barzillai went back home.
40 When the king had crossed, escorted by all the people of Judah and half the people of Israel, he went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went with him.
41 Then all the Israelites went to the king and said to him, "Your Majesty, why did our brothers, the men of Judah, think they had the right to take you away and escort you, your family, and your men across the Jordan?"
42 The men of Judah answered, "We did it because the king is one of us. So why should this make you angry? He hasn't paid for our food nor has he given us anything."
43 The Israelites replied, "We have ten times as many claims on King David as you have, even if he is one of you. Why do you look down on us? Don't forget that we were the first to talk about bringing the king back!" But the men of Judah were more violent in making their claims than the men of Israel.

2 Samuel 19 Commentary

Chapter 19

Joab causes David to cease mourning. (1-8) David returns to Jordan. (9-15) He pardons Shimei. (16-23) Mephibosheth excused. (24-30) David's parting with Barzillai. (31-39) Israel quarrels with Judah. (40-43)

Verses 1-8 To continue to lament for so bad a son as Absalom, was very unwise, and very unworthy. Joab censures David, but not with proper respect and deference to his sovereign. A plain case may be fairly pleaded with those above us, and they may be reproved for what they do amiss, but it must not be with rudeness and insolence. Yet David took the reproof and the counsel, prudently and mildly. Timely giving way, usually prevents the ill effects of mistaken measures.

Verses 9-15 God's providence, by the priests' persuasions and Amasa's interest, brought the people to resolve the recall of the king. David stirred not till he received this invitation. Our Lord Jesus will rule in those that invite him to the throne in their hearts, and not till he is invited. He first bows the heart, and makes it willing in the day of his power, then rules in the midst of his enemies, ( psalms 110:2 psalms 110:3 ) .

Verses 16-23 Those who now slight and abuse the Son of David, would be glad to make their peace when he shall come in his glory; but it will be too late. Shimei lost no time. His abuse had been personal, and with the usual right feeling of good men, David could more easily forgive it.

Verses 24-30 David recalls the forfeiture of Mephibosheth's estate; and he expressed joy for the king's return. A good man contentedly bears his own losses, while he sees Israel in peace, and the Son of David exalted.

Verses 31-39 Barzillai thought he had done himself honour in doing the king any service. Thus, when the saints shall be called to inherit the kingdom, they will be amazed at the recompence being so very far beyond the service, ( Matthew 25:37 ) . A good man would not go any where to be burdensome; or, will rather be so to his own house than to another's. It is good for all, but especially becomes old people, to think and speak much of dying. The grave is ready for me, let me go and get ready for it.

Verses 40-43 The men of Israel though themselves despised, and the fiercer words of the men of Judah produced very bad effects. Much evil might be avoided, if men would watch against pride, and remember that a soft answer turneth away wrath. Though we have right and reason on our side, if we speak it with fierceness, God is displeased.

Cross References 3

  • 1. 19.16 2 Samuel 16.5-13.
  • 2. 19.24 2 Samuel 9.1-13; 16.1-4.
  • 3. 19.31 2 Samuel 17.27-29.

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. [Some ancient translations] The news . . . David; [Hebrew] The news . . . David, to his palace, [and places this sentence at the end of the verse.]
  • [b]. [Probable text] They crossed; [Hebrew] The crossing crossed.
  • [c]. [One ancient translation] from; [Hebrew] at.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO SECOND SAMUEL 19

David indulging to too much grief for the death of his son, is rebuked by Joab, and threatened with a revolt of the people from him, if he did not change his conduct, which be accordingly did, 2Sa 19:1-8; upon which the men of Israel were the first that moved for the bringing him back to Jerusalem, and the men of Judah were solicited to join with them in it, which was effected, 2Sa 19:9-15; and at Jordan, Shimei, that had cursed him, met him, and asked his pardon, and was forgiven, 2Sa 19:16-23; and when come to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth excused so well his not going out with him, that he had half his land restored to him, which had been given to his servant, 2Sa 19:24-30; and Barzillai, who had very liberally supplied the king, was allowed to return to his own city, and Chimham his son was taken to court, 2Sa 19:31-40; and a contention arose between the men of Israel and of Judah about the restoration of the king, which issued in an insurrection, as the next chapter shows, 2Sa 19:41-43.

2 Samuel 19 Commentaries