Then Amasa convinced all the men of Judah, and they responded unanimously. They sent word to the king, “Return to us, and bring back all who are with you.”
So the king started back to Jerusalem. And when he arrived at the Jordan River, the people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet him and escort him across the river.
Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin, hurried across with the men of Judah to welcome King David.
A thousand other men from the tribe of Benjamin were with him, including Ziba, the chief servant of the house of Saul, and Ziba’s fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed down to the Jordan to meet the king.
They crossed the shallows of the Jordan to bring the king’s household across the river, helping him in every way they could. David’s Mercy to Shimei As the king was about to cross the river, Shimei fell down before him.
“My lord the king, please forgive me,” he pleaded. “Forget the terrible thing your servant did when you left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind.
I know how much I sinned. That is why I have come here today, the very first person in all Israel to greet my lord the king.”
Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shimei should die, for he cursed the LORD ’s anointed king!”
“Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah!” David exclaimed. “Why have you become my adversary today? This is not a day for execution, for today I am once again the king of Israel!”
Then, turning to Shimei, David vowed, “Your life will be spared.”
Now Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, came down from Jerusalem to meet the king. He had not cared for his feet, trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes since the day the king left Jerusalem.
“Why didn’t you come with me, Mephibosheth?” the king asked him.
Mephibosheth replied, “My lord the king, my servant Ziba deceived me. I told him, ‘Saddle my donkey so I can go with the king.’ For as you know I am crippled.
Ziba has slandered me by saying that I refused to come. But I know that my lord the king is like an angel of God, so do what you think is best.
All my relatives and I could expect only death from you, my lord, but instead you have honored me by allowing me to eat at your own table! What more can I ask?”
“You’ve said enough,” David replied. “I’ve decided that you and Ziba will divide your land equally between you.”
“Give him all of it,” Mephibosheth said. “I am content just to have you safely back again, my lord the king!”
Barzillai of Gilead had come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan.
He was very old—eighty years of age—and very wealthy. He was the one who had provided food for the king during his stay in Mahanaim.
“Come across with me and live in Jerusalem,” the king said to Barzillai. “I will take care of you there.”
“No,” he replied, “I am far too old to go with the king to Jerusalem.