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II Samuel 19 Part 4

31. And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim and went across the Jordan with the king, to escort him across the Jordan.

Now we read of a third and final significant man who meets David upon his return from exile. This is Barzillai from Gilead on the east side of Jordan, the man from Rogelim who had met David as one of the entourage of three wealthy men who thoughtfully and loyally came to offer him generous supplies and aid for himself and his people as they fled. This man stands in happy contrast to the insincere hypocrisy of Shimei and the half-hearted and self-centered support of Mephibosheth. Barzillai is a man of a different stripe. His love is unmixed with selfishness. His loyalty is whole-hearted and real. He had no ulterior motive to come to support David as he fled. He did not hope for future favors, nor seek to cover past sins. He simply came to support with love and loyalty the king God had set over him and over his people. Read the rest of this entry »

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II Samuel 19 Part 3

24. Now Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king. And he had not cared for his feet, nor trimmed his mustache, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he returned in peace.

Now Mephibosheth Saul’s son meets him. We might wonder about this name “the son of Saul,” since we know that he was actually Jonathan’s son and therefore Saul’s grandson. Yet we need to realize that there was no word for “grandson” in Hebrew, and “son” meant the representative of Saul’s family, which Mephibosheth certainly was at this time. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 19 Part 2

16. And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, who was from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David.

Now we have a very interesting section in which we will consider three different men who came to meet King David during his crossing of the Jordan. We will consider them, why they came, and how David reacted to them. We will see that they had very different motives in doing this, and we will learn some lessons from each one of them.

The very first to meet David is Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite of Bahurim. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 19

1. And Joab was told, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.”

Joab receives a report back, perhaps from Cushi, of how David received his tidings. It is reported to him that the king is weeping and mourning over his son Absalom. This Joab might well have anticipated, considering what David’s orders to his captains had been. Yet perhaps Joab was more concerned with getting his own way, with doing what he thought was right instead of what the king thought was right and with how to get away with it afterwards, to consider that David might respond this way when he learned the news of Absalom’s death. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 18 Continued

16. So Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel. For Joab held back the people.

Next Joab blows a trumpet to recall the People from pursuing after Israel, who were fleeing at this point, it seems, due to the combined calamity of the slaughter caused by David’s men and the slaughter caused by the woods devouring them. Joab doubtless realizes the same thing that Ahithophel did the other way around: that with Absalom out of the way, there was no longer really anything to fight for. Further fighting will just lead to more bitterness and hard feelings down the road. To stop the fighting now is to minimize the damage to David’s reputation among the rebels. With Absalom gone, the best thing to do is to bring the wayward men of Israel back into the fold of David’s reign. Now, they can go about mending the breach and bringing all Israel under David once again.

Therefore Joab holds back the People. This was wise strategy. There is no doubt that Joab was a clever man. Too bad he was not also an obedient, a Godly, or a loyal one. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 18

1. And David numbered the people who were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.

David now prepares for the upcoming battle with the rebellious forces of Israel and with Absalom his son. He musters his forces and numbers his men so that he can now set them in order as an army. Then, he sets up the authority structure among them. He appoints captains of thousands and captains of hundreds to lead them. Notice that, for this to be necessary, there must have been multiple thousands of men with David. Though we have read that Israel followed Absalom, it seems that the entire standing army of Israel, more or less, is with David. He has the trained troops. Absalom has the elders and those they can muster out of the common people of the land. But David, though outnumbered, has the advantage in having the best trained and most experienced men. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 17 Continued

17. Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed at En Rogel, for they dared not be seen coming into the city; so a female servant would come and tell them, and they would go and tell King David.

Jonathan and Ahimaaz, the two younger sons of the aging priests Zadok and Abiathar, were not staying in the city of Jerusalem itself, for they dared not be seen entering or leaving the city. Instead, they were staying by En-rogel, which means “Fountain of the Spy” (or “Fountain of the Fuller”). This fountain was on the east side of Jerusalem on the border between Benjamin and Judah. There the priests their fathers sent a maid-servant out to give them the word Hushai had passed on to them. Having received their report for David, they went to tell him what they had learned. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 17

1. Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Now let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight.

Once Absalom has carried out his adultery with his father’s wives, he goes to Ahithophel for more advice. Ahithophel is ready with the next part of his plan. He wants to elect twelve thousand men and go into action with them, leading them in pursuit after David this very night. This is no doubt the next part of his plan to get personal vengeance against David for what he did to his granddaughter Bathsheba and her husband. He wants to be the one to hunt him down and destroy him himself. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 16

1. When David was a little past the top of the mountain, there was Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth, who met him with a couple of saddled donkeys, and on them two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred clusters of raisins, one hundred summer fruits, and a skin of wine.

David apparently has finished worshiping God at the hill top, and now he has barely passed over the top when he is met by Ziba. Remember, we first read of this Ziba back in II Samuel 9. Ziba was formerly Saul’s servant, and was the one David called when he wanted to know if there were any of Saul’s household left to whom he could show the kindness of God for the sake of Jonathan, his old friend. Ziba had revealed to him that Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth still lived, though he was lame in his feet. David then called Mephibosheth, who it seems was certain that David intended to kill him, as so many kings of the day did to anyone who was related to a former dynasty. Yet David had done great kindness to Mephibosheth instead. He gave him back all the former property of Saul, made Ziba his servant, as he had been Saul’s servant, and made him to eat food at his table (that is, at his government’s expense) for the rest of his life. Some time has passed since this event, and Mephibosheth is now about thirty-one years old. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 15 Part 3

23. And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people crossed over. The king himself also crossed over the Brook Kidron, and all the people crossed over toward the way of the wilderness.

The people weep with a loud voice as they pass over. The Hebrew reads that all the land wept, but this is the Hebrew figure of speech Metonymy, wherein one word is put for another, obviously-connected word. It was the people who were weeping, but the figure is that the land wept. They passed over Kidron, the boundary of Jerusalem, and none knew if they would ever be able to return.

Once the people have passed over, David too passes over the Brook Kidron. “Kidron” means “Dark,” referring perhaps to the fact that its waters were foamy and so one could not see into them. This is the first mention of this brook in Scripture. The Brook Kidron is also mentioned in Kings, Chronicles, and Jeremiah. It seems to have been a boundary east of Jerusalem. Once they have crossed this brook, all the people head down the road to the wilderness and exile. Read the rest of this entry »