In 2 Sam 19.1-3 it tells us about how David’s victory was turned into mourning, and this was not good. David’s lamenting over Absalom (“Oh, Absalom, Absalom , my son”) dampened the spirit of those who were loyal to him, and they risked their loves to save him from Absalom. So the people did not have a victory parade but they snuck back into the city as if they should feel ashamed.
In 2 Sam 19.4-7 Joab has had enough and he rebukes David. David did not thank his generals nor did he even see them. David was mourning for Absalom. So Joab says, “Today you have covered with shame the faces of your servants, who today have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines.” In other words, you have made them feel like they have done something wrong. How did he do that? By loving those who hated him, and hating those who loved him. At least it looked like that.
By his actions, David is showing that they didn’t mean much to him. He hasn’t seen his people or thanked them. Joab may have been going too far by saying if Absalom was alive and all of his army was dead David would be happier, but he is making a valid point here. He wanted David to go out and commend them for their bravery and faithfulness. But Joab was showing he could be dangerous.
2 Sam 19.8-10 tells us that David set aside his mourning and did what Joab had suggested, and went to the gate. Then all the people came before the king to be congratulated and thanked. Those that followed Absalom went home to their own cities. All the people were quarreling throughout the tribes because they were disorganized. There were those loyal to David, then there were those who were loyal to Absalom, and there were those who didn’t care either way. David does not cry out for Absalom again.
2 Sam 19.11-15 tells us that David sent negotiators to all the tribes because there was a dispute over whether David would be welcomed back. A “reelection” was somewhat necessary. David wanted to be invited back by the tribes who rejected him for Absalom, but Judah did not concur. They were the last to bring the king back. So David agreed to replace Joab with Amasa, Absalom’s general. This was to put Joab in his place for killing Absalom and Abner. This was an act of reconciliation to those who supported Absalom. This was welcomed by everyone but their hearts could not be forced, they needed to be persuaded. David uses kindness and affectionate words to incline their hearts toward him. So Judah came to Gilgal in order to meet the king, and to bring him across the Jordan from Mahanaim to Jerusalem. In the same way, Yehovah will not force his reign on us. We must welcome him and our hearts swayed by the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit). David wanted his reception to be unanimous, and this was accomplished through the work of Zadok and Abiathar.
In 2 Sam 19.16-23 David shows kindness to Shimei for what he did in 2 Sam 16.5-14. Now that Absalom was dead, Shimei thought he better ask David for forgiveness. Shimei says to David, “I have come today, the first of all the house house of Joseph to go down to meet the lord my king.” Why does he say “Joseph” when he is from Benjamin? Because he is alluding to the brothers of Joseph who abused and mocked him wrongly, and he is hoping that David will forgive him like Joseph forgave his brothers for what they did.
Abishai, the same guy who wanted Shimei’s head in 2 Sam 16.9 said, “Should not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed?” But David got angry with his nephew and did not want him to be an adversary (“Satan” in Hebrew) this day. David did not want more blood to be shed in this affair. David says, “For do not I know that I am king over Israel today?” David will do what he thinks is best because he knows he is the rightful king (v 22) and he does not want any more families in Israel to have sorrow. So he tells Shimei, “You shall die” and gave him his word.
However, Solomon was under no such obligation, and David is about to die and he tells Solomon to “not let him go unpunished” for cursing him. He tells Solomon that he will know what to do with him, and “to bring his gray hair down to Sheol with blood” if he commits another crime against Solomon. He is not to spare him because of his age or let him die a natural death (1 Kings 2.8-9).
2 Sam 19.24-30 tells us that David showed kindness to Mephiboshet. David asked him why he did not go with him earlier, and he tells david that Ziba said that he was going to saddle a donkey for him but then just took off. Being lame, Mehpiboshet could do nothing He tells David how he mourned for him since he departed the city because David had been kind to him. Hearing this whole story, David revoked his earlier decree giving Ziba the estate of Mephiboshet. David then says that Mephiboshet and Ziba will share the estate, and Mephiboshet says, “Let him take it all, since my lord the king has come safely to his own house.” David is testing Mephiboshet by using the property to determine the true intentions of the heart, and he passes the test by saying Ziba can take it all. Solomon will use a similar test to determine the true mother in 1 Kings 3. 16-28.
In 2 Sam 19.21-39 David shows his appreciation to Barzillai the Gileadite who brought help to David when he was fleeing from Absalom. In gratitude, David offers him the honor of living with him in Jerusalem. Barzillai was a welathy man and he used his riches to support a servant of God. Yeshua spoke of the foolish man who lays up his treasure for himself in Luke 12.21, and Barzillai was not like that example. He did not help David for a reward, he gave because his heart was right, so he declined. He said, “Can I distinguish between good and bad? Or can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Or can I hear anymore the voice of singing men and women? Why should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?”
Barzillai was very old (v 32) and his ability to enjoy life has diminished, and he had infirmities. He did not want a reward for doing his duty to the king. He just wanted to go back home and die in his own city (Rogelim-2 Sam 17.27) and be buried near his parents. However, he had a son named Chimham (“their longing”) and David could show kindness to him. David would give him possession in Bethlehem that later had an inn (Jer 41.17) and probably identical with the “inn” in Luke 2.7 and the birth of Yeshua.
We learn in 2 Sam 19.40-42 that the people of Judah escort David to Gilgal. The other tribes felt excluded from this procession, but David’s palace was on their border in Judah and the king was a relative, so they did not understand why they were angry. But the people of Israel said, “We have ten parts in the king” (ten tribes- Simeon laid inside Judah and was reckoned with them-Josh 19.1), and they claimed that they were first in wanting the king back to begin with (2 Sam 19.11, 43). It seems they only wanted David back after the death of Absalom. This attitude and contention will set the stage for a civil war that will happen in David’s day, and eventually lead to the divided kingdom.
We will pick up here in Part 18.