2 Samuel 19

Joab warns King David

1 Someone told Joab that the king was very sad and he was weeping because Absalom was dead. 2 All the people heard the news that the king was very sad about his son's death. King David's army had won the battle, so everyone should have been very happy. But instead, they were all sad. 3 The soldiers came very quietly back into Mahanaim city. It seemed like they were ashamed because they had run away from the battle. 4 The king covered his face and he cried, ‘Absalom, Absalom! My son, my son!’

5 Then Joab went to see the king in his room. He said to the king, ‘Today you have made your men feel ashamed. But the army has saved your life today. We have saved the lives of your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your slave wives. 6 You seem to love the people who hate you. And you seem to hate the people who love you! You have shown today that your officers and soldiers are not important to you. It seems that you would be happy if Absalom were still alive, and all the rest of us were dead. 7 Now go out and speak to your soldiers. Thank them that they have fought well. If you do not do that, none of your men will remain here tonight. I tell you in the Lord's name, that will certainly happen. That would bring worse trouble to you than anything that has happened in your whole life.’

8 So the king went out from his room. He went to sit by the city's gate. People heard the news, ‘The king is sitting by the gate.’ So they all came there to listen to him.

David returns to Jerusalem as king

At this time, the Israelite soldiers had run back to their own homes. 9 People in all the Israelite tribes were quarrelling with each other. They were saying, ‘King David saved us from the power of the Philistines and all our other enemies. But now Absalom has chased him out of our land. 10 We chose Absalom to be our king, but now he has died in the battle. We should surely go and bring David back to be our king again.’

11 Then King David sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests. He told them, ‘Go to the leaders of Judah and say to them, “Surely, you should not be the last tribe to bring the king back to his palace? He knows what the people in all Israel are saying about him. 12 You are my brothers! I belong to your family. So you should not be the last people to bring me back as your king.” 13 Also, say to Amasa, “We belong to the same family. I promise you that I will now make you the leader of my army, instead of Joab. I ask God to punish me if I do not do that for you.” ’

14 Because of this message, all the people of Judah's tribe agreed to serve David as their king. They sent this message to the king: ‘Return to us, together with all your officers.’ 15 So the king left Mahanaim to return to Jerusalem.

When David arrived at the Jordan river, the people of Judah had come to Gilgal to meet him there. They wanted to help him to cross the river.

16 Gera's son, Shimei, came there quickly with the people of Judah to meet King David. He was from Bahurim and he belonged to Benjamin's tribe. 17 He brought 1,000 men from his own tribe with him. Ziba, the servant of Saul's family, also came with his 15 sons and 20 servants. They all hurried to the Jordan river to meet the king. 18 They crossed the river where the water was not deep. They were ready to help the king and his people come across. They were ready to do whatever the king wanted.

When Shimei had gone across the Jordan river, he bent down low to the ground in front of the king. 19 He said to the king, ‘Please forgive me for my sin. Do not punish me. I insulted you, my lord, on the day when you left Jerusalem. Please forget about what I did. 20 I am your servant. I know that I did a bad thing. So I have come to meet you today. From all the descendants of Joseph, I am the first person to come to meet you here, my lord the king.’

19:20Joseph's descendants here means the tribes in the north part of Israel.

21 Then Abishai, Zeruiah's son, said, ‘We should kill Shimei. He cursed you, the Lord's chosen king, so he deserves to die.’

22 David replied, ‘No! You sons of Zeruiah should not tell me what to do! Have you become my enemy? You should realize that today I have become king over all Israel. So we should not punish anyone with death.’

23 The king made a strong promise to Shimei. He said to Shimei, ‘You will not die because of this.’

David is kind to Mephibosheth

24 Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, also came from Jerusalem to meet the king. Since David had left Jerusalem, Mephibosheth had not washed his feet, cut his beard or washed his clothes. 25 When he arrived from Jerusalem to meet the king, David asked him, ‘Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?’

26 He said, ‘My lord the king, as you know, I cannot walk properly. So I said to my servant, “Prepare a donkey for me to ride, so that I can leave Jerusalem with the king.” But Ziba, my servant, deceived me. 27 And he has told you lies about me. But you are like an angel of God. I know that you will do what you think is right. 28 I know that you, my lord the king, would have been right to kill all my grandfather's family. We all deserved that punishment. But instead, you asked me to eat meals at your table. So it would not be right for me to ask you to do anything more for me.’

29 The king said, ‘You have said enough about this. I have decided that you and Ziba will share the fields that belonged to your grandfather, Saul.’

30 Mephibosheth said to the king, ‘That is not important to me. Ziba can take them all. You have returned home safely. That is what makes me happy.’

David and Barzillai

31 Barzillai, the man from Gilead, came from Rogelim to meet the king at the Jordan river. He wanted to help the king to come across the river and to continue his journey. 32 But Barzillai was a very old man, 80 years old. He had taken care of David when David was living in Mahanaim. He had helped David with many gifts, because he was a very rich man. 33 King David said to him, ‘Come with me to live in Jerusalem. I will take care of you while you are with me there.’

34 Barzillai answered the king, ‘I will not live many more years. Why should I go to live in Jerusalem with the king? 35 I am already 80 years old. I can no longer tell what is nice or what is bad. I cannot taste what I eat and drink. I cannot still hear people's voices when they sing. I would only cause trouble to you, my lord the king. 36 I will come across the river and I will travel a short way with you. But I cannot accept your kind gift. 37 Let me return to my own town, sir. Then I will die there. They can bury me near the grave of my father and my mother. Look! Here is my son, Kimham. Let him go with you, my lord the king. Please do for him whatever you think is right.’

38 The king said, ‘Kimham can go with me. I will do for him whatever you think is good. I will also help you in any way that you choose.’

39 So all the people went across the Jordan river with the king. The king kissed Barzillai and he asked God to bless him. Then Barzillai returned to his home.

40 The king went across the river to Gilgal. Kimham went with him. All Judah's army and half of Israel's soldiers helped the king to cross the river.

19:40Gilgal was about 6 kilometres west of the Jordan river and about 26 kilometres north east of Jerusalem.

The men from Israel are angry with the men from Judah

41 Then all the men of Israel's tribes came to the king. They complained, ‘Why did our brothers, the men of Judah's tribe, take you for themselves? Why were they the only people who could help the king to cross the Jordan river? They helped you and your family and your soldiers to cross, and we had no part in it.’

42 The men of Judah's tribe replied, ‘We did it because the king belongs to our own family. Do not be angry about it. The king did not pay for the food that we ate. We have not taken any of his things for ourselves.’

43 The men of Israel's tribes replied, ‘In Israel we are ten tribes, and Judah is only one tribe. So he is our king ten times more than he is your king! So why have you tried to insult us? We were the first people to say that we should bring the king back to Jerusalem.’

But the words that the men of Judah spoke were much stronger than the words of the men of Israel.