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2 Samuel 19

Joab tells the king that he is not being wise

1 People told Joab that the king was weeping for Absalom. He was very sad because Absalom was dead. 2 So the whole army was sad too. They had won an important fight. But they could not be happy and they could not have a party. They had heard men say, ‘The king is sad because his son is dead.’ 3 The soldiers were quiet as they came into the city. Men are ashamed when they have run away from a fight. They came in like that. 4 The king covered his face and he cried, ‘Absalom, Absalom my son, my son!’

5 Then Joab went into the king's house. He spoke to the king. ‘Today you have made your men ashamed. But they have saved your life and the lives of your sons, daughters and lady friends. 6 You seem to love those who hate you. And you seem to hate those who love you! You have shown today that your officers and soldiers are not important to you. You would be happy if Absalom were still alive. You would be happy even if all of us were dead. 7 Now go out and speak to the men. Tell them that they have fought well. If you do not do that, not one man will remain here tonight. It is as sure as the LORD is alive. That would be worse than anything that has happened to you in all your life.’

8 So the king got up and he went to sit in his seat by the city gate. They told the men, ‘The king is sitting by the gate.’ Then they all came to stand in front of him. By this time, the people had run to their homes.

David returns to Jerusalem

9 Then the people in their different tribes were quarrelling with each other. They were saying, ‘The king saved us from our enemies. He fought the Philistines and he won. Nobody else did that. But now he has run from Absalom that we asked to be our king. He has left the country. 10 We anointed Absalom as king over us but now he has died in the fight. Surely someone should have started to say that we should bring the king back.’

11 People told David what the people were saying. So he sent the priests Zadok and Abiathar to the leaders of Judah with a message. He told them to say, ‘Surely, you should not be the last to bring the king back to the king's house? He has heard what the people in all Israel are saying. 12 You are my brothers, my family. So I do not know why you are the last to bring back the king. 13 And say to Amasa, “You belong to my family. From this time on Joab will not be the most important officer in my army. You will be that, instead. I want God to punish me very much if I do not do that.” Tell him that.’

14 All the men from Judah turned like one man to follow David. They sent servants to the king. And they asked him to return with all his soldiers. 15 Then the king returned and he went to the River Jordan.

The men from Judah had come to Gilgal to meet the king. They wanted to bring him across the river.

David forgives Shimei

16 Gera's son Shimei came quickly down from Bahurim to meet the king. He came with the men from Judah but he was from Benjamin's tribe. 17 He brought 1000 men from his tribe with him. Ziba, Saul's servant also came with his 15 sons and 20 servants. They all hurried to the River Jordan, where the king was. 18 They crossed where the water was not deep. And they brought the king and his people with them. They wanted to do whatever the king wanted.

When Shimei had crossed the River Jordan he fell down in front of the king. 19 He said to him, ‘Please will you forgive me. I did wrong things when you, my lord, left Jerusalem. Please, do not remember those things. Please forget them. 20 I am your servant. And I know that I have sinned. But I am the first to come from the tribes in the north of Israel to meet you here.’

21 Then Abishai, Zeruiah's son said, ‘We should kill Shimei. He said wicked things against the king that the LORD has anointed. So we should kill him.’

22 David replied, ‘I am not like you and your brother Joab. You will not kill anybody today. This day I have become king over Israel.’ 23 So the king gave a promise to Shimei. ‘You will not die’, he said.

David is kind to Mephibosheth

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

26 He said, ‘My lord, as you know, I cannot walk well. So I asked my servant to prepare a donkey for me to ride so that I could go with you. But Ziba my servant did not obey me. 27 And what he has said to you is not true. But you are like an angel of God. You will do what you think is best. 28 My lord might have killed all the descendants of my grandfather Saul. That would have been a fair punishment. But you gave me a place to eat at your table. I ought not to ask the king for anything more.’

29 The king said, ‘Do not say any more about these things. I have decided that you and Ziba must each have half of the fields.’

30 Mephibosheth said to the king, ‘He can take them all. I am only happy that you are still safe.’

David wants Barzillai to stay with him in Jerusalem

31 Barzillai from Gilead came down from Rogelim to cross the River Jordan with the king. He wanted to send him on to Jerusalem from there. 32 But Barzillai was a very old man, about 80 years old. He had helped David while David was in Mahanaim. He had given to David much that he had needed. He did that because he was a very rich man. 33 David said to him, ‘Cross with me. And come and stay with me in Jerusalem. I can give to you all that you might want.’

Barzillai asks David to take his son Chimham instead

34 Barzillai answered the king, ‘I will not live many more years. Why should I go to Jerusalem with the king? 35 I am already 80 years old. And I cannot tell what is good or bad. I cannot taste what I eat. And I cannot taste what I drink. And I cannot still hear people when they sing. I would only cause trouble to you. 36 I will come with you for a short way on the other side of the river, but I cannot accept your gift. 37 Let me, your servant, return to die in my own town. Then they can bury me near the place where they buried my father and my mother. Here is my son Chimham. Let him go across with you. Please do for him whatever you choose. And I hope that it will give you pleasure.’

38 The king said, ‘Chimham can go across with me. And I will do for him whatever you want. And I will do whatever you want me to do for you.’

39 So all the people went across the River Jordan and the king followed them. The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Then Barzillai returned to his home.

40 When the king went across the river to Gilgal, Chimham went with him. All Judah's army and half of Israel's men took him across the river.

19:40Gilgal was about 6 kilometres (4 miles) west of the Jordan and about 26 kilometres (16 miles) north east of Jerusalem.

The men from Israel are angry with the men from Judah

41 Then all the men from Israel came to ask the king, ‘Why did our brothers, the men from Judah, take you and your people away across the River Jordan?’

42 The men from Judah answered, ‘We did it because he belongs to our family. Do not be angry. We have not eaten any of his food and he has not given us anything.’

43 The Israelites replied, ‘We have 10 parts in the king but you have only one part. So you should not think that we are not important. And we were the first people to say that we should bring the king back.’

But the words that the men from Judah spoke were even more angry than the words of the Israelites.