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.’