2 Samuel 19

Insensitive Grief 

The insurrection was suppressed because David's troops won a great victory, but their joy quickly turned to confusion and mourning as their king grieved his dead son. The countenance of the army looked more like defeat and victory turned into mourning due to David's behavior. The king was in agony, and his voice could be heard as he wept for Absalom. David's military leader Joab saw the low morale of the army, and he responded with a swift rebuke of the king. The king's anguish made the men who saved the lives of the royal family feel as if they had done something wrong. David seemed to love those who hated him and hate those who loved him. These men risked their lives for the king, and yet David made them feel as if he would have been more pleased if his troops had perished. Joab demands that David go and express his appreciation for his men because if he did not, the army would desert him that very night which would be the worst thing that could happen. Joab might have been issuing a threat that he would lead the troops away if David did not get his act together. Joab's words seem to get David's attention, and he quickly went to the city gate and blessed his faithful servants. 

The Return To Jerusalem

David waited in Mahanaim to see how the people would respond. The people of Israel were in a dilemma because the king they had chosen was dead and David was basically in exile. The people remembered how David had delivered them from the hands of their enemies, especially the Philistines and they recognized that something would have to be done to reinstate David on his throne formally. David waited until popular support for his return to power developed. David contacted Zadok and Abiathar in Jerusalem and asked them to speak to the elders of Judah about their lack of initiative in this matter. David was their flesh and bone. David promised to make Amasa, who had been Absalom’s commander, general of the army in place of Joab. This political maneuver united the men of Judah behind David, and they sent word for David to return to Jerusalem. David made his way to the Jordan and the people assembled at Gilgal to meet the king for his formal return to the throne. David was met by Shimei and Ziba who feared that David might direct his wrath toward them. David declared that this should be a day for celebration, not revenge. Barzillai the Gileadite had come down to the Jordan to escort David across the river. This eighty-year-old man had supplied the king with necessities while he was in Mahanaim. David invites Barzillai to join him in Jerusalem so that he might return the hospitality. Barzillai declined and asked the king to allow him to return that he might die in his own land near the grave of his parents. Barzillai requested that David take his son Chimham with him instead. David agreed and kissed the old man, blessed him, and sent him on his way. All was not well, and peace was not enjoyed by everyone. Some of the tribes complained that they had been left out. The men of Judah defended their actions by pointing out that the king was a member of their tribe and they had received no compensation for what they had done. The men of Israel were not satisfied and responded that they had ten times more claim to David than Judah and they had been the first to propose bringing back the king. The argument was intense, but the words of the tribe of Judah were harsher than the words of the men of Israel.

Things To Consider:

  • How can emotions make us selfish?
  • Why do we sometimes fail to recognize faithful service?
  • How should we approach someone who is being selfish?
  • Will you receive the rebuke of a friend? Why?
  • When was the last time someone called you out for poor behavior, and you followed their counsel?
  • How should we reason with those we are in conflict with?
  • Why must we extend grace and forgiveness to those who have wronged us?
  • Do you seek blessings for others? Why or why not?
  • Why do people fight over power?
  • What should you do when you cannot reach a resolution?