Joab Scolds David
1People told Joab what had happened, “Look, the king is crying and mourning for Absalom.” 2So the joy of victory turned to sadness for everyone. It was a very sad day because the people heard, “The king is mourning for his son.”
3The people came into the city quietly as if they were the ones who had been defeated in battle. 4The king had covered his face and was crying loudly, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
5Joab came into the king’s palace and said to the king, “You are humiliating every one of your officers! Look, they saved your life today and the lives of your sons and daughters and your wives and slave women. 6It seems that you love those who hate you, and you hate those who love you! Today you have made it clear to your officers and men that they mean nothing to you. It appears as if you would have been perfectly happy if Absalom had lived and the rest of us had been killed today! 7Now get up and go encourage your officers. I swear by the Lord, if you don’t go out and do that right now, not one man will be with you tonight. And that will be worse for you than all the trouble you have had since you were a child.”
8So the king went to the city gate.#19:8 city gate This was where the public meetings were held. The news spread that the king was at the gate, so all the people came to see him, except for the Israelites who had run away to their homes.
David Is King Again
9The tribes of Israel began discussing what to do next. They said, “King David saved us from the Philistines and our other enemies. David left the country because he was running away from Absalom. 10We anointed Absalom to be the king, but he was killed in battle. So we should bring David back to be the king again.”
11King David sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. David said, “Speak to the leaders of Judah and tell them, ‘Why are you the last tribe to bring King David back home? See, all the Israelites are talking about bringing the king back home. 12You are my brothers, my family, so why are you the last tribe to bring the king back?’ 13Also tell Amasa, ‘You are part of my family. I swear that I will make you captain of the army in Joab’s place.’”
14David touched the hearts of the people of Judah, and they all agreed as one. The people of Judah sent a message to the king, saying, “You and all your officers come back!”
15King David came to the Jordan River. The people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and take him across the Jordan River.
Shimei Asks David to Forgive Him
16Shimei son of Gera, from the tribe of Benjamin, lived in Bahurim. Shimei rushed down to meet King David, with the rest of the people of Judah. 17About 1000 people from the tribe of Benjamin came with Shimei. Ziba the servant from Saul’s family also came. Ziba brought his 15 sons and 20 servants with him. All these people hurried to the Jordan River to meet King David.
18The people went across the Jordan River to help bring the king’s family back to Judah. They did whatever the king wanted. While the king was crossing the river, Shimei son of Gera came to meet him. He bowed down to the ground in front of the king. 19Shimei said to the king, “My lord, don’t think about the wrong things I did. My lord and king, don’t remember the bad things I did when you left Jerusalem. 20I know that I sinned. That is why today I am the first person from Joseph’s family#19:20 Joseph’s family This probably means the Israelites who followed Absalom. Many times the name Ephraim (a son of Joseph) is used for all the tribes in northern Israel. to come down and meet you, my lord and king.”
21Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Let’s kill him for all the bad things he said about the Lord’s chosen king.#19:21 chosen king Literally, “anointed one.””
22David said, “What should I do with you, sons of Zeruiah? Are you trying to cause me trouble? No one will be put to death in Israel today! Today I know that I am king over Israel.”
23Then the king said to Shimei, “You will not die.” The king made a promise to Shimei that he himself would not kill Shimei.#19:23 David did not kill Shimei. But a few years later, David’s son Solomon ordered Shimei to be put to death. See 1 Kings 2:44-46.
Mephibosheth Goes to See David
24Saul’s grandson,#19:24 grandson Literally, “son.” Mephibosheth, came down to meet King David. Mephibosheth had not cared for his feet, trimmed his mustache, or washed his clothes since the day the king left Jerusalem. 25When he met the king at Jerusalem, the king said, “Mephibosheth, why didn’t you go with me when I ran away from Jerusalem?”
26Mephibosheth answered, “My lord and king, my servant tricked me. I am crippled so I said to my servant, Ziba, ‘Go saddle a donkey for me so that I can go with the king.’ 27But my servant tricked me and said bad things about me. My lord and king, you are like an angel from God. Do whatever you think is right. 28You could have killed all my grandfather’s#19:28 grandfather’s Literally, “father’s.” family, but you did not do that. Instead, you included me among the people who eat at your own table. So I don’t have a right to complain to the king about anything.”
29The king said to Mephibosheth, “Don’t say anything more about your problems. This is what I have decided: You and Ziba will divide the land.”
30Mephibosheth said to the king, “My lord and king, it is enough that you have come home in peace. Let Ziba have the land.”
David Asks Barzillai to Come With Him
31Barzillai of Gilead came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan River with King David and send him on his way home. 32Barzillai was a very old man, 80 years old. He had given the king food and other things when David was staying at Mahanaim. Barzillai could do this because he was a very rich man. 33David said to Barzillai, “Come across the river with me. I will take care of you if you will live in Jerusalem with me.”
34But Barzillai said to the king, “Do you know how old I am? Do you think I can go with you to Jerusalem? 35I am 80 years old! I am too old to tell what is bad or good. I cannot taste what I eat or drink or hear the voices of men and women singers. Why should you want to be bothered with me? 36I don’t need any of the things that you want to give me. I will cross the Jordan River with you. 37Then please let me go back so that I can die in my own town and be buried in the grave of my father and mother. But here is Kimham; take him back with you as a servant, my lord and king. Do whatever you want with him.”
38The king answered, “Kimham will go back with me. I will be kind to him for you. I will do anything for you.”
David Goes Back Home
39The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Barzillai went back home, and the king and all the people went across the river.
40The king crossed the Jordan River to Gilgal. Kimham went with him. All the people of Judah and half the people of Israel led David across the river.
Israelites Argue With the People of Judah
41All the Israelites came to the king and said to him, “Why did our brothers, the people of Judah, steal you away? Why did they bring you and your family back across the Jordan River with your men?”
42All the people of Judah answered the Israelites, “We did it because the king is our close relative. Why are you angry with us about this? We have not eaten food at the king’s expense. The king did not give us any gifts.”
43The Israelites answered, “We have ten shares in David,#19:43 ten shares in David Judah and Benjamin were two of the tribes that later became the kingdom of Judah after the kingdom split. The other ten tribes were in the kingdom of Israel. so we have more right to David than you do. Why did you ignore us? We were the first ones to talk about bringing our king back.”
But the people of Judah replied with words that were even louder and angrier than those of the Israelites.