The king's sorrow affected the people. They stole back into Jerusalem silently, instead of with rejoicing, while he was left outside. Once again his words tell of his agony, the deepest note thereof being still revealed in the thrice repeated "my son."
In the midst of his sorrow Joab came to him, again politic, but unsympathetic. There are times when men must rise above the grief of their own repentance and act for the sake of others. This was so now in the case of David, and Joab told him so with almost brutal frankness.
It is arresting to notice that on his return the men who had crossed his path in differing ways during the period of his temporary exile came back to David. Shirnei, the man who struck his foe in the dust, came fawning back, and David's magnanimity was shown in sparing his life. Mephibosheth met him with all the signs of mourning for his absence, and David was comforted by his coming. Barzillai, who had helped him, set him back on his way to Jerusalem, and there was a tender parting between them. All this was followed by strife between Judah and Israel over the right of ringing in the king.
the First Week after Epiphany