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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
2 Samuel 19

 

 

Introduction
1Joab causes the king to cease his mourning.
9The Israelites are earnest to bring the king back.
11David sends to the priests to incite them of Judah.
18Shimei is pardoned;
24Mephibosheth excused;
32Barzillai dismissed, and Chimham his son taken into the king's family.
41The Israelites expostulate with Judah for bringing home the king without them.

Verse 1
And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom.
18:5,12,14,20,33; Proverbs 17:25

Verse 2
And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.
victory
Heb. salvation, or, deliverance. turned.
Proverbs 16:15; 19:12

Verse 3
And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle.
into the city
32; 17:24
steal
Genesis 31:27

Verse 4
But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!
covered
15:30
O my son
It is allowed by competent critics that the lamentation of David over his son, of which this forms a part, is exceedingly pathetic; and Calmet properly remarks, that the frequent repetition of the name of the deceased is common in the language of lamentation.
18:33

Verse 5
And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines;
Thou hast
Every one must admit that David's immoderate grief for his rebellious son was imprudent, and that Joab's firm and sensible reproof was necessary to arouse him to a sense of his duty to his people: but, in his manner, Joab far exceeded the bounds of that reverence which a servant owes to his master, or a subject to his prince.
saved
Nehemiah 9:27; Psalms 3:8; 18:47,48

Verse 6
In that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well.
In that, etc
Heb. By loving, etc. thou regardest, etc. Heb. princes or servants are not to thee. then it had.
3:24,25; Job 34:18; Proverbs 19:9,10; Acts 23:5

Verse 7
Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.
comfortably unto thy
Heb. to the heart of thy.
Genesis 34:3; Proverbs 19:15; Isaiah 40:1; Hosea 2:14; *marg:
there
Proverbs 14:28
all the evil
Psalms 71:4-6,9-11,18-20; 129:1,2

Verse 8
Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent.
sat in the gate
How prudently and mildly David took the reproof and counsel given him! He shook off his grief, anointed his head, and washed his face, that he might not appear unto men to mourn, and then made his appearance at the gate of the city, which was the public place of resort for the hearing of causes and giving judgment, as well as a place to ratify special bargains. Thither the people flocked to congratulate him on his and their safety, and that all was well. When we are convinced of a fault, we must amend, though we are told of it by our inferiors in a way which is peculiarly painful to our natural feelings. This ancient custom still obtains in the East; for when Dr. Pococke returned from viewing the town of ancient Byblus, he says, "The sheik and the elders were sitting in the gate of the city, after the ancient manner, and I sat awhile with them."
18:4,24
for Israel
3; 18:6-8; 1 Kings 22:36; 2 Kings 14:12

Verse 9
And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom.
strife
Genesis 3:12,13; Exodus 32:24; James 3:14-16
The king
8:10; 1 Samuel 17:50; 18:5-7,25; 19:5
he is fled
15:14

Verse 10
And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?
whom
15:12,13; Hosea 8:4
is dead
18:14
speak ye not a word
Heb. are ye silent?
Judges 18:9

Verse 11
And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house.
sent
15:29,35,36; 1 Kings 2:25,26,35
Speak
2 Corinthians 5:20
Why are
Matthew 5:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:9

Verse 12
Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones and my flesh: wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king?
my bones
5:1; Genesis 2:23; Judges 9:2; Ephesians 5:30

Verse 13
And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone, and of my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab.
Amasa
17:25; 1 Chronicles 2:16,17; 12:18
God
Ruth 1:17; 1 Kings 19:2
room of Joab
5-7; 3:29,30; 8:16; 18:11

Verse 14
And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants.
he bowed
The measures that he pursued were the best calculated that could be adopted for accomplishing this salutary end. David appears to take no notice of their infidelity, but rather to place confidence in them, that their confidence in him might be naturally excited; and to oblige them yet farther, purposes to make Amasa general of the army, instead of Joab.
even
Judges 20:1; Psalms 110:2,3; Acts 4:32

Verse 15
So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan.
Gilgal
Joshua 5:9; 1 Samuel 11:14,15

Verse 16
And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David.
Shimei
It appears that Shimei was a powerful chieftain in the land; for he had here in his retinue no less than a thousand men.
16:5-13; 1 Kings 2:8,36-46
hasted
Job 2:4; Proverbs 6:4,5; Matthew 5:25

Verse 17
And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king.
Ziba
26,27; 9:2,10; 16:1-4

Verse 18
And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king's household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan;
And there
The LXX. connecting this the with preceding verse, render, [kai kateuthynan ton lordanen emposthen tou basileos, kai eleitourgesan ten leitourgian tou diabibasai ton basilea] "and they made ready Jordan before the king, and did the necessary service to bring over the king;" and the Vulgate has, et irrumpentes Jordanem, ante regem transierunt vada, ut traducerent domum regis, "and breaking into Jordan, they passed the fords before the king, to bring over the king's household." Josephus says they prepared a bridge over the Jordan, to facilitate his passage.
what he thought good
Heb. the good in his eyes. fell down.
Psalms 66:3; 81:15; Revelation 3:9

Verse 19
And said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart.
And said
Ecclesiastes 10:4
Let not
1 Samuel 22:15; Psalms 32:2; Romans 4:6-8; 2 Corinthians 5:19
remember
Psalms 79:8; Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34
did perversely
16:5-9,10-14; Exodus 10:16,17; 1 Samuel 26:21; Matthew 27:4
take it
13:20,33; 1 Samuel 25:25

Verse 20
For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.
I am come
Psalms 78:34-37; Jeremiah 22:23; Hosea 5:15
Joseph
9; 16:5; Genesis 48:14,20; 1 Kings 12:20,25; Hosea 4:15-17; 5:3

Verse 21
But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD'S anointed?
Shall not
Exodus 22:28; 1 Kings 21:10,11
cursed
16:5,7,13; 1 Samuel 24:6; 26:9

Verse 22
And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?
What have
3:39; 16:10; 1 Samuel 26:8; Matthew 8:29
shall there any man
1 Samuel 11:13; Isaiah 16:5; Luke 9:54-56

Verse 23
Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.
Thou shalt
1 Kings 2:8,9,37,46
sware
1 Samuel 28:10; 30:15; Hebrews 6:16

Verse 24
And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace.
Mephibosheth
9:6; 16:3
dressed his feet
Literally, made his feet, which seems to mean washing the feet paring the nails, and perhaps anointing or otherwise perfuming them, if not tinging the nails with henna; see Note on De 21:12. Sir John Chardin, in his MS. note on this place, informs us, that it is customary in the East to have as much care of the feet as the hands; and that their barbers cut and adjust the nails with a proper instrument, because they often go barefoot. The nails of the toes of the mummies inspected in London in 1763, of which an account is given in the Philosophical Transactions for 1764, seem to have been tinged with some reddish colour.
15:30; Isaiah 15:2; Jeremiah 41:5; Matthew 6:16; Romans 12:15; Hebrews 13:3
trimmed
Literally, made his beard, which may mean, combing, curling, and perfuming it. But Mr. Morier says that they almost universally dye the beard black, by successive layers of a paste made of henna, and another made of the leaf of the indigo: the first tinging with an orange colour, and the next with a dark bottle green, which becomes jet black when exposed to the air for twenty-four hours.

Verse 25
And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth?
Wherefore
16:17

Verse 26
And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame.
I will saddle
16:2,3
thy servant
4:4

Verse 27
And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes.
slandered
16:3; Exodus 20:16; Psalms 15:3; 101:5; Jeremiah 9:4
as an angel
14:17,20; 1 Samuel 29:9

Verse 28
For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?
were
Genesis 32:10
dead men
Heb. men of death.
1 Samuel 26:16
didst thou
9:7,8,10,13
to cry
2 Kings 8:3

Verse 29
And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land.
Why speakest
Job 19:16,17; Proverbs 18:13; Acts 18:15
Thou
Deuteronomy 19:17-19; Psalms 82:2; 101:5

Verse 30
And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.
Yea
1:26; Acts 20:24; Philippians 1:20

Verse 31
And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan.
1 Kings 2:7; Ezra 2:61; Nehemiah 7:63

Verse 32
Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man.
fourscore
Genesis 5:27; 9:29; 25:7; 47:28; 50:26; Deuteronomy 34:7; Psalms 90:3-10; Proverbs 16:31
provided
17:27
for he was
1 Samuel 25:2; Job 1:3

Verse 33
And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem.
Come thou
9:11; Matthew 25:34-40; Luke 22:28-30; 2 Thessalonians 1:7

Verse 34
And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem?
How long have I to live? Heb
How many days are the years of my life?
Genesis 47:9; Job 14:14; Psalms 39:5,6; 1 Corinthians 7:29; James 4:14

Verse 35
I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?
can I discern
Job 6:30; 12:11; Hebrews 5:14; 1 Peter 2:3
taste
Ecclesiastes 12:1-5
I hear
Ezra 2:65; Nehemiah 7:67; Exodus 2:8; 12:4
a burden
13:25; 15:33

Verse 36
Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward?
the king
Luke 6:38

Verse 37
Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold thy servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee.
Let thy
The whole of this little episode is extremely interesting, and contains an affecting description of the infirmities of old age. The venerable and kind Barzillai was fourscore years old; his ear was become dull of hearing, and his relish for even royal dainties was gone: the evil days had arrived in which he was constrained to say, "I have no pleasure in them." (Ec 12:1.) As he was too old either to enjoy the pleasures of a court, or to be of any further service to the king, he finishes his affecting address to the aged monarch with the request, that he would suffer him to enjoy what old men naturally desire, to "die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and mother;" at the same time commending his son Chimham to his kind offices.
I may die
Genesis 48:21; Joshua 23:14; Luke 2:29,30; 2 Timothy 4:6; 2 Peter 1:14
by the grave
Genesis 47:30; 49:29-31; 50:13; 1 Kings 13:22
Chimham
40; 1 Kings 2:7; Jeremiah 41:17

Verse 38
And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee: and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee.
require
Heb. choose.

Verse 39
And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place.
the king
The kiss was the token of friendship and farewell; the blessing was a prayer to God for his prosperity: probably a prophetical benediction.
kissed Barzillai
Genesis 31:55; 45:15; Ruth 1:14; 1 Kings 19:20; Acts 20:37; 1 Thessalonians 5:26
blessed
6:18,20; 13:25; Genesis 14:19; 28:3; 47:7,10; Luke 2:34
returned
Genesis 31:55; Numbers 24:25; 1 Samuel 24:22

Verse 40
Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him: and all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel.
Chimham
Heb. Chimhan. all the people.
11-15; Genesis 49:10; Matthew 21:9

Verse 41
And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and have brought the king, and his household, and all David's men with him, over Jordan?
Why have
Judges 8:1; 12:1; John 7:5,6
stolen
3; Genesis 31:26,27

Verse 42
And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us: wherefore then be ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the king's cost? or hath he given us any gift?
Because
12; 5:1; 1 Chronicles 2:3-17

Verse 43
And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
We have
20:1,6; 1 Kings 12:16
ten parts
5:1; Proverbs 13:10
despise us
Heb. set us at light. our advice.
9,14; Galatians 5:20,26; Philippians 2:3
the words
Judges 8:1; 9:23; 12:1-6; Proverbs 15:1; 17:14; 18:19; Romans 12:21; Galatians 5:15,20; James 1:20; 3:2-10,14-16; 4:1-5; Whatever value or respect the men of Israel at this time professed for their king, they would not have quarrelled so fiercely about their own credit and interest in recalling him, if they had been truly sorry for their former rebellion.

 


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Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 19:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-19.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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