Joab Reproves David
Then it was reported to Joab, “The king is weeping and mourning over Absalom.” And that day’s victory was turned into mourning for all the people, because on that day they were told, “The king is grieving over his son.”
So they returned to the city quietly that day, as people steal away in humiliation after fleeing a battle. But the king covered his face and cried out at the top of his voice, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”
Then Joab went into the house and said to the king, “Today you have disgraced all your servants who have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, of your wives, and of your concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you! For you have made it clear today that the commanders and soldiers mean nothing to you. I know today that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead, it would have pleased you!
Now therefore get up! Go out and speak comfort to your servants, for I swear by the LORD that if you do not go out, not a man will remain with you tonight. This will be worse for you than all the adversity that has befallen you from your youth until now!”
David Restored as King
So the king got up and sat in the gate, and all the people were told: “Behold, the king is sitting in the gate.” So they all came before the king.
Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled, each man to his home. And all the people throughout the tribes of Israel were arguing, “The king rescued us from the hand of our enemies and delivered us from the hand of the Philistines, but now he has fled the land because of Absalom. 10 But Absalom, the man we anointed over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about restoring the king?”
11 Then King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests: “Say to the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to restore the king to his palace, since the talk of all Israel has reached the king at his quarters? 12 You are my brothers, my own flesh and blood. So why should you be the last to restore the king?’ 13 And say to Amasa, ‘Aren’t you my flesh and blood? May God punish me, and ever so severely, if from this time you are not the commander of my army in place of Joab!’ ”
14 So he swayed the hearts of all the men of Judah as though they were one man, and they sent word to the king: “Return, you and all your servants.”
15 So the king returned, and when he arrived at the Jordan, the men of Judah came to Gilgal to meet him and escort him across the Jordan.
Shimei Pardoned
16 Then Shimei son of Gera, a Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David, 17 along with a thousand men of Benjamin, as well as Ziba the steward of the house of Saul and his fifteen sons and twenty servants.
They rushed down to the Jordan before the king 18 and crossed at the ford to carry over the king’s household and to do what was good in his sight.
When Shimei son of Gera crossed the Jordan, he fell down before the king 19 and said, “My lord, do not hold me guilty, and do not remember your servant’s wrongdoing on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. May the king not take it to heart. 20 For your servant knows that I have sinned, so here I am today as the first of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.”
21 But Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD’s anointed?”
22 And David replied, “Sons of Zeruiah, what have I to do with you, that you should be my adversaries today? Should any man be put to death in Israel today? Am I not indeed aware that today I am king over Israel?”
23 So the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king swore an oath to him.
Mephibosheth Excused
24 Then Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, went down to meet the king. He had not cared for his feet or trimmed his mustache or washed his clothes from the day the king had left until the day he returned safely. 25 And he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, who asked him, “Mephibosheth, why did you not go with me?”
26 My lord the king,” he replied, “because I am lame, I said, ‘I will have my donkey saddled * so that I may ride on it and go with the king.’ But my servant Ziba deceived me, 27 and he has slandered your servant to my lord the king.
Yet my lord the king is like the angel of God, so do what is good in your eyes. 28 For all the house of my grandfather deserves death from my lord the king, yet you have set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right, then, do I have to keep appealing to the king?”
29 The king replied, “Why say any more? I hereby declare that you and Ziba are to divide the land.”
30 And Mephibosheth said to the king, “Instead, since my lord the king has safely come to his own house, let Ziba take it all!”
David’s Kindness to Barzillai
31 Now Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan with the king and send him on his way from there. 32 Barzillai was quite old, eighty years of age, and since he was a very wealthy man, he had provided for the king while he stayed in Mahanaim.
33 The king said to Barzillai, “Cross over with me, and I will provide for you at my side in Jerusalem.”
34 But Barzillai replied, “How many years of my life remain, that I should go up to Jerusalem with the king? 35 I am now eighty years old. Can I discern what is good and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or drinks? Can I still hear the voice of singing men and women? Why should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?
36 Your servant could go with the king only a short distance past the Jordan; why should the king repay me with such a reward? 37 Please let your servant return, that I may die in my own city near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant Chimham. Let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what is good in your sight.”
38 The king replied, “Chimham will cross over with me, and I will do for him what seems good in your sight, and I will do for you whatever you desire of me.”
39 So all the people crossed the Jordan, and then the king crossed over. The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and Barzillai returned home.
40 Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham crossed over with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel escorted the king.
Contention over the King
41 Soon all the men of Israel came to the king and asked, “Why did our brothers, the men of Judah, take you away secretly and bring the king and his household across the Jordan, together with all of David’s men?”
42 And all the men of Judah replied to the men of Israel, “We did this because the king is our relative. Why does this anger you? Have we ever eaten at the king’s expense or received anything for ourselves?”
43 We have ten shares in the king,” answered the men of Israel, “so we have more claim to David than you. Why then do you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of restoring our king?”
But the men of Judah pressed even harder than the men of Israel.
* 19:26 LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate Saddle a donkey for me; Hebrew I will saddle a donkey for myself 19:27 Or Angel