Reading through the Bible together
This chapter deals with the reinstitution of the kingship. David ran away from Absalom and he was later blamed by people for doing that (2 Samuel 19:9). They wanted to know why the king is silent in “bringing the monarchy back.” David mourned for the loss of his son Absalom, but Joab, his relative (2 Samuel 17:25; 2 Samuel 19:13), came to him and asked him why he is such a “cry-baby.” Job used this as a shock therapy to get David back to reality. Getting over the emotion of the loss of his son is one thing. Getting back into the palace office was another. David did not know who his friends were and who were his enemies. So he used his diplomatic skill and started with Judah. He sent some trusted men to ask the leaders of Judah why they were not the first to welcome him back (2 Samuel 19:11). David instructed the men to talk to Amasa, Joab’s nephew, and to remind him that they were family and ask him why he is not there to welcome him back? He offered him the position of General of the Army in place of Joab. The wheel of Judah turned (2 Samuel 19:14) and the king went to the Jordan River and Judah came to escort him home.
The historiographer of the life of David then gave the example of Shimei who came with men and the son of Saul to pay loyalty. Admitting guilt he came to welcome David. Abishai suggested they kill him (2 Samuel 19:21) but David would not allow it. The next person was Mephibosheth who came to welcome the king. His physical needs had been badly neglected, but he was gracefully restored by David. At the rebellion David gave all of Mephibosheth’s property to Ziba his servant (2 Samuel 16:4) but now he told Ziba to divide it 50/50 but Mephibosheth said that Ziba could keep all of it (2 Samuel 19:30).
A grandfather of 80, Barzilla came and welcomed David as well. David wanted him to go with him to the palace but Barzilla felt that “a full grown tree is not easy to uproot.” All the people of Judah and half of the people of Israel went to welcome the king. But the people were divided into the North and the South. The North felt that they have a 10% right over the king and the South should not act as if they are the sole caretakers of the King. The scribe wanted us to end with the early evidence of the beginning of the future division of Israel in 2 Samuel 19:43.
How easily we are drawn into faction-thinking with a “truth by twitter one-liners” instead of digging deep into Your Word. Give us the generosity of Mephibosheth and the mercy of David to reach out across the divisions with the attitude of Christ. In Jesus name. Amen
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea