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.
I. THE ACTUAL AND ABIDING CLAIMS OF CHRIST TO BE ACCEPTED AND OBEYED AS KING.
1. His nature. Divine and human; including all qualifications for rule.
2. His Divine appointment. Signified in manifold ways.
3. The deliverance he has wrought. It is here said of David, "The king saved us," etc. Our Lord has saved us in a more marvellous way, from enemies more to be dreaded than the heathen that harassed Israel. He has conquered, in personal conflict and through suffering unto death, Satan, the world, sin, and death. He has thus "saved us out of the hand of our enemies," including those that, like the Philistines in relation to Israel, are nearest to us and most ready and able to harass us - our own special besetting sins. True, the deliverance is not yet completely accomplished in actual experience; but it is assured, and as really ours, if we are Christ's, as if we were already perfectly freed from all evil
II. THE INSENSIBILITY TO THESE CLAIMS WHICH COMMONLY PREVAILS. Looking at the lives of most men, even where Christ is made known, it is painfully manifest that they have no due sense of his rights and their duty to him; for they do not submit their minds, hearts, and lives to his government.
1. Causes of such insensibility.
(1) A depraved nature, whose spiritual sensibilities are further suppressed and benumbed by the practice of sin.
(2) Absorption in worldly pursuits. Leaving no opportunity for higher matters to attract attention, no time to think of them.
(3) Unconcern as to the enemies from whom Christ delivers. No conviction of sin; no sense of the evil of it; no desire for rescue from its guilt or power. The Deliverer, therefore, excites no real interest.
(4) Familiarity with the truth. The habit of hearing, or reading, or even repeating it, without accepting it; or of assenting to it without really believing it; or of accepting (in a sense) the atonement, and relying on Jesus for pardon, without receiving him as King. The process also of indulging feeling and sentiment about Christ, without rendering obedience; and of resisting the feelings which prompt to obedience, thus resisting and grieving the Holy Spirit. In this way the gospel becomes a means of hardening the heart against itself.
(5) The attractions of some pretender to the throne. As Absalom "stole the hearts of the men of Israel" (2 Samuel 15:6) by his youth, beauty, activity, assiduous attentions, insinuating address, and hints as to the defects of his father's government, and the improvements which he would make if he were in power; so the hearts of many are withdrawn from the Lord Jesus by the attractions of some newly revived system of error in philosophy or religion, or anti-religion, of which the novelty (to them) is charming, and the representations of human nature more flattering, and the demands less exacting. The old king comes to be regarded and treated as worn out, quite unsuited to the needs of an enlightened and scientific age; and the young pretenders are welcomed, one by one class, and another by another, with shouts of joy and paeans of anticipated victory.
2. Effects of such insensibility.
(1) Negatively, in the prevention of faith and love, loyal obedience and active service.
(2) Positively, by leading to disaffection and active rebellion; as in the case of Israel and David.
III. THE HAPPY AWAKENING WHICH IS OFTEN EXPERIENCED. As in the case of the Israelites in respect to David. This may be produced:
1. By calamity. As the Israelites were awakened by defeat and disaster. Troubles stir the conscience, lead the soul to look around for support, throw an unusual light on objects, reveal the vanity of cherished dependencies, prepare for due appreciation of those which are solid and satisfying; and so lead to a right appreciation of Christ.
2. By impressive presentation of forgotten facts. As by the tribes of Israel to each other, reminding of their obligations to David, and the ill requital he had received from them. It may be a sermon heard with unaccustomed interest, or some part of the Holy Book read with a new perception of the significance and importance of its teaching, or the appeals, of a friend, or the statements of a tract, or words of parents or teachers long ago, recurring with new power to the mind; whatever it be that stirs the heart to consideration and renders it sensible of the rights and worth of Christ, blessed are the means, blessed the moment when such effects are produced.
3. Always by the enlightening and convincing Spirit. Whose work it is to reveal and glorify the Son of God (John 16:14).
IV. THE CHANGE PRODUCED BY THIS AWAKENING. Similar to that in the text.
1. In conduct.
(1) Return to allegiance, loyalty, and service to the rightful Sovereign. Incitement of others to return.
2. In position. The returning rebels are accepted, and restored to the privileges of faithful subjects. Not because the heavenly King is, like David, dependent on his subjects, needing them as much as they him, but of pure grace. However long they may have been insensible and rebellious, on coming to a sense of their duty, and seeking forgiveness, they are pardoned and restored to favour. Lastly, the awakening may come too late, producing terror and remorse, but not repentance, and importunate prayers which are unavailing (see Luke 13:24-28). - G.W.
Then the king arose and sat in the gate.
I. SORROW, HOWEVER POIGNANT, SHOULD NOT HINDER US FROM DUTY, OR PREVENT THE EXPRESSION OF GRATITUDE. Has this unhappy civil war brought only grief to him? Is his son the only one that has perished? Alas! the many mothers in Israel, never to look again on the brave soldier-son! Sorrow, with impartial, unwelcome step, enters palace and cottage. But, however keen and consuming, life's duties still remain to the living. We are not to be absorbed from recognition of these — gratitude among them, thankfulness for sympathy. It may speak in lowly tokens of remembrance, in courteous health-inquiries. Let it be recognised.
II. THE EVIL RESULTANT FROM PARTIALITY IS WRITTEN HERE. To the folly of favouritism not only are liable those in high places. It must be watched against by all who exercise any influence over others. The head of any community, however small, owes a debt of justice to each member of it. In the home, where the father and mother are the uncrowned king and queen, this folly needs especially to be avoided.
III. THE BEAUTY OF A CONTENTED SPIRIT APPEARS IN MEPHIBOSHETH. The crippled prince, not lame in soul as upon his feet — a true unselfish son of Jonathan through all — goes home with words of contentment, and glad, thankful loyalty upon his lips. Goes out of our sight and hearing; goes into the silence of a past which has no further word respecting him to speak to us. Went to the narrowed fortune and duties of his narrow life. Went, we doubt not, quiet and contented, and so on to the end. On with eye fixed on a princedom with no crippling hindrances to service, or to a lot in the eternal Canaan which should be his wholly and for ever. Then, son of Jonathan, "Go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and stand" — never to be removed — "in thy lot at the end of the days." Much might be said of the contentment of that man, as exemplary to us, when we are wronged. Well for us if, with our larger light, we have at all times a spirit as patient and thankful as his! I will be a star of glory, a rose of beauty, in the darkness and desert barrenness of life.
IV. PIOUS FORECASTS, COMELY IN ALL AND ESPECIALLY IN THE AGED, IS SEES IN BARZILLAI. Little do we know of him. But how much we seem to know, so vividly does he live to us in this ancient chronicle. Let Chimham go to the great city, take a place at Court, bear his part in the high places of the national life, this was not for Barzillai. His eyes were not so bright as once, nor his ears so alert. He would abide among his own people. He would die in his nest. He would be buried by the grave of his father and his mother. There, in the hallowed, familiar spot, he would have his dust to rest till the great awakening.
V. In David, victorious over rebellion, and restored to his throne, we have suggestion of HIS GREATER SON COMING BACK TO HIS OWN. Over rebellious hearts, over a rebellious world, Christ is triumphing onward to His universal reign. Not by weapons of war, but by love, he is vanquishing men unto Himself. The rebellious world is His world. The rebels are HIS creatures. He is but coming back to His own. He has the right of Creation to us. He re-enforces it by the winning right of redeeming love. Back to His own! In a sense you are all His. In the full, willing sense — surrendered to Him, be wholly His. Be the usurper dethroned. Be the rightful King acclaimed — obeyed.
(G. T. Coster.)
(C. Bosanquet, M. A.)
The Century Bible.1. David's return to Jerusalem. In his account of what followed, as of what preceded the crisis of the rebellion (chaps. 15., 16.), the historian has east the bulk of his narrative into the form of personal interviews with the king.
2. David's secret overtures to the tribe of Judah. Himself a member of the tribe whose ancient sanctuary had been the locus of the rebellion, David, with his statesman's eye, saw in the new situation a favourable opportunity of binding the southern clans anew to his person. Accordingly, he opens negotiations with Zadok and Abiathar. In thus playing off the South against the North, David was doubtless aware of the risk he ran of increasing the jealousy, already of long standing, between them, but in the circumstances David can scarcely be blamed for seeing in his southern kinsfolk, in the men who, as he says, were his bone and his flesh (ver. 12), the natural support of his dynasty.
(The Century Bible.)
PeopleAbiathar, Abishai, Absalom, Amasa, Barzillai, Benjamin, Benjamites, Chimham, David, Gera, Israelites, Joab, Joseph, Mephibosheth, Saul, Shimei, Zadok, Zeruiah, Ziba
PlacesBahurim, Gilgal, Jerusalem, Jordan River, Mahanaim, Rogelim
TopicsAbsalom, Ab'salom, Arguing, Arguments, Contending, Delivered, Enemies, Fled, Flight, Free, Hands, Pass, Philistines, Quarreling, Rescued, Safe, Saved, Saying, Strife, Throughout, Tribes, Yea
Outline1. Joab causes the king to cease his mourning
9. The Israelites are earnest to bring the king back
11. David sends to the priest to incite them of Judah
18. Shimei is pardoned
24. Mephibosheth excused
32. Barzillai dismissed, and Chimham his son taken into the king's family
41. The Israelites expostulate with Judah for bringing home the king without them
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 19:8
LibraryNational Sorrows and National Lessons
On the illness or the Prince of Wales. Chapel Royal, St James's, December 17th, 1871. 2 Sam. xix. 14. "He bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man." No circumstances can be more different, thank God, than those under which the heart of the men of Judah was bowed when their king commander appealed to them, and those which have, in the last few days, bowed the heart of this nation as the heart of one man. But the feeling called out in each case was the same--Loyalty, …
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons
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