2 Samuel 19:9
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.
Late Reflection and AppreciationG. Wood 2 Samuel 19:9
David's Policy on His Return to JerusalemThe Century Bible2 Samuel 19:8-30
The Peaceful ReturnC. Bosanquet, M. A.2 Samuel 19:8-30
The Restoration of DavidG. T. Coster.2 Samuel 19:8-30

The rebels against King David having been defeated, and their chosen leader slain, they bethink themselves of their position and of the claims of their injured sovereign; and begin to stir up each other to obtain his return and reinstatement. Their words are obviously true; but the facts they now recognize were as truly facts when they rose in rebellion. It was only their feeling with respect to them that had changed. So it is commonly. Under the excitement of sinful feeling, the most obvious truths are forgotten and neglected. Well is it when there is a reawakening to their significance, and a consequent return to the path of duty. Especially desirable is it that all who are living without any due feeling of the claims of their great King should become sensible of them, and begin to render them a practical recognition.


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.
David, in his extreme and protracted sorrow for the death of Absalom, forgot to do justice to the attachment, sacrifices, and victorious valour of his friends. At news of this great and inopportune grief — no song of victory! no clear-shining eyes, no erect triumphant bearing! — "the people gat them by stealth that day into the city as people, being ashamed, steal away when they flee in battle." A perilous ingratitude this on the part of David. David's forces had been victorious; in the death of Absalom the head of the rebellion had died, and yet David was in no haste to return to Jerusalem. Though the anointed of the Lord, he had been the elect of the people to the throne of Israel. And now, after this great national upheaval, if be is to reascend the throne it must be at the earnest call of the nation. So he remained still at Mahanaim. "Now, therefore, why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?" The king! Now there was but one. Let him, then, with all clue honour be brought back to his own! So spake the people throughout the country. But the men of Judah, David's own tribe, were ominously silent — committed too strongly, it may have been, to the cause of Absalom to return quickly to their old allegiance. David would quicken their lagging loyalty. The high priests, Zadok and Abiathar, were sent to the elders of Judah with the question which touched at the tribal love of pre-eminence "Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house?" with the remainder that they were the king's "brethren, his bones and his flesh;" and with the promise that Amasa, their captain, should supersede Joab in the command of the king's forces. Thus the king "bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man." "They sent this word unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants." That was enough for David, unwise David! Not waiting to be escorted by all the tribes, not even by all the tribes that had been staunchest in their attachment to him, and foremost in resolution for his restoration, David, accompanied by Judah alone, and only half of Israel, crossed the Jordan and came to the ancient, camp at Gilgal. Little likely that the Ten Tribes — with such rivalry as prevailed between the tribes — would consent to be thus largely ignored. Much confusion and trouble to spring from this unwisdom of the king; presently, another spurt of rebellion, and further off — but not wholly unconnected with the rankling memories of this — the division of the nation into two never-again-united kingdoms.

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.)

We talk about submission to the will of God; we speak of the Christian's peace, that it should abide with him even in times of deep distress; but preaching and practice are two very different things. Our religion may satisfy us when all is going well, when not suffering under any great misfortune; but when "the floods come," when "the rain descends, and the winds blow," though the house may not fall, it often totters. A complete and easy victory had been won. But how could the king think of this now? His son, who had stained his soul with grievous sins, had been suddenly cut off, and summoned to his account. Who cannot feel for David at this moment? Never, probably, did he feel so much as now the weight of public business: he would wish he were a private individual; then he might have indulged his grief, and mourned for many days. It certainly is very difficult sometimes to go through our ordinary duties;. the wheels do sometimes go very heavily; still David would soon find the advantage of having much to occupy him; and there can be no doubt that, hard as it is to work when we are sad, yet sorrows are much harder to bear when we are at leisure. David would never forget his unhappy son! And now that Absalom was dead, there was nothing to prevent the king's triumphant entry into Jerusalem: but there was much wisdom, as well as moderation and clemency, in his conduct at this time. The breach between the king and the people had been of their causing, and therefore it was right that they should acknowledge their fault: they had driven him from the capital, and therefore it was right that they should acknowledge their fault: they had driven him from the capital, and therefore they ought now to invite his return: coming back at their request, they would, in fact, choose him a second time for their king. The message sent to Amasa, and the promise that he should be commander-in-chief, would be the clearest proof of the sincerity of the general amnesty now proclaimed. David once more takes the reins of government; and we shall see in his conduct that singular mixture of weakness and decision, of kindness and want of judgment, which we have so often observed before. One of the first persons that he encounters on the banks of the Jordan is Shimei the son of Gera. According to the law, this man deserved to die. But it would not, do to begin by putting any man to death now; such an execution would shake men's confidence as to the former promise of pardon. Accordingly, Shimei is pardoned, although his crime, as we see afterwards, was not forgotten. If Shimei's confession was sincere, it should have been completely pardoned; if he was a hypocrite, he should have been punished. Perhaps some excuse for David's conduct may be found in the fact that he could not know for certain what was in his heart. But Jesus knows whether we are sincere or not, and when He grants us pardon, it is complete and full; he never qualifies it, He never recalls it; but our sins are "cast into the depths of the sea." The next person whose case is mentioned is Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan. Having given him the place of one of his children, David expected that he would have accompanied his household into exile. Annoyed at his absence, gratified by the contributions of Ziba, and too easily believing the story of the servant. But now Mephibosheth tells his own tale. The same motives of policy that induced David to pardon Shimei make him now pass over the offence of Ziba; besides, he cannot forget, perhaps, how opportunely the provisions had been brought to him. Certainly, so far, there is little to admire in David's conduct; there may be great worldly wisdom, but there is not much grace; he acts as a politic, rather than a religious, man. What we want is that depth of Christian principle which shall influence all our conduct, so that in all the relations of life it shall be plain that we are spiritual men. And now we gladly turn to the most interesting picture in this part of David's history, the last interview between him and Barzillai. Whatever David's failings may have been, he can never be said to be wanting in gratitude. What had David learned by all the events that had recently taken place? I think lust this, that it is utter folly to seek for satisfaction here, or to set our affections upon earthly things. And this is the end God has in view in all the various trials of life. Every public position requires grace in him who holds it; and certainly one of Satan's devices to keep men from a life of contemplation, from constant prayer, and from a close walk with God, is to give them many secular occupations. Barzillai says wisely, "If there is a time to undertake these things, there is a time also when it is well to lay them aside; and the aged should be content with obscurity."

(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.)

Abiathar, Abishai, Absalom, Amasa, Barzillai, Benjamin, Benjamites, Chimham, David, Gera, Israelites, Joab, Joseph, Mephibosheth, Saul, Shimei, Zadok, Zeruiah, Ziba
Bahurim, Gilgal, Jerusalem, Jordan River, Mahanaim, Rogelim
Absalom, Ab'salom, Arguing, Arguments, Contending, Delivered, Enemies, Fled, Flight, Free, Hands, Pass, Philistines, Quarreling, Rescued, Safe, Saved, Saying, Strife, Throughout, Tribes, Yea
1. 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 Themes
2 Samuel 19:8

     5181   sitting

2 Samuel 19:4-8

     5087   David, reign of

National 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

BY REV. GEORGE MILLIGAN, M.A., D.D. "There is nothing," says Socrates to Cephalus in the Republic, "I like better than conversing with aged men. For I regard them as travellers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom it is right to learn the character of the way, whether it is rugged or difficult, or smooth and easy" (p. 328 E.). It is to such an aged traveller that we are introduced in the person of Barzillai the Gileadite. And though he is one of the lesser-known characters
George Milligan—Men of the Bible; Some Lesser-Known

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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