Barzillai's Refusal of David's Invitation to Jerusalem Considered
2 Samuel 19:34-40
And Barzillai said to the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem?…

I. A SERIOUS CONSIDERATION OF APPROACHING DEATH IS PECULIARLY PROPER FOR AGED PERSONS. Barzillai, in his reply to David, seems to have the near approach of death chiefly in view. And surely such a view was exceedingly proper and becoming for a person of his age, though he seemed possessed of much strength and vigour. But some circumstances make it peculiarly proper that the aged should make these thoughts familiar and habitual to them.

1. The speedy period of their lives is more certain than that of others. There is a probability that they who are in the prime or morning of their days may continue many years; but there is no probability that the aged should.

2. The infirmities which are peculiar to, or most frequent in old age, make the consideration of death highly proper.

3. The remembrance of the many relations, friends, and acquaintance whom they have survived, should excite this disposition in them.


1. The prospect of death should make the aged dead to the honours and pleasures of this world.

2. The prospect of death should lead them to get free from the cares of the world, as far as they lawfully can.

(1) Their capacity for business is generally weakened. This is Barzillai's reasoning in the verse after the text; "Can I discern between good and evil?"(2) If their capacities continue ever so good, they bare more important concerns to mind, and but a little time for them. The one thing needful, the great business relating to their souls and eternity is sufficient to engage all the time which they can spare from that needful rest which old age requires.

(3) The more cares you have upon your hands the more will your dying thoughts be disturbed, and your last Work be interrupted.

(4) By various worldly cares the soul will be less disposed and qualified for the heavenly world. The immoderate love of the world is utterly inconsistent with the love of the Father; and such a love of it as may be regular and allowable in the prime or middle of life, may be immoderate and unjustifiable in old age.

(J. Orton.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem?

WEB: Barzillai said to the king, "How many are the days of the years of my life, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem?

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