2 Samuel 19:22
And David said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be adversaries to me?…
What wonderful applications this doctrine admits ell It touches life at every point; it is full of lessons to men in all stages of life and in all degrees of influence.
I. KNOW THE GREAT MAN BY HIS GOODNESS. Know real power, not by its tyranny', but by its kindness. David was given to this kind of expression of his greatness. Once he cut off Saul's skirt and spared the fool; he could have cut off Saul's head. It is better not to use all your power. Always have a great reserve of strength. Never deal your deadliest blow until you are wholly driven to it. You will win more victories by forgiveness than by vengeance, by retaliation, by so-called self-defence.
II. Apply this to the matter of PERSONAL CHARACTER and the defence of personal reputation. Some men are always defending themselves. They had better let it alone. Some little natures are always taking revenge. They will say, "Mark: he shall account for this; I have made a note before his name in my diary; he shall hear of this some other day." Oh, shame! That is not the spirit of Christ, the spirit of kingship, the spirit of divinest royalty; that is littleness, yea the veriest meanness.
III. Apply this to PRETENDED RULERS. In proportion as a man is only a pretended ruler in anything, in business, in the Church, in Parliament, anywhere — in proportion as. he is only a pretence he will be full of vengeance. Cut off their heads! is his policy: make short work of them: we must have a spirited policy; there must be no dillydallying here. Foolish talk; foolish heart! We are not to judge things. by stones that are thrown, by dust that is poured upon the wind, by the shouting and crying of poor natures: we must remember that God's eternity moves slowly but surely, and all his mills grind exceedingly small. "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves": do not take yourselves into your own keeping, "but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written" — written in nature, written in every star, written in history, written in life — "Vengeance is mine." Vengeance can only belong to one court. All other vengeance is minor, trivial, partial, unjust.
II. Apply this to THE CHRISTIAN ARGUMENT. How slow it is sometimes to human seeming; how indifferent almost to its own issue! It looks calmly upon all the little fray of words, and says, For do not I know that I can save men, bless men, help men, as no other power or force upon earth can do? Why should I follow all these people that are trying to pull my letters to pieces? Why should I take vengeance upon them? The Christian argument often takes no notice of the metaphysical strife, the angry contest, the loud dispute; it does not come down to avenge itself; it says, I am the most beneficent power in human thought, I can therefore afford to wait, and be quiet, and be calm, and not a single life will I take if I can possibly help it.
V. See how wondrously all this FITS THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST. In Christ there is nothing vindictive, nothing clamorous, nothing precipitant. When the people would take him by force and make him king he vanished out of their sight. This was the difficulty he had to contend with in his life — refusing so long to declare himself. This might do for a refrain to the music of Christ's words — Do not I know that I am the Saviour of the world? Do not I know that I am this day King? Haste thee, smite thine enemies, crush all opposition, shine out of the heavens, out-dazzle the glory of summer noonday, and by that ineffable blaze declare thyself to be King! He says, No; that is not the way; that would be foolish, precipitant, impetuous, irrational: we must move with the currents of life: I have not come to institute a reformation, but to work out a regeneration. Why do the heathen rage? Because they are "the heathen." Why do the people imagine a vain thing? Because they are "the people," without regulation, discipline, lofty control, spiritual inspiration. Why is the Lord quiet upon His throne? Because He is upon it, and it is His. In one of two ways Jesus Christ is to be King over us all: He is to be King either with our consent, or against it. Choose ye this day. Or you must know that He is the King of kings and Lord of lords; and if you will not accept the sovereignty of His love you must accept the sovereignty of His fear. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?
WEB: David said, "What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be adversaries to me? Shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? For don't I know that I am this day king over Israel?"