Barzillai, the Gideonite; Or, the Influence of Age
2 Samuel 19:31-41
And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan.…

Barzillai's words to the king of Israel remind us of the influence that age produces upon men.

I. A MELLOWNESS OF HEART. There is a feeling soft and subdued running through the words of this patriarchal Gideonite. In the gradual passage from maturity to helplessness, the harshest characters sometimes have a period in which they are gentle and placid as young children. One who saw the Duke of Wellington in his last years, describes him as very gentle in his aspect and demeanour.

II. AN INDISPOSITION TO EXERTION. "How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem? I am this day fourscore years old." It seems benevolently arranged that, as the limbs get feeble and incapable of action, the inclination to exertion decreases too.

III. A LACK OF INTEREST IN THE WORLD. To an old man the world is a plum that has lost its bloom, an orange that has been sucked till the peel is dry. The pageantries of court and the dazzle of fashionable life are to the old man but as the worthless gilt that spangles the dress of an actor. When old age comes over the millionaire, how shapes the world to him?

IV. AN INCAPACITY FOR EARTHLY ENJOYMENTS. "Can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink?" He could not relish either the banquets or the concerts of the court. The choicest delicacies of the table would fall upon his appetite, the most transporting strains of music would fall dead upon his ear: "The desire has failed, and the daughters of music are brought low." Years not only steal away our strength, but our relish for earthly pleasures.

V. AN INTEREST IN THE DEAD. "Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again," etc. Here is the filial instinct glowing in the breast of an old man. CONCLUSION.

1. Here is a rebuke to worldliness. What if you amass a princely fortune? Whilst it will not make you happy, either in the morning of your youth or the zenith of your noon, it will be utterly worthless to you if you live to old age.

2. Here, is, too, an argument for religion. Form an alliance with those eternal principles that will make your spirits young and strong amidst the infirmities of age. Prepare for the future!


Parallel Verses
KJV: And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan.

WEB: Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim; and he went over the Jordan with the king, to conduct him over the Jordan.

Barzillai the Great Man in Society
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