The Second Book of Samuel

Chapter 19

Joab causes the king to cease his mourning, 1-8. The Israelites are earnest to bring the king back, 9, 10. David sends to the priests to incite the men of Judah, 11-17. Shimei is pardoned, 18-23; Mephibosheth excused, 24-31; Barzillai is dismissed and Chimham his son taken into the king's family, 32-40. The Israelites expostulate with Judah for bringing home the king without them, 41-43.

1 And it was told to Joab, "Behold, the king weeps and mourns for Absalom." 2 And the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people, for the people heard it said that day how the king was grieved for his son. 3 And the people withdrew by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. 4 But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, "O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!" 5 And Joab came into the house to the king and said, "You have shamed this day the faces of all your servants, who this day have saved your life, the lives of your sons and of your daughters, the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines, 6 In that you love your enemies and hate your friends. For you have declared this day that you regard neither princes nor servants. For this day I perceive that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died this day then it would have pleased you. 7 Now therefore, arise, go forth, and speak comfortably to your servants, for I swear by the LORD, if you shall not go forth, no one will remain with you this night. And that will be worse to you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now."

8 Then the king rose and sat in the gate. And they told all the people, saying, "Behold, the king sits in the gate." And all the people came before the king, for Israel had fled each to his tent. 9 And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "The king saved us from the hand of our enemies and he delivered us from the hand of the Philistines, and now he has fled out of the land for Absalom. 10 And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore, why do you not speak a word of bringing the king back?"

11 And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, "Speak to the elders of Judah, saying, 'Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house, seeing the speech of all Israel has come to the king, even to his house? 12 You are my brothers, you are my bones and my flesh. Why then are you the last to bring back the king?' 13 And say to Amasa, 'Are you not of my bone and of my flesh? May God do so to me and more also, if you are not captain of the host before me continually in place of Joab.'" 14 And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man, so that they sent this word to the king, "Return—you and all your servants." 15 So the king returned and came to the Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal to go to meet the king to conduct the king over the Jordan.

16 And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjaminite, who was of Bahurim, hastened and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David. 17 And there were one thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him, and they went over the Jordan before the king. 18 And a ferry-boat went to carry over the king's household and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king as he came over the Jordan, 19 And said to the king, "Do not let my lord impute iniquity to me, neither remember that which your servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart. 20 For your servant knows that I have sinned. Therefore, behold, I have come this day, the first of all the house of Joseph, to go down to meet my lord the king." 21 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, "Shall Shimei not be put to death for this because he cursed the LORD'S anointed?" 22 And David said, "What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be adversaries to me? Shall any man be put to death this day in Israel? For do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?" 23 Therefore, the king said to Shimei, "You shall not die." And the king swore to him.

24 And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king. He had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes from the day the king departed until the day he came back in peace. 25 And it came to pass, when he had come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said to him, "Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?" 26 And he answered, "My lord, O king, my servant deceived me, for your servant said, 'I will saddle myself a donkey so that I may ride on it and go to the king,' because your servant is lame. 27 And he has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is as an angel of God. Do therefore what is good in your eyes. 28 For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king, yet you set your servant among those who ate at your own table. What right therefore do I have yet to cry anymore to the king?" 29 And the king said to him, "Why do you speak anymore of your matters? I have said, 'You and Ziba divide the land.'" 30 And Mephibosheth said to the king, "Yes, let him take all because my lord the king has come back in peace to his own house."

31 And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim and went over the Jordan with the king to conduct him over the Jordan. 32 Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even eighty years old, and he had provided the king with sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim, for he was a very great man. 33 And the king said to Barzillai, "Come over with me and I will feed you with me in Jerusalem." 34 And Barzillai said to the king, "How long do I have to live that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35 I am this day eighty years old. And can I discern between good and evil? Can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear anymore the voice of singing-men and singing-women? Why then should your servant be yet a burden to my lord the king? 36 Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king. And why should the king recompense me with such a reward? 37 Let your servant, I pray you, return again so that I may die in my own city and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold your servant Chimham. Let him go over with my lord the king and do to him what seems good to you." 38 And the king answered, "Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which seems good to you. And whatever you shall require of me, that I will do for you." 39 And all the people went over the Jordan. And when the king had come over, the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own place.

40 Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him. And all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel. 41 And behold, all the men of Israel came to the king and said to him, "Why have our brothers the men of Judah stolen you away and have brought the king, his household, and all David's men with him over the Jordan?" 42 And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, "Because the king is near of kin to us. Why then are you angry for this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king's cost? Or has he given us any gift?" 43 And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah and said, "We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than you. Why then did you despise us so that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king?" And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Samuel, Chapter 19[➚]


[v.18] - "Shimei" - This same Shimei was formerly cursing David. Reference, 2nd Samuel 16:5-8.

[v.21] - This is the second time Abishai offers to kill Simei (2nd Samuel 16:9). As with the first time, David again refuses Abishai the opportunity (2nd Samuel 16:10), only this time, David swore that Shimei would not die (verse 23). After David's death, Solomon was not bound by this oath, yet Solomon did not immediately move to kill Shimei. Instead, Solomon had Shimei swear to build himself a house and remain there permanently or suffer dire consequences. Unfortunately, Shimei did not follow through with his oath and was put to death. Reference, 1st Kings 2:36-46.

[v.26] - "my servant deceived me" - Reference 2nd Samuel 16:1-4.

[v.28] - "you set your servant among those who ate at your own table" - Reference, 2nd Samuel, ch. 9, especially verses 7, 10, 13.

[v.32] - "he had provided the king with sustenance" - Reference, 2nd Samuel 17:27-29.