19 Aug. 2 Samuel 19:1-18

19 Aug.  David returns to Jerusalem

“People told Joab, ‘Look, the king is sad and crying because of Absalom.’ David’s army had won the battle that day. But it became a very sad day for all the people, because they heard that the king was very sad for his son.”

“The people came into the city [of Mahanaim] quietly that day. They were like an army that had been defeated in battle and had run away. The king covered his face and cried loudly, ‘My son Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!’”

“Joab went into the king’s house and said, ‘Today you have shamed all your men. They saved your life and the lives of your sons, daughters, wives and slave women. You have shamed them because you love those who hate you, and you hate those who love you… Now go out and encourage your servants…”

“So the king went to the city gate. When the news spread that the king was at the gate, everyone came to see him.”

“All the Israelites who had followed Absalom had run away to their homes. People in all the tribes of Israel began to argue saying, ‘The king saved us from the Philistines and our other enemies, but he left the country because of Absalom. We appointed Absalom to rule us, but now he has died in battle. We should make David the king again.’”

“King David sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests [in Jerusalem], that said, ‘Speak to the elders of Judah. Say, “Even in my house I have heard what all the Israelites are saying. So why are you the last tribe to bring the king back to his palace? You are my brothers, my own family. Why are you the last tribe to bring back the king?” And say to Amasa, “You are part of my own family. May God punish me terribly if I don’t make you commander of the army in Joab’s place!”’”

“David touched the hearts of all the people of Judah at once. They sent a message to the king that said, ‘Return with all your men.’ Then the king returned as far as the Jordan River. The men of Judah came to Gilgal to meet him and to bring him across the Jordan.”

“Shimei son of Gera, a Benjamite who lived in Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. With Shimei came 1,000 Benjaminites. Ziba, the servant from Saul’s family, also came, bringing his fifteen sons and 20 servants with him. They all hurried to the Jordan River to meet the king. The people went across the Jordan to help bring the king’s family back to Judah and to do whatever the king wanted.”

          (2 Samuel 19:1-18)



In the aftermath of Absalom’s death at the Battle of Ephraim, David was mortified. But he was persuaded by Joab to go to the city gate of Mahanaim to encourage and thank the returning troops for their victory over his enemies.

David then began detailed preparations to return to Jerusalem. The king was well aware that he was still very unpopular with many in Israel, and those who had opposed him or fought against him would fear severe recriminations.

So David set out to bring his opponents back to his side. He sent a message to the elders of Judah and promised reconciliation and a pardon to all those who had opposed him: “No one will be put to death in Israel today.” (2 Samuel 19:22)

This won over the hearts of the men of David’s tribe – Judah – and thy came to Gilgal (near Jericho) to meet the king and bring him back across the River Jordan (see 14 on the map on 27 July).

To bring about reconciliation and a speedy political settlement, David forgave Shimei (who had cursed him as he left Jerusalem - see 2 Samuel 16:5-13) and he restored half of Saul’s property to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth (who claimed that he had been tricked by his servant Ziba) (see 2 Samuel 19:18-30).

As David returned to Jerusalem, Sheba, a Benjaminite, planned a further rebellion among the disenchanted. Realising the danger of another uprising, Joab pursued him to the walled city of Abel Beth Maacah (meaning ‘meadow of the house of oppression’) where the inhabitants killed Sheba to save their city from destruction (see 2 Samuel 20:1-22).

The photo (by Herwig Reidlinger) shows Herod’s Gate in the old city of Jerusalem.

You can read more about other events at the end of David’s reign, recorded in 2 Samuel Chapters 21 – 24 @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/30-israel-becomes-a-kingdom-under-saul-and-david/further-events-during-davids-reign/

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