Old Testament

2 Samuel 19
The Aftermath of the Battle
191Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning over Absalom.”[] 2The victory that day became an occasion for mourning for all the people, because that day the people heard that the king was mourning for his son. 3That day the people were sneaking into the city quietly, the way people who are ashamed of fleeing from the battle would sneak in quietly. 4The king covered his face and cried with a loud voice, “My son Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son.”
5Joab came to the king at the house and said, “Today you have put to shame all your followers, who today have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, and the lives of your wives and concubines. 6You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have demonstrated clearly today that your officers and followers are nothing to you. Today I have no doubt that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead, you would be pleased. 7Now get up. Go out. Speak to the hearts of your followers. For by the Lord, I swear that if you do not go out, not a man will remain with you tonight, and this disaster will be greater for you than all the disasters that have come upon you from your youth until now.”
8So the king got up and took his seat by the gate. All the people were told, “Look! The king is sitting in the gate.” So all the people came into the presence of the king.
Israel had fled, every man to his own home. 9All the people in all the tribes of Israel were quarreling and saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies. He saved us from the hand of the Philistines. Now he has fled out of the land from Absalom. 10But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. Now why are you silent about bringing back the king?”
11King David sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests. He said, “Speak to the elders of Judah. Ask them, ‘Why will you be the last to bring the king back to his palace? The plan that all Israel has been discussing has been reported to the king at his house. 12You are my brothers. You are my flesh and blood.[] Why will you be the last to bring back the king?’”
13He also said, “Say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my flesh and blood? May God punish me severely and double it,[] if you are not the permanent commander of my army in place of Joab.’”
14David turned the hearts of all the men of Judah as if they were one man. They sent to the king and said “Return, you and all your servants.”
15So the king returned and came to the Jordan. The men of Judah came out to Gilgal to meet the king and to bring the king across the Jordan.
16Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17One thousand men from Benjamin were with him. Also, Ziba, the manager of the house of Saul, came, along with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants. They rushed down to the Jordan ahead of the king. 18They crossed over the ford to escort the household of the king across and to make a good impression on the king.
Shimei son of Gera bowed down before the king when he was crossing over the Jordan. 19He spoke to the king: “My lord, do not consider me guilty. Do not remember the wrong your servant did on the day that my lord the king went out from Jerusalem, and do not take it to heart, 20for I, your servant, know that I have sinned. Look! I have come today, the first one from the whole house of Joseph to come down to welcome my lord the king.”
21Abishai son of Zeruiah answered, “Shouldn't Shimei be put to death because he cursed the anointed of the Lord?”
22But David said, “What do we have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? For today you are my adversaries. Should any man in Israel be put to death today? Do I not know that today I am king over Israel?” 23The king said to Shimei, “You will not die.” The king took an oath concerning him.
24Mephibosheth, grandson of Saul, also came down to welcome the king. He had not taken care of his feet or his beard and had not washed his clothing from the day the king departed until the day he came back in safety. 25When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, “Why didn't you go with me, Mephibosheth?”
26Mephibosheth answered, “Your servant said, ‘Because I am crippled, I need to have the donkey saddled so that I can ride on it and go with the king.’ But, my lord the king, my servant deceived me. 27He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. However, my lord the king is like an angel of God. Do what is right in your eyes. 28All the house of my father deserved death from my lord the king, but you included your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right do I have to cry out again to the king?”
29The king said to him, “Why say more about your situation? I say that you and Ziba are to divide the land.”
30Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him take everything, now that my lord the king has come safely to his house.”
31Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim. He crossed over the Jordan, escorting the king back over the Jordan. 32Barzillai was very old, eighty years old. He had provided food for the king during his stay at Mahanaim because he was a very wealthy man. 33The king said to Barzillai, “Cross over with me. I will provide for you as my guest in Jerusalem.”
34But Barzillai said to the king, “How many years am I going to be alive? Why should I go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35Today I am eighty years old. Can I tell the difference between good and bad? Can your servant taste what I eat and what I drink? Can I still hear the voice of the male and female singers? Why should your servant become a further burden to my lord the king? 36Let your servant cross over the Jordan with the king for a short distance. Why will the king pay me back with such a reward? 37Please, let your servant return and die in my own city near the grave of my father and my mother. But look! Here is your servant Kimham. Let him cross over with my lord the king. Do for him whatever seems good to you.”
38So the king said, “Kimham shall go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you. All that you want from me, I will do for you.”
39So all the people crossed over the Jordan, and the king also crossed over. Then he kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Barzillai then returned to his own home. 40The king went over to Gilgal, and Kimham crossed over with him.
All the people of Judah, as well as half the people of Israel, escorted the king over. 41But suddenly all the men of Israel came and said to the king, “Why have our brothers, the men of Judah, stolen you and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, along with all the men of David?”
42All the men of Judah responded to the men of Israel, “It is because the king is closely related to us! Why has this angered you? Have we eaten at the king's expense? Or have we received anything for ourselves?”
43The men of Israel responded to the men of Judah, “Ten shares of the king belong to us! That is more of David than you have the right to. Why do you despise us? Were we not the first to speak about bringing our king back?”
But the response of the men of Judah was even harsher than the words of the men of Israel.


  • 19:1 In the Hebrew text, chapter 19 starts at English 18:33. In chapter 19, the Hebrew verse numbers are all one number higher than the English verse numbers.
  • 19:12 Literally my bone and flesh
  • 19:13 Literally may God do this to me and even more