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Joab Scolds David

19 People told Joab what had happened, “Look, the king is crying and mourning for Absalom.” So the joy of victory turned to sadness for everyone. It was a very sad day because the people heard, “The king is mourning for his son.”

The people came into the city quietly as if they were the ones who had been defeated in battle. The king had covered his face and was crying loudly, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Joab came into the king’s palace and said to the king, “You are humiliating every one of your officers! Look, they saved your life today and the lives of your sons and daughters and your wives and slave women. It seems that you love those who hate you, and you hate those who love you! Today you have made it clear to your officers and men that they mean nothing to you. It appears as if you would have been perfectly happy if Absalom had lived and the rest of us had been killed today! Now get up and go encourage your officers. I swear by the Lord, if you don’t go out and do that right now, not one man will be with you tonight. And that will be worse for you than all the trouble you have had since you were a child.”

So the king went to the city gate.[a] The news spread that the king was at the gate, so all the people came to see him, except for the Israelites who had run away to their homes.

David Is King Again

The tribes of Israel began discussing what to do next. They said, “King David saved us from the Philistines and our other enemies. David left the country because he was running away from Absalom. 10 We anointed Absalom to be the king, but he was killed in battle. So we should bring David back to be the king again.”

11 King David sent a message to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. David said, “Speak to the leaders of Judah and tell them, ‘Why are you the last tribe to bring King David back home? See, all the Israelites are talking about bringing the king back home. 12 You are my brothers, my family, so why are you the last tribe to bring the king back?’ 13 Also tell Amasa, ‘You are part of my family. I swear that I will make you captain of the army in Joab’s place.’”

14 David touched the hearts of the people of Judah, and they all agreed as one. The people of Judah sent a message to the king, saying, “You and all your officers come back!”

15 King David came to the Jordan River. The people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and take him across the Jordan River.

Shimei Asks David to Forgive Him

16 Shimei son of Gera, from the tribe of Benjamin, lived in Bahurim. Shimei rushed down to meet King David, with the rest of the people of Judah. 17 About 1000 people from the tribe of Benjamin came with Shimei. Ziba the servant from Saul’s family also came. Ziba brought his 15 sons and 20 servants with him. All these people hurried to the Jordan River to meet King David.

18 The people went across the Jordan River to help bring the king’s family back to Judah. They did whatever the king wanted. While the king was crossing the river, Shimei son of Gera came to meet him. He bowed down to the ground in front of the king. 19 Shimei said to the king, “My lord, don’t think about the wrong things I did. My lord and king, don’t remember the bad things I did when you left Jerusalem. 20 I know that I sinned. That is why today I am the first person from Joseph’s family[b] to come down and meet you, my lord and king.”

21 Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Let’s kill him for all the bad things he said about the Lord’s chosen king.[c]

22 David said, “What should I do with you, sons of Zeruiah? Are you trying to cause me trouble? No one will be put to death in Israel today! Today I know that I am king over Israel.”

23 Then the king said to Shimei, “You will not die.” The king made a promise to Shimei that he himself would not kill Shimei.[d]

Mephibosheth Goes to See David

24 Saul’s grandson,[e] Mephibosheth, came down to meet King David. Mephibosheth had not cared for his feet, trimmed his mustache, or washed his clothes since the day the king left Jerusalem. 25 When he met the king at Jerusalem, the king said, “Mephibosheth, why didn’t you go with me when I ran away from Jerusalem?”

26 Mephibosheth answered, “My lord and king, my servant tricked me. I am crippled so I said to my servant, Ziba, ‘Go saddle a donkey for me so that I can go with the king.’ 27 But my servant tricked me and said bad things about me. My lord and king, you are like an angel from God. Do whatever you think is right. 28 You could have killed all my grandfather’s[f] family, but you did not do that. Instead, you included me among the people who eat at your own table. So I don’t have a right to complain to the king about anything.”

29 The king said to Mephibosheth, “Don’t say anything more about your problems. This is what I have decided: You and Ziba will divide the land.”

30 Mephibosheth said to the king, “My lord and king, it is enough that you have come home in peace. Let Ziba have the land.”

David Asks Barzillai to Come With Him

31 Barzillai of Gilead came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan River with King David and send him on his way home. 32 Barzillai was a very old man, 80 years old. He had given the king food and other things when David was staying at Mahanaim. Barzillai could do this because he was a very rich man. 33 David said to Barzillai, “Come across the river with me. I will take care of you if you will live in Jerusalem with me.”

34 But Barzillai said to the king, “Do you know how old I am? Do you think I can go with you to Jerusalem? 35 I am 80 years old! I am too old to tell what is bad or good. I cannot taste what I eat or drink or hear the voices of men and women singers. Why should you want to be bothered with me? 36 I don’t need any of the things that you want to give me. I will cross the Jordan River with you. 37 Then please let me go back so that I can die in my own town and be buried in the grave of my father and mother. But here is Kimham; take him back with you as a servant, my lord and king. Do whatever you want with him.”

38 The king answered, “Kimham will go back with me. I will be kind to him for you. I will do anything for you.”

David Goes Back Home

39 The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Barzillai went back home, and the king and all the people went across the river.

40 The king crossed the Jordan River to Gilgal. Kimham went with him. All the people of Judah and half the people of Israel led David across the river.

Israelites Argue With the People of Judah

41 All the Israelites came to the king and said to him, “Why did our brothers, the people of Judah, steal you away? Why did they bring you and your family back across the Jordan River with your men?”

42 All the people of Judah answered the Israelites, “We did it because the king is our close relative. Why are you angry with us about this? We have not eaten food at the king’s expense. The king did not give us any gifts.”

43 The Israelites answered, “We have ten shares in David,[g] so we have more right to David than you do. Why did you ignore us? We were the first ones to talk about bringing our king back.”

But the people of Judah replied with words that were even louder and angrier than those of the Israelites.


  1. 2 Samuel 19:8 city gate This was where the public meetings were held.
  2. 2 Samuel 19:20 Joseph’s family This probably means the Israelites who followed Absalom. Many times the name Ephraim (a son of Joseph) is used for all the tribes in northern Israel.
  3. 2 Samuel 19:21 chosen king Literally, “anointed one.”
  4. 2 Samuel 19:23 David did not kill Shimei. But a few years later, David’s son Solomon ordered Shimei to be put to death. See 1 Kings 2:44-46.
  5. 2 Samuel 19:24 grandson Literally, “son.”
  6. 2 Samuel 19:28 grandfather’s Literally, “father’s.”
  7. 2 Samuel 19:43 ten shares in David Judah and Benjamin were two of the tribes that later became the kingdom of Judah after the kingdom split. The other ten tribes were in the kingdom of Israel.

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