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David Restored to the Throne

19 [a]Joab was told, “The king is crying and mourning for Absalom.” The victory of that day was turned into mourning because all the troops heard that the king was grieving for his son. That day the troops sneaked into the city as if they had fled from battle and were ashamed of it. The king covered his face and cried loudly, “My son Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!”

Then Joab came into the house. “Today you have made all your men feel ashamed,” he said. “They saved your life and the lives of your sons, daughters, wives, and concubines[b] today. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. Today, you have made it clear that your commanders and servants mean nothing to you. I think you would be pleased if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead. Now, get up, go out, and encourage your men. I swear to you by Yahweh that if you don’t go out, no one will stay with you tonight, and that will be worse than all the trouble you’ve had in your entire life.”

The king sat in the gateway. When all the troops were told, “The king is sitting in the gateway,” they came to the king.

Meanwhile, Israel had fled and went back to their own homes. All the people in all the tribes of Israel were arguing with one another, saying, “The king rescued us from our enemies and saved us from the Philistines, but now he has fled from Absalom and left the country. 10 However, Absalom, whom we anointed to rule us, has died in battle. Why is no one talking about bringing back the king?”

11 What all Israel was saying reached the king at his house. So King David sent this message to the priests Zadok and Abiathar: “Ask the leaders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last tribe to bring the king back to his palace? 12 You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood. Why should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13 And tell Amasa, ‘Aren’t you my flesh and blood? May Elohim strike me dead unless you are given Joab’s place to serve me always as the commander of the army.’”

14 All the people of Judah were in total agreement. So they sent the king this message: “Come back with all your servants.”

15 The king came back to the Jordan River, and the people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and bring him across the Jordan River. 16 Shimei, Gera’s son from the tribe of Benjamin and the town of Bahurim, hurried down with the people of Judah to meet King David. 17 One thousand people from Benjamin were with him. And Ziba, the servant of Saul’s family, rushed to the Jordan River across from the king. Ziba brought his 15 sons and 20 servants. 18 They crossed the river to bring over the king’s family and to do anything else the king wanted.

Shimei, Gera’s son, bowed down in front of the king as he was going to cross the Jordan River. 19 He pleaded with the king, “Don’t remember the crime I committed the day you left Jerusalem. Don’t hold it against me or even think about it, Your Majesty. 20 I know I’ve sinned. Today I’ve come as the first of all the house of Joseph to meet you.”

21 But Abishai, Zeruiah’s son, replied, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for cursing Yahweh’s anointed king?”

22 David responded, “Are you sure we’re from the same family, sons of Zeruiah? You are my enemies today. Should anyone in Israel be killed today? Don’t I know that I’m king of Israel again?”

23 The king promised Shimei, “You won’t die,” and the king swore to it.

24 Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, went to meet the king. He had not tended to his feet, trimmed his mustache, or washed his clothes from the day the king left until he came home safely. 25 When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, “Why didn’t you go with me, Mephibosheth?”

26 He answered, “My servant deceived me, Your Majesty. Since I am disabled, I said, ‘Saddle the donkey for me, and I’ll ride on it and go with the king.’ 27 He told you lies about me, Your Majesty. However, you are like Elohim’s Messenger. Do what you think is right. 28 You could have killed anyone in my entire family, Your Majesty. Instead, you’ve seated me with those who eat at your table. So I no longer have the right to complain to the king.”

29 The king asked him, “Why do you keep talking about it? I’ve said that you and Ziba should divide the land.”

30 “Let him take it all,” Mephibosheth told the king. “It’s enough for me that you’ve come home safely.”

31 Barzillai, the man from Gilead, came from Rogelim with the king to the Jordan River to send him on his way. 32 Barzillai was an elderly man, 80 years old. Because he was a very rich man, he had provided the king with food while he was staying at Mahanaim.

33 The king told Barzillai, “Cross the river with me. I’ll provide for you in Jerusalem.”

34 Barzillai replied, “I don’t have much longer to live. I shouldn’t go with Your Majesty to Jerusalem. 35 I’m 80 years old now. How can I tell what is pleasant and what is not? Can I taste what I eat or drink? Can I still hear the singing of men and women? Why should I now become a burden to you, Your Majesty? 36 I’ll just cross the Jordan River with you. Why should you give me such a reward? 37 Please let me go back so that I can die in my city near the grave of my father and mother. But here is Chimham. Let him go across with you. And do for him what you think is right.”

38 “Chimham will go across with me,” the king said. “I will do for him whatever you want. Anything you wish I’ll do for you.”

39 All the troops crossed the Jordan River, and then the king crossed. The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Then Barzillai went back home.

40 The king crossed the river to Gilgal, and Chimham went with him. All the troops from Judah and half of the troops from Israel brought the king across.

41 Then all the people of Israel kept coming to the king. They asked, “Why did our cousins, the people of Judah, kidnap you and bring Your Majesty and your family and men across the Jordan River?”

42 All the people of Judah answered the people of Israel, “Because the king is our relative. Why are you angry about this? Did we eat the king’s food, or did he give us any gifts?”[c]

43 The people of Israel answered the people of Judah, “We have ten times your interest in the king and a greater claim on David than you have. Why, then, do you despise us? Weren’t we the first to suggest bringing back our king?”

But the people of Judah spoke even more harshly than the people of Israel.


  1. 2 Samuel 19:1 2 Samuel 19:1–43 in English Bibles is 2 Samuel 19:2–44 in the Hebrew Bible.
  2. 2 Samuel 19:5 A concubine is considered a wife except she has fewer rights under the law.
  3. 2 Samuel 19:42 Greek; Hebrew meaning uncertain.