Nov 7, 2021. II Samuel 19:9-18

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RETURN OF THE KING.  II Samuel 19:9-18.  11/07/2021.  #44.

2 Samuel 19:9-18 [New King James Version]

9 Now all the people were in a dispute throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “The king saved us from the hand of our enemies, he delivered us from the hand of the Philistines, and now he has fled from the land because of Absalom. 10 But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. Now therefore, why do you say nothing about bringing back the king?” 11 So King David sent to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, saying, “Speak to the elders of Judah, saying, ‘Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house, since the words of all Israel have come to the king, to his very house? 12 You are my brethren, you are my bone and my flesh. Why then are you the last to bring back the king?’ 13 And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if you are not commander of the army before me [a]continually in place of Joab.’ ” 14 So he swayed the hearts of all the men of Judah, just as the heart of one man, so that they sent this word to the king: “Return, you and all your servants!” 15 Then the king returned and came to the Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to escort the king across the Jordan. 16 And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, who was from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 There were a 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 Then a ferryboat went across to carry over the king’s household, and to do what he thought good.

  1. A debate in Judah
    1. Judah had backed Absalom and put their hopes on him
      1.  Absalom had finessed his way into the hearts of the people by making grand promises
      1.  Since Absalom was dead, they had a problem
    1. The rest of Israel had mostly stayed with David
      1.  All of David’s family was with him
      1.  Judah is without a leader, but were also rebels
    1. Judah debated what to do
      1.  Since Absalom was dead, so was their cause
      1.  Having rebelled against David, there would be a fear of retribution
      1.  How could they bring David back after they had already rejected him?
      1.  There were no other candidates to put on the throne (all of David’s sons were with him)
    1. Some in Judah began to remember the good David did
      1.  David had protected Judah against their enemies
      1.  David had defeated Goliath and the Philistines
  2. David initiates contact with the elders of Judah
    1. He sends a message to Amasa, asking why they have not sent for him to return to Jerusalem
      1.  All the other tribes were ready to bring David back
      1.  David was of the tribe of Judah (one of them)
      1.  David asks the priests to speak to the elders
    1. David sends an offer to incentivize General Amasa
      1.  David offers to make Amasa general over the entire army in the place of Joab
      1.  Even though Joab had defeated Amasa, he had also killed Absalom
      1.  Amasa goes from enemy leading a rebellious army to being offer command of the army he fought against (a unique proposition)
    1. There is strange politics afoot here
      1.  Joab had won the war, but was out of favor
      1.  Amasa had rebelled and lost the war, but was now favored and offered command like a reward
      1.  David’s personal concerns again drive state decisions (he punishes his son’s murderer by putting Joab’s enemy in his place)
  3. David’s appeasement works
    1. Judah is relieved that David was not seeking revenge
      1.  David’s terms were more than generous
      1.  David sought no retribution at all
    1. David realized that Absalom had swayed Judah deceptively
    1. Judah’s elders eagerly accepted David’s terms
      1.  They had no other choice but David
      1.  Relieved that no additional penalties to pay
      1.  The elders invited David to return
    1. A triumphant celebratory procession forms
      1.  Shimei, who had cursed David, leads 1,000 Benjamites to greet him (Shimei fears revenge)
      1.  Ziba’s household marches with the king
      1.  A ferryboat is sent across the river to bring the entire royal family across to the west bank
    1. David’s decision is gracious, but lays the seed of more trouble, since he does not deal properly with Joab
    1. Slights are not forgotten, they just simmer