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2 Samuel 19

1 They brought Joab word. They said: »The king weeps and mourns for Absalom.«

2 David’s army found out he was crying because his son died. Suddenly their day of victory turned into a day of sadness.

3 The troops returned to Mahanaim without celebration. It was as if they ran away from battle and were ashamed.

4 David held his hands over his face and kept on crying loudly. »My son, Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!«

5 Joab went to the house where David was staying and told him: »You have made your soldiers ashamed! They saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and wives as well.

6 »You are more loyal to your enemies than to your friends. You show your officers and soldiers that they do not mean a thing to you. You would be happy if Absalom was still alive even if the rest of us were dead.

7 »Now stand up! Go out there and thank them for what they did. If you do not, I swear by Jehovah you will not even have one man left on your side tomorrow morning. You may have had a lot of troubles in the past. But this will be the worst thing that has ever happened to you!«

8 The king sat in the gateway. The troops were told: »The king is sitting in the gateway.« So they went to the king. Meanwhile, Israel fled back to their homes.

9 All the people in all the tribes of Israel argued with one another. They said: »The king rescued us from our enemies and saved us from the Philistines. Now he has fled from Absalom and left the country.

10 »Absalom, whom we anointed to rule us, has died in battle. Why is no one talking about reinstating 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 reinstate the king back to his palace?

12 »You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood. Why should you be the last to reinstate the king?«

13 »Say to Amasa: ‘Are you my flesh and blood? May God 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 returned to the Jordan River. The people of Judah went to Gilgal to meet the king and bring him across the Jordan River.

16 Shimei son of Gera 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. Ziba the servant of Saul’s family rushed to the Jordan River across from the king. Ziba brought his fifteen sons and twenty servants.

18 They brought David’s family and servants back across the river. They did everything he wanted them to do. Shimei crossed the Jordan River and bowed down in front of David.

19 He said: »I beg you not to punish me! Please forget what I did when you left Jerusalem. Do not even think about it.

20 »I know I was wrong and have sinned. That is why I wanted to be the first one from the northern tribes to meet you.«

21 But Abishai shouted: »You should be killed for cursing Jehovah’s chosen king!«

22 David exclaimed: »Abishai, what will I do with you and your brother Joab? Is it your job to tell me who has done wrong? I have been made king of all Israel today. No one will be put to death!«

23 David promised Shimei that he would not be killed.

24 Mephibosheth grandson of Saul also came to meet David. He missed David so much that he did not take a bath or trim his beard or wash his clothes the whole time David was gone.

25 They returned to Jerusalem. Mephibosheth came to see David. David asked him: »Why did you not go with me?«

26 He answered: »Your Majesty, you know I cannot walk. I told my servant to saddle a donkey for me so I could go with you. But my servant left without me.

27 »He told you lies about me. My lord the king is like an angel of God. Do what you think is right.

28 »You could have killed anyone in my entire family. Instead you seated me with those who eat at your table. I no longer have the right to complain to my lord the king.«

29 The king asked him: »Why do you keep talking about it? I said you and Ziba should divide the land.«

30 »Let him take it all,« Mephibosheth told the king. »It is enough for me that you have 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 a very old man. He was eighty years old. He was very rich. He supplied the king with food while he was staying at Mahanaim.

33 The king said to him: »Come with me to Jerusalem. I will take care of you.«

34 Barzillai answered: »I do not have long to live. Why should I go with Your Majesty to Jerusalem?

35 »I am already eighty years old. Nothing gives me pleasure any more. I cannot taste what I eat and drink. I cannot hear the voices of singers. I would only be a burden to my lord the king.

36 »I will cross the river with you. But I will only go a little way on the other side. You do not have to be so kind to me.

37 »Please let me return to my hometown. There I can someday be buried near my father and mother. My servant Chimham can go with you. You can treat him as your own.«

38 David said: »I will take Chimham with me. Whatever you ask me to do for him, I will do. If you want anything else I will do it.«

39 David’s soldiers went across the river. He stayed behind to tell Barzillai good-by and to wish him well. Barzillai returned home.

40 Chimham crossed the river with David. All of Judah’s army and half of Israel’s army were there to help David cross the river.

41 All the people of Israel came to the king. They asked: »Why did our brothers, the people of Judah, kidnap you and bring you and your family 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?«

43 The Israelites replied: »We have ten times as many claims on King David as you have! We know he is one of you. Why do you look down on us? Do not forget that we were the first to talk about bringing the king back!« The men of Judah were more violent in making their claims than the men of Israel.

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