« PreviousContinue »
SHIMEI PARDONED THE KING GOETH OVER JORDAN.
From 2 Samuel, Chap. xix.
AND Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted, and came down with the men of Judah, to meet king David.
And 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 Jordan before the king.
And there went over a ferry-boat to carry over the king's household, and to do what he thought good; and Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king as he was come over Jordan; and said unto the king, Let not my Lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart.
For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph, to go down to meet my lord the king.
But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD's anointed?
And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know, that I am this day king over Israel? therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die; and the king sware unto him.
And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim,
and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan.
Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old, and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim: for he was a very great man.
And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem.
And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem? I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of sing, ing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?
Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward? let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father, and of my mother:
But behold thy servant Chimham, let him go over with my lord the king, and do to him what shall seem good unto thee.
And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee.
And all the people went over Jordan: and when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him: and he returned unto his own place.
Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him: and all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel,
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The manner in which David acted towards Shimei
reflects great honour on his memory: had not his character for humanity and gentleness of manners been generally known, it cannot be supposed, that one who had so vilely insulted him in the day of distress would have ventured to cast himself upon his mercy. The king was resolved not to interrupt the joy of reconcilement with his people, by shedding the blood of a reviler, whose reproaches, though undeserved, had contributed to bring his mind inte that humble state, which had made his prayers acceptable to the LORD. What an excellent example has he left for the imitation of those who meet with contumely and reproach!
Barzillai was a faithful subject, and his sovereign was not insensible to his merit. This was a happy day to David; for he had opportunities of exercising his mercy, benevolence, and gratitude.
A CONTEST BETWEEN THE TRIBES.
A REBELLION ENSUES.
From 2 Samuel, Chap. xix, xx.
AND behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren, the men of Judah, stolen thee away, and have brought the king and his houshold, and all David's men with him over Jordan?
And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us: wherefore then be ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the king's cost? or hath he given us any gift?
And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise
despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite; and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: Every man to his tents, O Israel. ·
So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah. clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem.
And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace.
And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth? And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king: because thy servant is lame.
And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes.
For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king. And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters?. I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land.
And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It is very easy to raise commotions in a state, but hard to quell them; for when fellow-subjects have been used to regard each other as enemies, animosities break out on every trifling occasion; as was the case in the present instance. Perhaps David was impolitic in sending to the men of Judah; but as it was his own tribe, we can scarcely wonder that he was solicitous for their countenancing him on this occasion; neither was it safe for him to go to Jerusalem, till he had their assurance, that they would yield him quiet possession of it. When he knew that the gates of the city would be opened to him, he began his march, never supposing that the other tribes would expect a particular invitation; however, pride and jealousy made them suspect him of partiality to Judalı; and the imprudent haughty answer which this tribe returned to their remonstrances, blew up the flame. Sheba being a Benjamite, had a personal hatred to David, on account of his having been appointed of GOD to supersede Saul's family; he therefore took advantage of the present dispute, with a view to his own interest.
The joy, which David would otherwise have felt at his return to Jerusalem, was greatly damped by these fresh contentions; but he still trusted in the LORD.
Mephibosheth's answer to the king's enquiry, why he had not attended him? implied, that it was his wish to have done so; but David's reply gives us reason to suppose that he did not believe him sincere; though, for the sake of Jonathan, he was contented to pass the matter over without a scrutiny, which he feared might end in the disgrace of Mephibosheth. Ziba had done the king very acceptable services, and his story was a probable one. If Mephibosheth was able to ride, surely he might