1People told the news to Joab. They told Joab, “Look, the king is crying and very sad for Absalom.” 2˻David’s army˼ had won the battle that day. But the joy of victory had turned to sadness for all the people. It was a very sad day because the people heard, “The king is very sad for his son.” 3The people came into the city quietly. They were like people who had been defeated in battle and had run away. 4The king had covered his face. He was crying loudly, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 5Joab came into the king’s house. Joab said to the king, “You are humiliating every one of your officers! Look, those officers saved your life today. And they saved the lives of your sons and daughters and your wives and women servants. 6You love the people who hate you, and you hate the people who love you. Today you have made it clear that your officers and men mean nothing to you. I can see that you would be perfectly happy if Absalom had lived and all of us had been killed today! 7Now get up and go speak to your officers. Encourage them! I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out and do that right now, you won’t have one man with you tonight. And that will be worse than all the trouble you have had since you were a child.” 8Then the king went to the city gate. The news spread that the king was at the gate. So all the people came to see the king. All the Israelites ˻that followed Absalom˼ had run away and went home. 9All the people in all the family groups of Israel began to argue. They said, “King David saved us from the Philistines and our other enemies. David ran away from Absalom. 10So we chose Absalom to rule us. But now Absalom is dead. He was killed in battle. So we should make David the king again.” 11King David sent ˻a message˼ to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. David said, “Speak to the leaders of Judah. Say, 'Why are you the last family group to bring King David back to his house? See, all the Israelites are talking about bringing the king back to his house. 12You are my brothers, you are my family. Then why are you the last family group to bring back the king?’ 13And say to Amasa, 'You are part of my family. May God punish me if I don’t make you captain of the army in Joab’s place.’” 14David touched the hearts of all the people of Judah, so that they agreed like one man. The people of Judah sent ˻a message˼ to the king. They said, “You and all your officers come back!” 15King David came to the Jordan River. The people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and take him across the Jordan River. 16Shimei son of Gera was from the family group of Benjamin. He lived in Bahurim. Shimei hurried down to meet King David. Shimei came with the people of Judah. 17About 1,000 people from the family group 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. 18The people went across the Jordan River to help bring the king’s family back to Judah. The people did anything the king wanted. While the king was crossing the river, Shimei son of Gera came to meet him. Shimei bowed down on the ground in front of the king. 19Shimei 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. 20You know that I sinned. That is why today I am the first person from Joseph’s family to come down and meet you, my lord and king.” 21But Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “We must kill Shimei because he asked for bad things to happen to the Lord’s chosen king.” 22David said, “What should I do with you, sons of Zeruiah? Today you are against me. No person will be put to death in Israel. Today I know I am king over Israel.” 23Then the king said to Shimei, “You will not die.” The king made a promise to Shimei that he himself would not kill Shimei. 24Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, came down to meet King David. From the time the king had left Jerusalem until he came back in peace, Mephibosheth had not cared for his feet, trimmed his mustache, or washed his clothes. 25When Mephibosheth met the king at Jerusalem, the king said, “Mephibosheth, why didn’t you go with me ˻when I ran away from Jerusalem˼?” 26Mephibosheth answered, “My lord and king, my servant tricked me. I am crippled so I said to my servant, Ziba, 'Go put a saddle on a donkey. Then I will ride on it and go with the king.’ 27But my servant tricked me. He ˻only went to you and˼ said bad things about me. But my lord and king, you are like an angel from God. Do whatever you think is right. 28You could have killed all my grandfather’s family. But you did not do this. You put me with the people who eat at your own table. So I don’t have a right to complain to the king about anything.” 29The king said to Mephibosheth, “Don’t say anything more about your problems. This is what I decide: You and Ziba will divide the land.” 30Mephibosheth said to the king, “My lord and king, it is enough that you have come home in peace. Let Ziba have the land!” 31Barzillai of Gilead came down from Rogelim. He came to the Jordan River with King David. He went with the king to lead him across ˻the river˼. 32Barzillai was a very old man. He was 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. 33David said to Barzillai, “Come across ˻the river˼ with me. I will take care of you if you will live in Jerusalem with me.” 34But Barzillai said to the king, “Do you know how old I am? Do you think I can go with you to Jerusalem? 35I am 80 years old! I am too old to tell which is bad and which is good. I am too old to taste the things I eat or drink. I am too old to hear any more the voices of men and women that sing. Why should you want to be bothered with me? 36I don’t need any of the things that you want to give me. I will go across the Jordan River with you. 37But please, let me go back home. Then I can die in my own town and be buried in the grave of my father and mother. But here, Kimham can be your servant; let him go back with you, my lord and king. Do whatever you want with him.” 38The king answered, “Kimham will go back with me. I will be kind to him for you. I will do anything for you.” 39The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him. Barzillai went back home. And the king and all the people went across the river. 40The 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. 41All the Israelites came to the king. They said to the king, “Our brothers, the people of Judah, stole you away and brought you and your family across the Jordan River with your men. Why?” 42All the people of Judah answered the Israelites, “Because the king is our close relative. Why are you angry with us about this thing? We have not eaten food at the king’s expense. The king did not give us any gifts.” 43The Israelites answered, “We have ten shares in David. So we have more right to David than you do. But you ignored us. Why? We were the ones that first talked about bringing our king back.” ˻But the people of Judah made a very ugly answer to the Israelites˼. The words of the people of Judah were more ugly than the words of the Israelites.
2 Samuel 19