2 Samuel 19:40
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(40) All the people.—The tribe of Judah, deeply moved by the measures and words of David, had united generally in his restoration; the other tribes, who had first proposed to return to their allegiance (2Samuel 19:9-10), had not had time to join in the present movement, or had not generally known of it, and only Shimei with his one thousand Benjamites, and doubtless others living near, together with the tribes east of the Jordan, represented altogether as “half the people of Israel,” were able to come together.

2 Samuel 19:40. All the people of Judah — That is, the elders and great men of Judah. Also half the people of Israel — Whereas the men of Judah came entirely and unanimously to the king, the Israelites, of the other tribes, came in but slowly, and by halves, as being no less guilty of rebellion than the tribe of Judah; but not encouraged to come in by such a gracious message as they were. And this is here mentioned as the occasion both of the contention here following, and of the sedition, chap. 20.19:40-43 The men of Israel though themselves despised, and the fiercer words of the men of Judah produced very bad effects. Much evil might be avoided, if men would watch against pride, and remember that a soft answer turneth away wrath. Though we have right and reason on our side, if we speak it with fierceness, God is displeased.The "people" is the term especially applied in this narrative to David's followers 2 Samuel 15:17; 2 Samuel 16:14; 2 Samuel 17:2; 2 Samuel 18:1-2; 2 Samuel 19:2-3. They crossed by the ford, while David and his household, accompanied by Barzillai and Chimham, came over in the ferry. 40-43. the king went on to Gilgal, … and all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel—Whether from impatience to move on or from some other cause, David did not wait till all the tribes had arrived to conduct him on his return to the capital. The procession began as soon as Amasa had brought the Judahite escort, and the preference given to this tribe produced a bitter jealousy, which was nearly kindling a civil war fiercer than that which had just ended. A war of words ensued between the tribes—Israel resting their argument on their superior numbers; "they had ten parts in the king," whereas Judah had no more than one. Judah grounded their right to take the lead, on the ground of their nearer relationship to the king. This was a claim dangerous to the house of David; and it shows the seeds were already sown for that tribal dissension which, before long, led to the dismemberment of the kingdom. Conducted the king; attended upon him on his journey towards Jerusalem.

And also half the people of Israel; whereas the men of Judah came entirely and unanimously to the king, as is noted here, and above, 2 Samuel 19:14, the Israelites of the other tribes came in but slowly, and by halves, as being no less guilty of the rebellion than the tribe of Judah; but not encouraged and invited to come in by such a particular and gracious message as they were. And this is here mentioned as the occasion both of the contention here following, and of the sedition, 2Sa 20. Then the king went on to Gilgal,.... Which, according to Josephus (n), was fifty furlongs from Jordan, six miles and a quarter:

and Chimham went on with him; after Barzillai had left them, and accompanied the king to Jerusalem:

and all the people of Judah conducted the king; to Jerusalem; who came to meet him, 2 Samuel 19:15,

and also half the people of Israel; or a part of them, as the word used signifies, and not always an equal half, so Kimchi observes; even such of Israel as went out with David at first, and the a thousand men of Benjamin that came to meet him, 2 Samuel 19:17.

(n) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 4.

Then the king went on to {r} Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him: and all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of {s} Israel.

(r) Where the tribe of Judah waited to receive him.

(s) Who had taken the side of the king.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 40. - Half the people of Israel. The northern tribes had been the first to debate the question of the king's recall (ver. 9), while the men of Judah hung back. But at the instigation of the high priests and of Amasa, who was actually in command, they determined upon David's restoration, and acted so promptly and so independently of the rest of Israel that, when they reached Gilgal, only the delegates of a few tribes were in time to join them. As we read in ver. 41 of "all the men of Israel," it is evident that the rest had rapidly followed. It would have been well if the tribe of Judah had informed the rest of their purpose, as the bringing of David back would then have been the act of all Israel; but tribal jealousies were the cause of Israel's weakness throughout the time of the judges, and broke out into open disunion upon the death of Solomon. As Barzillai had supplied the king with provisions during his stay in Mahanaim (שׁיבה for ישׁיבה, like צואה for יצואה, and other words of the same kind), because he was very wealthy (lit. great), David would gladly have taken him with him to Jerusalem, to repay him there for his kindness; but Barzillai replied (2 Samuel 19:34.), "How many days are there of the years of my life (i.e., how long shall I have yet to live), that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? I am now eighty years old; can I((still) distinguish good and evil, or will thy servant taste what I eat and drink, or listen again to the voice of the singing men and singing women? and why should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king? Thy servant would go over the Jordan with the king for a short time (i.e., could not remain long with him), and why does the king wish to repay me this favour?" ישׁב־נא: "Let thy servant return, that I may die in my city (my home), at the grave of my parents; and behold thy servant Chimham (i.e., according to the explanation given by Josephus, Barzillai's son, who had come down with his father, as we may infer from 1 Kings 2:7) may go over with my lord the king; and do to him what seemeth good to thee," i.e., show him favours at thy pleasure.
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