Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom.9. The Return of the King
1. The continued grief of the king (2Samuel 19:1-8)
2. The return of the king (2Samuel 19:9-16)
3. Mercy shown to Shimei (2Samuel 19:17-23)
4. Mephibosheth’s joy (2Samuel 19:24-30)
5. Barzillai and Chimham (2Samuel 19:31-40)
6. Strife between Judah and Israel (2Samuel 19:41-43)
What grief must have been David’s that “the victory of that day was turned into mourning”? And the people went about on tip-toe, like people ashamed after defeat. A great stillness pervaded everything, only broken by the loud and wailing voice of David: “O, my son Absalom, O, Absalom my son, my son!” All mourned with him. But what a man must this David have been to endear himself to his men, that his personal grief became so completely theirs?
Then Joab acted. He speaks as a wise statesman. It was a bold rebuke, but well deserved, for David’s continued mourning was more than weakness; it was selfishness. That he greatly resented the words of condemnation of Joab may be learned from the fact that immediately after he appointed Amasa as commander in chief of his army instead of Joab. The word was also spoken to bring the king back to Jerusalem from exile and he returned.
Once more Shimei appears upon the scene; he brings with him a thousand men of Benjamin and Ziba also. Shimei fell down before the King and implored his forgiveness. Though Abishai suggested his death, the mercy Shimei craved was readily granted and the King sware unto him. But the mercy shown was at the expense of righteousness. The ultimate fate of Shimei we shall find recorded in 1 Kings 2.
Mephibosheth appears next with undressed feet, untrimmed hair and unwashed clothes; he had been thus since the flight of the King. Ziba’s deception practised on the King is now discovered. But David’s conduct towards lame Mephibosheth cannot be justified. The impatience David showed when Mephibosheth speaks is proof that he felt guilty at the rash word he spoke to Ziba. Then he tells Mephibosheth that he and Ziba should divide the land. This was injustice. The deception of Ziba had deserved punishment. Beautiful is Mephibosheth’s answer. It shows a love and devotion which is almost unsurpassed in the Bible. “Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the King is come again in peace to his own house.” It was a sweet echo of Jonathan’s love for David. It hardly needs to be pointed out that in all this David still acts as a natural man and not as guided by Jehovah and His Spirit. His object was to make himself still more attractive with the people and conciliate the different factions. If he had acted in faith, remembering that the Lord had called him into the kingdom and that He was able to keep him, he would not have tried to gain his end by such means. The bright picture in this chapter is aged and unselfish Barzillai. And the strife between Judah and Israel on account of the King is the first indication of the great division and the internal strifes, which many years later broke out among the people. Thus failure is seen on all sides.