RETURN TO JERUSALEM
Greetings, and welcome back to Daily Bread! To recap
what happened last in our story, David was just told that
his son, Absalom was killed. When we left he was in an
upstairs room mourning over the loss of his son.
RETURN TO JERUSALEM STUDY ON RETURN TO JERUSALEM STORY WITH RETURN TO JERUSALEM MESSAGE
Joab was told, "The king is mourning over Absalom. The
day of victory was turned into a day of mourning for everyone because they heard
how the king was grieved. The people returned quickly back into the city,
ashamed to rejoice like those who return who have been triumphant in
battle. The king covered his face continuing to say, 'My son Absalom! O my son
Joab went into the king's house and told him, "You make
all the people who fought for you today, including your entire family, ashamed
because you act like you love your enemies and hate your friends! You've proven
that you don't care for any of us, and I think you would've been happier if we
had all died and Absalom had lived. Now, go out and reassure your people that
you care for them or I promise none of them will remain loyal to you through
this very night. Then you'll be worse off than you've ever been in your life."
What a tangled up story this is, huh? We know that all
of what's happening has been prophesied, that David's family would be in
conflict because of the mistake he made with Bathsheba. David's son Absalom, who
had the best intentions defending the honor of his sister, kills Amnon, his
brother who raped her, and ends up an outcast. He finally gets to return home
after three years in banishment. Once home, however, David doesn't speak to
Absalom for another two years. Finally, they reconcile, to David's glee because
he really does have a very tender affection for Absalom. For the following
years, Absalom gradually wins the hearts of Israel while slowly luring their
loyalty away from David, convincing Israel ever so cleverly that he's the cat's
pajamas. Absalom then hatches a plan to take over the kingdom from his dad. My,
oh my, oh my! One has to imagine that David isn't exactly a sprightly young man
by this time and he is forced to flee from his home with much of Judah following
him, yet the last thing he wants is for any harm to befall his beloved son.
Absalom ends up dead in the end, hanging by the hair of his head from an oak
tree. Would you ever have imagined it would all end up this way when you were
reading about how Absalom took his little sister in so that she wouldn't feel
like her dignity was destroyed after her other brother raped her?
How many of our lives have drama like this in them?
Truthfully and sadly ... Most of them. And how much of it could be conquered, OR
AVOIDED if we did things just a little differently? Bible stories have important
lessons hidden in each of them that we can relate to our own lives, if we will
just open up our hearts to God's Word and apply it whenever and wherever we
can. Now, back to our story.
So the king got up and went to the gate. Keep in mind,
David is still in Mahanaim. News spread that he was sitting at the gate so all
the people went to see him.
Must have been a really weird time, don't you agree?
The people who remained loyal to David were feeling strange because he was
acting like they were the bad guys for killing his son the bad guy, and the
people who were deceived by Absalom and were fighting against those who remained
loyal to David, were feeling like traitors. But one thing is a fact ... David is
still the king. Absalom's followers may have "declared" Absalom king, but
Absalom is dead now, and David is still alive. David IS the king. Yet all the
people, no matter who they chose to support, are feeling a litttttle weird about
things right now ... No doubt.
Now, Absalom's army had all fled to their own homes in
their own cities in Israel, but the people reminded one another saying, "King
David saved us from our enemies and delivered us out of the hand of the
Philistines. Then he fled out of the land because of Absalom. Now Absalom, who
we declared king, is dead. They asked one another, "Why don't we ask the king to
forgive us and take the kingdom again?"
RETURN TO JERUSALEM LESSON WITH RETURN TO JERUSALEM EXPLANATION
King David got wind of the talk that was going around Israel and he sent
message to Zadok and Abiathar (who were back in Jerusalem still) saying,
"It would be a shame if all the other tribes of Israel ask me to be their king
again, while Judah is the last to welcome me, since you're my brethren ... My own
flesh and blood. Ask the people of Judah, 'Why are you the last tribe to want to
welcome me back?' Ask Amasa, "You're my own nephew, are you not? May God deal
severely with me if I don't make you commander of my army permanently in place
And Amasa united the hearts of all the men of Judah and
they eagerly sent word to the king asking him and his servants to return. So the
king left Mahanaim and came to Jordan, and the men of Judah went to Gilgal to
meet the king and bring him across the river.
Shimei quickly came with the men of Judah as well to
meet the king. Remember Shimei? He was the one who went alongside the mountain
cursing David as he was leaving Jerusalem. He also brought with him a thousand
Benjamites, Ziba, and Ziba's fifteen sons and twenty servants. They crossed over
the river in a ferry to meet the king and bring him back.
As soon as Shimei crossed the river, he fell on the
ground in front of David saying, "Please forgive me for what I did and said to
you the day you left Jerusalem. I know I have sinned so I made sure to be the
first person of all the house of Joseph to greet you today, my lord and king.
We can probably all learn something from Shimei. He
KNEW he did wrong. Instead of hoping the king would just forgive and forget and
move on, he went the extra mile. He made sure he was the FIRST one to greet the
king, he admitted he messed up, and asked forgiveness. Shimei wanted to start
fresh with the king. Maybe today can be a new start with someone you need to
But Abishai said, "Shouldn't Shimei die because he has
cursed the Lord's anointed?" (I tell ya, that Zeruiah must have had her hands
full raising those boys.)
David answered, "What have I done to you sons of
Zeruiah, that you want to stir up trouble on such a day? Should any one be put
death in Israel today? Do I have to PROVE today that I am king over Israel, or
don't I know?" David said to Shimei, "You will not die. I promise."
Forgiveness, sweet forgiveness. A simple, sincere
apology can change so much.
And Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son also came to meet the
king. (You're gonna love this.) Remember, Ziba told David that Mephibosheth
stayed in Jerusalem and was thinking that Israel was going to restore the
kingdom of Saul to him, so David gave Ziba all of Saul's possessions that he had
previously given to Mephibosheth. Well, it turns out that Ziba lied, and left
Mephibosheth who was handicapped, neglected and he couldn't follow David when he
left Jerusalem. Since the day the king left, he had not worn shoes, trimmed his
beard or washed his clothes.
RETURN TO JERUSALEM INFORMATION WITH RETURN TO JERUSALEM MEANING
When he came into Jerusalem to meet the king, the king
asked him, "Why didn't you go with me?" He answered, "My lord ... Ziba deceived
me. I wanted to go with you. I told him that I would go with you on a mule
because I am lame, but he wouldn't help me. He lied to you about me. But my king
is an angel of God. Do what you think is best. All of my father's family is
dead, and you took me in. So what do I have to complain about?"
Couldn't we all benefit from
that kind of perspective?
Stop complaining, no excuses, and start fresh in the moment.
David, the gracious soul that he was, and especially on
that day, ordered for Ziba to divide all the possessions. To that, Mephibosheth
responded, "Let him take it all, I'm just happy enough that my lord has come
Barzillai was an old wealthy man who had provided food
for the king while he was in Mahanaim. David asked him to return to Jerusalem
with him but because of his age, Barzillai didn't really enjoy the eating and
drinking and music and singing and such that entertains people who live among
royalty, so he asked David to pardon him if he wanted to stay in his own city
and be buried there rather than be a burden to the king. David agreed, and
instead took Barzillai's servant Chimham with him. Barzillai accompanied David
over the Jordan and then as the two friends parted, the king gave Barzillai a
kiss and blessed him, and Barzillai returned to his own home.
David went on to Gilgal and all the people of Judah
accompanied the king as well as half the people of Israel. Then the rest of
Israel came to the David and complained that the men of Judah secretly stole the
king over the river and didn't invite the rest of Israel to join in bringing the
The men of Judah argued that they had a right to do what
they did because the king was a close relative of theirs and asked why the men
of Israel were so angry since that hadn't gained any kind of gifts or favors for
what they had done. The men of Israel argued back that they had more claim to
David than Judah since they were ten parts of Israel, where Judah was only one
part. They asked why they were disrespected and not asked to be included in
bringing home the king, and it seemed like the argument of the men of Judah was
stronger than what the men of Israel were saying ... HOWEVER ...
It's such a shame that the celebration was mingled with
controversy among the people. How much do you wanna bet the rest of the trip
back home isn't gonna be without more adventures? You'll have to hurry back and
we'll find out together just exactly what the HOWEVER was, right here at