1 The king was greatly disturbed and, going up to the room over the gate, he wept and said, “O, my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
2 It was reported to Joab, “The king is weeping and mourning for Ab salom.” 3 So the victory that day turned into mourning for all the people, when they heard that the king was grieving over his son. 4 The people quietly entered the city that day, like those fleeing from battle in shame. 5 The king covered his face and was crying aloud, “O my son Ab salom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
6 Joab then came to the king’s house and said, “You have today put to shame all your servants who saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, and of your wives and concubines. 7 Yes, you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that your commanders and guards mean nothing to you. I know that if Absalom were alive today and all of us dead, you would be pleased. 8 You must now show yourself and say a good word to your guards for, I swear by Yahweh, if you do not, no one will stay with you tonight, and this will be worse than all the evil that has happened to you from your youth to the present day.”
9 So the king took his seat at the gate and as the people were informed that the king was sitting at the gate, they came before him.
9 The people of Israel had fled, each man to his own home. 10 Yet throughout all the tribes of Israel, the people were arguing, “The king who delivered us from the Philistines has had to flee because of Absalom. 11 We ourselves anointed Ab sa lom to rule over us. But if he died in battle, what prevents us from bringing back the king?”
David returns to Jerusalem
12 King David heard what the Israelites said. So he sent this message to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “Say to the elders of Judah: ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house? 13 You are relatives, of my own race. Why should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 14 Say also to Amasa, ‘Are you not of my own family? I swear before God that I will make you general of my army in place of Joab.”
15 So he won over the men of Judah and, as one man, they sent word to the king, “Please return with your servants.” 16 So the king came back and the men of Judah went over to Gilgal to welcome him and help him cross the Jordan.
17 Shimei, son of Gera, the Benja mi nite from Bahurim, hurried down with the people of Judah to meet King David. 18 He had taken with him a thousand men from Benjamin. Ziba also, the steward of Saul’s family, hurried down to the Jordan before the king with his fifteen sons and twenty servants. 19 He helped the king’s household cross the ford and attended to his needs.
19 Shimei the son of Gera fell down be fore the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan, 20 and said to him, “Let not my lord hold me guilty or remember the wrong your servant did when my lord the king left Jerusalem. Let not the king remember this, 21 for I confess that I have sinned; and therefore I have come today, the first from Joseph’s tribes to welcome my lord the king.”
22 Abishai the son of Zeruiah an swered, “Shall not Shimei be put to death for having cursed Yahweh’s anointed?” 23 But David said, “Far be it from me to listen to you, you sons of Zeruiah! This is bad advice; no one shall be put to death in Israel today. Do I not know that I am ruling again over Israel this day?” 24 So the king assured Shimei with an oath, “You shall not die.”
25 Mepibaal, the son of Saul, came down from Jerusalem to meet the king. He had not washed his feet, or trimmed his beard, or cleaned his clothes since the king departed. 26 When he arrived to meet the king, the king said to him, “Why did you not go with me, Mepibaal?” 27 He answered, “My lord, O king! My steward deceived me. For I said to him, ‘Saddle an ass for me so that I may ride on it and go with the king,’ since I am lame. 28 But he has slandered me to my lord the king. And yet my lord the king is like an angel of God. Do, there fore, what seems good to you. 29 My father’s family was doomed to die before my lord the king, but you counted your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right do I have to complain to the king?” 30 The king said to him, “Why talk more? I have decided – you and Ziba shall divide the land.” 31 Mepibaal answered, “Oh, let him take it all since my lord the king has come home safely.”
32 Now, Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim and he crossed the Jordan with him; then he said goodbye to him. 33 Barzillai was a very old man of eighty, who, being a very wealthy man, had provided the king with food when he remained in Mahanaim. 34 The king said to Barzillai, “Come, join me and stay with me; I will take care of you in Jerusalem.” 35 But Barzillai said to the king, “How many more years will I live that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 36 Today, I am eighty years old and can discern neither what is pleasant nor what is not. Can your servant still taste what he eats or drinks; or listen to the voice of men and women singing? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? 37 Your servant will accompany the king just a little past the Jordan. Why should the king reward me for this? 38 Please allow me to return to my own city where I may die and be buried near the graves of my father and mother. But let this my son Kimham, your servant, continue with my lord the king. You can do for him whatever it may please you. 39 The king an swered, “Kim ham will come with me and I will give him whatever seems fit to you. Besides, I will do for you what ever you desire of me.” 40 As all the people had crossed the Jordan, the king also crossed. Then the king embraced and blessed Barzillai who then returned to his own home.
41 The king went on to Gilgal accompanied by Kimham, together with the men of Judah and some Israelites. 42 Then the Israelites came to the king and asked, “Why have our brothers, the men of Judah, grabbed you and brought the king and his entire family over the Jordan together with all your soldiers?” 43 The men of Judah answered the Is raelites, “Because the king is our immediate relative. But why does this rouse your anger? Have we fed ourselves at the king’s expense or received any gift from him?” 44 But the Israelites answered the men of Judah, “We have more right to the king than you because we are ten tribes. Why did you disregard us? Were we not the first to have the king brought back?” But the men of Judah argued more vehemently than the Israelites.