Shall we turn now to the eighteenth chapter of II Samuel. Absalom has come into Jerusalem, has taken the city, has sought to disgrace his father, and has now gathered the army of Israel, to pursue after his father in order to kill him and establish his position upon the throne. David has found refuge in a city known as Mahanaim. This is the place, or at least this is the name that Jacob gave to that place when he was fleeing from his uncle Laban, and had just about arrived back into the land. His uncle had caught up with him, and had really threatened him against trying to return. Accused him of stealing his god, and as Jacob bid goodbye to Laban, his uncle, he got word from his brother Esau, from whom he had fled seventeen years earlier, was coming with a host of men. So he called the name of the place Mahanaim, which is, the place of two hosts. David had fled there now, it was a place of refuge from Israel. It was across the Jordan river, which gave them a natural kind of a defense. David is there in the city, and…
He numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of the thousands, and captains of the hundreds over them (18:1).
So David gathered and conscripted together an army. No doubt, a great number of refugees had fled with David, because he placed his captains over the thousands, captains over the hundreds.
And he sent forth a third part of the people under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai ,who was the brother of Joab. They are both the sons of Zeruiah, and a third part was under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. [Now you remember Ittai was the one who had just recently come from Gath. David encouraged him to stay in Jerusalem, but he told David, “Hey, I’ve come to be your servant and in life or death, I’m gonna be with you”. He evidently was a man of renowned. Probably one of the generals of the Philistine armies, who had defected to David, and so David recognizing the man’s prowess, and leadership ability, made him a general over a third part of the troops. So they divided the troops into three battalions. One under the headship of Joab, the other under his brother Abishai, and the third under Ittai.] And David said, I will surely go forth with you myself. But the people answered, You’re not gonna go forth: for if we flee away, they’re not gonna care for us: [“We can run. They’re not really after us. They don’t care if half of us die.”] but now you are worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it’s better that you find, that you comfort us out of the city (18:2-3).
“That you give us support from the city here. You’re the one they’re after. They’re not really after us. They don’t care about us. They’re after you, and you’re worth ten thousand of us, so you stay here as our support.”
So the king said to them, What seems to you best I will do. And the king stood by the gate, and all of the people came out by the hundreds and by the thousands (18:4).
So the people came out of Mahanaim, and David was there at the gates, greeting them, or encouraging them as they went out to war.
And the king commanded Joab, and Abishai, and Ittai, [His three generals.] saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. [So here is David asking his generals, “Now, hey for my sake, go easy with the young fellow.” David still had a love for his son. Though he was a wayward son, though he was a rebellious son, though he was right now in the midst of his rebellion of his father; still, David’s love. “Go easy with him. Take it easy. Deal gently.”] and all of the people heard the king as he gave command to all of the captains concerning Absalom (18:5).
To each captain, he said, “Now, hey, go easy with Absalom”.
So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the woods of Ephriam; [So the men of David, crossed the Jordan, to meet them on the other side, in the area of Ephriam, there in the woods.] Where the people of Israel who had gathered against David, who were slain before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter that day of about twenty thousand men. And the battle there was scattered over the face of all of the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured (18:6-8).
Confusion in the woods as the people tried to flee from the forces of Joab, and Abishai, and Ittai.
And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under a thick bough of a great oak, and his head got hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away (18:9).
So as he was going through on his mule, you remember he had this long hair. And evidently his hair got hung up in the bough of an oak and he was just sort of hanging there, uh by his hair, from this branch. Because the mule kept going, and he just got ripped off.
So a certain man saw him, and he told Joab, and he said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak. And Joab said to the man that told him, You saw him, why didn’t you smite him to the ground? I would’ve given you ten shekels of silver, and a girdle. [“Man, I would’ve rewarded you!”] And the man said to Joab, Though you would give me a thousand shekels of silver in my hand, yet would I not put forth my hand against the king’s son: for in our hearing the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware and don’t touch the young man Absalom (18:10-12).
“Hey I heard what the king said, I’m not gonna touch that man, because I know David and I know his command.”
Otherwise [he said] I should have wrought falsehood against my own life: [“Man, I’d have done myself in, if I had touched him!”] for there is no matter hid from the king, and you yourself would’ve been the one that the king would’ve ordered to kill me. Then Joab said, I don’t have time for you. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. And ten young men that bare Joab’s armour circled about and smote Absalom, and killed him. And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people. And they took Absalom, cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all of Israel fled every one to his tent. Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, that is in the king’s dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called it the pillar after his own name: and is called unto this day, Absalom’s place (18:13-18).
Just a little footnote on Absalom. He is slain. Interesting that he had no sons. He was concerned about that. Don’t forget the name of Absalom, you know. So he, there in the valley, carved a pillar, that they called Absalom’s pillar. Today when you go to Jerusalem, as you pass by the Kidron valley, looking down in the valley from the area near the southwest corner of the temple mount, you see elaborate tombs that have been carved in the sandstone, down in the valley floor. One of those monuments, the pillar, is called Absalom’s tomb. Whether or not this is indeed the one that Absalom made and named after himself so that they would remember him when he died, is a matter of speculation and question today. But at the time that this was written, it was still called, Absalom’s place.
Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, said to Joab, Let me run, and bear the king tidings, how that the Lord has avenged him of his enemies. And Joab said unto him, You shall not bear tidings today, but you shall run another day: but this day you’re not to bear the tidings, because the king’s son is dead. Then Joab said to Cushi, Go and tell the king what you have seen. And Cushi bowed himself unto Joab, and he ran. And Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again said to Joab, However, let, I pray thee, also run after Cushi. And Joab said, Why will you run, my son, seeing that you have no tidings ready? But howsoever, said he, let me run. And he said to him, [Okay] Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and he outran Cushi (18:20-23).
So here is the runner who was the son of the priest, who brought David tidings. David had sort of appointed him as the official messenger or runner. He is wanting to run and tell David the news, but Joab says, “You don’t know the whole story yet”. “Yeah, but I want to run.” Running without a message. How many people are guilty of that today? “I want to run!”, “Yeah but you don’t have anything to say”. “Yeah, but I want to run!” “I want to preach!”, “But you don’t have anything to say.” “Yeah, but I want to preach.” Not only important to run, but it’s also important to have a message. To have something to say. And you know, he outran his buddy, but yet without the message.
And David was sitting between the two gates: [There were these little chambers within the gates, they had double gates. An outer gate to the city and then the inner gate. In between them were these chambers where the guards would defend the city. So, if they would break through the outer gate, then they, uh, the guards would meet them, and then there was the inner gate. David was sitting between these two gates, there in the city, waiting for the news of the battle.] And the watchman went up on the roof over the gate unto [over the] wall, [there] and he lifted up his eyes and he looked and behold there was a man running alone. And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he be alone, there are tidings in his mouth. [In other words, he’s a messenger if he’s coming alone.] And he came near. And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called to the porter, and he said, Behold another man is running alone. And the king said, He also brings tidings. And the watchman said, I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, Ah he’s a good man, and therefore he must have good tidings. And Ahimaaz called, and he said unto the king, All is well. And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, Blessed be the Lord thy God, which has delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my Lord the king (18:24-28).
“David”, he said, “We’ve won! The victory is ours, all is well!”
And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king’s servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I don’t know what it was (18:29).
Now, Joab had told him that Absalom was dead, however he didn’t give him any details, and Ahimaaz knew David’s love for Absalom, and his concern. He didn’t want to break the news to David, concerning Absalom’s death. He just wanted to bring him the good news that, “Your forces have victory today”.
So the king says, Turn aside, and stand here. [In other words, he ran, he didn’t have the real message that David wanted to hear about. He didn’t have the news that David was most concerned with.] And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my Lord the king: for the Lord has avenged thee this day of all of those that rose up against thee. And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? [David’s chief concern was for the safety of his own son. Though his son was in rebellion against him, though his son was out to kill him, yet David’s chief concern still was for the safety of the young man Absalom. “Is the young man Absalom safe?”] And Cushi answered, The enemies of my Lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is. [Absalom is dead.] And the king was much moved, and he went up to the chamber over the gate, and he wept: as he went, and he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son (18:30-33)!
David was wailing, lamenting over the death of his son. David had great cause to hate Absalom, and yet his love prevailed. Absalom was a rebel. He had rebelled against his father, yet David’s love for him was deep, and David was forgiving. Absalom is a type of we, who have rebelled against God. Rebelled against the authority of God, and yet God loves us, God commended His love towards us, in that, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly”. Absalom was seeking to take his father’s life.
Man in his rebellion against God was so obdurate against God that when God sent His only begotten Son, man took His life, whom they slew and hanged on a tree. David’s love was so great for Absalom, that he had wished that he could’ve died in Absalom’s stead. “Would to God, I could die for you.” God’s love is so great for rebelling man, that God was willing to die for man. God did die for man.
The thing that David desired, but could not do. He could not die in Absalom’s stead, God did do for us, in that Jesus died in our stead, in order to redeem us unto God. Such love! Such deep love. Paul the apostle, prayed for the church at Ephesus, that they might with all the saints, come to comprehend, to know, the love of God, which passes human understanding. That they might know the length, the breadth, the depth, and the height of God’s love. Oh that we knew. Oh, that we could only know how much God does love us.
Look at what David was willing to overlook. Look what David was willing to forgive. All of the rebellion of Absalom. Absalom’s own desire to kill his father. David was willing to forgive and overlook all of that, because of the depth of his love for his son. Even as God is willing to overlook all of our rebellion, all of our sin, because of the depth of God’s love for you, and for me. So in the cry of David, we actually hear the cry of God, for His lost children. His desire to restore, His desire to forgive. To that end, He sent His only begotten Son.
Now it was told Joab, The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom. And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all of the people: for the people heard say that day how that the king was grieved for his son. And those who had been out to battle, came by stealth back into the city, as people who were ashamed steal away when they flee for battle (19:1-2).
In other words, those that had been victorious in battle, rather than having a return, a victory march, a gallant celebration, they snuck back into the city, like you know, they had been defeated. Because of David’s grieving, as he did for his son Absalom. It caused them to be ashamed.
So the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son! [He was really carrying on.] And Joab came into the house to the king, and he said, You have shamed today the faces of all of your servants, which this day have saved your life, and the lives of your sons, and of your daughters, and of your wives, and the lives of your concubines; In that you love your enemy, and hate your friends. For you have declared this day, that you regard neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all of us had died, then it would have pleased you well (19:4-6).
“David, what you’re doing is absolutely wrong. You’ve gotta face up to the fact that had Absalom prevailed today, you, all of your other children, all of your wives, and all of your concubines would’ve been slain! That was his intent and purpose! Here you’re wailing over the fact that this kid is dead. But David, he determined to hurt you and all of your servants. I suppose, and it appears David, that you wished really for us to be defeated, and Absalom to be victorious. Then you would’ve been satisfied, you would’ve been pleased.”
David was blaming himself for what Absalom was. When David had sinned against Bathsheba, when God said, “Your sin is forgiven”, the Lord also said, “But you’re gonna have to pay a price. The sword will not depart from your house. The shameful thing you did in secret, is gonna be done openly by your own family.” David was feeling the remorse of his own guilt, for his sin. Feeling the guilt for his sin, he really desired punishment.
It is an interesting thing, that guilt does create within us, a subconscious desire for punishment. I cannot feel freed from the sense of guilt, until I feel that somehow I have paid the price. I have been punished. When we were children, if you grew up in a good home, you had no problem with a guilt complex. I had no problem with a guilt complex, growing up. My father took care of that. I had a lot of applied psychology in the right place, that relieved me of my sense of guilt. The sense of guilt is a horrible thing. It can weigh you down. It can actually make a neurotic out of you. Usually, the subconscious desire for punishment is manifested in neurotic behavior. The neurotic behavior is actually the subconscious designed to bring punishment upon you. David, though forgiven, was still feeling the sense of guilt, and as he saw what Absalom was doing, he realized that, “this is the pattern that I set before this boy”. He felt a sense of responsibility, and he felt that it was his guilt, and it probably would have pleased David, had Absalom killed him. The sense of guilt can be so great, that you can wish yourself dead!
There have been times when I wished I were dead, when I was guilty and I hadn’t faced the music yet. The hardest thing in the world was to eat dinner, when I was guilty. I knew that right after dinner, my father and I were to have a meeting in the bedroom. Though I was usually a very hearty eater, under those circumstances, it was hard to swallow the food. My head would be down, I knew that all my brothers and my sisters, my sister, were looking at me. They knew I was guilty. I knew if I looked up, my father would have a stern look in my direction. I really didn’t feel like a member of the family, I was an outcast, I was guilty and everybody knew it. I wouldn’t even lift my head to ask them to pass the meat. I’d just say, “Pass the meat please”. I felt totally outcast from the family. After dinner, my dad and I would go into the bedroom, and I’d get the invariable question, invariably the question would come, “Why did you do it son?” I never did have a good answer. Then, either an apricot switch, or a belt. Kids didn’t have the protection in those days, that they have today. Thus we behaved ourselves. Ha, ha! My father would leave the room, and close the door, and it would be dark. I would lie there on the bed, wishing I were dead. Wishing I could just die, because then when they came in the room, and saw me lying there dead, they would really feel sorry! Ha, ha! The thought of all of them grieving over my casket, caused me to feel sad! Ha, ha. But pretty soon, all of the excitement, of the games and all in the other room, was more than I could stand, and I would get up, and wash my face, and go on out, and, “Hey it’s all over. I’m not guilty anymore. I can join the family, I can join the fun. The guilt is gone. I’ve been punished”.
When we get older, it becomes more complex. The sense of guilt is something that still weighs heavy on us. We desire that somehow we can atone, we can pay, we can be punished. David was still feeling the sense of the guilt of the sin that he had done, and he saw it in Absalom, and he saw it manifested. He felt responsible for Absalom’s deeds. Thus his grief over Absalom’s death. In other words, “It’s my fault that this kid is the way he is! It’s my fault that he rebelled! It’s my fault that he has done these things. Had I been the kind of a father, that I should’ve been, it could’ve been a different story!” So David’s great remorse and grief was really over his own failure, as much as his feeling sorry, and his love for Absalom. He took the responsibility in the sense of himself. As Joab said, “It looks like you would’ve been pleased more if he would’ve killed you, if we would’ve all died, and they brought back news, ‘Joab and all your troops are dead and Absalom’s on his way.’, then you probably would’ve been happier”. And that’s very possibly true.
Joab here, was acting, in David’s best interest, and in the best interest of the kingdom. There has been a general revolt against David. Absalom has led it. Though the armies of those who rebelled had been defeated, yet the spirit of rebellion still hangs. If David doesn’t change his behavior, these men who put their very lives in jeopardy to save David, are not gonna go out again, and David will perish, and someone else will take the throne. So Joab’s strength and advice to David at this point, is straight, but it is good. It is wise.
So Joab said to him, now you get out of here, and you go out and speak comfortable words to your servants: because I swear by the Lord, if you don’t go out there, there will not tarry with you one man this night: and it’s gonna be worse for you than all of the evil that befell you from your youth until now (19:7).
“Man, if you don’t go out there, and change your behavior, and speak comfortably, these guys, these guys feel ashamed David! You’ve made them feel bad! Now you go out there and you speak comfortably to them or listen, they’re gonna desert you. Man the trouble you’re gonna face is nothing compared with all of the trouble you’ve had from your birth till now! You haven’t seen anything David, like what you’re gonna see, if you don’t change and behave yourself right now.”
So the king arose, and he sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king is sitting in the gate. And all of the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent. [The enemy had fled, and so David’s men all came before him.] And all of the people were at strife [There was still the division throughout Israel.] the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom (19:8-9).
In other words, “Is David able to protect us anymore? Though he had delivered us from the enemies, from the Philistines, he fled from Absalom”.
And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Why don’t we speak a word of bringing the king back? [And so there was this buzz. Israel said, “Hey, we turned against David, but man this is the guy that saved us from our enemies, and from the Philistines. We went to Absalom’s cause, but Absalom’s dead. We better maybe get the king back, you know, we better bring David back”.] And the king sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, [Who he had left in Jerusalem.] and he said, Speak to the elders of Judah, saying, Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house (19:10-11).
David hears that there’s all of this rumbling going in Israel. The people are saying, “Boy we better bring the king back”. But he didn’t hear anything from Judah. Now he was of the tribe of Judah. Reigning, really in Jerusalem, the area of the tribe of Judah, and so he says to the two priests, “Hey all over Israel the buzz is, let’s bring the king back, but you guys ought to really be taking the lead in this movement”.
Say to Amasa, [Now Amasa was the general over Absalom’s army. He was not a, he was a cousin of David, he was not as capable a leader, as was Joab, and Abishai. Though he had a superior army, Joab and Abishai put him down, they defeated him. But David said, “Say to Amasa”,] Are you not of my bone and of my flesh? [“Aren’t we cousins?”] God do so to me, and more also, if you be not captain of the host before me continually in the place of Joab (19:13).
Now he says, “Give Amasa a message, I’ll make him the general. I’ll put him over the troops instead of Joab”. He was still angry that Joab had disobeyed his command, and had killed his son Absalom. So he’s offering, really the leadership, of his armies unto Amasa, who led the armies that revolted against David.
And he bowed the heart of all of the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; so they sent this word unto the king, Return, and all of your servants (19:14).
So the message comes to David, “Return”. Interesting, sort of, Jesus, who is the rightful King over the earth, who came as the Messiah, was despised and rejected and has left the kingdom. But before He left, He said, “You will not see the Son of Man again, until ye say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”. In other words until you really pray for His return. During the great tribulation, Israel’s eyes will be open, and they will pray for the return of the King.
So the king returned, and he came to the Jordan river. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over the Jordan river (19:15).
Gilgal was the first place where the children of Israel camped, when Joshua led them into the land. After they crossed the Jordan river, they encamped in Gilgal. From there, they went against the city of Jericho. But that was the first place of encampment. The men of Judah came down to Gilgal. David came to the Jordan river there, across the river now from each other.
And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David (19:16).
Now you remember this guy Shimei don’t you? He was the guy when David was leaving, was throwing rocks, cursing David and throwing dirt in the air. And David’s one bodyguard Abishai said, “Let me go take off his head David, please! Why should this dead dog curse the king? And David said, “No let him curse. Maybe God has said to him, ‘Curse me’, so let it go”. Now the king is coming back, Shimei thought he’d never see David again, and he was just getting in some last licks. But now David is coming back, and Shimei knows that his neck is still on the line. So he hurries down with the men of Judah, to meet king David.
And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, [So Shimei was probably pretty powerful in Benjamin, the tribe of Benjamin.] and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants were with him; and they went over Jordan before the king (19:17).
That is, these guys just came swimming across the Jordan river to meet the king. In their enthusiasm and anxiety, to make things right with David, they forded, they swam over the Jordan to meet the king.
And there was a ferry that was going back and forth to carry the king’s household, and all of his goods. And Shimei, the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan; And he said unto the king, Let not my Lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which your servant did perversely the day that my Lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to heart (19:18-19).
“Don’t take it to heart David, don’t. All that cursing and throwing of rocks and everything else. Those perverse things I did. Please don’t take it to heart. Didn’t mean it. Don’t impute iniquity to me.”
For your servant does know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all of the house of Joseph to go down to meet my Lord the king. And Abishai [The guy who wanted to take off his head before,] the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed (19:20-21)?
“David, you’re God’s anointed, he cursed you. Shouldn’t he be put to death?” Abishai’s still wanting to take this guy’s head off.
And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? Shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel? [“You know it’s a day of rejoicing, not a day of revenge and bloodshed.”] Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him (19:22-23).
So David swore to him, “Hey, as the Lord lives, you won’t die. I won’t put you to death.” Commendable on David’s part. Unfortunately David didn’t really forgive Shimei. Later on, when David was dying, and he was talking to his son Solomon, who was to succeed him on the throne, David said, “I want you to remember what that guy Shimei did. How he cursed me and did those horrible things, when I was fleeing from Jerusalem. Take care of him son. You know what to do”.
So, Solomon called Shimei, after the death of David. He said, “I want you to move here to the city of Jerusalem”. And as sort of a house-arrest, “If you leave the city of Jerusalem, then as the Lord lives, you’ll be put to death. But, you can live here in peace until you die. Unless, you leave the city. If you leave the city, you’re signing your own death warrant”.
So Shimei came and lived in Jerusalem for three years. But then a couple of his servants ran away, and he had heard that they had run down to Gath. So he left Jerusalem to go get his runaway slaves, and word came to Solomon that Shimei had gone to retrieve the runaway slaves. He called him in and he said, “Hey, didn’t I tell you if you left Jerusalem, it was your life?”, and Shimei was put to death later by Solomon.
A forgiveness that is not full, is not a true forgiveness. When a person says, “Well I forgive you, but I’ll never forget”, that’s not true forgiveness. That’s like saying, “Alright, I’ll bury the hatchet, but I’ll leave the handle showing, so I can find it when I need it”. This is the problem with man is that often our forgiveness is not a true forgiveness. Thus because we often imagine God to be as ourselves, we don’t have the proper concept of what true forgiveness is. We don’t have the true concept of what God’s forgiveness is. For when God forgives you of your sin, it is a total, complete forgiveness. It is never to be remembered against you again. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He separated us from our sins. God’s forgiveness for you is total, it is complete. Never again will you have to answer to God for that sin that has been placed under the blood of Jesus Christ. It is gone, it is washed, it is cleansed!
It’s tragic that our forgiveness is such that we are prone to bring it up again in the future. We’re prone to throw up the past to a person. “Yes, but you did that”, “Yeah, but I asked you to forgive me”, “Yeah, I forgave you, but I’ll never forget!”. Well, no, no, no. That isn’t the true forgiveness, that you keep throwing it up at the person, what you did. “Well you did that, you did that!”, and you keep throwing it up to them. That’s not forgiveness at all. But unfortunately, that’s human. That’s us.
But that isn’t God, and we must not think of God’s forgiveness in the terms by which we forgive one another. God’s forgiveness is complete. You have been justified, which is even a step further! It’s not just being declared innocent, or forgiven, it’s being declared so innocent, as though you had never committed it to begin with! It’s, it’s wiping the slate clean! It’s the erasing and the blotting out of our transgressions. So that you don’t need to sit, and mope over past sins! You don’t need to just sit there, and say, “Oh, but I was so horrible a sinner, oh I did this, and I did that, and I did this, and I did such horrible things!”, and you don’t need to let that just press on you! God has forgiven it! It is wiped away, it’s clean, it’s gone! You don’t have to face it ever again. For God’s giveness, forgiveness, is total and it is complete. David, not so. Man, not so.
Then Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and he had not dressed his feet, [That is he had, he probably, you remember he was lame, and it could be that he had sores on his feet, and they would have to constantly dress them. But,] during the whole time that David was in exile he did not dress his feet, nor did he trim his beard, nor did he wash his clothes, [So he was a smelly dirty mess, by the time David saw him. But these were signs of mourning, of grieving, over David being deposed.] And it came to pass, when [David was come to Jerusalem] he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Why did you not go with me Mephibosheth (19:24-25)?
Now Mephibosheth probably came down, David had such a big crowd he couldn’t get through to David, down at the river, so when David got back to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth came to him, and David said, “Hey, how come you didn’t come with us man?”.
And he answered, My Lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle your donkey, that I [that I] might ride on it, and go to the king; because your servant is lame. And he had slandered your servant unto the Lord the king, [my Lord the king] but my Lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in your eyes (19:26-27).
“Look he lied about me. He saddled the donkey but he didn’t, I ordered him to bring me the donkey, he didn’t. He took off, and of course he took the donkeys that were saddled, gave them to David, and said, “Oh Mephibosheth stayed back”, and he lied about him. Said he, said, “Well they’re giving me the throne now”. And Mephibosheth said, “You know, I’m lame. I couldn’t do anything. And this fellow has slandered me before you. But look, you’re like an angel of God. You do what is ever good in your eyes. Do what’s right David”.
For all of my father’s house were but dead men before my Lord the king: yet you did set your servant among them and I ate at your table. What right have I yet to cry any more unto the king? [“What can I say. You know, you’ve been so good to us, and what can I say?”] So the king said unto him, Don’t speak any more of your matters? I have said, You and Ziba shall divide the land (19:28-29).
Now remember, he had told Ziba, “Hey you can have all that pertains to Mephibosheth”. Now David says, “Okay fellows, divide it”. So, Ziba gets half, and Mephibosheth retains half.
And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my Lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house, [“Hey, I’m so happy to have you back, he can have it all David. I’m just thrilled that you’re here.”] Now Barzillai, [Quite a name isn’t it?] the Gileadite came from Rogelim, and he went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over the Jordan river (19:30-31).
Barzillai was evidently a very wealthy man. When Mephibosheth had fled to Mahanaim, Barzillai had taken him in, and cared for him. When David would restore Mephibosheth, because Barzillai was a friend of Mephibosheth, he, when David came, took care of David and his people. He’s an old man, and a wealthy man, and now he comes as far as the Jordan, to see David safely across.
And Barzillai was a very aged man, he was eighty years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance while he was there at Mahanaim; for he was a very wealthy man. And the king said unto Barzillai, Come over with me, and I will feed you in Jerusalem (19:32-33).
“Come on over, and I’ll take care of you. Come on over to Jerusalem, live there. I’ll take care of you.”
Barzillai said unto the king, How long do I have to live that I should go up to the king unto Jerusalem? I am this day eighty years old: [and I can discern between good and evil?] and can I discern between good and evil? [“I’m getting to be an old man.”] can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? [“You know eating is not a big thing with me anymore. I don’t have many taste buds left. I can’t hear any more the voice of singing. I’m deaf, you know, I’m really a mess. I’m getting pretty decrepit, and so you know the things around the palace, they don’t really have much appeal.] I can’t hear the voice of the singing men and the singing women? why should I be a burden unto my Lord the king? [You know, “Thanks, but no thanks.”] Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: but why should you reward me with such a reward as this? [“Why should you recompense me with such a reward?] Let your servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I might die in my own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and my mother. But behold your servant Chimham; let him go over with my Lord the king; and do unto him what seems good unto thee (19:34-37).
So, “You know, I’m too old, I couldn’t enjoy it. I’d just as soon stay here and die.”
So the king answered Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee: and whatsoever you shall require of me, that I will do for thee. [“I’ll do it for him, in your stead, or for your sake.”] And all the people went over Jordan. And the king was come over, and the king kissed Barzilai, and he blessed him; and he returned to his own place. [He went back to Mahanaim.] And 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. And, behold, all of the men of Israel came to the king, and they said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and have brought the king and his household, and all of David’s men with him over Jordan? And all of the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us: why then are you angry for this matter? for [we have eaten at all] have we eaten at all of the king’s expense? or has he given us any gift (19:38-42)?
“Hey we’re here because he’s of the tribe of Judah, we’re the tribe of Judah. We’re family man! We haven’t eaten at the king’s table, we have been no expense. We’ve done this on our own.”
And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, [“There’s ten tribes, you’ve got only two.”] and we have also more right in David than you: why then did you despise us, that our advice should not first be sought in bringing back our king? And the words of men of Judah were fiercer than the words (19:43).
Oh there’s still problems fellas! Israel now the ten tribes, against the tribes of Judah. They were not totally unified, even under David’s reign. They became a little more unified under Solomon’s reign, but when Solomon’s son took over, the division was complete. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, could not hold the whole nation together. The ten northern tribes joined together under the reign of Jeroboam, who they appointed king, and Rehoboam remained the king over the two southern tribes. So the problems that sort of began here, continued to fester until there was the breach, the break, the northern and the southern kingdoms, and then the resulting civil wars that took place under the nation of Israel.
So, that’s as far as we’re gonna get tonight. Next week we’re gonna take chapters, twenty, and twenty one. Huh? Maybe twenty two, who knows. We’ll go as far as we can.
May the Lord be with you, as we begin another week. May you be strengthened by the presence and the power of the Lord working in your life. May He guide you in each of the decisions that you’ll be making. May He draw you closer to Himself, that you might experience more fully, that love, that deep unfathomable love. That love that God demonstrated for you in sending His only Son to die, in your stead. May we walk in the love of the Lord, may we be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. May we be a light shining in this dark world, bringing hope unto man. The hope of a coming kingdom. A kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy, ruled by our King Jesus. God bless you and make you a true and faithful witness, of God’s love to others, for Jesus’ sake.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7098