Opening Prayer

As I study your Word today, Father, grant me new vision for your loving faithfulness and my own response to your care.

Read 2 SAMUEL 19:24-43

24 Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, also went down to meet the king. He had not taken care of his feet or trimmed his mustache or washed his clothes from the day the king left until the day he returned safely. 25 When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, “Why didn’t you go with me, Mephibosheth?”

26 He said, “My lord the king, since I your servant am lame, I said, ‘I will have my donkey saddled and will ride on it, so I can go with the king.’ But Ziba my servant betrayed me. 27 And he has slandered your servant to my lord the king. My lord the king is like an angel of God; so do whatever you wish. 28 All my grandfather’s descendants deserved nothing but death from my lord the king, but you gave your servant a place among those who eat at your table. So what right do I have to make any more appeals to the king?”

29 The king said to him, “Why say more? I order you and Ziba to divide the land.”

30 Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him take everything, now that my lord the king has returned home safely.”

31 Barzillai the Gileadite also came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan with the king and to send him on his way from there. 32 Now Barzillai was very old, eighty years of age. He had provided for the king during his stay in Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 33 The king said to Barzillai, “Cross over with me and stay with me in Jerusalem, and I will provide for you.”

34 But Barzillai answered the king, “How many more years will I live, that I should go up to Jerusalem with the king? 35 I am now eighty years old. Can I tell the difference between what is enjoyable and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats and drinks? Can I still hear the voices of male and female singers? Why should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? 36 Your servant will cross over the Jordan with the king for a short distance, but why should the king reward me in this way? 37 Let your servant return, that I may die in my own town near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant Kimham. Let him cross over with my lord the king. Do for him whatever you wish.”

38 The king said, “Kimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him whatever you wish. And anything you desire from me I will do for you.”

39 So all the people crossed the Jordan, and then the king crossed over. The king kissed Barzillai and bid him farewell, and Barzillai returned to his home.

40 When the king crossed over to Gilgal, Kimham crossed with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel had taken the king over.

41 Soon all the men of Israel were coming to the king and saying to him, “Why did our brothers, the men of Judah, steal the king away and bring him and his household across the Jordan, together with all his men?”

42 All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “We did this because the king is closely related to us. Why are you angry about it? Have we eaten any of the king’s provisions? Have we taken anything for ourselves?”

43 Then the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, “We have ten shares in the king; so we have a greater claim on David than you have. Why then do you treat us with contempt? Weren’t we the first to speak of bringing back our king?”

But the men of Judah pressed their claims even more forcefully than the men of Israel.

Read full chapter

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Peter, seeing John, “asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.’”1

Think Further

I remember a TV advertisement picturing a well-dressed businessman walking quietly along a road and suddenly being assaulted by a youth in a hoodie. The camera then pulled back and revealed that the young man, seeing danger, had knocked the man out of the way of a falling pile of bricks, saving his life. The point was that only when seeing the bigger picture can you draw correct conclusions.

In chapter 16, David had heard Ziba’s claim and immediately assumed that Mephibosheth was a traitor, but here we have Mephibosheth’s side of the story with clear evidence that Ziba had been wrong, which means that David’s original judgment had also been wrong. The text leaves the reader to decide whether David’s current conclusion that Saul’s estate should be shared between the two was an attempt to hide that wrong judgment or a realization that both his decisions, first to give everything to Mephibosheth and secondly, to take everything away from him, had been unjust. One hopes that it was the latter.

The next section of the chapter speaks of Barzillai, another person (like Jonathan) to whom David was indebted. The king was able to repay the debt by looking after a younger relative. The juxtaposition of these two stories is probably deliberate and again intended to raise questions in readers’ minds! Lastly, we have more rivalry between David’s tribe of Judah and the other northern tribes. The final sentence of the chapter shows that decisions were made not by working out the justice of the claims, but by who made claims ‘even more harshly.’ The writer really does want his readers to assess what he is recording!


Have you ever made false judgments because of poor information? Has personal or tribal rivalry been your motivation? Pray for help to see the bigger picture, always seeking God’s perspective.

Closing prayer

Lord God, in all of my dealings with others, help me to be quick to listen and slow to judge, eager to strive for reconciliation and peace.

Last Updated on September 27, 2023 by kingstar

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *