Return of the King

Absalom is dead, David is back in charge, and he needs to make his way back to Jerusalem. Today we need to take a look at forgiveness, starting over, getting back to where you belong, and rewards for faithfulness in 2 Samuel 19.

  • When have you felt motivated to ask for someone else’s forgiveness? Or to grant forgiveness?
  • Over the past year, have you received more favors or granted more favors?
  • In politics and sporting events, do you tend to support:
    • Whoever is ahead at the start?
    • Whoever is behind at the end?
    • Whoever’s victory favors you the most?
    • Whoever wins, that person was your choice all along?

Let’s dig into the text for today:

  1. If you had previously backed Absalom, why would you now reconfirm David as king? (2 Samuel 19:8-10) Notice that the king was once more accessible to the people (2 Samuel 19:8)
  2. What was the quarreling about? (2 Samuel 19:9, 10) Judah was hesitant about David’s return, perhaps because of the part they played in Absalom’s insurrection (2 Samuel 15:10-11)
  3. What is it about David’s appeal (2 Samuel 19:11-13) that secures your vote of confidence? What major change is listed in 2 Samuel 19:13? (David hopes to secure allegiance of those who followed Absalom and Amasa, especially Judah, but also the animosity of Joab for taking his position, 2 Samuel 20:8-10).
  4. Why did the men of Judah come to Gilgal? (2 Samuel 19:15)
  5. Why do you think Shemei behaves the way he does? 2 Samuel 19:16-20; 16:5-14
  6. Compare 2 Samuel 19:21 and 2 Samuel 16: 9. Abishai, Joab’s brother, was looking for a way to kill Shemei for what he did (2 Samuel 16:5-8).
  7. Shemei confessed his sin and is spared (2 Samuel 19:16) What eventually happens to him? (1 Kings 2:8, 9, 36-46)
  8. How and why does David’s response vary from Abishai’s? (2 Samuel 19:21-23, 16:9-12) What did David mean by his remark in 2 Samuel 19:22?
  9. How does Mephibosheth’s story line up with what Ziba’s (2 Samuel 19:24-30, 16:3)
  10. Who do you find more credible, Mephibosheth or Ziba? Who does David believe, or does it matter? Name a time when you were totally misunderstood, or misrepresented.
  11. Why does David seek to reward Barzillai, to stay with David in Jerusalem? (2 Samuel 19:24-30) Why is that offer refused? (2 Samuel 19:34-37)
  12. What face-saving alternative is then proposed and accepted? (2 Samuel 19:38)
  13. As Chimham is singled out for a special favor, how would you feel toward your two benefactors? Who was this guy? (1 Kings 2:7, Jeremiah 41:17)
  14. Why are the men of Israel so upset? (2 Samuel 19:41-43) What’s at stake besides hurt pride? What is the problem between Israel and Judah? (Israel complained that Judah had kidnapped David from them. This hostility leads to the rebellion of Sheba and eventually the division of the kingdom (1 Kings 12:1-24).

Returning to a former relationship is not always easy. Switching to another side is not easy either. Going home isn’t always fun when infighting awaits you. David is still God’s chosen leader; he’s back in the Promised Land, and doing the right thing is not always the easy thing. Next week we will look at some unfinished business.

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