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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 19

Verses 1-15

  1. INTRO:
    1. Scottish pastor Andrew Bonar, “Let us be as watchful after the victory as before the battle.”
      1. It’s possible to win the battle but lose the victory, which is what happened to David after Joab defeated Absalom & his army.
      2. We are going to deal this morning with King Size Grief!
  2. MAKING WOUNDS! (1-8)
    1. Grief To Deep To Bear! (1-4)
    2. Israel’s troops learned that David was grieving deeply over the death of his son, their pride in victory turned into shame. :(
      1. After all, the troops had saved the lives of David & his family.
    3. (3) The people stole back (lit. went by stealth) back to their homes, as if they had been humiliated by defeat.
      1. They had risked their lives for the king & country, & were now treated like criminals!
      2. The king turned a military victory into an emotional defeat.
        1. Remember Absalom was a liar, a murderer, a traitor, & a rebel against his dad.
    4. Faithful Are The Wounds Of A Friend! (5-8)
    5. Joab sternly rebukes David, claiming that he seems to love those who hate him and hate those who love him!
      1. He warns David that his troops will desert him unless he congratulates them for winning the battle.
    6. Joab delivered a very cutting speech that jolted the king back to reality. He had to hurt David to help him.
      1. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Prov.27:6
    7. (8) David’s sorrow over his dead son almost cost him the kingdom.
      1. It is right to mourn, but not to the point that we loose touch with reality.
    8. David the father forgot that he was also David the king & that he still had his crown because his brave soldiers put the good of the nation ahead of their own personal interests.
      1. Which is exactly what David should have done.
      2. Note: the 1 thing that’s missing in the entire Absalom episode is David’s seeking the mind of the Lord as he made decisions.
    9. David’s problem wasn’t that he grieved over his son, for grief is a very human response & tears are a part of the healing.
      1. His problem was that he grieved excessively & wouldn’t permit himself to be comforted.
      2. His response was abnormal.
      3. He neglected himself & his responsibilities & had to be soundly rebuked by Joab before he would take steps to return to Jerusalem & save the kingdom.
    10. The Lord can heal a broken heart, if we give all the pieces to Him & obey Him by faith.
    11. It was time for the whole nation to affirm loyalty to God’s chosen king.
      1. David declared amnesty...except in some cases.
  3. HEALING WOUNDS! (9-15)
    1. ​​​​​​​The people argue over whether David should return! (9-10)
    2. The king did right to await the nation’s recall.
      1. This was given by Israel, but his own tribe of Judah did not speak.
      2. So, David made a direct appeal to the men of Judah.
    3. ​​​​​​​David Speaks! (11-15)
    4. (13) Amasa - who was David’s original commander; who had went with Absalom; who is now back; who is now Joab’s designated replacement as chief commander.
      1. This also meant that David was pardoning all the officials who had followed Absalom.
    5. Why replace Joab? - David learned that it was Joab who had slain Absalom in disobedience to the orders the king had given. (1 Kings 2:5)
    6. (14) When David was assured of being accepted by both the Israelites & the Judahites, he led his group to cross the Jordan River & return to Jerusalem.
    7. Why then are you last to being back the King?
  4. THE GRIEF PROCESS! (Taken from Wiersbe & Wiersbe “Comforting The Bereaved” pg.21-27)
    1. Just as it takes time for a broken bone to heal, so it takes time for a broken heart to heal.
      1. And the pain can be just as great, or greater!
    2. Each year in the U.S. some 2 million people die. Thus, a lot of people grieving every year.
      1. And the loss of that loved one is very much like the loss of a limb.
      2. It is an emotional amputation, & it affects you deeply.
    3. Time by itself does not heal a broken heart. It all depends on what people do with Time.
    4. Our goal: Is not to shelter people from the pains of bereavement, nor to help them escape. Rather, our task is to help them draw upon the divine resources that God provides, so that they accept their situation maturely, use it creatively, & finally emerge at the end of the valley better people than when they went into the valley. Warren Wiersbe
      1. Psychologists & counselors who have studied grief reaction tell us that there are certain stages to be expected in the experience of the bereaved person.
      2. Note: We must not assume that every person will go through all of these 8 stages, or that the stages will necessarily be in this order!
    5. GRIEF STAGES!
      1. ​​​​​​​SHOCK - is an emotional numbness when we hear that a loved one has died.
        1. This is a normal response triggered by the nervous system of the body.
        2. It’s God’s way of anesthetizing the person so that he/she might be able to face the reality of death & handle the difficulties to come.
        3. Of course if this stage lasts too long, it is abnormal & will create problems (like wDavids case)
      2. STRONG EMOTION - God made us to weep, & tears are always in order when there is a broken heart.
        1. Jesus gave dignity to our grief & freedom to our emotions!
          1. What a beautiful tribute that tears are to the deceased, telling them they were loved & will be missed!
          2. Jesus, knows what it’s like to lose someone you love. He knows how we feel!
        2. The foolish counsel, “Now don’t cry!” is based on both bad psychology & bad theology.
          1. Jesus wept, & so did the saints of God named in the Scriptures:
            1. Gen.23:2 So Sarah died in Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
            2. Gen.50:1 Then Joseph fell on his father’s face(Jacob/Israel) and wept over him, and kissed him.
            3. 2 Sam.18:33 Read (David)
            4. Acts 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
        3. We are not told that it is wrong to sorrow. We are told that our sorrow should not be hopeless, like the sorrow of the world.
      3. DEPRESSION - is sometimes accompanied by a smothering feeling of loneliness.
        1. The loss of a loved one forces a person to reorganize their whole life (esp if a mate or parent)
          1. Relationships are broken, & feelings of security are often gone.
        2. The dedicated Christian must not think that he is above these normal expressions of grief. Sometimes there are even symptoms of physical problems.
      4. FEAR - The bereaved person finds it difficult to think, to concentrate, & then becomes afraid & panicky.
        1. Life seems to be falling apart from both the outside & the inside.
        2. Sometimes well-meaning people misunderstand what the grief-stricken person is saying or doing, & this only leads to more fear & disorientation.
      5. GUILT - A sorrowing person often has the tendency to blame himself or herself for the death of the loved one.
        1. This is especially true when its death by suicide.
        2. There is also the tendency to idealize the deceased person & see only the good points. This is in turn, exaggerates the bad points of the one grieving.
          1. “If only we had gone to another doctor.” “If only I would have...” “If only”.
        3. Often heavy guilt leads the bereaved to spend a great deal of money on an elaborate funeral or grave marker, to “atone” for past sins against the deceased.
          1. I praise God for funeral homes like England Family Mortuary in Temecula, who don’t take advantage of folks in this situation.
      6. ANGER - Along with blaming themselves the sorrowing person will also blame others, including the deceased.
        1. “Why did he have to leave me & the children now?”
        2. They start to remember old resentments & negative experiences, & these become confusing part of their hurt feelings.
        3. Sometimes this leads to blaming God & even saying all kinds of blasphemous things.
      7. APATHY - It seems strange that hostility can be replaced by apathy, but this is often the case.
        1. “Nobody understands how I feel, thus there’s no sense in saying or doing anything.” “Life is not worth living.”
        2. The bereaved person finds it painful to relate to real life & wants to withdraw into his or her shell & be left alone.
          1. Certainly it is normal for a hurting person to want to be left alone; but if this withdrawal continues too long, it becomes dangerous. (again like David)
      8. ADJUSTMENT - Slowly the person learns to accept the loss, rearrange his or her life, & come to grips with reality.
        1. This does not mean the total absence of grief, loneliness, or bewilderment; but it does mean that the bereaved person recognizes what is happening & is able to cope with it.
        2. People die, but relationships never die. And each must struggle to adjust to the new relationship with the one who has passed away.
        3. Here are some signs this adjustment is taking place: The bereaved person can openly & easily talk about the dead loved one, and, in time, even laugh about things that happened in the past. The person no longer gives vent to hostility but, instead, seeks for ways to minister to others when they suffer loss.
    6. We must not assume that every person will go through all of these 8 stages, or that the stages will necessarily be in this order! But in order for us to comfort others…
      1. We must...learn to recognize these symptoms & accept them.
      2. We must...realize that no amount of preaching will eliminate hostility & guilt.
      3. We must...remember the sorrowing person must learn to face these feelings personally & deal with them in his or her own time.
      4. We must...learn to listen with our heart & pay attention to feelings, not to words.
      5. We must...not assume the posture of Job’s comforters & try to argue people into a right, relationship w/God & each other.
        1. It’s unfortunate that Job’s 3 friends listened to Job’s words & not his feelings.
        2. As Samuel Johnson said, “Grief has its time. While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till grief be digested.”
          1. Thats why post-funeral ministry is so important. [They say, most people bottom out 6-8 weeks after the funeral]
    7. Again, these stages are only guidelines; do not force them into every grief situation.
      1. You are there to comfort, not to analyze & explain.
      2. But hopefully these stages will help you understand & assess the situation better & not be too shocked at what you see or hear!
      3. Emotions expressed become medicines that heal; Emotions repressed become poisons that kill.
      4. Blessed is that congregation that who knows how to keep their mouth shut, ears open, heart soft, & mind sharp to the feelings expressed by the words spoken.
    8. Here are some Evidences that the person is coming to grips with reality & drawing upon the resources available through Jesus Christ:
      1. They are able to accept the fact of the death of the loved one.
      2. The memories of the deceased gradually become positive & creative rather than negative & destructive.
      3. Another good sign is the person’s ability to understand the past & plan for the future.
      4. The ability to laugh is another good sign, for a sense of humor usually indicates a sense of perspective.
      5. When the bereaved person stops condemning himself or herself.
    9. One grieving father said, “You never get over it, but you do get through it.”
    10. Our task as Christians? We are to be comforters to help people face grief honestly & courageously & help them to use their painful experience of sorrow as a means of growth.
      1. Praise God, we are not left to our own human resources. We have divine resources to share with others, because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.
      2. Can God heal the brokenhearted? If all the pieces are given to Him!
        1. In 1858 Scottish missionary John G. Paton and his wife sailed for Vanuatu. 3 months after arriving on the island of Tanna, his wife died. One week later his infant son also died. Paton was plunged into sorrow. Feeling terribly alone, and surrounded by savage people who showed him no sympathy, he wrote, “Let those who have ever passed through any similar darkness as of midnight feel for me. As for all other, it would be more than vain to try to paint my sorrows.…But for Jesus, and His fellowship, I would have gone mad and died.”

Verses 16-39

  1. INTRO:
    1. "There is nothing," says Socrates to CephALus in the Republic, "I like better than conversing with aged men. For I regard them as travelers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom it is right to learn the character of the way, whether it is rugged or difficult, or smooth and easy" (p. 328 E.).
      1. We get to meet 1 of the lesser-known characters of Scripture, & we might never have heard of him had it not been for his connection with King David.
      2. His name is Iron Man! - No, not the superhero from Marvel Comics, Tony Stark, (Robert Downey Jr.’s). This is the original Iron Man. His name, Barzillai (Heb Iron Man)
      3. 1st we need to reacquaint ourselves with 2 other men. Shimei & Mephibosheth.
    2. Outline: Shimei, Singing a Different Tune-Man; Mephibosheth, Misunderstood-Man; Barzillai, The Original Iron-Man.
    3. Read starting from vs.15.
  2. SHIMEI, SINGING A DIFFERENT TUNE-MAN! (16-23)
    1. As a gesture of goodwill, David let Shimei live.
    2. David gives Shimei Amnesty (from a Gk word amnesia/forgetfulness)
    3. We want to ask the Shimei’s of this world, “You’re repenting because you have to now, or you really meant it?” Was he sincere?
      1. Do you know what a wine-brick is? When wine was outlawed during the prohibition, bootleggers began to press grape concentrates into the form of bricks, which wasn’t against the law. On the label this warning was printed: “Do not let this brick sit in a gallon of water for 21 days. It will ferment & become illegal wine.” [That’s insincere]
      2. If Shimei was sincere then we can learn 2 things from him here:
        1. The knowledge of sin - I have sinned (owning it).
        2. And, The best time to come - the first to come today.
      3. If he was not sincere - He had to appear repentant, it was his only hope.
    4. Shimei - a Benjamite, & related to Saul, blamed David for the destruction of Saul’s family & kingdom.
      1. Shimei probably nursed this grudge against David for 20 years, ever since the royal dynasty shifted from Saul to David.
      2. Separated from David & his party by a deep ravine, he went along the hill opposite, casting stones & cursing.
    5. Now Shimei’s singing a different tune!
    6. (21) Shimei’s blasphemies against the Lord’s anointed were a capital offense, as Abishai was zealous to point out.
      1. Caution: Abishai people delight in the letter of the law & in watching people get what they deserve. There advice is always Make Them Pay!!!
    7. 1st time David told Abishai no, because, “maybe this was judgment from the Lord.”
      1. This time he told him no because, “it was a day of rejoicing, not a day of vengeance.”
    8. Lets jump ahead to the end of Shemei’s & his story. When David was on his deathbed.
      1. 1 Kings 2:36-46 - When Solomon took over, he restricted him to Jerusalem so he could be watched. Shimei overstepped his bounds, was arrested/executed.
    9. Shimei had a weakness for resisting authority & treating God’s appointed ministers with disdain, & maybe that’s why David cautioned Solomon.
      1. Shimei didn’t appreciate David’s mercy or Solomon’s grace, & his independence & arrogance finally caught up with him.
  3. SHIMEI, the SINGING A DIFFERENT TUNE-MAN!
  4. MEPHIBOSHETH, MISUNDERSTOOD-MAN! (24-30)
    1. As a gesture of goodwill, David gave back to Mephibosheth half of his grandfather’s state.
    2. Ziba was Mephibosheth’s head servant. He was one of Saul’s land managers. He was a custodian of Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth. Ziba was an opportunist with evil motives.
      1. Ziba took advantage of both David & Mephibosheth.
        1. David immediately disinherited Mephibosheth, giving his estate to Ziba instead.
      2. David was weary & deeply wounded within, & it wasn’t the best time for him to be making character decisions.
      3. He accepted Ziba’s story & made a rash judgment that gave Ziba the property.
        1. Which was later/here discredited.
    3. Note Mephibosheth came down(24)...not an easy task for someone handicapped in that day.
    4. Mephibosheth made it clear that he wasn’t asking his king for anything.
      1. The king had given him life, so what more was there to desire?
    5. Vs.30 must have stunned David.
      1. It was about Relationship not Real-estate!
      2. He was saying as Anne Graham Lotz Immortalized Take the world just give me Jesus!
        1. We sang the chorus, You take the world, just give me You!
      3. Can you say that? Are you willing to say that? Would it sound closer to let him take it all….but….(this one thing)
      4. A songwriter wrote:
        1. ​​​​​​​I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold, I’d rather have Him than have riches untold; I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands, I’d rather be led by his nail-pierced hands.
      5. Who is this Jesus? What makes Him so compelling that... (Taken from pg.4 of Anne Graham Lotz, Just Give Me Jesus, book.)
      6. A Yugoslavian nun would give her life to comfort the dying in Calcutta for his sake?
      7. Some of the greatest architectural achievements in Europe were built for worship of Him?
      8. Some of the worlds most beautiful art was created to honor Him?
      9. Some of the worlds most glorious music was written to praise Him?
      10. 167 years after Rome crucified Him, He was acknowledged as the only God in the Roman Empire?
      11. Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, rotting in a Siberian work camp, said the very thought of Him was enough to keep his sanity?
        1. You take the world, just give me Him!
    6. SHIMEI, the SINGING A DIFFERENT TUNE-MAN! Now, MEPHIBOSHETH, the MISUNDERSTOOD-MAN!
  5. BARZILLAI, THE ORIGINAL IRON-MAN! (31-39)
    1. ​​​​​​​As a gesture of goodwill, David rewarded Barzillai by letting Chimham (most likely Barzillai’s son) become a permanent member of the royal court.
    2. Barzillai (of Iron; a.k.a. Iron Man) was: A Generous Man! (ch.17); A Contented Man! (ch.19); & A Remembered Man! (1 Kings2:7)
      1. He shows us how to grow old gracefully & beautifully.
      2. He shows us not only how to live, but how to die.
        1. Most men don’t know how to live let alone how to die.
        2. Many men will die like a man run-down in a race. Or, die with these words on there lips, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit” that James warned of.
    3. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A Generous Man! (read 17:27-29)
      1. Barzillai was one of the 3 wealthy landowners who met David when he arrived at Mahanaim. He actually lived 20-25 m. North in Rogelim.
        1. He wasn’t the type to see how the wind would blow...but jumped in to help.
      2. He had no sins to confess, like Shimei; no misunderstanding to clear up, like Mephibosheth; & no favor to ask the king; he just wanted to give his best to the king!
      3. He lived out Prov.11:24,25 There is one who scatters(gives), yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right(stingy), But it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters(refreshes) will also be watered(refreshed) himself.
    4. A Contented Man! (ch.19)
    5. Older people don’t like to pull up their roots & relocate, & they usually want to die at home & be buried with their loved ones.
      1. Here its his birthday, 80 years old, an octogenarian.
    6. When you are a kid you describe age in fractions, "I'm five and a half." (Adapted from Charles Lowery, “The Big 60”.)
      1. You turn 30, reach 40, make 50, obtain 60, & someday you might hit 70.
        1. After that it's day-to-day. You’re happy to hit Wednesday.
        2. In your 80s, you hit dinner!
      2. Then it’s really day-to-day. They say your wild oats have turned to shredded wheat; and your narrow waist and broad shoulders have switched places. Everything is starting to wear out, fall out, or spread out. Your knees buckle and your belt won't. You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine cabinet.
        You look forward to a dull evening. You drive with your hands in the 10 and 2 o'clock position, and by the time you get out of the car, your grandkids are already in the house. You know your old when...your favorite song is playing in the elevator.
    7. Solomon gave us one of the most imaginative descriptions of old age & death found anywhere in literature. (See Eccl.12:3-5 You know your old when...)
      1. (3) Keepers of the house tremble – arms & hands in which we use to defend ourselves with, now tremble.
      2. Strong men bow down – legs & knees weaken & you start to bend over.
        1. Ray Stedman said, “It’s when your knees buckle but your belt won’t!”
      3. Grinders cease – start to loose your teeth!
      4. Look through the windows – fading of the eyesight as old age approaches.
        1. Cataracts form, various eye problems develop.
      5. (4) Doors are shut in the street – either hearing start to fail, or you keep your mouth shut because you lost your teeth.
        1. Too many missing teeth, & the doors of the face & lips start to fall in.
      6. Sound of the grinding is low – (grinding already referred to as teeth) there’s not too much sound when you gum your food!
        1. No more Grape-Nuts!
      7. Rise up at sound of bird – You wish you could sleep longer but the littlest sound wakes you up in the morning.
      8. Daughters of music are brought low – increased deafness, when the keyboard of the ear isn’t playing music correctly anymore.
      9. (5) Afraid of height, & of terrors in the way – stay away from ladders & heights. And don’t go out at night.
      10. Almond trees blossom – (are what color?) What hair you have left turns white like almond blossoms.
      11. Grasshopper is a burden (NIV, drags himself along) – When you wake up in the morning your stiff & get up a little slower each day.
      12. Desire fails – All appetites start to fail, even sexual desire. [Guys are glad this is last on the list] [and Solomon is writing pre-Viagra!]
      13. Man goes to his eternal home…the mourners mourn – While you go home, people mourn your death.
    8. Key: What Barzillai didn’t need for himself he was willing for others to enjoy.
      1. What a wonderful reminder of generosity!
      2. How much is enough? Do I need it? Can I use it instead to bless someone else?
      3. David Platt in his Book Radical (Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream) reminds us, “Slave owners actually thought they were generous when they gave their slaves an extra chicken at Christmas.”
        1. What we learn, “Good intentions, from good church goers, & even studying the bible do not prevent blinders in us.”
        2. We see what we want to see & we ignore what we want to ignore.
        3. What will the Christians in 150 years look back on our generation & ask?
          1. How could they live in such big houses? How could they drive such nice cars & wear such nice clothes? How could they live in such affluence while thousands of children were dying because they didn’t have food & water? How could they go on with their lives as though the billions of the poor didn’t even exist? Is materialism a blind spot in American Culture & Christianity today? More importantly, is materialism a blind spot in your Christianity today? (David Platt, Radical. Audiobook, Chapter 6, How Much Is Enough?)
          2. You might be thinking, “Hey when I’m in my 80s, I’ll start thinking that way too!”
            1. ​​​​​​​To which I would respond, I guarantee, this heart didn’t start in his 80’s. If anything, left to itself the flesh grows more selfish in time, not more generous!
      4. I’ll ask it again, How much is enough? Do I need it? Can I use it instead to bless someone else?
    9. A Remembered Man! (1 Kings2:7)
    10. (38) Evidence that David kept his promise to treat Chimham well is found in Jer. 41:17 where mention is made of a site near Bethlehem known as Geruth Kimham (lit.the hospitality of Kimham)
      1. The Habitation of Chimham = A roadside Inn or Khan or caravansary.
        1. Caravansary - 2 Persian words: caravan + sara (building with enclosed courts)
      2. Near Bethlehem...Hmm, an Inn near Bethlehem?….could it be?
    11. Barzillai had learned to number his days, & had applied his heart to wisdom!
    12. Are you a Barzillai? Are you an iron-man in someone’s life today?
      1. Everyday we will have Barzillai’s duty & opportunity also, if only we have Barzillai’s mind & heart. Not that a king will be in want or need us to rescue him in our neighborhood, but good causes do, & needy & deserving men, & old and distressed friends.
    13. SHIMEI, the SINGING A DIFFERENT TUNE-MAN! MEPHIBOSHETH, the MISUNDERSTOOD-MAN! BARZILLAI, THE ORIGINAL IRON-MAN!
    14. Next Week:
      1. ​​​​​​​David’s troubles weren’t over yet, for the long-running feud between the 10 tribes(The Hatfield’s) & Judah(The McCoy’s) would surface again & almost cause another civil war. (Warren Wiersbe, Be Restored, pg.125.)
      2. Shakespeare was right: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

Verses 40-43

  1. 10 RIGHTS MAKE 1 WRONG! (19:40-43)
    1. INTERTRIBAL JEALOUSY!
    2. The 10 Tribes had the opportunity to either demand their rights or die to self!
    3. Israel holds to their 10 shares of Rights….I demand my Rights! (you king-kidnappers!) (43)
      1. Judah held to their rights & made the situation worse.
    4. The counsel we need here is found in Rom.12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.
      1. Story - (Early 90‘s went w/Jeff to Russia, Rostov-na-Donu; NE corner of Black Sea) In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers died as they were hurled into the icy waters below. News of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident. It wasn’t a technology problem like radar malfunction - or even thick fog. The cause was human stubbornness. Each captain was aware of the other ship’s presence nearby. Both could have steered clear, but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other. Each was too proud to yield first. By the time they came to their senses, it was too late. (Closer Walk, December, 1991.)
        1. Peter Marshall said, “Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change. And when we are right, make us easy to live with.”
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 19". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-samuel-19.html. 2017.