2 Samuel 19:31-40 Staying True while Awaiting the King’s return
2 Samuel 19:31-40
Barzillai of Gilead had come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan. 32 He was very old, about eighty, and very wealthy. He was the one who had provided food for the king during his stay in Mahanaim. 33 “Come across with me and live in Jerusalem,” the king said to Barzillai. “I will take care of you there.”
34 “No,” he replied, “I am far too old to go with the king to Jerusalem. 35 I am eighty years old today, and I can no longer enjoy anything. Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the singers as they sing. I would only be a burden to my lord the king. 36 Just to go across the Jordan River with the king is all the honor I need! 37 Then let me return again to die in my own town, where my father and mother are buried. But here is your servant, my son Kimham. Let him go with my lord the king and receive whatever you want to give him.”
38 “Good,” the king agreed. “Kimham will go with me, and I will help him in any way you would like. And I will do for you anything you want.” 39 So all the people crossed the Jordan with the king. After David had blessed Barzillai and kissed him, Barzillai returned to his own home.
40 The king then crossed over to Gilgal, taking Kimham with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel escorted the king on his way.
David’s return to Jerusalem after defeating the rebellion shadows Christ’s eventual return to the earth as King. Mephibosheth and Barzillai depict a type of a true follower of Christ. While Mephibosheth depicts the virtue of loyalty, Barzillai depicts the application of the promise of inheritance when Christ returns. In today’s passage, we see the importance of doing what is right despite injustice while awaiting Christ’s return. Believers must not give up, for in due time Christ, the righteous Judge will return to dispense justice and reward us for our faithfulness.
Come across with me and live in Jerusalem – Barzillai is one of the three noble men who provided for David and his troops at Mahanaim before their battle with Absalom’s troops. In return for Barzillai’s kindness, David offers to host Barzillai as a permanent guest of honor at court. Barzillai politely declined speaking of himself as a potential burden and would very much prefer to spend his last days at home.
But here is your servant, my son Kimham – Barzillai, having declined David’s invitation offers his own son Kimham in his place as beneficiary of David’s kindness. David gives his word to take care of Kimham on account of Barzillai who provided critical assistance in his time of need. David later gives instructions to Solomon to show kindness to Barzillai’s sons and grant them land in Bethlehem area. Hence, the name village of Geruth-Kimham near Bethleham was mentioned in Jeremiah 41:17.
- The absence of a leader will eventually reveal who his genuine supporters are. David’s temporal exile from Jerusalem and his fateful return in victory and restoration as king is likened to Christ’s second coming as King of the world. Just as David’s departure inexorably reveals to him who his faithful followers are, God identifies those who are faithful to Him when He returns. However, we must not read too much into David’s departure from Jerusalem as a parallel to Christ’s ascension from the earth. For Christ’s ascension is not exilic in nature as in the case of David. Christ’s “departure” for a time ushers in the Holy Spirit’s dispensation and the age of the church. Thereafter, Christ will return the second time to judge and call the faithful to Himself. Many will miscalculate Christ’s departure and misplace their loyalty towards Satan, king of this world; they will turn their allegiance towards the Devil mirroring the majority of Israelites who went after Absalom. The true followers of Christ will remain faithful to His commandments while waiting patiently for His return and God will reward them for their loyalty. Mephibosheth personifies the faithful believer awaiting Christ’s return. 1 Peter 5:4 says, “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
Jesus, in Luke 18 teaches about God’s righteousness in dispensing justice when He returns and calls on all believers to remain faithful and not to give up. Comparing to the unrighteous judge who responded to the needy widow and gave her justice, “will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:7-8. In other words, will Christ find us faithful in doing what is right when He returns? Therefore, Christ’s absence is necessary and instrumental in separating those who are loyal to Him and those who are just in for the ride.
- The descendants of the faithful will be called blessed forever. The greatest gift believers can give to their children and disciples is the inheritance of blessedness on earth and in heaven. Glory and honor is displayed through the blessedness of our spiritual descendants. Blessedness is divine favor that secures peace, health and material blessings on earth and glory in heaven. Barzillai’s work of love has earned for his son Kimham, a place of blessedness and honor in David’s court and much land in the vicinity of Bethlehem. It is through the believers’ faith the bondage of poverty, sickness and violence is removed from their descendants. This is a universal principle of inheritance as expressed by the Psalmist,
Praise the LORD! How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Psalm 112:1-3
Blessedness in heaven in the same vein is imparted by the Spirit through believers’ exemplary lifestyle which carries the legacy of faithfulness towards God and charity towards men. The apostle Paul says,
(God) will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life. Romans 2:6-7
When children and disciples observe their parents and mentors’ lifestyle of godliness and selflessness, they are inspired to emulate and integrate godly virtues into their lives. On the day of Christ’s return they will rejoice as they receive their eternal reward.
- Even as we labor to provide for our family, our heart’s focus must rest squarely on God’s calling to build His Kingdom. What can we do at the mean time? We must seize every opportunity to help those who are needy and spread the gospel of Christ to the community. As we are found faithful, there will come a time when God will free us from the daily humdrum of work so that we could devote more time into the gospel work.
- Are the virtues of Christ the most precious inheritance you will be giving to your children and disciples? If the answer is yes, do all to emulate Christ by the power of the Spirit that dwells within you. People are not moved by spoken words but by your exemplary lifestyle, and you will inspire them.
Dear Lord, empower me by your Spirit to continue to do what is right despite unfair treatment. I believe in your time, you will dispense justice and reward me accordingly. Help me live out the virtues of Christ in patience, forgiveness and by confidence to stand for the truth. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.