Wiersbe starts this section by summarizing David's organization of the men and wending them out to go gently on Absalom, while Absalom has done nothing but rebel against David. Then Wiersbe points out that David is a man after God's own heart. David went easy on his sons and God give us chance after chance, mercy upon mercy, grace abounding and in return---we rebel. Thank God he goes light on us too.
Both Ahithophel (the traitorous advisor) and Absalom (the traitorous son) died hanging from trees- which for an Israelite- is a sign you were cursed by God.
Wiersbe says the theme of this chapter is Bringing Back the King. All of the years of the judges left the country divided and hungry. They had been healing under David and now that was fractured. With the death of Absalom, the people were hungry for healing.
Wiersbe introduces 5 steps to bring back the king for unity:
- verses 1-8 David focused on his perspective: He chose to singley focus on his loss as a father and forgot about his responsibilities as a leader, especially considering the sacrifice and service of those who went to defend him.
- verses 9-15 David strove for unity: On his way to Jerusalem, he made strides for unity.
- First with Judah. I missed the nuance of this section. It was the leaders of Judah, specifically that were hesitant to invite David back. Absalom had launched his rebellion from Hebron, which is in Judah, so there were co-conspirators who wouldn't want to face David. So David reached out them asking why they were failing to invite him, when every other tribe already had. They were his blood relatives and tribe and should have wanted him back the most.
- verses 13-14 David appoints Amasa general, Joab disobeyed and had been growing stronger as David's military duties waned. Plus, it began the process of rebuilding loyalty to forgive the rebel army and entrust them with duties. So Judah was now back to supporting David with their full hearts and came to meet him at the Jordan at Gilgal. This was a very special and holy place for Israel, This is where they camped as soon as the crossed the Jordan under Joshua's leadership. Also where Samuel renewed the covenant when Saul was anointed king. Now David was coming back and another new beginning at Gilgal.
- verses 16-23 David Declared General Amnesty not only were David's tribe there at the crossing, but some of his enemies
- 1000 benjamites
- verses 24-30 David Corrected an Error The Mephibosheth issue
- verses 31-40 David rewarded the faithful
The Wiersbe book and the Ryrie Bible make a break here between chapter 19 verses 40-41. This starts the new section showing the uneasiness of the relationship between the northern 10 tribes of Israel, often called Israel or sons of Joseph- referring to Ephraim, one of two son of Joseph to inherit land and then Judah, being the tribes of Judah and Simeon.
II'll pick up this thread in Chapter 20.