1Soon Joab was told, “The king is crying and mourning for Absalom.”
2Victory that day was turned into mourning for the whole army, because they were told, “The king is grieving for his son.”
3They stole back into town that day like defeated people steal in, ashamed of running away from the battle.
4The king held his face in his hands and sobbed loudly, “My son Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!”
5Then Joab went inside and told the king, “Today you have humiliated all your men who have saved your life, and the lives of your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your concubines.
6You did this by loving those who hate you and hating those who love you. Today you have made it plain that the commanders and the men don't mean anything to you. Today I'm sure that you'd be quite happy if Absalom was alive and all of us were dead!
7So get up, go out, and thank your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don't, you won't have a man left by tonight. That will be far worse for you than all the disasters you've had from your youth until now.”
8So the king got up and went to sit at the town gate. Everybody was told: “Look, the king is sitting at the town gate.” They all came to see the king. In the meantime the Israelites had run away and gone to their homes.
9Everyone among the tribes of Israel were arguing with each other, saying, “The king rescued us from the persecution of our enemies, he saved us from the Philistines, but now he's had to run from the country because of Absalom.
10Now Absalom, the man we chose to be our king by anointing him, he's died in battle. Why don't we do something and invite King David to come back?”
11King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests: “Tell the elders of Judah, ‘Are you going to be the last people to bring the king back to his palace, since the king has heard that all of Israel wants it?
12You are my brothers, my own flesh and blood. Why should you be the last ones to want to bring the king back?’
13Tell Amasa, ‘Aren't you my flesh and blood too? May God punish me very severely if from now on you're not the commander of my army instead of Joab!’”
14Amasa convinced all the people of Judah to unitedly support David, so they sent a message to the king: “Please come back, you and everyone with you.”
15The king began his journey back, and when he arrived at the Jordan, the men of Judah met him at Gilgal to help him cross the river.
16Shimei, son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David.
17With him were one thousand men from the tribe of Benjamin, including Ziba, servant of Saul's family, as well as Ziba's fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed down to the Jordan to meet the king.
18They crossed at the ford to bring the king's household over and whatever else he wanted. Shimei crossed the Jordan and fell facedown before the king.
19“Your Majesty, please forgive me and disregard the wrong that I, your servant, did when Your Majesty left Jerusalem. Please forget all about it.
20I, your servant, recognize that I have sinned. But look! Today I'm the first from any of the tribes of Joseph to come down and meet Your Majesty.”
21Abishai, son of Zeruiah, said, “Shouldn't Shimei be executed for this, because he cursed the Lord's anointed one?”
22But David replied, “What's that got do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? Do you want to be my enemies today? Is this a day to execute anybody in Israel? Aren't I certain that today I'm the king of Israel once more?”
23David turned to Shimei and swore an oath to him, “You're not going to die.”
24Then Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, went to meet the king. He had refused to look after his feet or trim his mustache or have his clothes washed from the day the king left until the day of his peaceful return.
25When he arrived from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, “Why didn't you come with me, Mephibosheth?”
26Mephibosheth answered, “Your Majesty, my servant Ziba tricked me. I told him, ‘Saddle up my donkey so I can ride her and leave with the king,’ because you know that I'm lame.
27Ziba has misrepresented me, your servant, to Your Majesty. However, Your Majesty is like an angel of God, so do what you think best.
28All my grandfather's family could only expect death from Your Majesty, but you included me, your servant, among those who eat at your table. So what right do I have to ask the king for anything more?”
29“Why talk any more about these issues of yours?” David responded. “I've decided that you and Ziba should divide the land.”
30Mephibosheth replied to the king, “Let him have it all! I'm just happy that Your Majesty has returned home in peace.”
31Barzillai the Gileadite had also came down from Rogelim to help the king cross the Jordan and to make his way onwards from there.
32Barzillai was very old, eighty years of age, and because he was a very wealthy man, he had provided the king with food while he was staying in Mahanaim.
33The king said to Barzillai, “Cross the Jordan with me, and I will provide for you while you stay with me in Jerusalem.”
34“How much longer do you think I have to live so I could go to Jerusalem and stay there with the king?” Barzillai replied.
35“I'm already eighty. I don't enjoy anything anymore. I can't taste what I eat or drink. I can't hear when people sing. There's no point for me, your servant, to be another burden to Your Majesty!
36For your servant to cross the Jordan River with the king is enough reward for me!
37Then let your servant go back home, that I may die in my home town near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant, my son Chimham. Let him cross over with Your Majesty, and treat him as you think best.”
38The king replied, “Chimham will cross over with me, and I will treat him as you think best, and I will do for you whatever you want.”
39So everybody crossed the Jordan first, and then the king crossed over. The king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and then Barzillai went back home.
40Then the king carried on to Gilgal, and Chimham went with him. The whole army of Judah and half the army of Israel accompanied the king.
41But soon the men of Israel who were there came to the king and asked him, “Why did our brothers, the men of Judah, secretly take Your Majesty away and bring you and your household across the Jordan, together with all your men?”
42The men of Judah explained to the men of Israel, “We did this because the king is one of our relatives. Why are you getting upset about this? When did we ever eat the king's food? When did we ever get anything for yourselves?”
43“We've got ten shares in the king,” the men of Israel replied, “so we have a greater claim on David than you do. So why do you look down us? Weren't we the first ones to talk about bringing back our king?” But the men of Judah argued even more strongly than the men of Israel.