Absalom’s rebellion, though tragic and serious, was mercifully short-lived. Following his death “all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The King saved us … and delivered us … Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back”? Along with this surging desire for his return, there was also the longing of David to be back. As the hart brayed over the aqueducts, so he thirsted for the Living God, and to be able once again to appear before God. The longing of both, people and king answered to each other, giving us a true picture of what should be the attitude of the believer today. The Apostle prayed for the Thessalonian believers that the Lord would direct their hearts into the love of God and the patience of Christ. While He patiently waits the day of His return, the echoing chord in the heart of every true believer should be “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”
ZADOK AND ABIATHAR
were commissioned to stir the hearts of the elders of Judah. These two had been faithful to David in the dark days, hence they are now honoured. As then, so now. Faithfulness in sanctuary vigil must precede the proclamation of the truth of our Lord’s return. Only if the heart’s affections are engaged with Him, to whom we have been espoused, can our witness be effective. The two may only be divorced with serious loss. In this chapter recording David’s return seven persons are mentioned. Each was affected differently by the event, and they may well illustrate seven classes of persons who will be variously affected by the Lord’s return.
He was a Benjamite. For years he seems to have nourished a grievance against David. It only needed the rebellion under Absalom to make manifest that he had never been reconciled to David’s exaltation to the throne. Hence when he thought it was perfectly safe to do so he cursed David, threw stones at him and cast dust (16. 13). Contrary to his expectation Absalom was killed, so now he “hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David” (19. 16). His confession and supplication averted immediate death, but later he died for his crime (1 Kings 2, 46). To him David’s return was a day of remorse and retribution. Shimei could not have been just an ordinary Israelite. He must have been a recognised leader, and alas, foreshadows many present day apostates. What an awakening awaits such!!
When David fled from Jerusalem, Ziba followed him with gifts in his hands, a lie in his mouth and a covetous desire for Mephibosheth’s inheritance in his heart. He slandered Mephibosheth to David, for he never expected that Absalom would spare one who had been the object of such favour at David’s hands. So along with his fifteen sons and twenty servants he went over Jordan before the king. To his horror Mephibosheth was. still alive. His lie was brought to light and David’s previous hasty verdict had to be altered. To Ziba the day of David’s return was a day of revelation and reversal! His hidden counsels, the motives of his heart were revealed!! What ugly things they were. In view of the judgment seat of Christ, where what we really are shall be made manifest, may we learn to say” All my springs are in thee.” May we know what it is to have our inward parts washed. Let us not try to gain advantage at the expense of truth regarding our brethren. Would that Ziba had died childless! What servants he could afford. There were twenty at his beck and call.
He was David’s nephew, and had given a wonderful testimony when he sought David while as yet David was a fugitive in Saul’s day. “Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse” (1 Chron. 12, 16-18) For some unrecorded reason he was deflected from the path of loyalty at the time of the rebellion. The association of his name with Joab’s would almost suggest that Joab’s overbearing, selfish and terribly jealous character had driven him away. David was prepared to give him back his place of honour. To him David’s return was a day of restoration. His true attitude to David is now seen. May we not learn from this that possibly many who are thought by some to have proved unfaithful, will in that day be given a place of honour that their traducers expected to receive.
was a forceful general, but utterly unscrupulous. He would seemingly do anything to further his own ends. His behaviour towards Abner and Amasa shews how he was determined to eliminate any rival. His actions in connection with the return of Absalom from Geshur, and access to the palace, and eventually in the wood reveal him as a selfish, unprincipled man. In the matter of Uriah he is revealed as an opportunist of the worst kind. When Adonijah rebelled, and made a bid for the throne, he turned traitor. For this he paid with his life even though he sought sanctuary in the Tabernacle, and caught hold on the horns of the Altar. He had killed two men more righteous and better than himself. To him the day of David’s return was a day of resignation. His position was forfeited in favour of another. It was a day of surprises! And so will the coming of the Lord be: some very sad and sorrowful to contemplate. How we need to live in the light of the ‘Bema.’
To him it was a day of rejoicing, of unalloyed delight.” The absence of his beloved master had deprived him of every motive to adorn his person. While David was away he was a mourner” (C.H.M.). When a poor outcast in Lodebar David had sent for him, had restored to him all the inheritance of his father – Saul, and had introduced him to the royal table. Later when the Gibeonites demanded the death of seven members of Saul’s family, Mephibosheth was spared. Ziba had deceived him and then slandered him, When it was suggested that the property should be divided he turned it down, for to have accepted the suggestion would have incriminated him, as later it did the guilty mother who would have divided the child (1 Kings 3. 25-28). Mephibosheth was that delighted in seeing the king return in peace that the inheritance was of little consequence to him.
May it be ours to be like him, prepared to be considered as the offscouring of all things, walking in true separation from the world, its methods and maxims, and in true devotion to Christ. Then we shall not be put to shame before Him at His coming.
For him it was a day of reward. When David was in the wilderness he had, as a steward of material things supplied David with beds and basins and other necessities. Now his stewardship was to be rewarded. He was a very great man. His name and place of abode suggest strength of iron and rock. These are associated with Rogelim – the fuller’s place, the place where garments are made clean. May such men be multiplied, for he was a great man indeed, and great shall be the reward of such men.
We know little or nothing of this man. He was probably the son of Barzillai. To him it was a day of recognition. He had doubtless done the drudgery work, he had seen to the beds and basins and other things. Of this there is no record, as there is not of so many deeds today. Much that is greatly publicised here may be passed unnoticed, whereas much that was unknown and unheard of will be recognised and given its due reward in that day. It should be noted however that faithfulness in material things brings rich dividends in spiritual blessing to the family. Parents need to remember this, and should act in the light of it. May we so fulfil our stewardship that we will have confidence to make petition for our children as Barzillai did for Chimham. To Barzillai David said in relation to Chimham “Whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee.”
These very brief sketches of those who were connected with David’s return should urge us to reality in in view of the fact that they serve to illustrate the tremendous issues that will be decided at the coming of the Lord.
This series will he concluded in our next number by a paper on the principal failures in David’s reign and their lessons for us.