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Thursday, August 20, 2015

(Thursday) 2 Sam 19:1-23
The grieving David, a father in pain, is confronted by Joab. David covers his face  and Joab accuses him of covering the face of his army with shame. The victory has been turned to an experience of defeat (Absalom stole the hearts of Israel, now David's troops 'steal' into the city like those who 'steal' in with shame at running away). The political duties of the king trump his personal feelings. He is at risk of losing his army. He treats those who are faithful to him badly, and mourns the usurper; this is unsustainable in a leadership role. His loyal troops gather around the king at the gate, while Israel (all those who backed Absalom) flees. There is no record of what David said.

Suddenly, the narrative shifts to discussion amongst the rebel tribes of Israel. The memory of David's past victories, and the fall of Absalom lead them to reclaim David as king. David sends to his own tribe, Judah, asking why they should not be first to take him back. David then asks Absalom's general, Amasa, to be in charge of his army. (Recall this is his nephew and Joab's cousin). The Hebrew text says "he inclined the heart of all the men of Judah..." but he is an uncertain reference (David or Amasa).

David's return is related in similar fashion to his shameful departure. Once again he encounters numerous people, including Shimmei who begs mercy for his previous "perverse" behavior (cursing king). As in the previous encounter, a soldier offers to slay Shimmei for his offense, but David harshly rebukes him. There is to be no more death on this day. This day when David is once more the undisputed king.

(Friday) 2 Sam 19:24-43
The return parade continues, now Mephibosheth return. His appearance reflects mourning during David's absence. (Recall his servant claimed that he had been glad to see David

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