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tion was now happily accomplished, and needed not the death of Shimei, or any other person, to secure it; and that therefore he was resolved no man should be put to death that day in Israel. “ What have I to do with you
(says he) ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be 6 adversaries to me? Shall there any man be put to death “ this day in Israel? For do not I know that I am this “ day king over Israel?” He then turned to Shimei, and gave him his royal word and oath that no harm whatever should come to him on his account; upon which assurance Shimei made his reverence, and departed.
Another remarkable person who went to wait on David at this time was, the perfidious Ziba, accompanied by his fifteen sons, and twenty servants. He had again imposed upon his master, for, when he ordered him to make ready his ass, that he, among others, might go and meet the king, he slid away himself to make his court first; so that Mephibosheth, being lame, was forced to stay at Jerusalem (where he had all along mourned* for the king's absence) until David arrived: But when he was admitted into his presence, and the king seemed to be angry with him for not having accompanied him in his exile, he charged this seeming neglect upon the perfidy of his servant, whose iniquity he so clearly pointed out, and set his own case in so fair a light,t that the king was con
• The words in the text are, that he had not dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day that the king departed, 2 Sam. xix. 24. These were some of the instances, wherein the Jews were accustomed to express their mourning; and they are here mentioned by the historian, as evidences of the falshood of Ziba's information against his master, since no one, who neglected himself to this degree, could be supposed ambitious of a crown. Not dressing his feet may signify either not cutting his toe-nails, or his not washing his feet, which the Jews were accustomed very frequently to do, because of the bad scent which was natural to them, as well as the Arabians, and some other nations; and therefore his omission of this could not but make him offensive to himself. Not trimming his beard was letting his hair grow negligently, and without any order: for the manner of the Jews was, to cut the hair from the lip upwards, and what grew likewise on the cheek, but what was on the chin, and so backwards to the ear, they suffered to grow; and not washing his clothes must denote his not putting on clean linen, but wearing the same shirt the whole time.
+ The words Josephus puts into Mephibosheth's mouth, when pleading his excuse to David for pot attending him, and acknowledg
VOL. ii. B
vinced of the treachery of Ziba, and therefore revoked the hasty grant he had made in his favor, and restored to Mephibosheth those possessions of which he had been divested by the artifices of his perfidious and treacherous servant.
Before David had advanced as far as the river Jordan, in his return to Jerusalem, he was met by another person of distinguished note who came to compliment him on the occasion. This was Barzillai, the Gileadite, who testified his friendship and allegiance to him, during the time of the rebellion, by supplying him and his men with great quantities of provisions during their stay at Mahanaim. After Barzillai had paid the king reverence, David, in gratitude for favors received, gave him an invitation to accompany him to Jerusalem, and at the same time promised that as soon as he arrived there he would liberally provided for him. The good old man answered, How long have I to live that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? I am this day fourscore years old, and can I discern between good and evil? Have I any relish for the pleasures and enjoyments of a court? Can thy servant taste what I eat, or what I drink? Can I any more hear the voice of singing men and singing women? Wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burthen to my lord the king? Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king; and why should the king recompence it me with such a reward? hereby acknowledging that the honor he did him by his kind invitation to his court was too great a recompence for the small proofs he had given him ing the favors received from the king, are to this effect:"Nor has "he only disappointed me (speaking of Ziba) in the exercise of my “ duty, but has been doing me spiteful offices to your majesty like6 wise: But you, Sir, arc so just, and so great a lover of God and “ truth, that I am sure your generosity and wisdom will never enter“ tain a calumny to my prejudice. Our family has had the experience 5 of your piety, modesty and goodness to a degree never to be forgotten, “ in passing over and pardoning the innumerable hazards and perse“cutions that you were exposed to in the days and by the contrivance “ of my grand-father, when all our lives were forfeited, in your
power, and at your mercy. But then, after all this gracious tender
ness, your superadding the honor of taking me to your table, (a " person so obnoxions in regard of my relations) as a friend and as a " guest, nothing could be either greater, or more obliging, and for all * which I return you my most sincere and grateful acknowledgments.”
of his affection and zeal for his person and government. He then desired the king's permission to turn back again, that he might die in his own city, and be buried by the grave of his father and mother. But that he might not appear to undervalue the king's kind offers, he said, Behold thy servant Chimham,* let him go over with my lord the king, and do to him what shall seem good unto thee. David replied, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good to thee, and do for him whatsoever thou shalt require of me. Barzillai accordingly attended the king over the river Jordan, where the king embraced him in the most affectionate manner, wished him all happiness, and sent him highly pleased to his habitation and family.
When David had crossed the river Jordan, he proceeded with all expedition towards Gilgal, attended not only by the whole tribe of Judah, but considerable detachments from half of the other tribes; as also the thousand men with Shimei, of the tribe of Benjamin. When they came to Gilgal they found that the rest of the tribes were come down, in large bodies, to pay their submission to David. These, understanding that the tribe of Judah had been particularly summoned by David to attend him, which none of the other tribes had been, and that upon their single invitation, without waiting for the other tribes, he had resolved to return to Jerusalem, they were incensed to the highest degree, and such a difference arose between the men of Judah and them as occasioned a new rebellion. The Israelites in general thinking the credit of the king's restoration would be fixed on the tribe of Judah alone, thus expostulated with David: Why, said they, have our brethren the men of Judah, stolen thee away (clandestinely, as it were taken thee from the rest of their brethren) and have brought the king and his household, and all David's men with him over Jordan ? as though he was their peculiar exclusive property, with whom the rest of the tribes
* It is generally supposed that Chimham was Barzillai's son. See 1 Kings ii. 7. In Jeremiah xli. 17. there is mention of the habitation of Chimham, which was near Bethlehem; and it is reasonable to suppose that David, having a patrimony in the field of Bethlehem, bestowed it upon this son of Barzillai, from whence the place received the name of Chimham,
had no share. The men of Judah, without suffering David to interpose, imprudently replied, Because the king is near of kin to us, as being of our tribe, and therefore we have some peculiar interest in him. Wherefore then be ye angry with us for our being the first to shew our affection to him? especially as we have put the king to no expense for our attendance on him, nor received any gratuity for our zeal in serving him. This answer farther inflamed the Israelites, who replied, with indignation, “We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more “ right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, 6 that our advice should not be first had in bringing back “ our king.” This the men of Judah treated with contempt, and answered the discontented tribes in so haughty a manner, that they wanted nothing but a leader to head them, to bring about a second revolution, and prevent David's re-settlement on the throne.
Turbulent and factious persons are seldom wanting in cases of public disturbance, and such an one soon appeared among the Israelites. Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite, (who had probably been an officer in the late rebellion, and was of a profligate temper and character) taking advantage of these discontents, immediately blew the trumpet of sedition, and cried out in the midst of the people, We have no part in David, neither have we any inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to his tent, O Israel. This was spoken by way of indignation to the claims of the tribe of Judah of a superior interest in David as king. Since you will have it that the king is yours, be
We renounce all interest in, and claim to him; and you and the king may go together. Let us return to our camp, O Israel, and provide a king for ourselves.
As the Israelites in general were ever prone to rebellion, this speech of Sheba's took immediate effect. The body of the people deserted David, marched off under Sheba, and probably would have advanced him, or one of Saul's family, to the crown, had not proper measures been immediately taken to quash the defection in its infancy. The tribe of Judah continued faithful to the king, whom they conducted with all expedition, to bis palace at Jerusalem.
As soon as David had taken possession of Jerusalem, and was reinstated in his palace, one of his first cares was,
to remove those concubines, or secondary wives, whom Absalom had so scandalously abused. He therefore ordered them to be separated from the palace, and maintained in a proper place of seclusion and retirement, where they were kept the remainder of their lives as widows, without having any future commerce with man. This was certainly a very prudent step taken by David, for had they been permitted to appear again in public, it might have been of bad consequence, at least it would have renewed in the minds of the people the opprobrious infamy of his son, whose faults he was anxiously desirous of burying in oblivion.
The insurrection of Sheba was now become too serious to be neglected. David, therefore, gave orders to Amasa (whom he appointed captain-general in Joab's stead) to assemble the troops of the tribe of Judah within three days, and to put himself at the head of them, that he might review them in person at Jerusalem. Amasa, by some means or other, did not appear at the time appointed, upon which David, to prevent the inconvenience of any farther delay, and the increase of Sheba's party, ordered Abishai, Joab's brother, to gather together the king's guards, and what other forces he could collect, and immediately pursue Sheba, to prevent him, if possible, from seizing any of the fortified cities for his security. Abishai, accordingly took Joab's own regiment, consisting of the Cherethites and Pelethites, together with all the mighty men that were in, or near the city, and marched out of Jerusalem in pursuit of the rebel. Joab attended him though not as general; and when they had got as far as the great rock of Gibeon, they were joined by Amasa, with the men of Judah he had col. lected, who put himself at the head of the whole as commander in chief.
The garment that Joab wore was girt round him in the military manner, and over it was the belt of his sword, so fastened that the sword hung upon his loins in the scabbard. As Joab went up to Amasa, the sword falling out of the scabbard, he caught it in his left hand, and said to Amasa, Art thou in health my brother? immediately after which he took hold of Amasa's beard with his right hand in order to salute him, as was then the custom of the country. Amasa, cither not seeing the sword in his left hand,