David’s mourning over Absalom is causing the victorious to slink away, hide in their homes, and wonder about the leadership of their king. Joab rebukes David for this sharply, telling him that he is mourning those that despise him and showing contempt for those who had fought so valiantly for him. David was going to lose them all – and the kingdom (verses 3-7). So David pulls himself together and goes to the city gate to meet, greet, and show that he is in control now.
David replaces Joab as commander with Amasa in a surprise move. It could partly be for Joab’s disregarding his instructions about Absalom, but verses 11-15 seem to indicate it was a move intended to help re-unify the country. In verses 25-30, Mephibosheth seems convincing when he tells David that Ziba had slandered him in 2 Samuel 16:3. David seems unsure who to believe, so he tells him he will divide the land when between them. Mephibosheth lends himself even more credence when he replies that Ziba can just take it all. It is enough that David had returned. But we are in even less position to judge this than David was.
Shimei is pardoned for his treasonous actions in 2 Samuel 16:5-13, as he brings David a thousand men from the tribe of Benjamin, and David (to the disappointment of his mighty men) declares that he will not die. This chapter tells of much strife between Israel and Judah; and the dispute will only worsen in the coming years (verses 9-15, 41-43).
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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