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3. By stealth - Not openly and triumphantly, as conquerors use to do; but secretly, as if they were afraid and ashamed, lest David should see them, and look upon them with an evil eye, as those that had an hand in killing of his beloved son.
5. Hast shamed - By disappointing their just hopes of praises and rewards, and by requiting them with contempt and tacit rebukes.
6. Pleased thee - This is not be understood as exactly true; but David's carriage gave too much colour to such a suggestion; and such sharpness of speech was in a manner necessary to awaken the king out of his lethargy, and to preserve him from the impendent mischiefs.
9. At strife - Quarrelling one with another as the authors or abettors of this shameful rebellion, and discoursing privately and publickly of David's high merits, which God, being now reconciled to David, brings afresh to their memories.
10. Now therefore - The people of Israel speak thus to the elders of Israel, as appears by comparing this verse with the next. Seeing their designs for Absalom disappointed, they now repented of that undertaking, and were willing to testify so much by their forwardness to bring back David, and re-establish him.
11. Judah - Who being the abettors of Absalom's rebellion, despaired of pardon, and therefore were backward to promote the king's restoration. His house - Even to Mahanaim, where now the king's house and family is.
13. Of Joab - Who, besides his other crimes, had lately exasperated the king by his murder of Absalom, contrary to David's express command. And therefore the king having now the opportunity of another person who had a greater interest than Joab, gladly complies with it, that so he might both chastise Joab for his faults, and rescue himself from the bondage in which Joab had hitherto held him.
14. He bowed - David by this prudent and kind message and his free offer of pardon.
17. With him - Whom he brought, partly to shew his interest in the people, and partly, as intercessors on his behalf, and as witnesses of David's clemency or severity, that in him they might see what the rest of them might expect. Ziba - Who, being conscious of his former abuse of David, and of his master Mephibosheth, which he knew the king would understand, designed to sweeten David's spirit towards him, by forwardness in meeting him.
20. House of Joseph - The house of Joseph is here put for all the tribes, except Judah, which are fitly distinguished from Judah, because the rights of the first-born were divided between Judah and Joseph, 1 Chron. v, 2. And though Benjamin, after the division of the kingdoms was fitly joined with Judah, because then they adhered to that tribe; yet before that time it was joined with Joseph, because they marched under the standard of the house of Joseph, or of Ephraim, Num. x, 22, 23, 24. Whence it is, that Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, are put together, Psalm lxxx, 2.
22. Adversaries - That is, that you put me upon things unfit for me to do, and contrary to my interest; for it was David's interest at this time to appease the people, and reconcile them to him, and not to give them any new distaste by acts of severity: for this would make others jealous, that he would watch an opportunity to be revenged on them. King - Is not my kingdom, which was in a manner wholly lost, just now restored and assured to me? And when God hath been so merciful to me in forgiving my sin, shall I shew myself revengeful to Shemei? Shall I sully the publick joy and glory of this day, with an act of such severity? Or, shall I alienate the hearts of my people from me, now they are returning to me?
24. The son - That is, the grandson, chap. vi, 3, 6. His feet - By washing his feet, which was usual in those hot climates, and very refreshing; and therefore now neglected, as becoming a mourner. Beard - But suffered it to grow very long, and disorderly, as was usual with persons in a forlorn, or mournful state. Clothes - His linen cloathes. This and the former were signs, that he was a true and obstinate mourner, and evidences of the falsehood of Ziba's relation concerning him, chap. xvi, 3.
25. Jerusalem - Probably he had continued near Jerusalem, because he could not go to meet him, as others did.
26. Deceived me - By carrying away the ass which I bid him saddle for me.
27. Angel - To distinguish between true reports and calumnies; See note on "chap. xiv, 20".
28. Before - Before thy tribunal: we were all at thy mercy: not my estate only but my life also was in thy power, if thou hadst dealt with rigor, and as earthly kings use to do with their predecessor's and enemies children. To cry - For the vindication of mine honour, and the restitution of my estate.
29. Divide - The land shall be divided between thee and him, as it was by my first order, chap. ix, 10, he and his sons managing it, and supporting themselves out of it, as they did before, and giving the rest of the profits thereof to thee.
35. I am, &c. - My senses are grown dull, and incapable of relishing the pleasures of a court. I am past taking pleasures in delicious tastes, or sweet musick, and other such delights. I am through age both useless and burdensome to others, and therefore most improper for a court life.
37. That I may die in mine own city - That my bones may with little ado, be carried to the place of their rest. The grave is ready for me: let me go and get ready for it, go and die in my nest.
40. Half - Whereas the men of Judah came entirely and unanimously to the king, the Israelites of the other tribe came in but slowly, and by halves, as being no less guilty of the rebellion, than the tribe of Judah; but not encouraged to come in by such a gracious message as they were. And this is here mentioned as the occasion both of the contention here following, and of the sedition, chap. xx, 1-22.
41. All - Such as were present. Stolen - That is, conveyed thee over Jordan hastily, not expecting our concurrence. David's men - All thy officers, guards, and soldiers. This is mentioned as an aggravation of their fault, that they did not only carry the king over Jordan, but all his men too, without asking their advice.
42. Of kin - Of the same tribe with us, and therefore both oweth the more respect to us, and might expect more respect from us. Gifts - We have neither sought nor gained any advantage to ourselves hereby, but only discharged our duty to the king, and used all expedition in bringing him back, which you also should have done, and not have come in by halves, and so coldly as you have done.
43. Ten - They say but ten, though strictly there were eleven; either, because they accounted Joseph (which comprehends both Ephraim and Manasseh under it) for one tribe, or because Simeon, whose lot lay within the tribe of Judah, were joined with them in this action. More right - As in the general we have more right in the king and kingdom; so particularly, we have more right in David than you, because you were the first beginners, and the most zealous promoters of this rebellion; howsoever, as he is king, we justly claim a greater interest in him, than you; inasmuch as we are the far greatest part of his subjects. Fiercer - Instead of mollifying them with gentle words, they answered them with greater fierceness so that David durst not interpose in the matter.
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