2 Samuel 19:8b–15 (ESV)
Now Israel had fled every man to his own home. And all the people were arguing throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies and saved us from the hand of the Philistines, and now he has fled out of the land from Absalom. But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”
And King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar the priests: “Say to the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house, when the word of all Israel has come to the king? You are my brothers; you are my bone and my flesh. Why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’ And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? God do so to me and more also, if you are not commander of my army from now on in place of Joab.’” And he swayed the heart of all the men of Judah as one man, so that they sent word to the king, “Return, both you and all your servants.” So the king came back to the Jordan, and Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and to bring the king over the Jordan.
The rebellion is over, and Absalom is dead. David is the king and should be returning to his throne, obviously. Just one problem—how to unify the nation.
The people are arguing over David’s return, but that argument has a strange twist. The quote in verses 9 and 10 has people asking, “Now therefore why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”
The criticism isn’t for opposing David’s return, but for merely being silent about it. The critics seem to be saying that David’s return is such a no-brainer that mere silence is an offense. And note that they don’t call him David; he’s “the king.”
The people are divided over whether they should be divided.
The problem is, at its heart, that many folks backed the wrong horse and are now worried about what David will do to them when he’s back in power. The king has the power to make them pay.
So, David does something incredibly bold; he promotes Absalom’s chief general, Amasa, to command his army. This demotes Joab, which seems just after his disobedient killing of Absalom, but that’s not the key. David is signaling that all the rebels are pardoned.
“Reconstruction” has begun.
David’s pardon works partly because it came from a position of strength. Thus, it shocks people into rethinking things and brings many of them around.
The word “reconstruction” above is deliberate. It highlights the similarities with the issues faced by the United States in the 1860’s. The grace displayed in the post-Civil War era was profound and wise.
It didn’t eliminate all hard feelings (not by a long shot) but the alternative would have been much worse.
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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here: https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.