Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin, hurried across with the men of Judah to welcome King David.
A thousand other men from the tribe of Benjamin were with him, including Ziba, the chief servant of the house of Saul, and Ziba’s fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed down to the Jordan to meet the king.
They crossed the shallows of the Jordan to bring the king’s household across the river, helping him in every way they could. As the king was about to cross the river, Shimei fell down before him.
“My lord the king, please forgive me,” he pleaded. “Forget the terrible thing your servant did when you left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind.
I know how much I sinned. That is why I have come here today, the very first person in all Israel 1 to greet my lord the king.”
Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shimei should die, for he cursed the Lord ’s anointed king!”
22 “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah!” David exclaimed. “Why have you become my adversary 2 today? This is not a day for execution but for celebration! Today I am once again the king of Israel!” 23 Then, turning to Shimei, David vowed, “Your life will be spared.”
Now Mephibosheth, 3 Saul’s grandson, came down from Jerusalem to meet the king. He had not cared for his feet, trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes since the day the king left Jerusalem.
“Why didn’t you come with me, Mephibosheth?” the king asked him.
Mephibosheth replied, “My lord the king, my servant Ziba deceived me. I told him, ‘Saddle my donkey 4 so I can go with the king.’ For as you know I am crippled.
Ziba has slandered me by saying that I refused to come. But I know that my lord the king is like an angel of God, so do what you think is best.
All my relatives and I could expect only death from you, my lord, but instead you have honored me by allowing me to eat at your own table! What more can I ask?”
“You’ve said enough,” David replied. “I’ve decided that you and Ziba will divide your land equally between you.”
30 “Give him all of it,” Mephibosheth said. “I am content just to have you safely back again, my lord the king!”
Barzillai of Gilead had come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan.
He was very old, about eighty, and very wealthy. He was the one who had provided food for the king during his stay in Mahanaim.
“Come across with me and live in Jerusalem,” the king said to Barzillai. “I will take care of you there.”
“No,” he replied, “I am far too old to go with the king to Jerusalem.
I am eighty years old today, and I can no longer enjoy anything. Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the singers as they sing. I would only be a burden to my lord the king.
Just to go across the Jordan River with the king is all the honor I need!
Then let me return again to die in my own town, where my father and mother are buried. But here is your servant, my son Kimham. Let him go with my lord the king and receive whatever you want to give him.”
“Good,” the king agreed. “Kimham will go with me, and I will help him in any way you would like. And I will do for you anything you want.”
So all the people crossed the Jordan with the king. After David had blessed Barzillai and kissed him, Barzillai returned to his own home.
The king then crossed over to Gilgal, taking Kimham with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel escorted the king on his way.
But all the men of Israel complained to the king, “The men of Judah stole the king and didn’t give us the honor of helping take you, your household, and all your men across the Jordan.”
42 The men of Judah replied, “The king is one of our own kinsmen. Why should this make you angry? We haven’t eaten any of the king’s food or received any special favors!”
43 “But there are ten tribes in Israel,” the others replied. “So we have ten times as much right to the king as you do. What right do you have to treat us with such contempt? Weren’t we the first to speak of bringing him back to be our king again?” The argument continued back and forth, and the men of Judah spoke even more harshly than the men of Israel.