1 Kings 2:7
But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Shew kindness.—The charge of favour to the sons of Barzillai (see 2Samuel 19:37-40) stands out in pleasant contrast. It has been noted that in Jeremiah 41:17 there is a reference to “the habitation of Chimham,” as being “by Bethlehem,” David’s own birthplace; as if David had given him inheritance there, out of what was especially his own.

1 Kings 2:7. Show kindness to the sons of Barzillai — David’s gratitude here expressed is remarkable. Barzillai only desired him to show kindness to Chimham, 2 Samuel 19:37; but he extends it to all his sons. Let them be of those that eat at thy table — As Mephibosheth had done at David’s table. It is probable Mephibosheth was now dead, for otherwise David would not have forgotten him. For so they came to me — Such kindness they showed me; inviting him to Barzillai’s house, who sustained him in his great distress, 2 Samuel 19:32.

2:5-11 These dying counsels concerning Joab and Shimei, did not come from personal anger, but for the security of Solomon's throne, which was the murders he had committed, but would readily repeat them to carry any purpose; though long reprieved, he shall be reckoned with at last. Time does not wear out the guilt of any sin, particularly of murder. Concerning Shimei, Hold him not guiltless; do not think him any true friend to thee, or thy government, or fit to be trusted; he has no less malice now than he had then. David's dying sentiments are recorded, as delivered under the influence of the Holy Ghost,One of the sons of Barzillai here intended was probably Chimham (see the margin reference). Who the others were is not known. The family continued down to the return from the captivity, and still held property in Israel (compare Ezra 2:61 and Nehemiah 7:63). 6. Do … according to thy wisdom—Joab's immense popularity with the army required that any proceedings instituted against him should be taken with great prudence and deliberation. Quest. Why doth he not require the like kindness to Mephibosheth the son of his dear Jonathan?

Answ. Either he and his were now extinct, or by their after-miscarriages had forfeited his favour.

For so, i.e. with such kindness either as I cannot express, (as the particle so is elsewhere used,) or as I command thee to show to them.

They, i.e. Barzillai and his sons; for though Barzillai only be mentioned, 2 Samuel 17:27, yet his sons doubtless were instrumental in the business, especially Chimham, 2 Samuel 19:37,38.

But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite,.... Who perhaps was now dead, and therefore he would have kindness shown to his posterity for his sake:

and let them be of those that eat of thy table; as Mephibosheth had at his, who also perhaps was dead, since no notice is taken of him; and as David would have had Barzillai, but he desired to be excused on account of his age:

for so they came to me, when I fled because of thy brother, Absalom; that is, they came to him, not only Barzillai, but his sons it seems; and fed him or furnished him with provisions, when he was obliged to fly to the other side Jordan, because of the rebellion of his son Absalom.

But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: {f} for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother.

(f) That is, they dealt mercifully with me.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. sons of Barzillai the Gileadite] The deserving conduct of Barzillai, during David’s flight from Absalom, is narrated 2 Samuel 19:31 seqq. The Chimham there mentioned was probably a son of Barzillai, though we are not expressly told so. No other son is anywhere spoken of, but we find that Barzillai had daughters (Ezra 2:61; Nehemiah 7:63) and he probably was father of a large family. Barzillai, at his advanced age, would not come alone to conduct David over Jordan, and though he only commends one person to the king’s attention there may have been several sons in his retinue.

of those that eat at thy table] A common mode in Eastern countries of shewing regard. Thus Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, was provided for at David’s table (2 Samuel 9:7; 2 Samuel 9:10-11), and such treatment put the recipient in a position like that of the king’s sons.

for so they came to me] i.e. With kind acts and generous supplies of food when I was in great need. Let their reward be of a similar nature.

Verse 7. - And to the sons of Barzillai [the "Beni-Barzillai" would include son, or sons, and all other descendants. It is highly probable, though it is not expressly stated, that Chimham was the son of Bar-zillai (2 Samuel 19:37). Rawlinson says, "Who the other sons were is not known." It would be more correct to say that we do not know whether there were any other sons. The family was still existing temp. Ezra (Ezra 2:61), where, it is worth noticing, we read of the daughters of Barzillai (cf. Nehemiah 7:63). In Jeremiah 41:17, we read of the "habitation (גֵּדוּת, caravanserai, khan) of Chemoham," where the Keri has Chimham. It has been argued from the mention of this name, and the fact that their khan was near Bethlehem, that David or Solomon gave the family land there], and let them be of those that eat at thy table [i.e., of those who have their sustenance from the royal table, not necessarily at it (Keil); cf. Daniel 1:5; 2 Kings 25:29. Presence at the table is expressed by עַל שֻׂלְחָן (2 Samuel 11, 12). It was esteemed an essential part of royal munificence throughout the East that the king should feed a large number of retainers and dependants. Cf. the account of Solomon's daffy provision in 1 Kings 4:22, 23; also 2 Samuel 19:28; Judges 1:7]; for so [i.e., in like manner, with food]; they came to me [lit., "came near." The Hebrew קָרַב often includes, as here, the idea of succour. Cf. Psalm 69:19; Lamentations 3:57. Barzillai certainly came (2 Samuel 17:27), and probably Chimham, but the Speaker's Commentary is mistaken when it says that "Chimham is mentioned as present." He was present at the return of David (2 Samuel 19:31, 38, but not necessarily before] when I fled because of [lit., "from the face of "] Absalom thy brother. The mention of Absalom, and those terrible days of revolt and anarchy, when he was constrained to flee for his life, seems to have reminded the dying king of one of the bitterest ingredients of that bitter cup of shame and suffering - the cruel curses of Shimei. He remembers that the sin of Shimei, which was nothing else than treason and blasphemy, has so far escaped punishment. In a moment of generous enthusiasm, he had included Shimei in the general amnesty which he proclaimed on his return (2 Samuel 19:23). He had thought, no doubt, at the time only of the offence against himself; he had forgotten his sacred and representative character as "the Lord's anointed;" or if he had remembered it (ver. 21) the emotions of that memorable day had obscured or perverted his sense of justice and duty. But he has since realized - and the thought weighs upon his conscience in the chamber of death - that he then pardoned what he had no power to pardon, viz., a sin to which the Mosaic law attached the penalty of death. For blasphemy, as for murder, there was no expiation short of the death of the blasphemer (Leviticus 24:14-16; cf. 1 Kings 21:10, 13); and blasphemy, like murder, though not perhaps to the same extent, involved those who heard it in its guilt, until they had discharged themselves of their sin upon the head of the guilty (Leviticus 14:14; cf. Leviticus 5:1). But Shimei, so far from having suffered the penalty of the law, had been twice protected against it; twice preserved alive, in defiance of law, by the supreme magistrate, the executor of law. And David, who has been charging his son to keep the law, now realizes that he himself has been a law breaker. He has kept his oath, sworn to his own or his people's hurt, and he will keep it to the end. But Solomon is under no such obligation. He can demand the long arrears of justice, none the less due because of the time that has elapsed and the royal laches ("nullum tempus occurrit regi"); he can deal with the blasphemer as the law directs, and this David now charges him to do. 1 Kings 2:7If the demands of justice required that Joab should be punished, the duty of gratitude was no less holy to the dying king. And Solomon was to show this to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and make them companions of his table; because Barzillai had supplied David with provisions on his flight from Absalom (2 Samuel 17:27., 2 Samuel 19:32.). שׁלחנך בּאכלי והיוּ, "let them be among those eating of thy table;" i.e., not, "let them draw their food from the royal table," - for there was no particular distinction in this, as all the royal attendants at the court received their food from the royal kitchen, as an equivalent for the pay that was owing - but, "let them join in the meals at the royal table." The fact that in 2 Samuel 9:10-11, 2 Samuel 9:13, we have על־שׁלחן אכל to express this, makes no material difference. According to 2 Samuel 19:38, Barzillai had, it is true, allowed only one son to follow the king to his court. "For so they drew near to me," i.e., they showed the kindness to me of supplying me with food; compare 2 Samuel 17:27, where Barzillai alone is named, though, as he was a man of eighty years old, he was certainly supported by his sons.
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