2 Samuel 19:11
And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house.
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(11) The elders of Judah.—Judah was naturally particularly slow in returning to its allegiance. It had shown especial ingratitude to David, and had formed the cradle and centre of the rebellion, and even now Jerusalem probably had a garrison of Absalom’s soldiers. They might naturally doubt how they would be received, and their military organisation in Absalom’s interest threw especial obstacles in their way. The last words of the verse, “to his house,” may be an accidental repetition from the previous clause.

2 Samuel 19:11-12. Speak unto the elders of Judah — Absalom had begun his conspiracy in Jerusalem itself, and perfected it in Hebron, both cities of Judah; and the people of that tribe had been the first to join him in his rebellion, and to aid and abet his designs; conscious of this, and that, as David was of their tribe, and had long shown them peculiar kindness, their guilt was the greater, they probably despaired of pardon, and, therefore, were backward to promote the king’s restoration. Seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king — That is, their wishes and desires to bring him back to his throne and palace in Jerusalem. Ye are my bone and my flesh — Ye are related to me by consanguinity, and therefore I cannot be severe with you, nor need you fear lest I should revenge myself of you. Wherefore, then, are ye the last to bring back the king? — This delay doth not suit with the relation you have, and the affection you owe to me.

19:9-15 God's providence, by the priests' persuasions and Amasa's interest, brought the people to resolve the recall of the king. David stirred not till he received this invitation. Our Lord Jesus will rule in those that invite him to the throne in their hearts, and not till he is invited. He first bows the heart, and makes it willing in the day of his power, then rules in the midst of his enemies, Ps 110:2,3.David saw the justice of what Joab said, and the new danger which threatened him if he did not rouse himself from his grief.

For Israel ... - Not David's followers, but as before 2 Samuel 17:26; 2 Samuel 18:6, 2 Samuel 18:17, Absalom's army.

2Sa 19:9-43. The Israelites Bring the King Back.

9-11. all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel—The kingdom was completely disorganized. The sentiments of three different parties are represented in 2Sa 19:9, 10: the royalists, the adherents of Absalom who had been very numerous, and those who were indifferent to the Davidic dynasty. In these circumstances the king was right in not hastening back, as a conqueror, to reascend his throne. A re-election was, in some measure, necessary. He remained for some time on the other side of Jordan, in expectation of being invited back. That invitation was given without, however, the concurrence of Judah. David, disappointed and vexed by his own tribe's apparent lukewarmness, despatched the two high priests to rouse the Judahites to take a prominent interest in his cause. It was the act of a skilful politician. Hebron having been the seat of the rebellion, it was graceful on his part to encourage their return to allegiance and duty; it was an appeal to their honor not to be the last of the tribes. But this separate message, and the preference given to them, occasioned an outburst of jealousy among the other tribes that was nearly followed by fatal consequences [see 2Sa 19:40-43].

Speak unto the elders of Judah; who being the first and chief abettors of Absalom’s rebellion, despaired of ever obtaining the king’s grace and pardon, and therefore were backward to promote the king’s restoration.

To his house; to his royal palace at Jerusalem.

To the king, even to his house, i.e. even to Mahanaim, where now the king’s house and family is. Thus sometimes one word is taken in divers senses in the same verse, as Matthew 8:22. Or rather thus, About bringing the king back to his house: for, first, Those words are very fitly and easily understood here out of the foregoing member of the verse; such defects being usual in the Hebrew, which is a very concise or short language. So it is Exodus 22:15 Deu 1:4, &c.

Secondly, It seems most reasonable to understand the same phrase,

to his house, being twice here used in the same sense in both places, to wit, of his house in Jerusalem; and this is most agreeable to rule and to Scripture usage.

Thirdly, Thus the words have more emphasis than the other way; for if the speech came to the king at Mahanaim, it matters not whether it found him in his house there, or in the gate-house, or in the field.

Fourthly, David had no house in Mahanaim which could properly be called his house, as he had in Jerusalem. And then the parenthesis should close before those last words,

even to his house, or even to his own house, to wit, that at Jerusalem.

And King David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests,.... Who were at Jerusalem, and in his interest; perhaps by Ahimaaz and Jonathan their sons:

saying, speak unto the elders of Judah; particularly those that were at Jerusalem, with whom they had an interest:

saying, why are ye the last to bring back the king to his house? to his palace at Jerusalem, since David was of their tribe, and was first anointed their king: what might make them the more backward to it was their being so deep in the rebellion, which was formed and cherished among them, and brought to the height it was, through their connivance and encouragement, both at Hebron and Jerusalem; and therefore they might fear the resentment of David, and that he would not be easily reconciled unto them:

seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house: or he has received invitations from all the tribes of Israel to return to his house or palace at Jerusalem; and so this was a part of the message of David to the priests, to be told to the elders as an aggravation of their backwardness, and as an argument to excite them to their duty; though some think these are the words of the historian, to be inserted in a parenthesis, as in our version.

And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the {e} priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house.

(e) That they should reprove the negligence of the elders, seeing the people were so forward.

11. the elders of Judah] The representatives of the tribe, who would naturally be its leaders in the restoration of the king. Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 5:3. Their backwardness is explained by the prominent part which Judah had taken in the insurrection (see note on ch. 2 Samuel 15:10), while David’s message to the priests was prompted by the desire to conciliate the good will of the most powerful tribe of the nation, and persuade them to take a leading part in his recall.

seeing the speech … even to his house] The words even to his house give no satisfactory sense, and are probably an accidental repetition of the previous to his house: and the clause seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king may either have stood here originally as well as at the end of 2 Samuel 19:10, where it is certainly required, or have been repeated by a transcriber’s error.

Verse 11. - David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar. The two high priests had remained behind at Jerusalem, to watch over David's interests, and he now, by a messenger, probably Ahimaaz or Jonathan, urges them to quicken the proceedings of his own tribe. We may feel quite sure that there was discussion in Judah as well as in the other tribes; but the rebellion had begun at Hebron, and probably many of the leading chiefs were deeply implicated in Absalom's proceedings. Probably they now regretted it, but hung back through fear of punishment. It was politic, therefore, to assure them of David's kindly feelings, and that overtures on their side would be readily received, and the past forgiven. 2 Samuel 19:11When these words of all Israel were reported to David, he sent to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, saying, "Speak to the elders of Judah, why will ye be the last to bring back the king to his palace? ... Ye are my brethren, my bones and flesh (i.e., my blood relations): why then," etc.? The last clause of 2 Samuel 19:11, "the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house," is a circumstantial clause inserted in the midst of David's words, to explain the appeal to the men of Judah not to be the last. In the lxx, and some Codices of the Vulgate, this sentence occurs twice, viz., at the end of 2 Samuel 19:10, and also of 2 Samuel 19:11; and Thenius, Ewald, and Bttcher regard the clause at the end of 2 Samuel 19:10 as the original one, and the repetition of it at the close of 2 Samuel 19:11 as a gloss. But this is certainly a mistake: for if the clause, "and the speech of all Israel came to the king to his house (at Mahanaim)," ought to stand at the close of 2 Samuel 19:10, and assigns the reason for David's sending to Zadok and Abiathar, 2 Samuel 19:11 would certainly, or rather necessarily, commence with המּלך ויּשׁלח: "The word of all Israel came to the king, and then king David sent," etc. But instead of this, it commences with שׁלח דּיד והמּלך, "But king David sent." This construction of the sentence decidedly favour the correctness of the Hebrew text; whereas the text of the Septuagint, apart altogether from the tautological repetition of the whole of the sentence in question, shows obviously enough that it is nothing more than a conjecture, by which the attempt was made to remove the difficulty occasioned by the striking position in which the circumstantial clause occurred.
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