2 Samuel 19:8
Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told to all the people, saying, Behold, the king does sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent.
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(8) For Israel had fled.—Translate, but Israel fled; “Israel” being used here, as throughout this narrative (see 2Samuel 16:15; 2Samuel 16:18; 2Samuel 17:5; 2Samuel 17:14-15; 2Samuel 17:24; 2Samuel 17:26; 2Samuel 18:6-7; 2Samuel 18:16-17), for those who had espoused the cause of Absalom.

19:1-8 To continue to lament for so bad a son as Absalom, was very unwise, and very unworthy. Joab censures David, but not with proper respect and deference to his sovereign. A plain case may be fairly pleaded with those above us, and they may be reproved for what they do amiss, but it must not be with rudeness and insolence. Yet David took the reproof and the counsel, prudently and mildly. Timely giving way, usually prevents the ill effects of mistaken measures.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.

8. the king arose, and sat in the gate—He appeared daily in the usual place for the hearing of causes.

all the people came before the king—that is, the loyal natives who had been faithful to his government, and fought in his cause.

Israel had fled—that is, the adherents of Absalom, who, on his defeat, had dispersed and saved themselves by flight.

The king arose, and sat in the gate; He was come forth out of his retirement, and appeared in public on the seat of judgment, at the gate of the city, to receive the addresses of his people, and mind the affairs of the kingdom.

All the people came before the king, to congratulate him for the victory, and to profess their subjection to him. So Joab’s speech, though very severe and presumptuous, was it seems a word in season, and had that good effect which he designed. Than the king arose, and sat in the gate,.... Of the city, a public place, where the inhabitants met on divers accounts at times, and where there were always people passing and repassing:

and they told unto all the people; or it was reported to the soldiers particularly:

saying, behold the king doth sit in the gate; has laid aside his mourning, appears in public, and receives his friends, and attends to business:

and all the people came before the king; to congratulate him on the victory obtained, to receive his thanks and his favours:

for Israel had fled every man to his tent: or to his city, as the Targum; that is, those that followed Absalom; which is observed not on account of what goes before, but of what follows after; see 2 Samuel 18:17.

Then the king arose, and sat in the {c} gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent.

(c) Where the most resort of the people haunted.

8. in the gate] Where kings and rulers were accustomed to give audience to their subjects. See note on ch. 2 Samuel 15:2.

for Israel had fled] The words should begin a new sentence, But Israel had fled, &c. Israel, that part of the nation which had followed Absalom, is contrasted with “the people,” i.e. David’s army. The sentence resumes the narrative from ch. 2 Samuel 18:17, and prepares the way for the account which follows.Verse 8. - All the people came before the king. Probably they passed in review before him, and received his thanks. By thus acting in accordance with Joab's wise counsel, David probably saved the nation from years of anarchy, and a fresh civil war. For Israel had fled every man to his tent; Hebrew, and Israel, that is, Absalom's partisans, fled each man to his tent - to his home. The Authorized Version confounds Israel with David's soldiers, but consistently throughout the narrative "the hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom" (2 Samuel 15:13; and see 2 Samuel 16:15, 18; 17:14, 15, 24, 26; 18:6, 7, 16, 17). David's mourning, and Joab's reproof. - 2 Samuel 19:1-6. When Joab was told that the king was mourning and weeping for Absalom, he went to him into the house to expostulate with him. 2 Samuel 19:5 introduces the continuation of 2 Samuel 19:1; 2 Samuel 19:2-4 contain parenthetical sentences, describing the impression made upon the people by the king's mourning. Through the king's deep trouble, the salvation (the victory) upon that day became mourning for all the people who had fought for David, and they went by stealth in to the city (לבוא יתגּנּב: they stole to come, came by stealth), "as people steal away who have covered themselves with shame, when they flee in battle."
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