Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
David Reinstated in His Kingdom - 2 Samuel 19:1-39
In his passionate and sinful sorrow on account of Absalom's death David not only forgot altogether what it was his duty to do, in order to recover the affections of the people, so that Joab was obliged to remind him of this duty which was binding upon him as king (2 Samuel 19:1-8); but he even allowed himself to be carried away into the most inconsiderate measures (2 Samuel 19:9-14), and into acts of imprudence and injustice (2 Samuel 19:16-23, 2 Samuel 19:24-30), which could not contribute to the strengthening of his throne, however much the affection with which he wished to reward the old man Barzillai for his faithful services (2 Samuel 19:31-40) might show that the king was anxious to promote the welfare of his subjects.
And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom.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."
And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.
And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle.
But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!But the king had covered his face, and cried aloud, "My son Absalom," etc.
And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines;Then Joab went into the house to the king, and said to him, "Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants who have saved thy life, and the life of thy sons and daughters, thy wives and concubines" (covered them with shame, by deceiving their hope that thou wouldest rejoice in the victory).
In that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well.לאהבה, "to love" (i.e., in that thou lovest) "those who hate thee, and hatest those who love thee; for thou hast given to know to-day (through thy conduct) that chiefs and servants (commanders and soldiers) are nothing (are worth nothing); for I have perceived to-day (or I perceive to-day) that if (לא for לוּ) Absalom were alive, and we had all perished, that it would be right in thine eyes."
Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now."And now rise up, go out and speak to the heart of thy servants (i.e., speak to them in a friendly manner: Genesis 34:3; Genesis 50:21, etc.): for I swear by Jehovah, if thou go not out, verily not a man will stay with thee to-night; and this will be worse to thee than all the evil that has come upon thee from thy youth until now." Joab was certainly not only justified, but bound in David's own interests, to expostulate with him upon his conduct, and to urge him to speak in a friendly manner to the people who had exposed their lives for him, inasmuch as his present conduct would necessarily stifle the affection of the people towards their king, and might be followed by the most serious results with reference to his throne. At the same time, he did this in so heartless and lordly a manner, that the king could not fail to be deeply hurt by his words.
Then the king arose, and sat in the 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.Nevertheless David was obliged to yield to his representations. "The king rose up, and sat in the gate, and ... all the people came before the king," i.e., the troops marched before the king, who (as we may supply from the context) manifested his good-will in both looks and words. But Israel, i.e., that portion of the people which had followed Absalom, had returned to its tents (i.e., gone home: cf. 2 Samuel 18:17). This sentence forms the transition to the account which follows.
And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom.Preliminaries to the return of David to Jerusalem. - 2 Samuel 19:9, 2 Samuel 19:10. As the rebellion was entirely crushed by Absalom's death, and the dispersion of his followers to their respective homes, there arose a movement among all the tribes in favour of David. "All the people were disputing (נדון, casting reproaches at one another) in all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king has saved us out of the hand of our enemies, ... and now he is fled out of the land before Absalom. But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle; and now why do ye keep still, to bring back the king?" This movement arose from the consciousness of having done an injustice to the king, in rising up in support of Absalom.
And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?
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.When 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.
Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones and my flesh: wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king?
And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone, and of my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab."And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not my bone and flesh? so shall God do to me, and so add, if thou shalt not be prince of the army (chief captain) before me continually in the place of Joab."
And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants.Thus he (David) inclined the heart of all the people as of one man, and they sent to the king, saying, "Return thou, with all thy servants." The result of David's message to the priests is given summarily here. The subject to ויּט is David, not Amasa or Zadok. So far as the fact itself is concerned, it was certainly wise of David to send to the members of his own tribe, and appeal to them not to be behind the rest of the tribes in taking part in his restoration to the kingdom, lest it should appear as though the tribe of Judah, to which David himself belonged, was dissatisfied with his victory, since it was in that tribe that the rebellion itself first broke out; and this would inevitably feed the jealousy between Judah and the rest of the tribes. But it was not only unwise, but unjust, to give to Amasa, the traitor-general of the rebels, a promise on oath that he should be commander-in-chief in the place of Joab; for even if the promise was only given privately at first, the fact that it had been given could not remain a secret from Joab very long, and would be sure to stir up his ambition, and lead him to the commission of fresh crimes, and in all probability the enmity of this powerful general would become dangerous to the throne of David. For however Joab might have excited David's anger by slaying Absalom, and by the offensive manner in which he had reproved the king for giving way to his grief, David ought to have suppressed his anger in his existing circumstances, and ought not to have rendered evil for evil, especially as he was not only about to pardon Amasa's crime, but even to reward him as one of his faithful servants.
So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan.Return of the king; and occurrences at the crossing of the Jordan. - 2 Samuel 19:15-23. Pardon of Shimei. - 2 Samuel 19:15, 2 Samuel 19:16. When David reached the Jordan on his return, and Judah had come to Gilgal "to meet him, to conduct the king over the Jordan," i.e., to form an escort at the crossing, Shimei the Benjaminite hastened down from Bahurim (see 2 Samuel 16:5.) with the men of Judah to meet David.
And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David.
And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king.There also came along with Shimei a thousand men of Benjamin, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, with his fifteen sons and twenty servants (see 2 Samuel 9:10); and they went over the Jordan before the king, viz., through a ford, and the ferry-boat had crossed over to carry over the king's family, and to do whatever seemed good to him, i.e., to be placed at the king's sole disposal. And Shimei fell down before the king, בּעברו, i.e., "when he (David) was about to cross over the Jordan," not "when Shimei had crossed over the Jordan;" for after what has just been stated, such a remark would be superfluous: moreover, it is very doubtful whether the infinitive with בּ can express the sense of the pluperfect. Shimei said, "Let not my lord impute to me any crime, and do not remember how thy servant hath sinned."
And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king's household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan;
And said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart.
For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king."For thy servant knoweth (i.e., I know) that I have sinned, and behold I have come to-day the first of the whole house of Joseph, to go to meet my lord the king." By "the whole house of Joseph" we are to understand the rest of the tribes with the exception of Judah, who are called "all Israel" in 2 Samuel 19:12. There is no reason for the objection taken by Thenius and Bttcher to the expression בּית־יוסף. This rendering of the lxx (παντὸς Ἰσραὴλ καὶ οἴκου Ἰωσήφ) does not prove that כּלישׂראל was the original reading, but only that the translator thought it necessary to explain οἴκου Ἰωσήφ by adding the gloss παντὸς Ἰσραὴλ; and the assertion that it was only in the oratorical style of a later period, when the kingdom had been divided, that Joseph became the party name of all that were not included in Judah, is overthrown by 1 Kings 11:28. The designation of the tribes that opposed Judah by the name of the leading tribe (Joseph: Joshua 16:1) was as old as the jealousy between these tribes and Judah, which did not commence with the division of the kingdom, but was simply confirmed thereby into a permanent distinction. Shimei's prayer for the forgiveness of his sin was no more a proof of sincere repentance than the reason which he adduced in support of his petition, namely that he was the first of all the house of Joseph to come and meet David. Shimei's only desire was to secure impunity for himself. Abishai therefore replied (2 Samuel 19:21), "Shall not Shimei be put to death for this (זאת תּחת, for this, which he has just said and done), because he hath cursed the anointed of Jehovah?" (vid., 2 Samuel 16:5.). But David answered (2 Samuel 19:22), "What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah (cf. 2 Samuel 16:10), for ye become opponents to me to-day?" שׂטן, an opponent, who places obstacles in the way (Numbers 22:22); here it signifies one who would draw away to evil. "Should any one be put to death in Israel to-day? for do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?" The reason assigned by David here for not punishing the blasphemer as he had deserved, by taking away his life, would have been a very laudable one if the king had really forgiven him. But as David when upon his deathbed charged his successor to punish Shimei for this cursing (1 Kings 2:8-9), the favour shown him here was only a sign of David's weakness, which was not worthy of imitation, the more especially as the king swore unto him (2 Samuel 19:24) that he should not die.
But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD'S anointed?
And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?
Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.
And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace.David's conduct towards Mephibosheth admits still less of justification.
Mephibosheth, the son, i.e., grandson, of Saul, had also come down (from Jerusalem to the Jordan) to meet David, and had not "made his feet and his beard," i.e., had not washed his feet or arranged his beard (עשׂה, as in Deuteronomy 21:12), and had not washed his clothes - all of them signs of deep mourning (cf. Ezekiel 24:17) - since the day that the king had gone (i.e., had fled from Jerusalem) until the day that he came (again) in peace.
And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth?"Now when Jerusalem (i.e., the inhabitants of the capital) came to meet the king,"
(Note: Dathe and Thenius propose to alter ירוּשׁלים into מירוּשׁלים (from Jerusalem), from a simple misunderstanding of the true meaning of the words; for, as Bttcher has observed, the latter (from Jerusalem) would be quite superfluous, as it is already contained in the previous ירד. But Bttcher's emendation of בּא into בּאה, because Jerusalem or the population of Jerusalem is a feminine notion, is equally unnecessary, since towns and lands are frequently construed as masculines when the inhabitants are intended (vid., Ewald, 318, a.). On the other hand, the rendering adopted by the lxx, and by Luther, Michaelis, and Maurer, in which ירוּשׁלים is taken as an accusative in the sense of "when Mephibosheth came to Jerusalem to meet the king," is altogether wrong, and has been very properly given up by modern expositors, inasmuch as it is at variance not only with the word ירד, but also with 2 Samuel 16:3 and 2 Samuel 9:13, where Mephibosheth is said to have lived in Jerusalem.)
David said to him (i.e., to Mephibosheth, who was with the deputation from the capital which welcomed David at the Jordan), "Why wentest thou not with me, Mephibosheth?" David was justified in putting this question after what Ziba had told him concerning Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 16:3).
And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame.Mephibosheth replied, "My lord king, my servant hath deceived me: for thy servant thought I will have the ass saddled and go to the king; for thy servant is lame." If we understand אחבּשׁד as signifying that Mephibosheth had the ass saddled by a servant, and not that he saddled it with his own hands, the meaning is obvious, and there is no ground whatever for altering the text. חבשׁ is certainly used in this sense in Genesis 22:3, and it is very common for things to be said to be done by a person, even though not done with his own hands. The rendering adopted by the lxx and Vulgate, "Thy servant said to him (the servant), Saddle me the ass," is not true to the words, though correct so far as the sense is concerned.
And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes."And he (Ziba) slandered thy servant to my lord the king." Mephibosheth had not merely inferred this from David's words, and the tone in which they were spoken, but had certainly found it out long ago, since Ziba would not delay very long to put David's assurance, that all the possessions of Mephibosheth should belong to him, in force against his master, so that Mephibosheth would discover from that how Ziba had slandered him. "And my lord the king is as the angel of God," i.e., he sees all just as it really is (see at 2 Samuel 14:17); "and do what is good in thy sight: for all my father's house (the whole of my family) were but men of death against my lord the king (i.e., thou mightest have had us all put to death), and thou didst set thy servant among thy companions at table (see 2 Samuel 9:7, 2 Samuel 9:11); and what right or (what) more have I still to cry (for help) to the king?" The meaning is, "I cannot assert any claims, but will yield to anything you decide concerning me." It must have been very evident to David from these words of Mephibosheth, that he had been deceived by Ziba, and that he had formed an unfounded prejudice against Mephibosheth, and committed an act of injustice in handing over his property to Ziba. He therefore replied, in evident displeasure (2 Samuel 19:29), "Why talkest thou still of thine affairs? I have said, thou and Ziba shall divide the field?" to which Mephibosheth answered (2 Samuel 19:30), "He may take the whole, since my lord the king has returned in peace to his own house." This reply shows very clearly that an injustice had been done to Mephibosheth, even if it is not regarded as an expression of wounded feeling on the part of Mephibosheth because of David's words, but, according to the view taken by Seb. Schmidt and others, as a vindication of himself, as said not to blame the king for the opinion he had formed, but simply to defend himself. But this completely overthrows the opinion held by Thenius and O. v. Gerlach, that David's words in 2 Samuel 19:30 contain nothing more than a revocation of his hasty declaration in 2 Samuel 16:4, and a confirmation of his first decision in 2 Samuel 9:7-10, and are to be understood as signifying, "Let everything be as I settled it at first; hold the property jointly," inasmuch as Ziba and his sons had of course obtained their living from the produce of the land. Moreover, the words "thou and Ziba divide the land" are directly at variance with the promise in 2 Samuel 9:7, "I will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father," and the statement in 2 Samuel 9:9, "I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul, and to all his house." By the words, "I have said, thou and Ziba divide the land," David retracted the hasty decree in 2 Samuel 16:4, so as to modify to some extent the wrong that he had done to Mephibosheth, but he had not courage enough to retract it altogether. He did not venture to dispute the fact that Mephibosheth had really been calumniated by Ziba, which was placed beyond all doubt by his mourning during the whole period of David's flight, as described in 2 Samuel 19:24. There is no ground for Winer's statement, therefore, that "it is impossible now to determine whether Mephibosheth was really innocent or not."
For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?
And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land.
And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.
And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan.Barzillai comes to greet David. - 2 Samuel 19:31. Barzillai the octogenarian "had also come down from Roglim and gone across the Jordan with the king, to escort him over the river." את־בּירדּן is the portion in, or over, the Jordan. את is the sign of the accusative, "the piece in the Jordan," and no further. This is the correct explanation as given by Bttcher, after Gesenius and Maurer; and the Keri היּרדּן is a bad emendation.
Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man.As Barzillai had supplied the king with provisions during his stay in Mahanaim (שׁיבה for ישׁיבה, like צואה for יצואה, and other words of the same kind), because he was very wealthy (lit. great), David would gladly have taken him with him to Jerusalem, to repay him there for his kindness; but Barzillai replied (2 Samuel 19:34.), "How many days are there of the years of my life (i.e., how long shall I have yet to live), that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? I am now eighty years old; can I((still) distinguish good and evil, or will thy servant taste what I eat and drink, or listen again to the voice of the singing men and singing women? and why should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king? Thy servant would go over the Jordan with the king for a short time (i.e., could not remain long with him), and why does the king wish to repay me this favour?" ישׁב־נא: "Let thy servant return, that I may die in my city (my home), at the grave of my parents; and behold thy servant Chimham (i.e., according to the explanation given by Josephus, Barzillai's son, who had come down with his father, as we may infer from 1 Kings 2:7) may go over with my lord the king; and do to him what seemeth good to thee," i.e., show him favours at thy pleasure.
And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem.
And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem?
I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?
Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward?
Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold thy servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee.
And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee: and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee.David consented to this, and said, "All that thou desirest of me I will do to him." בּחר with על is a pregnant construction, signifying to choose and impose, "choose upon me," i.e., the thing for me to grant thee.
And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place.Thus all the people went over the Jordan; and when the king had crossed over, he kissed Barzillai (to take leave of him: vid., Ruth 1:9); and he (Barzillai) blessed him, and turned to his place (returned home). Barzillai only escorted the king over the Jordan, and the conversation (2 Samuel 19:31-38) probably took place as they were crossing.
Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him: and all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel.Quarrel between Israel and Judah about the restoration of the king. - 2 Samuel 19:40. David went across to Gilgal (in the plain of the Jordan: Joshua 4:19), and Chimham (Chimhan is a modified form for Chimham: 2 Samuel 19:37) had gone over with him, and all the people of Judah had brought the king over (the Keri העבירוּ is an easier reading than the Chethib ויּעבירוּ, "and as for the people, they had," etc.), and also "half the people of Israel," namely, beside the thousand Benjaminites who came with Shimei (2 Samuel 19:17), other Israelites who dwelt in the neighbourhood.
And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and have brought the king, and his household, and all David's men with him, over Jordan?All the men of Israel, i.e., the representatives of the other tribes of Israel, came to meet the king in Gilgal; and being annoyed at the fact that the men of Judah had anticipated them, they exclaimed, "Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away?" i.e., fetched thee thus secretly without saying a word to us. "All David's men" were all his faithful adherents who had fled with him from Jerusalem (2 Samuel 15:17.).
And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us: wherefore then be ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the king's cost? or hath he given us any gift?The men of Judah replied against (על) the men of Israel: "The king stands near to us" (inasmuch as he belonged to their tribe), "and wherefore then art thou angry at this matter? Have we eaten from the king (i.e., derived any advantage from our tribe-relationship to him, as the Benjaminites did from Saul, according to 1 Samuel 22:7), or received anything for ourselves therefrom?" נשּׂאת is an infinitive abs. Niph. with a feminine termination, borrowed from ה;ל literally, "or has taking been taken for us."
And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.The Israelites were annoyed at this answer, and retorted, "I (Israel) have ten portions in the king, and also more than thou in David; and wherefore hast thou despised me?" They considered that they had ten shares in the king, because they formed ten tribes, in opposition to the one tribe of Judah, as the Levites did not come into consideration in the matter. Although David was of the tribe of Judah, he was nevertheless king of the whole nation, so that the ten tribes had a larger share than one tribe. הקלּתני refers to the fact, that Judah took no notice at all of the tribes of Israel when fetching back the king. וגו ולא־היה, "and was not my speech the first to fetch back my king?" (On the fact itself, see 2 Samuel 19:10-11.) לי is an emphatic dat. commodi, and is to be taken in connection with להשׁיב, notwithstanding the accents. "And the speech of the men of Judah became fiercer (more violent) than the speech of the men of Israel." With these words the historian sums up briefly the further progress of the dispute, for the purpose of appending the account of Sheba's rebellion, to which it gave rise.