Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 19

Barzillai from Gilead, who provided for David

2 Samuel 19:31-32

The main part of the land that God promised to Israel’s people was on the west side of the Jordan river. However, some of the land that they passed through to get there was called Gilead, on the east side of the river. The tribes (family groups) called Reuben, Gad, and part of Manasseh saw that Gilead was good agricultural land. They owned many cows, sheep and goats, so they asked Moses to allow them to make their homes there (Numbers chapter 32).

Barzillai would have belonged to one of those tribes. He, therefore, like the family members before him, lived on the east side of the Jordan. Like them, he too probably became rich from the animals that he and his family kept on that good land. He would have owned much land, and many servants looked after his animals for him.

However, Barzillai was not a greedy man. He did not try to keep his wealth for himself, but he used it generously. When David escaped to the east side of the river, Barzillai with two other men provided for him and his supporters (17:27-29).

Barzillai continued to provide for David during his whole time on the east side of the Jordan. That was a long time, because David was waiting for Judah’s leaders to invite him back (19:9-12). The cost was great, but Barzillai gladly paid it. In Barzillai’s opinion, David was his special guest. Barzillai seemed to consider it a special honour that the king of Israel had come to visit him. In fact, he seemed even more pleased to provide for David during this time, when David so much needed his help.

Next part: David invites Barzillai to join him in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 19:33-36)


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