Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 19
Barzillai had provided for David, as a guest, perhaps for several months. Now that David was at last returning to Jerusalem, he was eager to invite Barzillai to be his guest there. David had found Barzillai to be a true friend, and so David did not want to separate from him.
In addition, David needed to find some new advisers. Ahithophel, whom David had considered a very wise adviser (16:23), had killed himself (17:23). David was also trying to remove Joab, whom he considered to be an evil man (3:27-29), from the government (19:13). Barzillai had shown himself to be a good and generous man, who had been successful in business.
However, Barzillai laughed at the idea. He would not allow David to repay his kindness (compare Luke 14:12-14). When he provided for David, he expected nothing in return. A comfortable life in a palace was not the kind of life that he desired.
Barzillai reminded David that he (Barzillai) was now 80 years old. That was a very old age then – few people lived so long at that time. He would not enjoy the fine food or the entertainments in the palace. His senses were becoming weaker; he knew that he must die (Ecclesiastes 12:1-5). Therefore, he would return home, to be with his family; and there he would prepare himself to meet with God, after his death.
Barzillai knew God’s law. As he lived on the east side of the river Jordan, he had a duty to cross over the river. Then, when the land was safely in David’s possession, he could cross back (Numbers 32:20-22). So, Barzillai would cross over the river before he returned home.
Next part: The sons of Barzillai (2 Samuel 19:37-39)
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