Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 19

Trouble between Judah’s men, and the men from the rest of Israel

2 Samuel 19:40-43

David was returning to the west side of the Jordan river, and from there to his palace in Jerusalem. That should have been a joyful occasion across the whole of Israel. Absalom’s revolution had ended, and David would rule the country again. There was an opportunity for peace and for good government.

However, in fact, David’s return caused a bitter and jealous argument to begin. The argument was between the people in the tribe (family group) called Judah, and the people from the rest of Israel’s tribes.

David came from Judah, so it seemed natural for Judah’s men to lead his procession back to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is on the northern border of the land that God gave to the tribe of Judah.

However, that gave the impression to the men from the rest of Israel that Judah’s men had taken David away from them. Israel’s people insisted that they loved David as their king. He belonged to them too, as their king, they said. Judah, together with Benjamin, were two tribes. The rest of Israel was ten tribes. So, David belonged to the rest of Israel even more than he belonged to Judah. That is what the people from northern Israel said.

Judah’s men insisted that they were doing nothing wrong. So, the people from northern Israel appealed to David. However, David was unable to deal with these matters, and the result was the troubles in chapter 20.

These arguments happened even before David had returned to Jerusalem (20:1-2).

In the end, northern Israel became a separate country from Judah, with its own king. That, however, did not happen until after the rule of King Solomon, David’s son.

Next part: Sheba's revolution (2 Samuel 20:1)


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