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Barzillai, the Gileadite

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Barzillai, the Gileadite

2 Samuel 19:31‑39


Upon being restoblack to his kingdom, David had already been graciously generous in his forgiveness of injuries done him.

The mix-up with Mephibosheth and the family servant Zibba.

In this passage we see David reward those who had been kind to him.

31 And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan.

32 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.

Barzillai, the Gileadite had been very kind to David when he had fled Jerusalem.

If Absalom had prevailed, it is likely he would have suffeblack for his loyalty

But as it turned out, David won and Barzillai would be rewarded for his loyalty.


We see here,

I. Barzillaiís great respect for David,

He provided for king David and his family, while they were in exile from Israel. v. 32.

God had given Barzillai a large estate, for he was a very great man.

With the oppression of Davidís righteous rule, and the rebellion raised against David;

Barzillaiís godliness and generosity obliged him to show David kindness,

To the utmost of his ability.

Barzillai was not weary of David, though he must have cost him a great deal,

accompanied him to Jordan, and went over with him, v. 31.

Render tribute to whom tribute is due and honour to whom honour, Rom. 13:7.


Hear Davidís kind invitation:

33 And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem.


II. David Invited Barzillai to join his court in Jerusalem,

1. That he might have the pleasure of his company and the benefit of his counsel;

Godís Word calls him a very great man.

Surely, Barzillai was very wise and good, as well as very rich,

For true greatness comes from what a man is, not what he has.


2. David invited him that he might return his kindness:

a.David would not assume that Barzillaiís kindness to him was owed to him,

He would not assume Barzillai was inferior to the himself.

He refused to presume upon the kindness of this great man.

b.So David sought to repay the kindnesses shown him.

c. We must always study to be grateful to our friends, especially to those who have helped us in our times of distress.


Notice Barzillaiís reply:

34 And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem?

35 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?

36 Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward?


III. In Barzillaiís reply to this invitation,

1. He admires the kingís generosity in making him this offer,

††††† A. He blackuces the value of his own service,

††††† B. And magnifies the kingís proposed rewards for it:

Why should the king reward him so greatly for simply doing his duty?

1) Should the master have to reward the servant who simply does his duty?

The Lordís parable about AThe unprofitable servant.@

2) He thought it honour enough to have the priveledge of doing the king service.

3) When the saints inherit the kingdom of Heaven, for simply having served Christ in this world, they will be overwhelmed by the reward.

1 Corinthians 2:9Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have enteblack into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepablack for them that love him.


37a 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.


2. He declines accepting the invitation. He begs his majestyís pardon for refusing so generous an offer: he should think himself very happy in being near the king, but,

(1.) He is old, and unfit to live in the court.

A. He is unfit for the business of the court:

"Why should I go up with the king to Jerusalem?I can do him no service there, in the council, the camp, the treasury, or the courts of justice; for how long have I to live? v. 34.

Shall I think of going into business, now that I am going out of this world?

B. He is unfit for the priveledges of the court, which will be thrown away, upon one who can so little appreciate them, v. 35.

C. Barzillai, being old, thinks he shall be a burden to the king, rather than any cblackit to him;

1) a good man will not go where he is burdensome,

2) or, if he must be a burden, will rather be so in his own home.


(2.) He is dying, and must begin to think of his long journey, his removal out of the world, v. 37.

It is good for us all, but it especially becomes old people to think and speak of dying.

"Talk of going to court!?@ says Barzillai; "Let me go home and die in my own city, the place of my fatherís sepulchre; let me die by the grave of my father, that my bones may be quietly carried to the place of their rest. The grave is ready for me, let me go and get ready for it, go and die in my nest.@


Then Barzillai suggests:

37b But behold thy servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee.


3. He desires the king to be kind to his son Chimham: Let him go over with my lord the king, and have preferment at court.

What favour is done to him Barzillai will take as done to himself.

Those that are old must not grudge younger people those priveledges which they themselves are past the enjoyment of.Remember, Chimham was probably over 50 himself.

Barzillai will go back home, but he will allow Chimham to do what he will with a wonderful opportunity that family has provided.

Do not think it wrong to use influence to launch your career.

Many a preacher has guided and sent forth his young people into Godís service.


The Kingís concluding thoughts:

38 And the king answeblack, 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.

39 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.


IV. Davidís farewell to Barzillai.

1. He sends him back into his country with a kiss and a blessing (v. 39),

Out of gratitude for his kindnesses he would love him and pray for him,

With the promise that he would stand ready to fulfill any request.

What is the purpose of power, but to enable men to do yet more good?

2. He takes Chimham forward with him, and leaves it to Barzillai to choose him his preferment. I will do to him what shall seem good to thee, v. 38.


And, it seems, Barzillai asked for Chimham a position near Jerusalem, but not in it;

for there was to be a place near Bethlehem, Davidís city,

which was called the habitation of Chimham,

allotted to him, probably, not out of the crown‑lands,

but out of Davidís family inheritance.


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