Daniel Agee

2nd Samuel 19: Who do Shemai, Mephiboshet and Barzillai foreshadow in Messiah’s life?


Just as David was upset at Absolom’s death, God was broken at the death of Yeshua. But Absolom’s death brought salvation to David and Yeshua’s death brough salvation to all of God’s people. The children of Israel were saved from Egypt by the death of the firstborn.

Texts: 2 Samuel 18:33; John 20-21

Joab and others point out very plainly that the king was grieving for his son which turned a day of joy and salvation into a day of mourning. The victorious soldiers had to sneak into town as though they were the losers rather than the victors. It’s logical to mix salvation with mourning. 

Several examples include: 

  • Issac and Abraham at the mount. Abraham had to mourn as he was facing have to kill his only son
  • Cain and Abel. Cain was saved but lost his connection with God.
  • Adam and Eve were saved from instant death but at the lost of their right to the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life.

Our future salvation is also going to be a mix of joy and death. If you expect a great salvation, expect a great amount of death first. 

It’s recorded that David was in such deep mourning that he wrapped his face in a cloth. Why did King David his face? What other examples in scripture of people covering their face? Most of the time, God is the one who conceals their face but there’s also one instance where Moses covers his face. 

The concealment is a reaction to the people’s not wanting God, not that God didn’t want them. God had to cover Himself when we rejected Him. He had no choice but to cover Himself from us, to save us. Moses had to cover his face because the people were rejecting having to see God’s glory on him. He did it to save them. 

Joab confronts David about David’s ingratitude. His men endangered their lives for David and David is rejecting them. David was showing no regard for the wives and children who stayed with him, at risk of their own lives. He was ignoring the needs of those who love him. They still need him. 

David realizes that Joab is right and goes out and congratulates the people. When David went to the gate, the people came to him to show their loyalty to him. 

This is one of the first times that the tribes of Judah v. Israel are distinct and profound. The discussion between the tribes of Judah and the tribes of Israel towards the end of the chapter is one of the most interesting sections of this chapter. The Northern tribes were more willing to accept David back as king than the tribes of Judah. All of Israel have sent messengers saying they want him back while Judah has held back. King David had to remind Judah that he was a member of that tribe by speaking with their remaining military leader, Amassah. He gave Amassah a promotion in return for Amassah’s influence with the tribe of Judah.  

Was David at all concerned about the Northern Tribes who were already on His side? No. Is Messiah’s focus going to be on those who are already on His side? Messiah’s job is not to convinced the convinced. The Northern Tribes played second fiddle to Judah. Note the parable of the prodigal son and the parable of the 99 sheep v. the lost sheep. 

We need to know our place. Those of us who are already in Yeshua are ok whether we live or die. 

The first individual man recorded as greeting David is Shemai, a man who had previously mocked and abused David as he was fleeing from Absolom. This happened as David was at the Jordan river.

The second person to greet David was Mephiboshet who greeted him in Jerusalem.  This is different from when David was fleeing because, when David was fleeing Jerusalem, it was Ziba who greeted him.  

David is a little conflicted as to which one of them was telling the truth so he divides the land in ½ between Ziba and Mephiboshet but Mephiboshet tells David to give it all to Ziba because he doesn’t need the land b/c he already lives in the king’s house. The fact that Mephiboshet arrived very unkempt and dirty does lead us to believe that he is most likely telling the truth and Ziba was the traitor and liar. 

The third person recorded as greeting David is Barzillai, and this meeting also occurred at the Jordan. Barzillai’s assistance as David was fleeing was crucial. He brought David lots of food and other supplies and was crucial in helping David overcome Absolom. 

Barzillai was not an invalid. He traveled from Gilead to the Jordan to greet David during his triumphant return to Jerusalem yet he tells David that he can’t go to be with him in Jerusalem because he too old and no longer wise. Barzillai’s act of selflessness in allowing his son/nephew/servant to serve David in his place was a profound act and give us an interesting insight into the Messiah Yeshua’s life, too. Barzillai’s comments and actions doesn’t seem to make sense, except in a prophetic sense. 

Who is the New Testament equivalent of Shemai? Who in the NT cursed Messiah as He was dying and then blessed Him later? The Apostle Peter. 

Who wanted to kill Shemai? Abiathar. Abiathar wanted to cut off Shemai’s head, just as Peter later wanted to cut off the head of the high priest’s servant but instead Peter only cut off the servant’s ear. In both stories, David/Messiah saved Shemai from Abiathar and saved 

Mephiboshet also represents Peter on the post-resurrection testing. As David questioned Mephiboshet, Yeshua also questioned Peter vigorously. 

Barzillai, despite lost of his eyesight and discernment, was consistently loyal to David and was allowed to go to his home and die in peace. Peter was not. Peter died in a manner that was not of his choosing. 

Also Barzillai gave his place at David’s side to his son/nephew/servant. The Apostle John was given the blessings that Peter would have received, which is the blessing of long life and the place of special honor and love at his side. 

  • Shemai’s love was opportunistic. 
  • Mephiboshet’s love was brotherly. 
  • Barzillai’s love was a true, abiding love. 

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Daniel Agee. Summary: Tammy.

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