In this blog, we will meet a king who must flee his palace because his own son has planned a coup to overthrow his kingdom. David’s son Absalom has been quite successful in winning over the people with his charm. David and his men are not prepared with food and supplies to withstand such a battle. The King will have to go underground, and then he will have to operate using a secret informant to listen and give him the plans of his own son’s military tactics. The story seems remarkably close to our own situation in Washington.
In this blog, you will meet a man named Barzillai:
1. He can no longer discern what is good and what is not.
2. He can no longer taste.
3. He can no longer hear the voice of singing.
In 2nd Samuel 19, David learns that his son, Absalom, who tried to usurp the kingdom from him, is now dead. King David has already lost two sons. The son he had with Bathsheba and his son Amnon who raped Tamar, was killed by Absalom because David is not good at confronting situations concerning his seed. In chapter 19, word has come to the King concerning the death of Absalom. The King is weeping. Yes, David is crying out from the depths of his belly, “Oh, my son! My son, Absalom! How I wish I would have died instead of you. Oh, my son, Absalom!”
King David’s servants and all the people hide themselves in humiliation. But the king does not have time to weep or mourn; he, after all, is still the king. Joab comes to David bringing strong rebuke and correction.
“Today, you (David) have disgraced all your servants who have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, of your wives, and of your concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you! For you have made it clear today that the commanders and soldiers mean nothing to you. I know today that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead, it would have pleased you!
Now, therefore, get up! Go out and speak comfort to your servants, for I swear by the LORD that if you do not go out, not a man will remain with you tonight. This will be worse for you than all the adversity that has befallen you from your youth until now!” (II Samuel 19:5-7).
Have you ever loved those who hated you and hated those who loved you? We can often blindly do just that.
David straightens his crown and dries his eyes and sits at the gate. All the people come out to congratulate the king. Those who had left him to follow Absalom had fled to their tents, but with Joab’s wise advice, the king prevents possible anarchy. The text says all the people throughout Israel were arguing over whether David should still be the king. Does that sound familiar?
“And all the people throughout the tribes of Israel were arguing, “The king rescued us from the hand of our enemies and delivered us from the hand of the Philistines, but now he has fled the land because of Absalom. But Absalom, the man we anointed over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about restoring the king?” (II Sam. 19:9-10).
Sometimes, we must restore the king, and sometimes the one usurping the kingdom hangs himself. Those who were deceived by Absalom’s charm are now in limbo. Before Absalom’s death, he sent spies to all the tribes and told them as soon as they heard the shofar, then they were to say, “Absalom is King!” Regardless of who is placed in the White House as president, Yeshua is still our King. He is King of King’s. No man will get His glory.
David’s son, who tried to take the kingdom from him, ends up hanging from a tree by his thick hair (pride). Joab, David’s commander in chief, took three darts and thrust them through Absalom’s heart, killing him. Absalom was usurping something that was not his. Absalom’s name means “My Father is peace.” Adonai does bring peace after this horrific situation.
David, who has been in hiding from his seed, is going to cross back over the Jordan and take back what is rightfully his. He has been cursed and pelted with rocks. He has lost another son. He is a broken man who no doubt is replaying Nathan’s words from Adonai in his head. Weeping and repenting as he goes. Before David approaches the Jordan, something peculiar happens. A man who is 80 years old comes out to meet king David as he is getting ready to cross over from exile. His name was Barzillai. II Samuel 17 gives us a description of this man:
Barzillai: “A wealthy Gileadite noble of Rogelim (meaning fullers), who, together with two other prominent chieftains of the east-Jordanic territory, met David at Mahanaim, when he was fleeing with only a few followers from Absalom, and provided the king and his weary men with food” (2 Samuel 17:27).
He was a noble from Rogelim (meaning fullers). Fullers were men who treaded on clothing to cleanse the garments. Fuller’s soap is used to scrub the wool of sheep. Think righteous garments. Rogelim also means feet, and feet represent our walk. He meets David (Beloved) at Mahanaim.
Mahanaim is an interesting place.
“Right before Jacob names the region Mahanaim, he is met by angels of God that motivates him to say, מחנה אלהים וה (“This is God’s camp”), using the word מחנה (mananeh)”(Abarim publications).
It is interesting to note that a man with crippled feet is also mentioned right before Barzillai. This man was Mephibosheth, meaning “one who DESTROYS SHAME. When he was five years old, a report came that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle, and when the boy’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, the nurse dropped Mephibosheth, and he became crippled (II Samuel 4).
Oh, the misfortune of it all. We do not hear much more about this young man again until II Samuel. David decides to bless anyone left of Saul’s house, the greatest enemy he ever had. David approaches Mephibosheth, and Mephibosheth says, “What is your servant that you take an interest in a dead dog like me?” How ironic that the name “Mephibosheth” means destroyer of shame, yet his crippled-up legs had brought him just that, shame. When Mephibosheth walked into a room, he was noticed, not for his beauty or even his heritage as the grandson of a king and the son of a mighty warrior, Jonathan. No, that is not what people noticed; they noticed his hobbling bent up legs.
When David searched for Jonathan’s son, and brought him to the palace, and placed him at his table, the King’s table covered his twisted legs that would not work right. The king’s table hid all his infirmities. He was under the shade of that table, and he was fed delicacies. One day, Mephibosheth went from thinking he was a dead dog to eating at the king’s table. One day we shall, too, eat at His Table if we do not lose heart and faint.
Barzillai had the same opportunity to go with David and be fed by the king, but he does not. He is prepared to die and be buried with his parents. However, this very wealthy 80-year-old man wants to escort the King over the Jordan. Meditate on the number 80 and the crossing of the Jordan.
“The Hebrew number 80 is Pey and represents the mouth. The Hebrew number 8: “Shemoni [f.], shemonah [m.] Literally to “make fat.” New beginnings, not just complete (like seven), but satiated. Becoming “fat” is having more than enough. Full to overflowing. Moves from natural to supernatural. Transcends natural time and space to supernatural realm. Figuratively, eight takes one through a full cycle of seven, and begins anew – the One Day – Yom Echad – of creation.” (Grace in Torah)
Moses is 80 years old when he is sent to lead the Children of Israel to cross over the Reed Sea. Barzillai is 80 years old when he comes to escort David over the Jordan.
In our story from II Samuel, David tells Barzillai that he will provide for him and give him a place in Jerusalem if he crosses over with him. His name means man of iron. Barzillai teaches us how to die, and there is quite a contranym in his message and age. Remember, the Jordon is the place Yeshua was immersed in by John. It means to descend downward, and after we descend into the waters of the Jordan, we are cleansed just like Naaman from his leprosy. Naaman had to dip seven times, the number of completions. But Barzillai is 80 years old, and he tells David something I have been meditating on all week.
“But Barzillai replied, “How many years of my life remain, that I should go up to Jerusalem with the king? I am now eighty years old. Can I discern what is good and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or drinks? Can I still hear the voice of singing men and women? Why should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?
Your servant could go with the king only a short distance past the Jordan; why should the king repay me with such a reward? Please let your servant return, that I may die in my own city near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant Chimham. Let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what is good in your sight.” (II Samuel 19:34-37).
He can no longer discern what is good and what is not.
He can no longer taste.
He can no longer hear the voice of singing.
Barzillai sends his servant—his son ChimHam instead. Chimham means to thirst, pinning, and having a great desire. “The verb כמה (kama) means to thirst but specifically expresses a desire for liquidity in the exchange of knowledge and wisdom (rather than the light of wisdom itself, or the eventual productivity that results from having wisdom). This verb also resembles the particle of comparison כמו (kemo), “as if” or “like.” (Abarim Publications). Chimham is mention in Jeremiah. It is the name of a town near Bethlehem, from which it would seem that David gave Barzillai’s son some land that was passed on to his descendants in his name. Barzillai sends his son over to Jerusalem, the one whose name means desire and thirst, a pinning to be in the Land. The man of iron cannot go. The man who can no longer discern what is good and what is not. The man who can no longer taste and see. The man who can no longer hear the voice of singing will remain on the other side of the Jordan. Jerusalem means rain of peace and a foundation of peace. Oh, how we need this today!
I pray this has blessed you. May we continue to keep our eyes on the King of Kings and the Lord of All.