Conflicting Claims


Be faithful in your friendships in good times and bad. Do not try to get something for yourself in the end.


O Lord, You are my confidence. You are abundantly adequate for my every need.


2 Samuel 19:31-43


What does loyalty look like for you?

As David returns to Jerusalem, the old political tensions are all too visible, especially the rivalry between Judah and Israel (41-43). The people of Judah think they have first claim upon David, because he is their kinsman. They feel they should accompany him to Jerusalem. The people of Israel resent this because they took the initiative to invite David back as king.

Anyone in leadership will be familiar with these kinds of conflicting claims. David has to be judicious if he is to hold the whole nation together. He needs to keep both tribal groups on his side, but he must not show favoritism to either. 

Amidst all this, we meet Barzillai. He is just the kind of person you need in situations like this. He combines loyalty with independence. Throughout David's public life Barzillai has supported him consistently, even when he was in exile (32; see 17:27-29). Now he shows his support publicly by escorting David to the royal city. However, he will not be in David's pocket, and he declines to join him in Jerusalem (34-37). Tactfully, he offers his servant Kimham instead. David can count on Barzillai, though he will not yield his independence.


Be faithful in your friendships in good times and bad. Do not act to get something for yourself in the end.


Faithful Lord, teach me to value friends like Barzillai. Help me reflect Your consistency in my relationships.

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