Monday, July 12, 2010

Character Studies in 2 Samuel: Barzillai the Gileadite

Barzillai the Gileadite:

Barzillai was a man who remained faithful and useful to David during his time of distress. He was “a very aged man, eighty years old,” and he was “a very rich man” (2 Sam 19:31). When David was in flight, Barzillai and others gave provisions to his entourage. They “brought beds and basins, earthen vessels and wheat, barley and flour, parched grain and beans, lentils and parched seeds, honey and curds, sheep and cheese of the herd, for David and the people who were with him to eat. For they said, ‘The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness’” (17:28-29). Barzillai did not “shut up his heart” from a brother in need (cf. I John 3:17). His aid was practical and generous.

When David returned to Jerusalem he entreated his aged patron, “Come across with me, and I will provide for you while you are with me in Jerusalem” (19:33). Barzillai declines the offer, however, responding, “How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem?” (v. 34). When David crossed over Jordan, “the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own place” (v. 39). Barzillai reminds us that one is never too old to offer timely service for the kingdom or to stand on the side of the righteous. He is a model for generosity and stewardship.


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