Lessons from Barzillai

David, King Over All Israel, as in 2 Samuel 5:...

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In reading about Barzillai, by an author from the 1800s who was a biblical scholar (Rev. George Milligan M.A., D.D.) I learned that
Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim was 80 years old at the time of Absalom’s revolt against King David. Barzillai supplied provisions for David’s army. On his journey, after the victory, Barzillai, respectfully rejected  King David’s offer to accompany him back to Jerusalem, but brought Chimham, his son to David for the return journey. He was a fairly wealthy man by the time’s standards. He had nothing to gain by aiding King David, unlike the other two men who aided the kind. He did it on faith, even though there is no mention of his faith in God, one can only assume that giving everything he had that the king needed had to require great conviction.

-“There is nothing I like better than conversing with aged men. For I regard them as travellers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom it is right to learn the character of the way, whether it is rugged or difficult or smooth and easy” (Socrates to Cephalus of the Rublic)-

Barzillai was the type of man the above philosopher speaks of by all accounts.

The other two men who aided King David during the war did it for personal reasons. Barzillai had no known reasons for his conduct and generosity. This leads us to look at his natural impulses of a kind and generous heart as a massive possibility. A genuine faith based effort of giving much like SCC’s recent Operation Christmas Child. He gave his son to the king to take back to Jerusalem in his place due to his age and the longing to be buried with his parents in the family burial place. At 80 years old this was probably the smart move. His son went on to found a small town that served as a resting place between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. This small town would eventually (according to historical accounts) be the only available resting place for Mary and Joseph to bed down for the night for the birth of our savior when there was no room at the local inns.

It is also said that even at 80 years old, Barzillai kept the spirit of his youth. This could also be closely tied to his selfless service to his faith. Scripture reads that “Barzillai was contented”. He was pleased with his life of service and therefore rewarded with a sunny disposition for all of his efforts.

“God will not forget his labor of love”
“I will carry and deliver you”

Both scriptural quotes apply to the life and motivation of Barzillai. A man mentioned in small format in the Bible, but in a big way and a great lesson.
God bless


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