The first tribe to accept me back as their ruler is my own. The women of Judea love me, which I already know—but now I win over the hearts of the men, so that now they are all of one mind.
The elders send word to me, “Return, you and all your men.”
So I lead my men as far as the Jordan. On the opposite bank is a place called Gilgal, which is known in our history for forging a bond between our tribes. It was here that Joshua, the leader who succeeded our legendary Moses, ordered the Israelites to take twelve stones from the river, one for each tribe, and place them there, to celebrate crossing it into the land of Canaan.
And it is beyond that circle of stones that I spot two large groups of people, awaiting to greet me: on the right, a group comprised of the men of Judah, and on the left—a group of Benjamite men, well known for keeping a grudge against me, because I was serving the Philistines while my predecessor, Saul, was fighting his last battle against them. To this day, they wish to resurrect his dynasty.
These Benjemites are lead by none other than Shimei son of Gera, the man who cursed me with such remarkable enthusiasm, chased me out of my own city, and spat on me only a few days ago, when I fell from power.
At seeing him I brace myself, thinking that his presence here must mean trouble, because clearly, there is nothing better he enjoys than throwing mud, stones, and vile expressions at me. Shimei hurries down with the rest of the men who are crossing the ford to escort me back. To my surprise, he outdoes everyone else, hailing me at the top of his voice and bouncing about like a lame grasshopper. Feigning the most joyful of joys, he comes forward, cheering me loudly.
When he comes near, Shimei falls prostrate before me and cries, “May my lord not hold me guilty!”
And I say, “Why not?”