As the old king cried and grieved, his followers slinked away in confusion and shame. The people who had crossed the Jordan with David to help protect him from Absalom had done so out of a deep sense of love and loyalty to him. So, when they felt that he was deeply disappointed in the outcome of the battle (which they had just fought for him), naturally they didn't know what to do; they didn't know how they should react.
Well, the very wily and shrewd side of General Joab began to really show up about this time. Joab scolded his Uncle David harshly for showing so much concern for his rebellious son and so little for his loyal subjects. And, Joab's words were obviously potent because David listened to and followed the counsel of his nephew. He went out into the public and acted as if he was done with Absalom. But, it becomes clear that David had endured all he could take from Joab. He even offered the command of his military to Absalom's surviving commander, Amasa. When Joab found out about that, he murdered Amasa publically.
Now, when David came to the Jordan River to cross back into Israel, he had conversations with a few significant characters. Shimei (who had harassed him previously during his hasty exit), Mephibosheth (who had been wrongly accused of treason) and Barzillai (who had been a benevolent benefactor to David during his exile) all found themselves seeking for David's "judgment" concerning their situation. These interactions showed that David was the monarch; the king; again, the political power of the day. This didn't mean that everything was back to normal though. The spirit of rebellion and conflict was still in the air, which was apparent in the ridiculous argument which arose between the tribe of Judah and the rest of the nation over who should lead in the restoration of David to his rightful position as king.