2 Samuel 16 (NRSV)
When David had passed a little beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, carrying two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred bunches of raisins, one hundred of summer fruits, and one skin of wine. 2The king said to Ziba, “Why have you brought these?”
Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine is for those to drink who faint in the wilderness.”
Beware of Ziba bearing gifts . . .
3The king said, “And where is your master’s son?”
Ziba said to the king, “He remains in Jerusalem; for he said, ‘Today the house 4 of Israel will give me back my grandfather’s kingdom.’”
Evil man! Ziba had seen David’s generous heart in how the king had treated Ziba’s master, Mephibosheth (Jonathan’s son and King Saul’s grandson). Now Ziba lies to David, telling him that Mephibosheth has deserted him, in order to get some kind of reward for himself. David, wounded by the thought that his kindness to Mephibosheth had been ill requited, erred in accepting Ziba’s claim without investigating it.
Shimei Curses David
5When King David came to Bahurim, a man of the family of the house of Saul came out whose name was Shimei son of Gera; he came out cursing. 6He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; now all the people and all the warriors were on his right and on his left. 7Shimei shouted while he cursed, “Out! Out! Murderer! Scoundrel! 8The Lord has avenged on all of you the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, disaster has overtaken you; for you are a man of blood.”
- Shimei was wrong because David actually treated Saul and his family with great love and graciousness.
- Shimei was wrong because David was not a bloodthirsty man. It is true that he was a man of war, but not a bloodthirsty man.
- Shimei was wrong because David did not bring Saul and his family to ruin – Saul himself brought the family to ruin.
- Shimei was right that the Lord had brought this upon David, but not for any of the reasons Shimei thought.
9Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.”
10But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’”
11David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord has bidden him. 12It may be that the Lord will look on my distress, and the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing of me today.”
Hebrews 10:30-31 (English Standard Version)
For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Some days friends seem hard to come by. But one Friend is always there for us.
“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” — jazz guitar by Walter Rodrigues, Jr. Not your usual Sunday morning arrangement!
13So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, throwing stones and flinging dust at him. 14The king and all the people who were with him arrived weary at the Jordan; and there he refreshed himself.
The Counsel of Ahithophel
15Now Absalom and all the Israelites came to Jerusalem; Ahithophel was with him. 16When Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
17Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?”
18Hushai said to Absalom, “No; but the one whom the Lord and this people and all the Israelites have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain. 19Moreover, whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? Just as I have served your father, so I will serve you.”
20Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give us your counsel; what shall we do?”
21Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, the ones he has left to look after the house; and all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father, and the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened.” 22So they pitched a tent for Absalom upon the roof; and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.
Disgraceful. Nathan had told David that this would happen (2 Samuel 12:11-12). This is an act of violence against the women, treason against the true king, and immorality against the Lord.
23Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the oracle of God; so all the counsel of Ahithophel was esteemed, both by David and by Absalom.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.