2 Samuel Chapter 16

Absalom, the son of King David, had conspired to take over Jerusalem. David and those who were loyal to him, had fled the city and Absalom had taken it for himself. David had stopped at the top of the mountain, to worship. David’s counselor, Ahithophel, had been in league with Absalom and was in the position to be a counselor to Absalom. David sent his loyal friend, Hushai, back into the city as a spy, to see that the counsel of Ahithophel was defeated. This chapter begins:

1 And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine.
2 And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink.
3 And the king said, And where is thy master’s son? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.
4 Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee that I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king.

Miphibosheth, the lame son of Saul, who David had shown kindness towards, had a servant called Ziba, who came to King David. David asked what was meant by this gift. The servant, Ziba, told him their were to help David and his people in the wilderness. David asked where the son of Miphibosheth was at that time, and the servant told him that he had gone to stay in Jerusalem, so that Mephibosheth could regain the kingdom. Ziba said that he sought grace in the sight of David. It does not say here if Ziba was truthful in his words to David, but it seems more like an attempt to place himself in the favor of David.

5 And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.
6 And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
7 And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:
8 The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.

David traveled to Bahurim, where a man named Shimei came out of the house of the family of Saul. Shimei cursed David, casting stones at him and his household. He called David a man of Belial, and blaming the loss of David’s kingdom on taking the throne from the house of Saul. According to the footnote, calling him a man of a Belial was a “terrible insult” meaning a “man of worthlessness”.

9 Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head.
10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?
11 And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him.
12 It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.
13 And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.
14 And the king, and all the people that were with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there.

Abishai, son of Zeruiah, told David that he would kill the man for cursing him. David refused, feeling that the Lord allowed this man to curse him. David hoped that in not responding to the cursings, the Lord might bless David for it later. David knew that the Lord was going to allow him to suffer things like this, because of what he had done to the man Uriah. So, Shimei continued to curse and throw things at David and his people along their way.

15 And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.
16 And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king.
17 And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend?
18 And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay; but whom the Lord, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide.
19 And again, whom should I serve? should I not serve in the presence of his son? as I have served in thy father’s presence, so will I be in thy presence.

Meanwhile, Absalom had entered Jerusalem along with many men, including Ahithophel. Hushai went to Absalom honoring him as the king. Absalom, knowing this man was a friend of David, asked why he had not gone with him. Hushai told him that he had chosen to go with Absalom and serve him as he had his father.

20 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do.
21 And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong.
22 So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.
23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.

Ahithophel was asked to counsel Absalom. The council of Ahithophel was spoken as if he had received direction from God. He told Absalom to go and take the concubines of David, which he had left there to keep house. He suggested that when Israel had heard what he had done, he would be strengthened. Absalom followed this counsel, fulfilling yet another part of the curse upon David. In Samuel 12:11 it said, “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.” While, the people of Israel did not know about David’s sin, all of Israel would know what Absalom did to his father.

In doing this thing, Absalom was making assurance that he and his father, would never reconcile. Absalom found his strength in hurting the king this way, and showing Israel the kind of power he had. I know that there is no good that could come from this kind of act. This must have added to the heart ache that David would have already been feeling, both for his own life and for the life of his son, which was not heading towards God. It continues to be a lesson to me, that we cannot take the laws of God lightly. When we sin against God, there will eventually be a fitting consequence. We need to be aware of our own weaknesses, and do our best to avoid and withstand the temptations that the adversary will place before us, because we do not want to suffer from the consequences that will come from giving in to them.

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