2 Samuel 16


In this chapter, and the next four chapters, we see that David’s troubles and the trouble for his household are continued to be lived out as Nathan the prophet told him earlier, 2 Samuel 12:10.

David And Ziba

‘When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine. The king asked Ziba, ‘Why have you brought these?’ Ziba answered, ‘The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the wilderness.’ The king then asked, ‘Where is your master’s grandson?’ Ziba said to him, ‘He is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, ‘Today the Israelites will restore to me my grandfather’s kingdom.’ Then the king said to Ziba, ‘All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.’ ‘I humbly bow,’ Ziba said. ‘May I find favour in your eyes, my lord the king.’ 2 Samuel 16:1-4

Ziba was a steward of Mephibosheth and it appears he may have been plotting against Mephibosheth so he can find favour with David. He brings donkeys for David and his household to ride, along with some food to eat for his escape from Jerusalem.

When David asks where his grandfather is he tells him he’s staying in Jerusalem because ‘the Israelites will restore to me my grandfather’s kingdom’, this is clearly a lie being told by Ziba. He appears to be plotting to get back what was given to David, which is the property of Mephibosheth.

Shimei Curses David

‘As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, ‘Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The LORD has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!’ Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.’ But the king said, ‘What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’ David then said to Abishai and all his officials, ‘My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.’ So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.’ 2 Samuel 16:5-14

David approached Bahurim which was a tiny village some distance away from the Mount of Olives, this is the same place where Paltiel was told to leave his wife, Michal, 2 Samuel 3:15-16. It’s also the same place where the sons of the priests, Jonathan and Ahimaaz were hidden in a well, during their information-gathering mission, 2 Samuel 17:18.

Shimei belonged to the family of Saul, he is possibly Cush the Benjamite, who is described in Psalm 7. Here we read about him expressing his anger against David because of all the troubles which happened to the house of Saul.

Shimei tells David he is being paid back by God for all the blood he shed in the house of Saul, there’s no doubt that the Benjamites blamed David for the death of Saul and his sons on Mount Gilboa, 1 Samuel 31:1-6, Abner, 2 Samuel 3:22-39, Ishbosheth, 2 Samuel 4:5-12, and particularly, the seven descendants of Saul whom David handed over to the Gibeonites, 2 Samuel 21:1-14.

He appears to be speaking on behalf of many who were still loyal to Saul, which tells us that those who were loyal to Saul were still loyal to him many years after his death.

This is one reason why God didn’t want Israel to have a physical king in the first place because when that king dies, there will always be those who remain loyal to him which in turn would cause trouble for the next king.

He tells David to get out and calls him a murderer, some versions use the words, ‘man of blood’, which is the same description which God used to describe David, 1 Chronicles 22:8.

Abishai then speaks to David concerning Shimei and calls him a ‘dead dog’, it is clear he isn’t very happy with what is being said to David and he wants David to give him permission to punish Shimei.

Notice David’s reaction, he says to leave him alone, it has nothing to do with anyone else except him. He is perhaps leaving Shimei for God to deal with, Deuteronomy 32:35, or more likely David was still thinking that this was happening because of what Nathan told him earlier, 2 Samuel 12:10. In other words, he still believes he’s reaping what he sowed when he ordered the murder of Uriah, 2 Samuel 11:14-15.

The Advice Of Ahithophel And Hushai

‘Meanwhile, Absalom and all the men of Israel came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him. Then Hushai the Arkite, David’s confidant, went to Absalom and said to him, ‘Long live the king! Long live the king!’ Absalom said to Hushai, ‘So this is the love you show your friend? If he’s your friend, why didn’t you go with him?’ Hushai said to Absalom, ‘No, the one chosen by the LORD, by these people, and by all the men of Israel—his I will be, and I will remain with him. Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve the son? Just as I served your father, so I will serve you.’ Absalom said to Ahithophel, ‘Give us your advice. What should we do?’ Ahithophel answered, ‘Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself obnoxious to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute.’ So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice.’ 2 Samuel 16:15-23

The reason why Hushai says, ‘long live the king!’ to Absalom was simply to try again Absalom’s favour and to bring about the downfall of Absalom. When Absalom asks for Ahithophel’s advice, Ahithophel tells him to sleep with his father’s concubines.

If Absalom does this he will achieve two things, first of all, if he sleeps with David’s concubines, he would be publicly declaring that he now owns everything which once belonged to David.

Secondly, if he sleeps with David’s concubines, he would be publicly declaring that there would be no reconciliation between him and David.

Absalom took Ahithophel’s advice and notice that they pitched a tent for Absalom, they pitched it on the roof. This would be the roof of the palace, this is in a very open place, in full view of everyone. This tent was called the ‘wedding tent’, Psalm 19:5 / Joel 2:16. Absalom’s plan is very clear, he wanted to publicly humiliate David.

There appears to be no depths of sin to which Absalom won’t go, here is a man who murdered his brother for the rape of a half-sister, 2 Samuel 13:1 / 2 Samuel 13:28-29, and now he himself is guilty on ten counts of incest, which was a capital offence, Leviticus 20:11 / 1 Corinthians 5:1.

It’s also important to note that what Absalom did here was exactly what the prophet Nathan said to David would happen because of David’s sin with Bathsheba, 2 Samuel 12:11.

Notice that ‘the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God.’ Coffman in his commentary says the following concerning these last two verses.

‘It is plain enough that this is not an expression of divine approval of Ahithophel’s counsel, but a statement of the way it was received in those days, particularly a report of the way in which David and Absalom received it.

Actually, Ahithophel’s counsel, from the worldly viewpoint was indeed wise, but in reality, it was the counsel of Satan himself as it regarded Absalom’s outrageous incest. In that particular, Ahithophel’s cursed counsel was an oracle of the Devil, not of God.

Go To 2 Samuel 17


"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."