2 Samuel Chapter 16


David and Ziba

      • When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, he met Mephibosheth’s servant Ziba. He had a pair of saddled donkeys loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 raisin cakes, 100 bunches of summer fruit, 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 summer fruit are for the young men to eat, and the wine is for those who become exhausted in the wilderness to drink.” The king said, “Where is your master’s grandson?” Ziba said, “He is staying in Jerusalem. He said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back my grandfather’s kingdom.’” The king replied, “Everything that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.” Ziba answered, “I humbly bow. May I always find favor in your sight, my lord the king.”

        • ESV Study Bible, “Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth (the disabled grandson Saul, whom David had taken into his care; see ch 9), arrives with provisions for David and his people. Ziba implies that the gifts are entirely his idea, and that Mephibosheth himself sees David’s plight as an opportunity to reclaim the kingdom…Mephibosheth will later present a somewhat different version of the situation (19:24-29). As the next section and ch 20 show, some Benjaminites still felt animosity toward David, so David may have been very unsure about Mephibosheth’s loyalty…David judged too quickly, without opportunity to hear a defense from the accused Mephibosheth…”

Shimei Curses David

      • When King David reached Bahurim, a man named Shimei came out yelling curses. He was Gera’s son, and belonged to Saul’s family. He threw stones at David, all his servants, and all the people and warriors that were to his right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out! Get out! You murderer; you worthless man! Yahweh has returned all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you reign, back to you. Yahweh has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. Disaster has overtaken you because you are a murderer.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Bahurim was in the territory of Benjamin east of the Mount of Olives on the way to the Jordan River…”

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible writes, “Shimei, as a kinsmen of Saul, may have held David responsible for the deaths of Abner and Ish-Bosheth, and he may have resented David’s permitting the execution of seven of Saul’s descendants by the Gibeonites (see 21:1-14). Furthermore, as a resident of Bahurim, Shimei may have witnessed David’s treatment of Michal, Saul’s daughter, as it had been a Bahurim that Paltiel, Michal’s second husband, was ordered to cease following after his wife as she was being forcibly returned to David (3:16). The underlying grievance, of course, was that the kingdom once held by Saul, the Benjaminite, had been forfeited to David.”

      • Then Abishai, Zeruiah’s son, said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord and 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 Yahweh has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ then who can ask him, ‘Why have you done this?’” Then David said to Abishai and to all of his servants, “Look, my own son who came from my loins is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjaminite? Leave him alone and let him curse. Yahweh has told him to. Maybe Yahweh will see my affliction and restore His blessing to me instead of His curse.”

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “As always Abishai is ready to act (cf 1 Sam 26:8)…David’s point is that he and Abishai do not see things the same way…David expresses his trust in God’s providence…He still wonders whether all this opposition is the Lord’s just punishment for his sin, and he humbly endures the abuse.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “David understood why a supporter of Saul might hate him.”

        • NET Bible’s text critical notes draw our attention to an issue with the MT in verse 12 which results in most translators siding with the LXX, “The Hebrew text is difficult here. It is probably preferable to read with the LXX, the Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate (bʿonyi, ‘on my affliction’) rather than the Kethib of the MT (baʿavoni, ‘on my wrongdoing’). While this Kethib reading is understandable as an objective genitive (i.e., ‘the wrong perpetrated upon me’), it does not conform to normal Hebrew idiom for this idea. The Qere of the MT (bʿeni, ‘on my eyes’), usually taken as synecdoche to mean ‘my tears,’ does not commend itself as a likely meaning. The Hebrew word is one of the so-called tiqqune sopherim, or ’emendations of the scribes.’”

          • If you think about it, the emendation doesn’t even fit with the text. In context, “the wrong perpetrated on me” would have to refer to Shimei’s cursing, which David has just indicated he believes it very possible that Yahweh told him to do. It would make no sense for him to say in the very next sentence that this cursing was a wrong being done to him. In defense of the MT, some commentators attempt to argue that “the wrong perpetrated on me” is a reference to Absalom’s revolt, but David makes clear that he’s talking about the curses that Shimei is hurling. Furthermore, as Guzik points out:

            • Shimei was right that the LORD had brought this upon David, but not for any of the reasons Shimei thought.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible includes a small spotlight section on Abishai that includes the following information:

          • Abshai was a powerful and successful leader in David’s army. He was David’s nephew, a son of David’s sister Zeruiah and the brother of Joab and Asahel (1 Chr 2:16).”

          • Abishai was completely devoted to David and quick to suggest violence against David’s enemies. When God allowed David and Abishai to penetrate Saul’s war camp while the troops were sleeping (1 Sam 26:1-25), Abishai wanted to assassinate Saul, but David restrained him…”

          • He once hilled 300 soldiers in a single battle. For this, he was made leader of the Thirty, a group of especially skilled warriors surpassed only by the Three (1 Chr 11:20-21). Abishai won a major victory over the Edomites (1 Chr 18:12-13). In a battle with the Philistines, Abishai saved David’s life by killing the giant Ishbi-benob (2 Sam 21:15-17)…”

          • Though Joab’s actions eventually led to his death, we nowhere read about the death of Abishai, a violently impulsive military leader who was one of David’s bravest warriors (1 Sam 23:18-19; 1 Chr 11:20-21).”

      • So David and his men proceeded on their way down the road, and Shimei kept going along the side of the hill opposite him, yelling curses at him as he went. He was also throwing stones and flinging dirt at him. The king and all the people with him arrived at the Jordan exhausted, and David refreshed himself there.

Ahithophel Advises Absalom

      • Now when Absalom and all the men of Israel arrived in Jerusalem, Ahithophel was with him. When David’s friend, Hushai the Arkite, came to Absalom he said, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “The writer resumes his account from 15:37…”

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible adds, “The Hebrew word rendered ‘confidant’ here [rendered ‘friend’ above] is not the normal Hebrew word for ‘confidant’ or ‘friend,’ though it looks much like it, and it may actually represent a borrowing from the Egyptian honorific ‘acquaintance of the king.’ In other words, ‘Confidant/Friend of David’ may have been an official court title held by Hushai in David’s government, a sort of ‘privy counselor.’ In this light, Absalom’s questions to Hushai in v. 17, twice using the normal Hebrew word for ‘friend’ or ‘confidant,’ must be seen as involving an ironic wordplay, something like: ‘Is this how you show friendship to the one you serve as Friend?’”

      • Absalom said to Hushai, “Do you call this loyalty to your friend? Why didn’t you go with your friend?” Hushai replied, “No, I will be loyal to the one whom Yahweh, the people, and all the men of Israel have chosen. Furthermore, whom should I serve? Shouldn’t it be his son? Just as I served your father, so I will now serve you.”

      • Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give us your advice? What should we do?”Ahithophel answered, “Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to care for the house. All of Israel will hear that you have become repulsive to your father, then your followers will be encouraged.” So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines so that all of Israel could see.

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible writes, “In the ancient Near East a king’s wives and concubines were regarded as indicative of his power and position…Their acquisition often involved diplomacy or conquest. For an outsider to sleep with a member of the royal harem, therefore, was a direct affront to the monarch and tantamount to usurpation…Ahithophel knew whereof he spoke, when he counseled Absalom that lying with his father’s concubines would make him ‘obnoxious’ to his father.’”

        • ESV Study Bible adds, “Following Ahithophel’s advice, Absalom publicly had sexual relations with several of David’s concubines who had been left behind to ‘keep the house’ (15:16). Such an outrageous action would have indeed strengthened…the hands of Absalom’s followers, as it made clear that he was claiming the throne. Nathan had prophesied such an event (…12:11), and the rooftop of 16:22 may have been the very rooftop from which David had seen Bathsheba (11:2).”

      • Now in those days, Ahithophel’s advice was considered as valuable as if someone had consulted the word of God. This was how highly both David and Absalom regarded Ahithophel’s advice.

Click here to go to chapter 17