Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, "Behold, my own son, my own flesh and blood, seeks my life. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone and let him curse me, for the LORD has told him so.
2 Samuel 16:9, 10. - (BAHURIM.)References: 1 Chronicles 2:6; 1 Samuel 16:6; 2 Samuel 2:18; 2 Samuel 10:14; 2 Samuel 21:17; 2 Samuel 23:18; 1 Chronicles 18:12.) Of the three sons of Zeruiah (2 Samuel 5:39), the youngest, Asahel, was slain in early life (2 Samuel 2:23); the oldest, Joab, was now present (ver. 10), "little trusting the revolution which a capricious stripling (like the Stuart Monmouth) was to lead;" the second, Abishai, was one of the earliest, bravest, and most faithful of David's supporters. As on a former occasion, when he sought to destroy Saul with a stroke, so now his thoughtless, headstrong, and undevout impulses needed to be checked. "The characteristic trait of his nature was a blunt, impetuous ferocity." His passionate emotion was -
I. NATURALLY EXCITED by the conduct of Shimei; and was, in some respects, commendable; inasmuch as it showed:
1. An ardent affection toward the king, his "lord;" like that of James and John toward Jesus (Luke 9:54), and of Peter and the other disciples (Luke 22:49; Matthew 26:51). The zeal of the Lord's enemies against him calls forth the zeal of his friends on his behalf.
2. A burning indignation against wrong doing. "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil."
3. A vehement desire for the triumph of justice. He doubtless felt that the offender deserved to die; and was eager to "take off his head," in order to the vindication of the royal honour, the maintenance of the Divine Law, and the promotion of the public good. He thus displayed something of the zeal of Phinehas (Numbers 25:13; Deuteronomy 33:9) and of Elijah (1 Kings 18:40; 2 Kings 1:10); without, however, being justified therein by the same necessity and authority, or imbued with the same simple, pure, and lofty spirit. It is difficult to indulge in resentment, even when proper to do so, without sin (John 2:17; Ephesians 4:26).
II. WRONGLY INDULGED. "Let me go over," etc. This request was marked by:
1. Inconsideration and want of judgment. It is doubtful whether his attempt, if permitted, would have succeeded, for Shimei was hardly likely to be without defenders (2 Samuel 19:17); it could scarcely fail to hinder the king's flight and imperil his safety; and its success would have effected no useful purpose at such a crisis. Zeal is often blind and misguided (Romans 10:2; Philippians 3:5; Acts 17:5) as to the right end, the proper means, and the suitable time. "Zeal without knowledge is as wildfire in a fool's hand."
2. Vindictiveness; such as frequently mingles with deserved indignation toward evil doers; is bitter (James 3:14) and violent; and makes him who entertains it partaker of the evil which he condemns. "The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
3. Presumption and vain glory; not altogether unlike that of Saul (2 Samuel 21:2) and of Jehu (2 Kings 10:16). How often do men feel confident of the rectitude of their course, although acting contrary to the will of God! and how often, whilst apparently full of zeal for public justice and "the glory of God," are they really full of pride and self-will!
"True zeal is merciful and mild,
III. RIGHTLY REPROVED. "What have I to do with you," etc,? The spirit of Abishai and Joab (who, perhaps, joined in the request) was different from that of David; which, in its self-control, patience, and forbearance, displayed the highest heroism, and foreshadowed the meekness of Christ. "True Christian zeal is no other than the flame of love. This is the nature, the inmost essence of it" (Wesley). What is contrary to it should be rebuked by:
1. The indication of the will of God (ver. 10).
2. The exemplification of a spirit of submission (John 18:11) and charity.
3. The assurance of the blessing with which it will be followed (ver. 12). "So the travellers went on. The roads diverged. The curses died away. The stones fell short of their aim. The evening closed on that long day of weariness and sorrow - the dreariest day that David had ever known; and he and the partners of his exile rested for the night" (Plumptre). - D.
Let him alone, let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him.
I. His forbearance must be traced partly to THE SOFTENING INFLUENCE OF AFFLICTION. David here reminds his servants of the trials under which he was suffering; and intimates to them that the father, who had to bear with the cruelty of a beloved son, could find but little difficulty in pardoning the insults of a reviling enemy; that the greater affliction had prepared his mind for the less, and enabled him to be submissive under it. "Tribulation," says the apostle, "worketh patience." It calls the patience of the Christian into exercise, and consequently strengthens it. Who are the proud and revengeful among mankind? They who have known but little of the calamities of life, and been tossed by few of its storms.
II. David was assisted in overcoming his resentment BY TRACING THE PERSECUTION HE RECEIVED TO GOD. The ill-treatment of the ungodly, as well as the natural evils of life, must be ascribed, in some degree, to a chastising God. The malice and cruelty of the world are no less the instruments of working his will than the diseases which assail our bodies, or the storms which lay waste our dwellings.
III. Hence the forbearance of David may be ascribed also TO A SENSE OF SIN. He says nothing indeed of his sinfulness, but the abrupt language which he uses evidently implies that it was in his mind. And what provocation is there which a deep sense of guilt will not enable us to bear? Go to the man whom a heavenly instructor has made acquainted with the hidden depravity of his nature; who is day by day retiring to his closet to mourn over his sins, and who often waters his couch with tears by night as he thinks of his transgressions — try the patience of the stricken penitent by insults and revilings; and what is the result? Says the wounded Christian, "I am a sinner, and wrath must not lodge in a sinner's heart. I may be reviled, but what a miracle of mercy is it that I am not consumed! Men may reproach me, but how ought I to wonder that my God forbears to curse and destroy me!"
IV. The forbearance of David proceeded from AN HUMBLE EXPECTATION OF A RECOMPENSE FROM GOD. Though he had sinned against him and was suffering under his righteous displeasure, he knew that the Lord had not utterly taken away his loving-kindness from trim. What a powerful motive to forbearance and patience! When we are persecuted, the Lord looks on our afflictions. "He knows our reproach, and our shame, and our dishonour; our adversaries are all before him." In conclusion:
1. David was not of a revengeful disposition. A mind so softened by affliction, so fixed on God, so full of contrition and faith, could not be revengeful.
2. We may infer also from the text, the reason why so much importance is attached in thee Scriptures to a forgiving spirit.
(C. Bradley, M. A.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
PeopleAbishai, Absalom, Ahithophel, Arkite, David, Gera, Hushai, Mephibosheth, Saul, Shimei, Zeruiah, Ziba
TopicsAbishai, Abi'shai, Alone, Behold, Benjaminite, Benjamite, Bidden, Body, Bowels, Curse, Cursing, David, Designs, Flesh, Forth, Invited, Leave, Officials, Offspring, Orders, Revile, Seeketh, Seeking, Seeks, Servants, Surely, Trying
Outline1. Ziba, by presents and false suggestions, obtains his master's inheritance
5. At Bahurim, Shimei curses David
9. David with patience abstains, and restrains others, from revenge
15. Hushai insinuates himself into Absalom's counsel
20. Ahithophel's counsel
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 16:11
5564 suffering, of Christ
LibraryBut Although Patience be a virtue of the Mind...
8. But although patience be a virtue of the mind, yet partly the mind exercises it in the mind itself, partly in the body. In itself it exercises patience, when, the body remaining unhurt and untouched, the mind is goaded by any adversities or filthinesses of things or words, to do or to say something that is not expedient or not becoming, and patiently bears all evils that it may not itself commit any evil in work or word. By this patience we bear, even while we be sound in body, that in the midst …
St. Augustine—On Patience
David and Jonathan's Son
The Godly are in Some Sense Already Blessed
Appendix 2 Extracts from the Babylon Talmud
Importance in Luke's History of the Story of the Birth of Christ
Meditations for one that is Like to Die.
No Sorrow Like Messiah's Sorrow
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