2 Samuel 16:12

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,
Can pity and forbear;
The false is headstrong, fierce, and wild,
And breathes revenge and war."

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.
David, in his adversity, receives from Shimei an undeserved, cruel, and most irritating provocation; he reviles him, and curses him, and casts stones at him; but the afflicted monarch bears all his insults with silent meekness; he, forgives and protects his railing enemy; and here in the text he discloses to his wondering attendants the feelings which actuated his conduct towards him. His words evidently direct our attention to the grounds of his forbearance towards Shimei; and they convince us at once that this forbearance did not proceed from a want of feeling. Some men appear to bear provocations, as a stone may be said to bear them: they excite no resentment, for they give no pain. But this insensibility is not Christian meekness. We must feel before we can forgive; and that forgiveness is the most exalted in its nature, which is accompanied with the keenest sense of the injuries it pardons. Neither was this insensibility the meekness of David. His was one of the warmest hearts that ever beat in a human breast. Every act of kindness had power to move it, and he himself tells us that reproach could almost break it.

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.)

Sir Matthew Hale, the celebrated judge, had so completely gained the government of his passions that, though naturally of a quick temper, he was never seen in a passion, nor did he ever resent injuries. One day a person who had clone him a great injury came to him for his advice in the settlement of his estate, which he very readily gave him, but would accept no fee for it. When he was asked how be could behave so kindly to a man wire bad wronged him so much, his answer was, "I thank God I have learned to forgive and forget injuries."


"As children will thank the tailor, and think they owe their new clothes to him rather than to their parent's bounty, so we look to the next hand, and set up that instead of God." Second causes must never be made to stand before the first cause. Friends and helpers are all very well as servants of our Father, but our Father must have all our praise. There is a like evil in the matter of trouble. We are apt to be angry with the instrument of our affliction, instead of seeing the hand of God over all, and meekly bowing before it. It was a great help to David in bearing wits railing Shimei, when he saw that God had appointed this provocation as a chastisement. He would not suffer his hasty captains to take the scoffer's head, but meekly said, "Let him alone and let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him." A dog when he is struck will bite the stick; if he were wise, he would observe that the stick only moves as the hand directs it. When we discern God in our tribulations we are helped to be quiet, and endure with patience. Let us not act like silly children, but trace matters to their fountain-head, and act accordingly.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Abishai, Absalom, Ahithophel, Arkite, David, Gera, Hushai, Mephibosheth, Saul, Shimei, Zeruiah, Ziba
Bahurim, Jerusalem
Affliction, Cursed, Cursing, Eye, Instead, Note, Perhaps, Receiving, Repay, Requite, Return, Reviling, Wrong, Wrongs
1. 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 Themes
2 Samuel 16:5-12

     5088   David, character

2 Samuel 16:5-13

     5964   temper

2 Samuel 16:11-12

     5564   suffering, of Christ

But 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

Nob. Bahurim.
That Nob was placed in the land of Benjamin, not far from Jerusalem, whence Jerusalem also might be seen,--the words of the Chaldee paraphrast, upon Isaiah 10:32, do argue. For so he speaks; "Sennacherib came and stood in Nob, a city of the priests, before the walls of Jerusalem; and said to his army, 'Is not this the city of Jerusalem, against which I have raised my whole army, and have subdued all the provinces of it? Is it not small and weak in comparison of all the fortifications of the Gentiles,
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

David and Jonathan's Son
'And David said, is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake? 2. And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. 3. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. 4. And the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Godly are in Some Sense Already Blessed
I proceed now to the second aphorism or conclusion, that the godly are in some sense already blessed. The saints are blessed not only when they are apprehended by God, but while they are travellers to glory. They are blessed before they are crowned. This seems a paradox to flesh and blood. What, reproached and maligned, yet blessed! A man that looks upon the children of God with a carnal eye and sees how they are afflicted, and like the ship in the gospel which was covered with waves' (Matthew 8:24),
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

Appendix 2 Extracts from the Babylon Talmud
Massecheth Berachoth, or Tractate on Benedictions [76] Mishnah--From what time is the "Shema" said in the evening? From the hour that the priests entered to eat of their therumah [77] until the end of the first night watch. [78] These are the words of Rabbi Eliezer. But the sages say: Till midnight. Rabban Gamaliel says: Until the column of the morning (the dawn) rises. It happened, that his sons came back from a banquet. They said to him: "We have not said the Shema.'" He said to them, "If the column
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Importance in Luke's History of the Story of the Birth of Christ
IT needs no proof that Luke attached the highest importance to this part of his narrative. That Jesus was indicated from the beginning as the Messiah -- though not a necessary part of his life and work, and wholly omitted by Mark and only briefly indicated in mystical language by John -- was a highly interesting and important fact in itself, and could not fail to impress the historian. The elaboration and detail of the first two chapters of the Gospel form a sufficient proof that Luke recognized
Sir William Mitchell Ramsay—Was Christ Born in Bethlehem?

Voluntary Suffering
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. T hat which often passes amongst men for resolution, and the proof of a noble, courageous spirit, is, in reality, the effect of a weak and little mind. At least, it is chiefly owing to the presence of certain circumstances, which have a greater influence upon the conduct, than any inherent principle. Thus may persons who appear to set death and danger at defiance in the hour
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

Meditations for one that is Like to Die.
If thy sickness be like to increase unto death, then meditate on three things:--First, How graciously God dealeth with thee. Secondly, From what evils death will free thee. Thirdly, What good death will bring unto thee. The first sort of Meditations are, to consider God's favourable dealing with thee. 1. Meditate that God uses this chastisement of thy body but as a medicine to cure thy soul, by drawing thee, who art sick in sin, to come by repentance unto Christ, thy physician, to have thy soul healed
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

No Sorrow Like Messiah's Sorrow
Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Behold, and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow! A lthough the Scriptures of the Old Testament, the law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophecies (Luke 24:44) , bear an harmonious testimony to MESSIAH ; it is not necessary to suppose that every single passage has an immediate and direct relation to Him. A method of exposition has frequently obtained [frequently been in vogue], of a fanciful and allegorical cast [contrivance], under the pretext
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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