2 Samuel 16:5
As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the family of the house of Saul was just coming out. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and as he approached, he kept yelling out curses.
Impatience and SubmissionC. Bosanquet, M. A.2 Samuel 16:1-14
Meekness Under Provocation2 Samuel 16:5-13
Shimei's CursesG. Wood 2 Samuel 16:5-13
The Forbearance of David Towards ShimeiC. Bradley, M. A.2 Samuel 16:5-13
The Reviling of ShimeiB. Dale 2 Samuel 16:5-13

2 Samuel 16:5-13. - (BAHURIM.)
(References: 2 Samuel 19:16; 1 Kings 2:8, 9, 36-46.) On pursuing his flight until he reached the Benjamite village of Bahurim (2 Samuel 3:6), David was encountered by another man connected with the house of Saul, who, instead of bringing flatteries and presents, flung "grievous curses" and stones; and (from a safe distance) gave vent to the long repressed rage which, in common with other partisans of the fallen dynasty, he felt on account of David's exaltation (ver. 8). "Along the ridge he ran, throwing stones, as if for the adulterer's punishment, or when he came to a patch of dust on the dried hillside, taking up and scattering it over the royal party below, with the elaborate curses of which only Eastern partisans are fully masters - curses which David never forgot, and of which, according to Jewish tradition, every letter was significant" (Stanley). Abishai returned reviling for reviling, and wished to take instant vengeance. But David said, "Let him a one," etc.; presenting an instructive contrast to both. "He strikes the same string of nobleness as before." We have here -

I. AN INSTANCE OF RAILING ACCUSATION. "Out, out [of the kingdom], thou man of blood," etc.! The language and conduct of Shimei were:

1. Cruel. He rails against David in the day of his calamity, and has "no pity."

2. Cowardly. Fear had kept him silent all these years; but "he that smiled on David on his throne curseth him in his flight" (Hall). Seeing that he is not pursued, he is encouraged to continue his imprecations, and becomes more furious (ver. 13).

3. Malicious; imbued with personal hatred. "The ungodly are always selfish. They judge of others, not by the laws of impartial justice, but by the standard of self-interest. David was called a usurper, a man of Belial, a murderer; and why? Because he had made himself the slave of lust, and had cruelly slain the noble Uriah? No; because he had been elevated by God to the throne of Israel, and had thus marred the prospects of the ambitious Shimei" (C. Bradley).

4. Unfounded and unjust. "Every word of Shimei was a slander." His accusations of wickedness in general, and of "the blood of the house of Saul" in particular (2 Samuel 4:11; 2 Samuel 21:6), are the offspring of a wicked heart. "Shimei curses and stones at David, and barks like a live dog, though Abishai calls him a dead one. The only unjust act that ever David had done against the house of Saul he had newly done; that was, giving Mephibosheth's land; and here a man of the house of Saul is soon upon him" (Lightfoot).

5. Misinterpretive. (Ver. 8.) Whilst recognizing the judgment of God, he makes a wrong application of it. "We may here learn how falsely and wickedly men sometimes wrest the providence of God, to justify their unjust surmises and gratify their malignant passions" (Lindsay).

6. Criminal. He is guilty of high treason and blasphemy, and might justly suffer the penalty of the Law (Exodus 22:28; 2 Samuel 19:21; 1 Kings 21:13); and if David had put him to death at the time, he would not have been condemned for injustice.

7. Provocative of wrath. Surely no man might more reasonably feel resentment than David; no man was ever more strongly incited to inflict punishment; and nothing but "a spirit of meekness" could have restrained him. It is not improbable that Psalm 109. records "the very words of Shimei, and the curses which he threw out against David, and which, as they could not but make a deep impression on his memory, he here repeats and then condemns. They are directly contrary to that temper and disposition shown by David in the other parts of the psalm; and they run all along in the singular number, whereas David speaks of his enemies in the plural" (C. Peters, 'Sermons:' 1776; see 1 Samuel 22:18, 19; 1 Samuel 26:13-25; Expositor, 2:325).

O God of my praise, be not silent!
For a wicked mouth and a deceitful mouth have they opened against me;
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue," etc.

(Psalm 109:1-5.)

"And they have requited me with evil for good,
And with hatred for my love (saying):
Set thou a wicked man over him,
And let an adversary stand at his right hand;
When he is judged, let him go forth guilty,
And let his prayer become sin," etc.

(Psalm 109:6-19.)

"This will be the reward of mine adversaries from Jehovah,
And of those who speak evil against my soul.
But thou, O Jehovah Lord, deal with me for thy Name's sake;
Because thy loving kindness is good, deliver thou me!
They curse, but thou blessest;
They arise and are ashamed, and thy servant is glad," etc.

(Psalm 109:20-31.)

II. AN EXAMPLE OF PATIENCE AND FORBEARANCE. "Let him curse," etc. (vers. 10-12). The manner in which David endured it was:

1. Uncomplaining. He does not retaliate; does not even vindicate himself; but is silent (1 Samuel 10:26, 27; Isaiah 53:5; Luke 23:9). "When Shimei railed on him, he held his peace, and, though he had many armed men about him, yet did he not retort aught savouring of revenge, yea, repelled with the high courage of a patient spirit the instigation of the son of Gera. He went, therefore, as one dumb and humbled to the dust; he went as one mute and not moved at all .... Consider not what is rendered by others, keep thou thy place, preserve thou the simplicity and purity of thine own heart. Answer thou not the angry man according to his anger, nor the unwise man according to his indiscretion; one fault quickly provoketh another. If thou strikest two flints together, cloth not fire break forth?" (Ambrose, 'De Officiis').

2. Repressive of resentment, not only in himself, but also in others. "Answer him not" (Isaiah 36:21; Isaiah 37:3, 4).

3. Self-accusing. Although guiltless of the crimes imputed to him, he feels himself guilty of others not less heinous. "Conscience in that hour had her own tale to tell, of the Almighty Disposer of events, who speaks to us by the reproaches of men as well as by his own blessings. Had he not merited from God, if not from men, whatever disaster could befall the murderer of Uriah? David feels within him that destitution of the Divine presence of which the absence of the ark is but an outward type" (R. Williams).

"Pure from the blood of Saul in vain,
He dares not to the charge reply;
Uriah's doth the charge maintain,
Uriah's cloth against him cry.

Let Shimei curse: the rod he bears
For sins which mercy had forgiven;
And in the wrongs of men reveres
The awful righteousness of Heaven."

(C. Wesley.)

4. Reverential; looking devoutly (as others did not) beyond Shimei to the All-seeing, All-holy, and Almighty One, by whom he was permitted to be an instrument of retribution, and even employed as such, although not thereby exonerated from guilt (2 Samuel 19:18-20). "Abishai looked only to the stone (as it were), an instrument; but David looked higher, to the hand that was the supreme caster, and chastiser of him, as all the godly do (Genesis 1:20; Job 1:21); which is the ground of their patience under sufferings (Guild). His vision of the supreme Judge fills him with holy awe and lowly penitence; his conscious offences against God make him reluctant to punish offences against himself; his dependence upon mercy disposes him to show mercy (Matthew 5:44; Matthew 6:14, 15; Romans 12:19-21).

5. Submissive; humbly accepting the chastisement of God; and deeming this to be his proper business now, rather than seeking to execute justice on another (Micah 7:9). "Behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good to him" (2 Samuel 15:26). "The ways of Providence interlace, not only in capacity, but in retribution; one thing is set over against another. Yet the payment comes, not in the manner nor at the time we might expect, it seems not in the connection we think due; but it comes, like doom. Call Absalom thankless, Shimei brutal, etc. All these things read half a riddle, unless we own that God, in whose counsels these are all as instruments in the hand of a man of war, is just. He gave us wine, let us take also the gall from his hands. If it is not due to us now, nor for this, it was for something else at some other time."

6. Palliative. "Behold, my son seeketh my life," etc. (ver. 11). He makes light of present wrongs by comparing them with other and greater. "It is the advantage of great crosses that they swallow up the less."

7. Hopeful. "It may be that Jehovah will look upon my guilt [tears]," etc. (ver. 12). "This consciousness of guilt also excited the assurance that the Lord would look upon his sin. When God looks upon the guilt of a humble sinner he will also, as a just and merciful God, avert the evil and change the suffering into a blessing. David founded upon this the hope that the Lord would repay him with good for the curses with which Shimei pursued him' (Keil). "Ziba's gifts did more harm than Shimei's curses; for those betrayed him into an act of injustice, but these proved his patience" (T. Fuller). They also had the effect of making him more humble, pure, prayerful, and filling him with new confidence and joy in God (Psalm 109:30, 31). "A curse is like a cloud, it passes." "All things work together for good," etc.

"Lord, I adore thy righteous will;
Through every instrument of ill
My Father's goodness see;
Accept the complicated wrong
Of Shimei's hand and Shimei's tongue
As kind rebukes from thee."

(C. Wesley.)


1. The best of men have been maligned; of the Son of God himself it was said, "He hath a devil." Can we expect to escape insult and provocation?

2. The maledictions of the wicked can do us no harm unless we suffer ourselves to imbibe their spirit. "No man is ever really hurt by any one but himself" (Chrysostom).

3. When reviled of men, instead of considering how little we have deserved their displeasure, we should rather consider how much we have deserved the displeasure of God.

4. We should also consider how little, in comparison with God, do we endure at their hands!

5. "Bless, and curse not" (Proverbs 25:21, 22; Proverbs 16:32).

6. Imitate "the meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:1).

7. So what is meant for evil will turn to good. - D.

Shimei the son of Gera; he came forth, and cursed still as he came.

1. The most irritating by which the patience of man was ever tried. The reason why God was pleased to allow this insult to be added to the other trials of David, is obvious. He wished to teach him how low his iniquities had sunk him, and to show him that the cup of the Divine indignation against him was not even yet exhausted. It tells us that the servant of God must expect to meet with insults and provocations from his fellow-sinners. We are not dwelling among angels, but among men. We are living in a fallen world, in a world that has renounced the authority of the God of peace, and thrown itself under the dominion of the prince of discord. It would be madness, then, to think of passing through it, as though it were a world of love.

2. The conduct of Shimei was cruel also, as well as irritating. The condition of David at this period appeared calculated to disarm by its misery the most inveterate of his enemies. We are ready to suppose in the hour of affliction that every heart must feel for us, and that the malice of our bitterest enemies must now for a season be changed into pity. But experience proves that the most afflicted are generally the most persecuted. Their calamities leave their adversaries nothing to hope from their favour, and little perhaps to dread from their displeasure.

3. The provocation which David received was also undeserved. It here was indeed blood which cried from the ground for vengeance on his head, but he had never injured Shimei; and as for his having been guilty of the death of Saul, and his family, no charge could be more unjust. But the ungodly are always selfish. They judge of others, not by the laws of impartial justice, but by the standard of self-interest.

II. But let us turn from the cruel and irritating conduct of this disappointed Israelite, and consider THE FORBEARANCE WHICH DAVID MANIFESTED.

1. He received the provocation of Shimei with meek silence. He heard his accusations, and he knew them to be false; but he answered him not a word. There are indeed cases in which it becomes absolutely necessary to vindicate our characters at any risk from the calumnies of the ungodly; but these occasions do not often occur. When our enemies are much incensed against us, it will generally be found that to reply to their aspersions serves only to increase their violence, and perhaps to give them an advantage over us. Silence under provocation is safety. To govern our lips is, in most instances, to govern our hearts.

2. But there may be silence where there is no meekness. No angry word may proceed from the lips, while the deadliest revenge is cherished in the heart. It is necessary therefore that we should observe, further, that David forgave the provocation of Shimei. His friends around him were incensed to the utmost, and were eager to vindicate the honour of their insulted monarch with their swords. Would the conduct of David have been either unlawful, or sinful, if he had commanded his attendants to take immediate vengeance on Shimei? It might not have been unlawful, for the laws of Judaea would undoubtedly have condemned the traitor, and the power of carrying them into execution was vested in David's hands; but laws were not designed by God to gratify vindictive passions. It is as sinful to seek revenge by the arm of the law as to seek it by the violence of our own arm. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."CONCLUSION.

1. A review of this history, as far as we have considered it, is calculated to leave impressed on us a conviction of the power of true religion; its power, not only to touch the fears and hopes of the soul. but the mighty power which it exercises over the dispositions, the temper, the heart.

2. This history reminds us also of the dignity which a meek and forgiving spirit imparts. The Bible tells us that "it is the glory of a man to pass over a transgression," and it gives us in this chapter a confirmation of the saying. Here, then, is a lesson for those who are striving to raise themselves to honour. You wish to be highly esteemed among men, and, in order to procure their respect, you imagine that no real or supposed insult must pass unnoticed, and that you must commence a struggle for superiority in rank and consequence. Is, then, the object of your wishes to be attained by such means as these? Impossible. Cease from the foolish attempt. Go and sit at the feet of David, and let him teach you that the readiest, the surest, the safest way to exalt yourselves is to lie low and be humble, to be "meek and lowly in heart," to triumph over the pride and folly which have hitherto been leading you captive.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

"The fruit of the Spirit," said St. Paul, writing to the Galatians, "is long-suffering." Long-suffering patience is one of the rarest of virtues, because it is so easy to be impatient. There is a story told of the great Athenian Pericles, which gives us a good lesson in patience. Hardly anything ever put Pericles out of temper. There was a man who railed at him throughout a whole day in the market-place before all the people, and this although Pericles was a magistrate. Pericles, however, took no notice, but went on hearing and dealing with the various cases brought before him until night fell. Then he set out for home, walking slowly. The man followed him all the way, uttering hard, untrue, and cruel words all the time. When Pericles arrived at his house it was quite dark, so, calling his servant, he ordered him to get a torch and light his defamer home.

Abishai, Absalom, Ahithophel, Arkite, David, Gera, Hushai, Mephibosheth, Saul, Shimei, Zeruiah, Ziba
Bahurim, Jerusalem
Approached, Bahurim, Bahu'rim, Behold, Calling, Clan, Continually, Cursed, Curses, Cursing, David, Family, Forth, Gera, Kept, Named, Reviling, Saul, Saul's, Shimei, Shim'e-i, Thence
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 16:5-8

     5550   speech, negative
     8787   opposition, to God

2 Samuel 16:5-11

     6655   forgiveness, application

2 Samuel 16:5-12

     5088   David, character

2 Samuel 16:5-13

     5964   temper

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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