Mar 19 — 2 Samuel 16-17

2 Sam 16:1-14 — David is Cursed by Shimei
2 Sam 16:15-23 — Absalom Enters Jerusalem
2 Sam 17 — Hushai Saves David

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One Reply to “Mar 19 — 2 Samuel 16-17”

  1. David continues to stay away from Jerusalem as Absalom’s power grows…this will not end well. Just beyond the summit “where people used to worship God” (interesting phrase from 2 Sam 15:32), David meets Mephibosheth’s steward Ziba. Ziba takes the opportunity to offer David donkeys, food and wine and tells him Mephibosheth has defected to Absalom’s camp “because he thinks, ‘today the Israelites will restore to me my grandfather’s kingdom'” (2 Sam 16:3). Tomorrow we’ll see another view of this story (2 Sam 19:24-30) and David’s final verdict…interesting stuff!

    Next we see Shimei reveal his disdain for David as he curses him, throws rocks and showers David and his men with dirt. Shimei didn’t like David from the beginning and now that he believes he is dethroned, he lets him know how he really feels (to say the least). David is completely tolerant of this outrageous behavior, something I need to pay more attention to when people cast disparaging words in my direction. He says, “leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to” (16:11). How this behavior must wear them out, “they arrived at their destination exhausted” (v14).

    Meanwhile, Absalom and his band are taking their place in Jerusalem and he seeks advice from two opposing sides. Here is Ahithophel, David’s former counselor (2 Sam 15:12), a wise and respected man who happens to be Bathsheba’s grandfather. The NIV Study Bible footnote suggests he may have aligned himself with Absalom in retaliation to David’s crime against Uriah. Ahithophel is distinguished, so Absalom follows his advise, fulfills Nathan’s prophesy (2 Sam 12:11) and shames David by sleeping his concubines (2 Sam 16:21-22). Ahithphel gives Absalom his advice, to pursue David immediately, but only strike down David (17:2).

    Absalom wants another opinion, so he asks Hushai (not knowing he was planted by David for this very purpose, see 2 Sam 15:34). He advises Absalom to attack and destroy everything, kill David and his men and “if he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it down to the valley until not so much as a pebble is left” (17:13). Absalom and his men get excited by Hushai’s description of a great victorious battle, one people will certainly talk about for centuries and one where Absalom’s kingship will be forever established. Why send a mere 12,000 troops to kill David alone when they can all gather and wipe them out? Absalom and his leaders are pumped and ready to kill and destroy, so they ignored Ahithophel’s advice. David’s spies tell him about the advice given and Absalom’s plans, so “David and all the people with him set out…by daybreak, no one was left” (17:22). Tomorrow, we’ll conclude this part of the story of David and Absalom.

    There are at least three significant lessons in these few chapters, each paint a picture for us to learn from. I keep getting drawn back to the simple phrase in 15:32, “where people used to worship God” and I wonder how many were seeking God during this time. It seems most were following their own schemes, but David continues to seek the Lord by avoiding confrontation, running rather than fighting. Take a look at Psalm 3, A psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom, “Lord, how many are my foes!” The chorus, “our God is fighting for us always, our God is fighting for us all, we are not alone, no we are not alone” keeps running through my head as I reflect on these scriptures. Praise God that He is fighting for us as we encounter trivial trials compared to these stories we read about today. “I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side…from the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people” (Psalm 3:7,8).

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