Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 16
Abishai was the brother of Joab, the chief commander of David’s army. Abishai was himself a brave soldier and a skilled army commander (23:18-19). He was a powerful man, and an extremely important supporter of David.
Abishai was one of David’s relatives. His mother Zeruiah was David’s sister. However, David and Abishai were completely unlike each other in their character and attitudes. By nature, David was a kind, gentle and loving person. Abishai was a cruel and fierce man. David loved God – but Abishai was an evil man (3:39).
In 1 Samuel 26:6-12, David had to stop Abishai when he (Abishai) wanted to kill King Saul. David called Saul ‘the Lord’s anointed’ – in other words, the king that God had specially appointed by his Holy Spirit. He told Abishai that nobody should try to hurt such a king.
Now, however, David himself was ‘the Lord’s anointed’, the king whom God had chosen to rule his people. Shimei was throwing stones at David and he was insulting David. So, Abishai thought that David would want him to kill Shimei. It was clear that Shimei was acting very wrongly towards ‘the Lord’s anointed’.
David replied that Abishai could not understand his (David’s) attitudes. David was not afraid of Shimei’s insults. In fact, they might achieve something good. David knew that he must be humble in front of God, especially on this sad occasion (15:30). David could not be proud while Shimei continued to insult him. So perhaps God had even sent Shimei to do that. Abishai, therefore, must not hurt him.
Next part: David explains why he does not order Shimei's death (2 Samuel 16:11-12)
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