Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 16

David explains why he does not order Shimei’s death

2 Samuel 16:11-12

The thoughts of God’s people can seem very strange to those people who do not share their beliefs. For that reason, Abishai could not understand what David was doing.

David had refused to hurt Saul because Saul was Israel’s king. David told Abishai that God had appointed Saul – therefore, it was evil to oppose him (1 Samuel 26:9). Now, David had become the king whom God had appointed. However, David told Abishai not to hurt Shimei, who was speaking evil words against David. To Abishai, these instructions seemed to be opposites.

Abishai himself had simple, clear attitudes. He wanted to kill anyone who opposed David. However when David suffered, he (David) seemed just to allow it. Saul had been trying to murder David. Shimei was shouting insults and he was throwing stones at David.

David explained to Abishai that really, his (David’s) attitudes were also very simple. David was waiting for God to help him. That was true when Saul tried to kill him (1 Samuel 26:10). It was true in the present situation, too. David did not depend on his own efforts to save himself from men like Saul, Absalom and Shimei. He depended on God alone. Sometimes, there would be a delay while he waited for God to act.

In the meantime, David must be very careful not to act in an evil manner. It was better to suffer insults, loss and injury than to do any evil thing. God was the true judge of these people who opposed David. So, David tried not to make his own judgments against them. He did not want to become bitter; that too was an evil attitude. He did not even want to blame Shimei – Shimei’s family had suffered great loss when David became king. Perhaps God had sent Shimei to keep David humble. David certainly did not want to order Shimei’s death, as a proud and evil king would have done.

Next part: David's journey to the Jordan river (2 Samuel 16:13-14)


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