Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 16

Was David a ‘man of blood’, as Shimei said?

2 Samuel 16:7-8

As David escaped from Jerusalem, Shimei in Bahurim accused him of some very evil acts. Shimei called David a ‘man of blood’ – in other words, a man who was responsible for many other people’s deaths. In particular, Shimei accused David of the murder of many people from King Saul’s family. We need to examine whether those statements were true.

Firstly, David did not kill Saul, or his three sons who died with him. They died in battle against Philistia’s army (1 Samuel chapter 31). In fact, David absolutely refused to hurt Saul, even when he had the opportunity to do that (1 Samuel chapter 26). Similarly, David was very angry about the murder of Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth (2 Samuel chapter 4). David did not order that murder, and he punished those who carried it out.

In 2 Samuel chapter 21, David would permit the deaths of 7 members of Saul’s family. However, there were special reasons for that; and God showed David that it was necessary.

As a soldier, David was responsible for many people’s deaths in war (1 Chronicles 28:3). However, those wars were necessary to make Israel into a safe and peaceful country. It was God who gave David success in war (8:14).

However, David was guilty of murder on one occasion. He ordered the death of Uriah, one of his soldiers. That was the true reason why God permitted Absalom, David’s son, to fight against him (12:9-12). It was not because of the deaths in Saul’s family, as Shimei wrongly said.

Next part: Abishai wants to kill Shimei (2 Samuel 16:9-10)


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