2 Samuel 16

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Read 2 Samuel 16

David and Ziba

1 When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine.

The king asked Ziba, “Why have you brought these?”

Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the wilderness.”

The king then asked, “Where is your master’s grandson?”

Ziba said to him, “He is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, ‘Today the Israelites will restore to me my grandfather’s kingdom.’”

Then the king said to Ziba, “All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.”

“I humbly bow,” Ziba said. “May I find favor in your eyes, my lord the king.”

Shimei Curses David

As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”

Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.”

10 But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’”

11 David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12 It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”

13 So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. 14 The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.

The Advice of Ahithophel and Hushai

15 Meanwhile, Absalom and all the men of Israel came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him. 16 Then Hushai the Arkite, David’s confidant, went to Absalom and said to him, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”

17 Absalom said to Hushai, “So this is the love you show your friend? If he’s your friend, why didn’t you go with him?”

18 Hushai said to Absalom, “No, the one chosen by the Lord, by these people, and by all the men of Israel—his I will be, and I will remain with him. 19 Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve the son? Just as I served your father, so I will serve you.”

20 Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give us your advice. What should we do?”

21 Ahithophel answered, “Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself obnoxious to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

23 Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice.

Go Deeper

Shimei is one of probably more than a few people who despise David and blame him for the fall of Saul’s house. Even though David is not guilty of the man’s accusations, David knows he is not free from sin. He has fallen short in significant ways throughout his reign as king.

David knows he is a sinner, and he is willing to humbly receive whatever the Lord might be trying to teach him through this interaction with Shimei. Even in the midst of being tricked by Ziba and betrayed by his own son, David chooses to submit himself to the Lord’s correction. David does not feel the need to defend himself or stop Shimei because he trusts God’s hand in every situation. In verse 12, David demonstrates his complete trust in God’s ways over his own when he says, “It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore me to his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.” David acknowledges God as the true King, and knows He can use even this moment for His purposes.

In Psalm 139:23-24, David expresses this same heart posture when he says, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” How quick are we to respond in anger or defensiveness instead of humbly receiving correction? How quick are we to justify our choices instead of honestly evaluating our lives and acknowledging our sin when the Holy Spirit convicts us?

God doesn’t convict us to shame us but to turn us back towards His holiness. Conviction leads to the freedom found in Christ when we repent, receive forgiveness, and choose to walk in God’s ways. When others criticize us or throw stones our way, instead of reacting out of pride and self-preservation, may we take an honest look inward and see what God might be trying to teach us. May we pursue transparency within our community and allow the people God has placed in our lives to speak truth to us. May we turn to God again and live in the freedom He graciously offers us.


  1. How do you handle correction from those around you?
  2. Is there anything that the Lord is convicting you to turn from in your life? Take it to Him in prayer and confess it to your community.
  3. Are you feeling stuck in shame? Meditate on Romans 8:1 and remember the truth God has for you.

Pray This

“Father, thank you for giving us David an example of what it looks like to walk in trust and submission to you. Open my eyes to see where I am falling short, and give me the strength and humility to turn away from my sinfulness to walk in the freedom you’ve offered me through Jesus and the joy found in relationship with you. Show me your heart and free me from shame and condemnation so that my life would bring you glory. Amen.”

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1 thought on “2 Samuel 16”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    Today I’m reminded that even a man after God’s own heart needed a Savior. All the good David had done paled in comparison to his evil deed against Uriah. The consequences of sin are severe. Shimei’s accusations are untrue because David did not strike Saul even though he had several opportunities and made every effort to care for Saul’s surviving family. When David could have bowed up and retaliated, he chose humility. As one much greater than David, Christ is our greatest example of humility as he willingly endured the mocking, suffering and shame of the cross to free us from the bondage of sin. The scarlet thread of redemption is once again presented pointing to our greatest need, a Savior!

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