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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 16

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine.

When David was a little past the top, [ meehaaro'sh (H7218)] - the head or summit of the mountain. [The Septuagint renders it: apo tees Roos, as if it were the name of the place.]

Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him. This crafty man, anticipating the certain failure of Absalom's conspiracy, took steps to prepare for his future advancement on the restoration of the king.

An hundred of summer fruits, [ qayits (H7019)] - summer-fruit harvest, special harvest of figs. [ uwmee'aah (H3967) qayits (H7019) is considered by Gesenius as elliptical for uwmee'aah dªbeelowt qayits, a hundred cakes of figs.]

A bottle of wine - a large goat-skin vessel. Its size made the supply of wine proportioned to the rest of his present (see the notes at Joshua 9:4).

Verse 2

And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the king's household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink.

The asses be for the king's household to ride on. The royal fugitives were moving on foot, not from inability to procure conveyances, but as being suitable to their present state of humiliation and penitence.

Verse 3

And the king said, And where is thy master's son? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.

Today shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father. Such a hope might not unnaturally arise at this period of civil distraction, that the family of David would destroy themselves by their mutual broils, and the people reinstate the old dynasty. There was an air of plausibility in Ziba's story. Many on whom the king had conferred favours were now deserting him; no wonder therefore, that in the excitement of momentary feeling, believing, on the report of a slanderer, Mephibosheth to be among the number of the rebels, he pronounced a rash and unrighteous judgment, by which a great injury was inflicted on the character and interests of a devoted friend.

Verse 4

Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee that I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 5

And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.

When king David came to Bahurim - a city of Benjamin (2 Samuel 3:16; 2 Samuel 19:16). It is, however, only the confines of the district that is here meant.

Thence came out a man. The place where this incident is supposed to have occurred is a low ridge of chalk hills, beyond which is a long narrow wady (Ruwaby) running toward the Nahr el-Kelt-the ancient Bahurim-along which David and his party of fugitive royalists took their journey, while Shimei was on the opposite bank (Barclay's 'City of the Great King,' p. 563; 'Tent and Khan,' p. 368).

Shimei the son of Gera The misfortune of Saul's family and the occupation by David of what they Shimei, the son of Gera. The misfortune of Saul's family, and the occupation by David of what they considered their rightful possessions, afforded a natural, if not a justifiable cause for this ebullition of rude insults and violence by Shimei. He upbraided David as an ambitious usurper, and charged him, as one whose misdeeds had recoiled upon his own head, to surrender a throne to which he was not entitled. His language was that of a man incensed by the wrongs that he conceived had been done to his house. A Jewish tradition, preserved by Jerome ('Quaest. Hebraicae,' in loco), is, that Shimei of Gera was another name of Nebat, father of Jeroboam. David was guiltless of the crime of which Shimei accused him; but his conscience reminded him of other flagrant iniquities, and he therefore regarded the cursing of this man as a chastisement from heaven. His answer to Abishai's proposal evinced the spirit of deep and humble resignation-the spirit of a man who watched the course of Providence, and acknowledged Shimei as the instrument of God's chastening hand. One thing is remarkable, that he acted more independently of the sons of Zeruiah in this season of great distress than he could often muster courage to do in the days of his prosperity and power.

Verses 6-10

And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 11

And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him.

Let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. The Orientals make use of bold figures, much less common among us, though not altogether unknown. They speak of the mediate cause without saying that it is the mediate cause, and use the very expression which denotes the immediate cause. We should regard Shimei as an instrument in the hands of Providence. In the East they go a far greater length. There God has done and commanded all that men do contrary to His commandments. Shimei breaks forth into imprecations against David; and forthwith David regards God as having ordered Shimei to curse him.

Verse 12

It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.

It may be that the Lord ... will requite me good for his cursing this day, [ qillatiy (H7045), the curse denounced on me. The Khethib (marginal reading) is qillaatow (H7045), the curse denounced by him]. He regarded it as the nemesis of his crimes-the judgment of an avenging God, who let the excited minds of the people rush to the greatest excesses.

Verse 13

And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.

Went along on the hill's side over against him - as he descended the rough road on the eastern side of the mount of Olives; 'went along the side,' literally, the rib, of the hill.

Threw stones at him - as a mark of contempt and insult.

Cast dust. As if to add insult to injury, clouds of dust were thrown by this disloyal subject in the path of his unfortunate sovereign. But the throwing of dust is a significant mode, used in the East, of demanding public justice on a criminal (cf. Acts 22:23).

Verse 14

And the king, and all the people that were with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there.

Came weary, and refreshed themselves there - in the city of Bahurim, as is generally understood. [But Reland ('Palaestina'), followed by Houbigant and others, take `ªyeepiym (H5889), rendered "weary," to be the name of a place, Aiphim. The particle of motion, however, is missing, and therefore we adhere to the received interpretation.]

Verse 15

And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.

Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem. From Hebron they marched to the capital, of which, in its defenseless and deserted state, they obtained immediate possession, and there the usurper held his first council of war.

Verse 16

And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David's friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king.

Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king. Hushai's devotion to David was so well known, that his presence in the camp of the conspirators excited great surprise. Professing, however, with great address, to consider it his duty to support the cause which the course of Providence and the national will had seemingly decreed should triumph, and urging his friendship, for the father as a ground of confidence in his fidelity to the son, he persuaded Absalom of his sincerity, and was admitted among the councillors of the new king.

Verses 17-19

And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend?

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 20

Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do.

Give counsel among you what we shall do. This is the first cabinet council on record, although the deference paid to Ahithophel gave him the entire direction of the proceedings.

Verse 21

And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father's concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong.

Ahithophel said unto Absalom. This councillor saw that, now the die was cast, half measures would be inexpedient; and to cut off all possibility of reconciliation between the king and his rebellious son, and thereby ensure the safety of those who had joined the conspiracy, gave this atrocious advice regarding the treatment of the royal women who had been left in charge of the palace. Women being held sacred, are generally left inviolate in the casualties of war. The history of the East affords only one parallel to this infamous outrage of Absalom. Ahithophel's counsel appeared politic, but in reality it was most pernicious-a flagrant breach of the divine law (Leviticus 20:11), a greater crime than that of Reuben, who forfeited his birthright (1 Chronicles 5:1), and sure to draw down upon the perpetrator the execration of all good people. Thus, however, the adultery of David with Bath-sheba was punished by this horrid crime of Absalom, committed apparently in the same palace, according to the denunciation of the prophet (2 Samuel 12:11).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-samuel-16.html. 1871-8.
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