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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
2 Samuel 16

 

 

Verse 1

2 Samuel 16:1 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.

Ver. 1. Met him with a couple of asses saddled.] His master Mephibosheth could not get him to saddle one ass for him to go along with David, [2 Samuel 19:26] for he had a design by false accusation, to wrest his land from him, as also he did; furnishing, meanwhile, this rich present out of Mephibosheth’s means; which it is likely he made bold with for his own advantage.


Verse 2

2 Samuel 16:2 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.

Ver. 2. What meanest thou by these?] Is it thy master’s doing, or thine own?

For the young men to eat.] A modesty not unlike that of Abigail, to see to, [1 Samuel 25:27] only that was real, this in semblance.


Verse 3

2 Samuel 16:3 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.

Ver. 3. For he said, Today shall the house of Israel.] A shameless and senseless slander, uttered by a false and faithless informer, who would, in all likelihood, have been as ready to murder his master, if the king had pleased, as now he was to deceive him. See Ezekiel 22:9. Plato commendeth that law of the Lydians, that punisheth slanderers like as they did murderers.


Verse 4

2 Samuel 16:4 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.

Ver. 4. Behold, thine are all that pertained unto Mephibosheth.] Thus poor Mephibosheth is condemned and punished causa inaudita, before he was heard speak for himself: so was the Lord Cromwell in Henry VIII’s time. His enemies durst not bring him to his answer, nor try him by his peers; but procured an Act of attainder, whereby he was condemned, before he was heard: yet the king not long after his death repented that haste, wishing him alive again, &c. David had good cause to repent and retract this his error; but did it to the halves: where we may easily observe that the best men are but men; and that it is a very dangerous thing for a magistrate to receive gifts. Olim didici quid sint munera, said one.

And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee.] Flattering Ziba doth more harm to good David, than railing Shimei Beware of such flatters, Oι κολακες κοραχες

That I may find grace in thy sight.] Utinam semper ira me ames. (a) I do highly esteem thy gift, but much more thy favour. So should we do God’s as that which sugareth all comforts, and is the mother blessing. When Cyrus had given Artabazus a cup of gold, and Chrysantas a kiss in token of his special favour, Artabazus was discontented, and said that the kiss was better gold than the cup. (b)


Verse 5

2 Samuel 16:5 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.

Ver. 5. And when king David came to Bahurim.] Which was not far from Jerusalem. There is no small cruelty in picking out a time for mischief: that word would scarce wound at one season, that killeth at another. It is the murder of the tongue to insult upon those whom God hath humbled, and to draw blood from that back which is yet blue from the hand of the Almighty.

He came forth and cursed still as he came.] This was blasphemy in the second table; and it justly befell David, for his causing the name of God to be blasphemed by the heathen. [2 Samuel 12:14]


Verse 6

2 Samuel 16:6 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.

Ver. 6. And he cast stones at David.] He both spake and cast stones against David: not that he could thereby harm him, but the more to show his hatred and contempt.

And all the mighty men were on his right hand.] So that if Shimei had not been stark mad with malice, he would not have thus desperately vented himself, and ventured his life.


Verse 7

2 Samuel 16:7 And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:

Ver. 7. Come out, come out, &c.] Prima semper irarum tela maledicta aunt: et quod non possumus imbecilli, optamus irati. (a) Calvin (b) maketh mention of an insolent heretic, who, though he had as fair language given him as was possible, yet would never vouchsafe to speak better to that most worthy man than if he had had to deal with a dog.

Thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial.] Facundia plane canina. With what eagerness barketh this dead dog, no otherwise than if he had fetched every word as far as hell! Such a rabiosus canis was Porphyrie, Genebrard, Scioppius, &c.


Verse 8

2 Samuel 16:8 The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou [art taken] in thy mischief, because thou [art] a bloody man.

Ver. 8. The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul.] What blood was that? Saul he spared once and again, when but few men else would have done it, by his own confession. [1 Samuel 24:19] In the death of Ishbosheth and Abner it was well known he had no hand at all. But it may very well be, which some say, that Shimei and such like charged David, that he had stirred up the Philistines to make that invasion upon the land, wherein Saul and his sons were slain, and hence this false accusation. But was not David rightly punished by Shimei’s railing, for his hearkening so readily to Ziba’s flattering? Was not he justly spoiled of his honours, who had so unjustly spoiled Mephibosheth of his goods?

Because thou art a bloody man.] Bloody he had been indeed, though not as Shimei meant it: and prayeth hard for pardon of that crimson sin. [Psalms 51:14] God is just, though men be unjust.


Verse 9

2 Samuel 16:9 Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head.

Ver. 9. Why should this dead dog curse my lord?] Abishai was no less zealous for David his kinsman than Shimei was for his, and would fain have been doing with him; his fingers even itched to take off his head, ut maledicire simul et vivere desineret. David is no less earnest with God to take an order with such dead dogs as blasphemed him and his truths. [Psalms 74:10; Psalms 74:18; Psalms 74:22-23] This was true zeal in David; but revenge - ζηλος πικρος - in Abishai and Shimei.


Verse 10

2 Samuel 16:10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?

Ver. 10. What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah?] So that Joab, it seemeth, as well as Abishai, had a hand in this request of revenge, and is therefore thus shaken up, unless it were so that Abner’s death were now laid afresh in his dish, as that wherewith Shimei had newly twitted David Ambrose, citing these words of David, crieth out. O altitudo prudentiae! O altitudo patientiae! O devorandae contumeliae grande inventum! Ecce verborum contumelia parricidii levavit aerumnam, &c. Reproaches make graces more splendent. As the gardener planteth his unsavoury herbs, garlic and onions, near his sweetest roses, saith Plutarch, that so the smell thereof may be the more prized.

Because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David,] sc., By the secret impulse of some evil spirit, saith Piscator: or by a secret command of providence, say others: and this consideration framed David’s heart to so much patience, that he was "as a deaf man that heard not, and as a dumb man in whose mouth are no reproofs." [Psalms 38:13-14] He could sit and sing,

Incessunt, taceo: culpant, fero: crimina spargunt,

Dissimulo: mordent, abque dolore meo.

Latrant, non moveor: frendent, non curo: minantur,

Non metuo: mordent labra, laboro nihil."

Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?] God is αιυπευθυνος, not bound to give an account to any: neither needeth he so to do, since his will is the rule of right, and his judgments are sometimes secret, always just, David knew there was cause enough.


Verse 11

2 Samuel 16:11 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.

Ver. 11. Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels.] If we can therefore suffer because we have suffered, as David did from Shimei, but first from Absalom, then we have profited by our afflictions: then "patience hath her perfect work." [James 1:4] A weak heart faints with every addition of succeeding sorrow: the strong re-collecteth itself, and, like an old beaten porter to the cross, tolerare mavult guam deplorare, rather carrieth it, than crieth out of it. See Job 23:2. {See Trapp on "Job 23:2"}

Seeketh my life.] Not only is he sick of my long life - as Adolphus Egmondanus lately was of his father Arnold’s, duke of Geldria, whom he kept prisoner six years for living so long - but seeketh to destroy it: as did Tullia, Nero, Solymus, Amidas, &c. (a)

For the Lord hath bidden him.] It is he who hath turned this dead dog loose upon me. This seeing of God in crosses as the chief agent, whatever the instrument be, is an excellent help to true patience. If a man meet a prince, and know him not, he will not give him due reverence: so if we see not God in our sufferings we shall not so well submit to him; David, for instance, when he went against Nabal.


Verse 12

2 Samuel 16:12 It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.

Ver. 12. It may be the Lord will look on mine affliction.] Heb., On mine eye, or tears; for Iisdem quibus videmus oculis flemus; et lachrymas angustiae exprimit Crux.

And that the Lord will requite good for his cursing.] Restore me to my kingdom, or some way else reward my patience, of his free grace, and according to his usual dealing with his poor afflicted. Howsoever, if he bring not down his will to theirs, he will bring up their will to his: which will make infinite amends for all their patience.


Verse 13

2 Samuel 16:13 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.

Ver. 13. And cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.] Heb., Dusted him with dust: and this he did all along the way, till David came to Bahurim. He bravely contemned all these contumelies and indignities; and by a happy composedness set himself above the flight of the injurious claw, wherein also he became a type of Christ, "who when he was reviled, reviled not again, when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed his cause to him that judgeth righteously." [1 Peter 2:23]


Verse 14

2 Samuel 16:14 And the king, and all the people that [were] with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there.

Ver. 14. And they refreshed themselves there,] viz., at Bahurim, [2 Samuel 16:5] where yet they stayed not long: for when the messengers came thither from Hushai, David was gone, leaving Shimei to feed upon his own heart, since he could not come at David’s, and to drink up the most part of his own venom himself, as every malicious man doth.


Verse 15

2 Samuel 16:15 And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.

Ver. 15. The men of Israel.] Perhaps the deputies of the commonality for the choosing of a new king.

And Ahithophel with him.] That archartist in hellish policy: as ill a counsellor to Absalom, as Jonadab had been to Amnon. In all the shop of hell there is no anvil so well set whereon to forge, no engine so apt whereby to execute any choice piece of mischief, as your Machiavellian. And although that Florentine Secretary was not born for many ages after Ahithophel, yet the devil no doubt was as great a master then, as afterwards.


Verse 16

2 Samuel 16:16 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.

Ver. 16. God save the king.] So Squier cried out cheerfully, God save Queen Elizabeth, when at the same time he poisoned the pummel of her saddle, with a purpose to have destroyed her. Fronti nulla fides. Fair words make fools fain. See on 2 Samuel 15:34.


Verse 17

2 Samuel 16:17 And Absalom said to Hushai, [Is] this thy kindness to thy friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend?

Ver. 17. Is this thy kindness to thy friend?] He saith not, To my father: for so he should have tacitly taxed himself of far greater ingratitude, and fouler disloyalty, than he had done Hushai.


Verse 18

2 Samuel 16:18 And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay; but whom the LORD, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide.

Ver. 18. His will I be, and with him will I abide.] His argument had been good, saith Martyr, if David had been dead, and the state had generally accepted of Absalom for their king: thus the Romans obeyed Julius Caesar, and the whole empire Phocas. But here it was otherwise.


Verse 19

2 Samuel 16:19 And again, whom should I serve? [should I] not [serve] in the presence of his son? as I have served in thy father’s presence, so will I be in thy presence.

Ver. 19. Whom should I serve?] Here Hushai offereth Absalom his service, that he might dive into his secrets, and defeat his counsels.


Verse 20

2 Samuel 16:20 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do.

Ver. 20. Then said, Absalom to Ahithophel.] As president of his council: Hushai was present, but forced to dissemble at that time. (a)


Verse 21

2 Samuel 16:21 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.

Ver. 21. Go in unto thy father’s concubines.] O tongue worthy to have been cut out, shred in gobbets and driven down the throat of him that thus misused him, to the engaging of Absalom in such an unpardonable villainy, beside hazard of his immortal soul!

That thou art abhorred of thy father.] And so no hope of reconciliation.


Verse 22

2 Samuel 16:22 So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

Ver. 22. Upon the top of the house.] Whence David first saw Bathsheba.

And Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines.] By a worse kind of incest than that of Amnon, or any other unless it were Amida above mentioned, or Pope John XII, as Luitprandus writeth. (a)


Verse 23

2 Samuel 16:23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, [was] as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so [was] all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.

Ver. 23. And the counsel,] q.d., Though this was horrid counsel, yet because it was facinus maioris abollae, the counsel of Ahithophel, it passed for current, and was well approved by Absalom and the facilous Israelites. Dotibus scelerati Satanae et libidinibus suis ministrant. Wicked men abuse their abilities and their authority to the service of sin and Satan, as Augustine bitterly bewaileth it in Licentius, a scholar of his, learned but lewd.

Was as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God.] So Plutarch saith of Archimedes the Syracusian, that he had the name and fame of understanding not human but divine. (a) And of Polybius, the historian, it is reported, that Scipio never miscarried in any enterprise, carried on according to his counsel.

Both with David and with Absalom.] David’s chief counsellors were God’s testimonies: [Psalms 119:24] to these as to the test he brought all counsel given him, whether by Ahithophel or any other; and held it for a rule that if any "spoke not according to these, it was because there was no light in them." [Isaiah 8:20] Indeed, Absalom and his adherents followed Ahithophel’s counsel howsoever, as infallible, because it was for their purpose. So the Papists would persuade us that the Pope’s placits are ipsissimum De; verbum. (b) And if a priest teach this or that, be it true or false, the people are, without further trial, to take it as God’s oracle. (c) Is not this to be "the servants of men?" [1 Corinthians 7:23] Is it not an honour due to Christ alone, to be believed on his bare word, to be the only Aυτος εφα, to be self-credible?

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 16:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-16.html. 1865-1868.

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