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2 Samuel 15 – 20
These chapters tell about how David was returned as king to Jerusalem and how his son Absolom is destroyed. There is council given and actions taken that reveal a lot about what is in the hearts of these men and women.
Ziba is the servant given to Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, by David. He comes to David as they cross over the Mount of Olives. With him, he brings donkeys for the king’s household to ride on, food and wine for them to refresh themselves. Mephibosheth has remained behind in Jerusalem, Ziba claims this is because Mephibosheth thinks God will give back the kingdom to Saul’s household out of the hands of David and his traitorous son Absolom.
David, therefore, gives him all that belonged first to Saul and then to Mephibosheth.
When David returns to Jerusalem it is revealed that Ziba lied, because Mephibosheth was a cripple he sent his servant to saddle his donkey so that he could go with David but Ziba betrayed him and slandered him to the king.
The king offers to give back half of what was taken from Mephibosheth when he finds out about Ziba’s betrayal. However, Mephibosheth says that Ziba can keep it, now that David has returned safely. From the day David left to the day, he returned Mephibosheth did not cut his hair or nails, shave, wash his clothes or bathe as he waited for the king’s safe return.
Shimei is from the same clan as Saul. As David goes past the place where they are from, Shimei comes out and curses David throwing rocks and dirt at the whole group. One of David’s commanders, Abishai, wants to cut off Shimei’s head for cursing the king, but David doesn’t see the point if God sent Shimei to curse David. If God did not send him than perhaps He will look down and see David’s suffering to turn this cursing for good.
When David returns that same way later Shimei apologizes and acknowledges his sin before the king. Shimei may have cursed the king but he came back and took responsibility for his actions. Again Abishai asks David if this man should be put to death for cursing the Lord’s anointed but David promises Shimei on oath that he will not be put to death for this.
Joab and Abishai
These two brothers who are supposedly so loyal to the King break his orders in battle and kill his son Absolom. They are too cowardly to send David the news themselves and try to send someone else so that they will be killed in the king’s anger. But Joab’s son goes and lies to the king that he doesn’t know that Absolom is dead. The other man sent to tell David doesn’t directly tell him either, but David figures out from the man’s answer. So David grieves for his son.
David appoints a new commander in Joab’s place but Joab murders him. Joab then pursues another traitor to the king, Sheba son of Bicri. A wise woman in the city where Sheba has hidden tells Joab not to destroy the city but to tell her why he attacks a peaceful place in Israel. Joab tells her about Sheba and she promises him that the traitor’s head will be thrown down to them, then he will stop attacking the city. The city elders agree with her and it is done as she says.
This prince betrays his father, erects a monument in his own honor and then gets caught by his head in an oak tree while riding his mule out with the army going against David. He is killed by Joab and the commanders of David’s army. While this arrogant man is mourned by his father David, the King’s men see him only as a traitor who has brought destruction on all of Israel with his pride.
Ahithophel and Hushai
These men are advisors to Absolom and David. The LORD confuses their advice through Hushai to Absolom and he takes the wrong action against David. When Ahithophel realizes his advice wasn’t taken he goes home, sets his affairs in order, and kill himself.
David knows that all this happening because of his adultery and murder. All that the LORD told him came to pass including the other man, his son, taking his wives for himself and sleeping with them before all Israel. While everyone who David is supposed to trust leaves him or betrays him he doesn’t lift a finger or raise a word against them but takes responsibility before God that He will do what is right for David and his household. David doesn’t have to set up monuments for himself or punish men who curse and criticize him. In answer to Abishai’s insistence that Shimei be killed David responds,
“…’What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? This day you have become my adversaries! Should anyone be put to death in Israel today? Do I not know that today I am king over Israel?”‘
-2 Samuel 19:22
David knows what his commanders have to his son but doesn’t kill them either is what he reminds Abishai. Still, the people fight over David being brought back as king and his restoration to Jerusalem is just as exhausting as his flight from it. This man after God’s own heart still rests in the mercy of the Almighty, but he will suffer the consequences of his sin for the rest of his life and its shadow will follow all the kings after him.