2 Samuel 15-16
The Rebellion of David’s son Absalom, cont’d. 2 Samuel 13-19
2 Samuel 15:1-6-Absalom goes behind David's back...building friendships and devotion among the people..."Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel" (:6). He made it appear that David would not give them a fair trial or justice…but that if he was king, they would get their chance.
2 Samuel 15:7-This verse says, "at the end of 40 years". However, that number of years would not sync with the chronology of the story. What we have in our translation is probably a copyist’s error and it should read, “at the end of 4 years”.
2 Samuel 15:10-Absalom goes to Hebron and gathers a large group of people that support him in his rebellion and overthrow of his father. David's counselor Ahithophel went with Absalom. However, another trusted counselor, Hushai (:32) wanted to go with David, but he told him to stay and be an informant to frustrate Ahithophel's counsel. The Priests also stay, but they agree to help David...by being informants (:24-29,36). Absalom tells his followers to tell others, "Absalom is king in Hebron" (:10). David hears of it and evidently he believed that Absalom had enough power to overthrow him (:12). He gathers a group together and they flee from Jerusalem...leaving 10 concubines to manage his household.
2 Samuel 16:1-4-When David is outside the city, Ziba (the servant of Mephibosheth, grandson of Saul that David had treated kindly) brings him donkeys and food. When David asks where Mephibosheth is Ziba tells him that he stayed in Jerusalem saying that he believed that Saul's kingdom would now be returned to him since David was leaving. So, David tells Ziba that everything that he had previously given to Mephibosheth now belongs to him. Apparently, Ziba misrepresented Mephibosheth as we later find in 19:24-28. It was his attempt to make himself look good in David’s eyes.
2 Samuel 16:5-14-When David reached Bahurim (a village east of the Mount of Olives) a man named Shimei (from the family of Saul) started following alongside him on a hillside...cursing David and throwing stones at him and the people with him. David's men wanted to cut his head off. But David told them to let him alone. If his own son rebelled against him what more could he expect from other people. And besides, maybe if he is forgiving with this man, God will return the forgiveness to him.
2 Samuel 16:15-23-Absalom enters Jerusalem. Ahithophel tells him to have sex with David's concubines (his harem). That will make his father look foolish to the people. This was a public demonstration of the takeover of the throne. This act also made any reconciliation between David and Absalom virtually impossible. So, Absalom had a tent set up on the roof and he had sex with the concubines. He took Ahithophel's counsel as if it came straight from God.
Prayer: Lord, David showed such restraint when Shimei ridiculed him and falsely accused him. Shimei took his cheap shots at David when David was at his lowest. And yet, David did not react vindictively. There are always people like Shimei around. People who take pleasure in promoting themselves and putting other people down. Please help me to have Your patience and forgiveness when they attack me. Let my heart continue to be right with You and to leave their judgment in Your hands.