Opening Prayer

Spirit of God, instruct me as I open your Word today. Teach me so that I can better serve you.

Read 2 SAMUEL 16

David and Ziba

16 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.

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Thomas asked, ‘How can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’1

Think Further

All of us can identify with the saying ‘nobody is perfect’ – and most of us also with Paul’s confession that even when he wants to do good he can end up doing bad things!2 The writer of 2 Samuel again wants us to recognize both sides of David’s character. In 2 Samuel 9 we learned that David suddenly remembered the promise he had made, when the (now adult) Mephibosheth had been a small child, to look after Jonathan’s family. This is usually told as a story of David’s kindness, but there seems little doubt that the writer has chosen to emphasize the length of time he took to think about his promise. Ziba and his family had been caring for the estate for all those years, but suddenly it was removed from them and given back to Mephibosheth, with apparently no compensation. Ziba now (vs 1–4) seeks recompense. He brings a large gift to David, professing full loyalty, and then (v 3) drops in an accusation, later proved to be false,3 that Mephibosheth had betrayed David. With no further investigation, David immediately believes him and hands all Saul’s estate back to Ziba. Absalom’s accusations about David’s lack of concern for justice do seem to have some merit!

Verses 5–14, in contrast, show us a much more positive side of David’s character. He is confronted by Shimei, a disturbed Saul supporter, who continually rants at and curses David. His own supporters want Shimei to be summarily executed but David refuses. He knows that curses are only meaningful if they are backed by God. He trusts God to work out his purposes and won’t even presume that the ranting Shimei was not being used by God. David’s knowledge of God always seems stronger than his knowledge of what God required from him as king!


‘…Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me … Who will rescue me … Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’4

Closing prayer

Father, forgive me when I judge others unfairly. Help me to see through the lenses of your eyes, to extend the grace and mercy you have shown me.

Last Updated on September 22, 2023 by kingstar

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