Second Samuel 16 Commentary
According to the word of the LORD through the prophet Nathan, Absalom desecrates his father’s marriage bed by sleeping with David’s wives. Horrible. We have one errant but repentant camp fleeing the palace. This is the godly camp. We have another camp entering the palace, Absalom’s camp, which is extremely wicked and cares less about the commands of the LORD.
For a couple of days, wickedness prevails. Absalom is king. But with hindsight, we know his rule would not last. It is the point that the scripture makes to highlight the transient nature of wickedness. It may have the appearance of victory but it is always coming to pass. On the Other hand, is David suffering intensely but his suffering is not punishment but discipline.
Then we have Shimei who curses, scorns, insults, and basically rubs salt into the wound. David’s reaction is admirable. It is important to know who the real enemy is. Don’t address Shimei; address God. Don’t respond to Shimei; instead, direct your petition to the LORD. This type of arrogance is godly. Despise the enemy like they are not worthy of your attention. It is a mindset that elevates the LORD above everything else.
Ziba is an interesting case. Is he telling the truth about Mephibosheth? We have good reasons to doubt. We have seen others do things like this to improve their own standing with David. Probably even the items that he has presented to David are supplies that Mephibosheth prepared for the King. David makes a quick decision to transfer all Mephibosheth’s property to Ziba. Ziba wins. His reaction tells you just how much he longed for this moment. David has lost.
David rebukes Abishai when he readies himself to kill Shimei. “You sons of Zeruiah,” that is how he fondly, rather crudely addressed his fiercely loyal nephews, Joab and Abishai. They were sons of David’s elder sister Zeruiah. The LORD does provide relief for the saint even when he is undergoing discipline. The saint just has to look around and they will be grateful to the LORD for the help that the LORD so ably supplies, because it is discipline and not punishment. Punishment is for Absalom and the like-minded. It comes immediately or later, or completely delayed. But it is always a must on judgment day.
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.
To shift the context to David’s case, he is suffering because of Absalom’s sin – conspiracy, greediness, and unchecked wickedness. But we also know he is suffering because of his own well-known sins. Either way, the saint is encouraged to endure. And David gives us a good example.
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