1 - 4 David Misled by Ziba
1 Now when David had passed a little beyond the summit, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him with a couple of saddled donkeys, and on them [were] two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred clusters of raisins, a hundred summer fruits, and a jug of wine. 2 The king said to Ziba, “Why do you have these?” And Ziba said, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride, and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine, for whoever is faint in the wilderness to drink.” 3 Then the king said, “And where is your master’s son?” And Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he is staying in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me.’” 4 So the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” And Ziba said, “I prostrate myself; let me find favor in your sight, O my lord, the king!”
David has a new meeting. Ziba comes to show his support. He has a lot with him to serve David with. That in itself is a good thing. In the same way, we too may make all that we possess available to the Lord and to those who serve Him. But Ziba is not honest in his motives. In addition, everything he gives is in reality from Mephibosheth, whose servant he is. The whole performance of Ziba is done out of personal interest.
For David Ziba remains the servant of Saul (verse 3; 2Sam 9:9). Yet it seems that David is again blind to the real motives that drive Ziba. When he asks about Mephibosheth, Ziba gives him a false answer. If David had thought about it for a moment, he would have understood the lie immediately. How could it be that the lame Mephibosheth could do something against a man like Absalom? The brightest man in Israel has been declared king and all of Israel is following him and now Ziba is pretending that the lame Mephibosheth is seizing power.
David is so stupid to believe Ziba’s story about Mephibosheth. Later it will become clear how things really are with Mephibosheth (2Sam 19:24-30). Meanwhile David has been influenced by the generosity of Ziba. This leads him to the wrong decision to give all the possessions of Mephibosheth to Ziba. Ziba loves it all and flatters David for his generosity. The whole performance of Ziba is surrounded with flattery and David is falling for it.
It is important that we have an eye for flattery. We must avoid it ourselves at all costs. And if we are flattered, we must at all costs prevent it from obscuring our view of reality. Let us keep flattery far from us, both the flattering of others and being flattered by others.
5 - 8 Shimei Curses David
5 When King David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out from there a man of the family of the house of Saul whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he came out cursing continually as he came. 6 He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left. 7 Thus Shimei said when he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow! 8 The LORD has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are [taken] in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!”
After the meeting with Ziba David has another meeting. In that meeting we see David again at a spiritual climax. Shimei comes to David. The man is full of hatred toward David. He is of the family of Saul and sees David as the cause of misery. From the mouth and from the hands of Shimei come the proofs of his contempt for David. He makes his disgust clearly heard through the curses he pronounces about David. He strengthens his hateful words by throwing stones at him.
Shimei justifies his behavior by referring to the fact that David is under the LORD’s judgment. According to Shimei, David is in this misery because the LORD avenges Himself about what David has done to Saul. Therefore also the kingdom is given by the LORD to Absalom. How unfounded these accusations are, we know from the histories in 1 Samuel. We read several times that David has saved Saul (1Sam 24:4-8; 1Sam 26:4-12). We also know of his deep sorrow about the death of Saul and Jonathan (2Sam 1:1-12).
Shimei’s accusations are somewhat similar to the accusations of the three friends of Job against Job, who they say is in misery by his own fault. There is this difference, however, that Shimei is driven by hatred and aversion, while the three friends speak from the wrong perspective of Jobs suffering. Whoever is somehow under the discipline of God, must take into account the fact that people make suffering even greater by noticing that they themselves are the cause of their misery.
Shimei is not bothered by the heroes surrounding David. Whoever is caught by a spirit of contempt for God’s anointed king, will not be impressed by anything. He even is so audacious to accuse David of Saul’s death and to name the Name of the LORD as the One Who gave the kingship to Absalom. This is a foolish and slanderous statement.
9 - 14 David Bends Under the Curse
9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and cut off his head.” 10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah? If he curses, and if the LORD has told him, ‘Curse David,’ then who shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my son who came out from me seeks my life; how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him. 12 Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” 13 So David and his men went on the way; and Shimei went along on the hillside parallel with him and as he went he cursed and cast stones and threw dust at him. 14 The king and all the people who were with him arrived weary and he refreshed himself there.
Abishai resists the curses that are spoken to his king and the stones that are thrown at him. Surely it cannot be the case that “this dead dog” can treat his king so insultingly with impunity? Abishai’s indignation is understandable. He will avenge David, for the curse is awful.
David reacts here in a spiritual mind. He submits himself completely to the will of the LORD, without avenging himself on what is done to him. He did not respond to Abishai’s encouragement. He takes everything out of the hand of the LORD, as a result of his own failure. But he continues to hope for the goodness of the Lord: “Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day” (verse 12). After this spiritual acquiescence David, with all those who are with him, arrives weary a place where he finds rest and refreshment (cf. Mk 6:30-31).
As David reacts here, he has always done so on all the killings and defamations of Saul. In this he is an example for us and a picture of the Lord Jesus. He does not want to be connected with such an expression of retribution, for it is not in his heart. He accepts this evil entirely from God’s hand.
The Lord also exhorts Peter to put the sword back into the sheath when he has drawn it to defend his Lord (Jn 18:10-11). In the way the Father wants Him to go, there is no place for the exercise of violence, even if it were so just. It’s simply not the time for it. The Lord Jesus, while being reviled, He did not revile in return (1Pet 2:23).
Another incident in the life of the Lord bears a clear resemblance to what is happening here. If He seeks refuge in Samaria and people do not want to receive Him there, James and John want fire to descend from heaven upon those people, because they treat their Lord with contempt. However, the Lord punishes His two disciples, as David Abishai does. He doesn’t want His disciples to eliminate people who treat Him unfairly and tells them they don’t know what spirit they are. They do not reveal the spirit of grace and love and humility (Lk 9:52-56). Against the Lord we see that people react with hatred, like Absalom to David, but also with misplaced zeal, like Abishai to David.
15 - 19 Hushai Comes to Absalom
15 Then Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. 16 Now it came about when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, “[Long] live the king! [Long] live the king!” 17 Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?” 18 Then Hushai said to Absalom, “No! For whom the LORD, this people, and all the men of Israel have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain. 19 Besides, whom should I serve? [Should I] not [serve] in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so I will be in your presence.”
As David asked him (2Sam 15:32-37), Hushai went to Jerusalem to be the opponent of Ahithophel. When he gets there he goes to Absalom. He immediately breaks any suspicion by calling to Absalom twice “[long] live the king!” He will undoubtedly mean that for David, but it throw Absalom dust in his eyes.
Absalom is very surprised that Hushai seems to have crossed over to him. Yet he is not suspicious. He knows that Hushai is a friend of his father David and asks him if this is his kindness to his friend. Doesn’t it make his crossing much worse that he now leaves his friend, who has been so good to him, now abandons and takes sides with his opponent?
The answer Hushai gives to this is no more a lie than his call ‘live the king’. When he speaks of “him whom the LORD has chosen”, it is and remains David for him. Very skillfully Hushai connects his love for David with his crossing over to his son. After all, Absalom is the son of his friend, isn’t he? What could be more obvious than to serve the son who has taken over the power from his father? Absalom has no further questions about the arrival of Hushai. He feels very strengthened by the fact that he now has two advisers.
20 - 23 The First Advice of Ahithophel
20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your advice. What shall we do?” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. The hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23 The advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, [was] as if one inquired of the word of God; so was all the advice of Ahithophel [regarded] by both David and Absalom.
When asked by Absalom what should happen now, Ahithophel advises that he should have relations with the concubines his father left in Jerusalem. This will be clear proof to the whole people of their seizure of power. At the time, a king showed his power by taking the wives of the expelled king. This disgusting advice is followed without hesitation by Absalom. This is where Nathan’s word is fulfilled, which he has spoken about David as a punishment (2Sam 12:11-12).
Ahithophel is a satanic man. Satan is the great imitator. He looks like the lamb, but speaks like the dragon (Rev 13:11). The word of the dragon is accepted as the word of God. This also happens today in Christianity, where the Word of God is replaced by satanic teachings. The mind of Ahithophel is among us. In Ahithophel we see a picture of the inspiration, the spirit of the antichrist, of whom Absalom is a picture.
It is remarkable that also for David, asking for the advice of Ahithophel is like asking for a word of God. Ahithophel must have been a very impressive person, astute and convincing. It may be a warning for us to see to it that no one takes you captive with beautiful talk or a glowing speech (Col 2:8).
However sharp and full of good advice Ahithophel may have been, he is also darkened in his mind. This is evident from his choice for the rebel against the king given by God. Perhaps, as has been assumed, he was also guided in his choice by feelings of hatred for David, because of David’s dishonoring of Bathsheba. Bathsheba is his granddaughter (2Sam 11:3; 23:34).