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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 16

 

 

Verse 1

ZIBA’S HYPOCRISY AND SLANDER, 2 Samuel 16:1-4.

1. Two hundred loaves — Ziba’s load very much resembled that of Abigail. Compare 1 Samuel 25:18.

Summer fruits — Fruits which were adapted only to immediate consumption, and not easily preserved for winter use. Harmer supposes that cucumbers are intended, and are so called from their adaptation to allay the summer heats.


Verse 3

3. Restore me the kingdom of my father — This was a base slander of Ziba’s own devising, designed by him to secure the favour of the king, and the possessions of Mephibosheth. Compare 2 Samuel 19:24-30.


Verse 4

4. Then said the king to Ziba — David’s mind was excited, and unprepared to weigh the words of this slave. It was very unlikely that Mephibosheth would entertain the hope of attaining the kingdom of his grandfather Saul, for the adherents of Absalom could not think of preferring before him the crippled son of the half-forgotten Jonathan. But after he heard that his own former familiar friend Ahithophel had turned against him, he knew not how far the conspiracy might extend.

And Ziba said — The cunning slave acknowledged the king’s favour with words characteristic of eastern sycophancy and politeness.

I humbly beseech thee — Literally, I have bowed myself; I shall find favour in thy eyes. He was in an ecstasy of joy over his good fortune.


Verse 5

SHIMEI’S CURSING, 2 Samuel 16:5-14.

5. Bahurim — See note on 2 Samuel 3:16.

Of the family of the house of Saul — And therefore, doubtless, affected with the same bitter animosity towards David which was felt by Saul, and which seems to have been felt by all Saul’s distant relatives. Compare 2 Samuel 21:1-9.


Verse 6

6. Cast stones at David — As if to visit upon him the penalty due to an adulterer. Compare Leviticus 20:10, with John 8:5.


Verse 7

7. Come out, come out — Rather, Go! go! That is, Away with thee!

Bloody man — So called for the reason given in the following verse.


Verse 8

8. The blood of the house of Saul — To his mind the murder of Abner and of Ishbosheth was brought about through David’s artifices, and the slaughter of the seven princes at Gibe-on (2 Samuel 21:8-9) may have been an affair of recent notoriety, for its date is uncertain.

In whose stead thou hast reigned — This was a charge against David that he was a usurper, and had attained the throne by violence.


Verse 9

9. Dead dog — See note on 2 Samuel 9:8.

Curse… the king — This was transgression, for the law said, “Thou shalt not curse the ruler of thy people.” Exodus 22:28.


Verse 10

10. Ye sons of Zeruiah — Perhaps Joab joined with Abishai in the request to avenge the king.

The Lord hath said unto him, Curse David — By this we are not to understand that God personally communicated with Shimei, and by direct revelation ordered him to curse David; but that David recognised in Shimei’s cursing one method of receiving the divine judgments upon himself for his past sins. It was an instance where God made the wrath of one man an instrument of scourging another for his crimes. David felt that the hand of God was in it.

Pure from the blood of Saul in vain,

He dares not to the charge reply;

Uriah’s doth the charge maintain,

Uriah’s doth against him cry.

Let Shimei curse: the rod he bears

For sins which Mercy had forgiven,

And in the wrongs of man reveres

The awful righteousness of Heaven.

Lord, I adore thy gracious will

Through every instrument of ill

My Father’s goodness see;

Accept the complicated wrong

Of Shimei’s hand and Shimei’s tongue

As kind rebukes from thee. C. Wesley.


Verse 14

14. Weary — The word עיפים, thus rendered, Keil understands to be the name of a place, Ayephim, and argues that the word there, at the close of the verse, requires such a construction; but the versions are all against him, and the word there may easily be understood to refer indefinitely to the place where they stopped to refresh themselves. Many critics suppose that the cursing of Shimei was the occasion of Psalms 7.


Verse 15

ABSALOM ENTERS INTO JERUSALEM, AND MEETS WITH HUSHAI, 2 Samuel 16:15-19.

15. All the people the men of Israel — The men out of all the tribes, who heard the sound of the trumpet and rallied to the support of Absalom. 2 Samuel 15:10.

Came to Jerusalem — This arrival seems to have taken place almost immediately after David’s departure. The young prince sought to rush matters to a final issue, and take the kingdom by a sudden coup de main.


Verse 16

16. God save the king — Words of flattery and dissimulation. By this salutation of royalty Hushai begins his deep-laid plans.


Verse 17

17. Thy friend — By “thy” friend Absalom means David. By these questions he seeks to sound the depth of Hushai’s professed loyalty to himself.


Verse 18

18. This people — Referring to the multitudes that accompanied Absalom into Jerusalem. He professes that with him the voice of the people is the voice of Jehovah. It can hardly be said that the words of Hushai are equivocal, and so put that he could have meant David as well as Absalom, for in the next verse he plainly pledges himself to serve the prince as he had done his father. He used deceit and falsehood; but in his case it was a stratagem of war, and is to be regarded as any other strategic military measure designed to deceive an enemy. See note on 2 Samuel 15:34.


Verse 21

AHITHOPHEL’S IMPIOUS COUNSEL, 2 Samuel 16:20-23.

21. Go in unto thy father’s concubines — This would be a most bold and irrevocable assumption of all the royal rights, and render the breach between Absalom and his father utterly irreconcilable.


Verse 22

22. Upon the top of the house — That roof of the royal palace whence David took the lustful look upon Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 11:2.

In the sight of all Israel — As Nathan’s bitter prophecy foretold. See 2 Samuel 12:11-12.


Verse 23

23. As if a man had inquired at the oracle of God — That is, it was treated with the utmost respect and reverence, and acted upon as if it had given as much assurance as the word of God. This fact seems to be here stated as a reason for Absalom’s incest. That prince would hardly have gone as far as this without the counsel of his impious adviser, for such a crime demanded the punishment of death. Leviticus 20:11.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 16:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-16.html. 1874-1909.

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