Taking Care of Business (Shimei)

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 19:9-10 (NIV)
Throughout the tribes of Israel, all the people were arguing among themselves, saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies; he is the one who rescued us from the hand of the Philistines. But now he has fled the country to escape from Absalom; and Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”

2 Samuel 19:9-10 (MSG)
Meanwhile, the whole populace was now complaining to its leaders, “Wasn’t it the king who saved us time and again from our enemies, and rescued us from the Philistines? And now he has had to flee the country on account of Absalom. And now this Absalom whom we made king is dead in battle. So what are you waiting for? Why don’t you bring the king back?”
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“All the people were quarreling throughout the tribes of Israel, saying, “The king rescued us from the hands of our enemies, and he saved us from the hands of the Philistines, but now he has fled out of the land from Absalom. And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. So now, why are you [leaders] doing nothing about bringing back the king?” -AMPLIFIED

We will find that the rest of 2 Samuel 19 is filled with stories of David dealing with the aftermath of Absalom’s revolt. We are filled in on how he dealt with the fickle folks of Israel who so quickly withdrew their support for him and gave it to his rebellious son. We will look at how he handles the rebellious, objectors, protesters and skeptics. We will also see how he helps those who have been misrepresented and feigned.

Now that Absalom was dead we find all those who had supported him clamoring for the return of the king; that would be David. Yes, they were a bunch of fickle folks; vacillating their allegiance quickly once Absalom had been deposed.

There was still much discussion over who it was that should rule all of Israel. David had heard about the rumors and so he sent word to the priests, “Tell the leaders of Judah, “Why should you be the last to agree to bring the king back? Everyone in Israel is talking about it, even in the king’s own house. And you—you are my flesh and my bones. Why should you be the last to join this movement?” And tell Amasa, who joined the rebellion against me, “Aren’t you my flesh and my bone? May God bring disaster on me if I don’t allow you to serve as commander of my army from now on in place of Joab.” Amasa persuaded all of Judah to stand united supporting David, and they sent word that he and his servants should come back. So the king came back to the Jordan River. The people of Judah turned out to meet him at Gilgal, and they celebrated as he crossed back over the Jordan into his kingdom.” -2 Samuel 19:11-15 (VOICE)

The first person that David encountered on his way home was that insulting, abusive man, Shimei. Shimei was that guy who hurled insults, as well as stones, at David and his men as they fled from Absalom. Shimei held a deep grudge against David. Shimei resented the fact that David had replaced Saul as king. (Saul and Shimei were both Benjamites.)

We find that as David was returning to the palace with his escorts Shimei came running up to the king begging for forgiveness. “Please, my lord, don’t hold me guilty or hold a grudge for what I did against you on the day you left Jerusalem, cursing you and throwing stones at you. May the king forget it ever happened! I, your servant, know that what I did was wrong. That’s why I’ve come today, to be the first of all the house of Joseph to greet my king.” -2 Samuel 19:19-20 (VOICE)

Scripture gives us a little side note at this point which says, “Abishai, Zeruiah’s son, remembered Shimei well.” Abishai had not forgotten what Shimei had done and he was not willing to let it go either. His response to Shimei’s request to David was as follows. “My lord, shouldn’t Shimei be executed for cursing the Eternal’s anointed king with such contempt?” -2 Samuel 19:21 (VOICE)

There was no mercy, grace or forgiveness in his words or attitude. Abishai’s thinking was, Shimei had wronged the king and he must pay for it! David’s response was much different. ““What is it with you sons of Zeruiah? Why do you insist on being so contentious? Nobody is going to be killed today. I am again king over Israel!” Then the king turned to Shimei, “You’re not going to die.” And the king gave him his word.” -2 Samuel 19:22-23 (MSG)

Despite the insistence of many of his loyalists, David refused to kill Shimei. Instead he extended forgiveness to Shimei. We will find that eventually the consequences of Shimei’s sin would catch up to him. As David lay dying (in his old age) he warned Solomon, his son, about the danger that Shimei’s opposition continued to present to the throne of Israel. David said, “You also will have to deal with Shimei son of Gera the Benjaminite from Bahurim, the one who cursed me so viciously when I was on my way to Mahanaim. Later, when he welcomed me back at the Jordan, I promised him under God, ‘I won’t put you to death.’ But neither should you treat him as if nothing ever happened. You’re wise, you know how to handle these things. You’ll know what to do to make him pay before he dies.” -1 Kings 2:8-9 (MSG)

In the end Shimei’s sin caught up with him. Solomon bided his time and simply allowed the treacherous Shimei to create the circumstance for his own lawful elimination. You can read of how Solomon dealt with Shimei in 1 Kings 2:36-46. Suffice it to say that Shimei’s sin caught up with him eventually and he had to pay the price which was quite steep. “…be sure that your sin will find you out.” -Numbers 32:23b (AMP)

Tomorrow we will continue with David taking care of business as he returned to Jerusalem.

My Prayer:
Lord, give me the wisdom to deal with the malcontents, the disgruntled and unsatisfied people in my life. Help me to be able to extend mercy and grace; just as you have extended mercy and grace to me. Help me to love them like Jesus. Give me a heart for of understanding; that instead of seeking revenge I seek peace. Help me, Lord, to become more like you. Help me to turn the other cheek.

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