Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite (2Samuel 16)

There's an interesting vignette at the beginning of 2Samuel 16 with Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth. He shows up with a bunch of supplies for David, and David asks where Mephibosheth is. Ziba explains that apparently Mephibosheth is taking Absalom's insurrection as an opportunity to get political power (for who knows what reason), and David tells Ziba he can have all of Mephibosheth's property.

Then we see another interesting vignette with Shimei, some relative of Saul, who comes out to yell curses at David and throw rocks. Abishai asks to go over and kill Shimei, but David says to leave him alone, because maybe he deserves what Shimei is doing. This is interesting, because Saul was told to kill Agag, and failed to do so in a timely manner, and Haman, an Agagite, tried to kill the Jews in the book of Esther, but he was thwarted by Mordecai, a descendant of Shimei (see Esther 2:5). The SAB does point out that David asked Solomon to kill Shimei when he was on his deathbed, but perhaps by that time, he felt it was clear he had God's favor, and clearly Shimei was not doing the will of God, but just being an asshole.

So the chapter ends with Absalom arriving in Jerusalem, greeted by Hushai, David's spy. Hushai assures Absalom that he serves whoever the people choose as king. Ahithophel suggests to Absalom that he have sex with the concubines that David left behind, which, as I've pointed out before, was a common thing for new kings to do when they had conquered the former king. Indeed, as the SAB points out, this was foretold in chapter 12, and was said to be the consequences of what David did with Bathsheba. (See my interpretation of this "punishment" there.)

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