2 Samuel 16:1-4 . ZIBA, BY FALSE SUGGESTIONS, CLAIMS HIS MASTER'S INHERITANCE.
1. Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him--This crafty man, anticipating the certain failure of Absalom's conspiracy, took steps to prepare for his future advancement on the restoration of the king.
a bottle of wine--a large goatskin vessel. Its size made the supply of wine proportioned to the rest of his present.
2. The asses be for the king's household to ride on--The royal fugitives were moving on foot, not from inability to procure conveyances, but as being suitable to their present state of humiliation and penitence.
3. To-day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father--Such a hope might not unnaturally arise at this period of civil distraction, that the family of David would destroy themselves by their mutual broils, and the people reinstate the old dynasty. There was an air of plausibility in Ziba's story. Many, on whom the king had conferred favors, were now deserting him. No wonder, therefore, that in the excitement of momentary feeling, believing, on the report of a slanderer, Mephibosheth to be among the number, he pronounced a rash and unrighteous judgment by which a great injury was inflicted on the character and interests of a devoted friend.
2 Samuel 16:5-19 . SHIMEI CURSES DAVID.
5-12. when king David came to Bahurim--a city of Benjamin ( 2 Samuel 3:16 , 19:16 ). It is, however, only the confines of the district that are here meant.
Shimei, the son of Gera--The misfortune of his family, and the occupation by David of what they considered their rightful possessions, afforded a natural, if not a justifiable cause for this ebullition of rude insults and violence. He upbraided David as an ambitious usurper, and charged him, as one whose misdeeds had recoiled upon his own head, to surrender a throne to which he was not entitled. His language was that of a man incensed by the wrongs that he conceived had been done to his house. David was guiltless of the crime of which Shimei accused him; but his conscience reminded him of other flagrant iniquities; and he, therefore, regarded the cursing of this man as a chastisement from heaven. His answer to Abishai's proposal evinced the spirit of deep and humble resignation--the spirit of a man who watched the course of Providence, and acknowledged Shimei as the instrument of God's chastening hand. One thing is remarkable, that he acted more independently of the sons of Zeruiah in this season of great distress than he could often muster courage to do in the days of his prosperity and power.
13. went along on the hill's side over against him--as he descended the rough road on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives, "went along on the hill's side"--literally, "the rib of the hill."
threw stones at him--as a mark of contempt and insult.
cast dust--As if to add insult to injury, clouds of dust were thrown by this disloyal subject in the path of his unfortunate sovereign.
14. refreshed themselves there--that is, in the city of Bahurim.
15-19. Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king--Hushai's devotion to David was so well-known, that his presence in the camp of the conspirators excited great surprise. Professing, however, with great address, to consider it his duty to support the cause which the course of Providence and the national will had seemingly decreed should triumph, and urging his friendship for the father as a ground of confidence in his fidelity to the son, he persuaded Absalom of his sincerity, and was admitted among the councillors of the new king.
2 Samuel 16:20-23 . AHITHOPHEL'S COUNSEL.
20. Give counsel among you what we shall do--This is the first cabinet council on record, although the deference paid to Ahithophel gave him the entire direction of the proceedings.
21. Ahithophel said unto Absalom--This councillor saw that now the die was cast; half measures would be inexpedient. To cut off all possibility of reconciliation between the king and his rebellious son, he gave this atrocious advice regarding the treatment of the royal women who had been left in charge of the palace. Women, being held sacred, are generally left inviolate in the casualties of war. The history of the East affords only one parallel to this infamous outrage of Absalom.