2 Samuel 16

Listen to 2 Samuel 16

David and Ziba

1 When David had passed a little beyond 1the summit, 2Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, bearing two hundred loaves of bread, 3a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred of summer fruits, and a skin of wine.
2 And the king said to Ziba, "Why have you brought these?" Ziba answered, 4"The donkeys are for the king's household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who 5faint in the wilderness to drink."
3 And the king said, "And where is your master's son?"6Ziba said to the king, "Behold, he remains in Jerusalem, for he said, 'Today the house of Israel will give me back the kingdom of my father.'"
4 Then the king said to Ziba, "Behold, all that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours." And Ziba said, "I pay homage; let me ever find favor in your sight, my lord the king."

Shimei Curses David

5 When King David came to 7Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was 8Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came 9he cursed continually.
6 And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
7 And Shimei said as he 10cursed, "Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man!
8 The LORD 11has avenged on you all 12the blood 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. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood."
9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, "Why should this 13dead dog 14curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head."
10 But the king said, 15"What have I to do with you, 16you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, 'Curse David,' who then shall say, 'Why have you done so?'"
11 And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, "Behold, 17my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.
12 It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me,[a] and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today."
13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and 18cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust.
14 And the king, and all the people who were with him, 19arrived weary at the Jordan.[b] And there he refreshed himself.

Absalom Enters Jerusalem

15 20Now Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.
16 And when Hushai the Archite, 21David's friend, came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, 22"Long live the king! Long live the king!"
17 And Absalom said to Hushai, "Is this your loyalty to your friend? 23Why did you not go with your friend?"
18 And Hushai said to Absalom, "No, for whom the LORD and this people and all the men of Israel have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain.
19 And again, 24whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? As I have served your father, so I will serve you."
20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, "Give your counsel. What shall we do?"
21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Go in to 25your father's concubines, whom he has left to keep the house, and all Israel will hear that you have made yourself a stench to your father, and 26the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened."
22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom 27on the roof. And Absalom went in to his father's concubines 28in the sight of all Israel.
23 Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the word of God; so was all the counsel of Ahithophel esteemed, 29both by David and by Absalom.

2 Samuel 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

Ziba's falsehood. (1-4) David cursed by Shimei. (5-14) Ahithophel's counsel. (15-23)

Verses 1-4 Ziba belied Mephibosheth. Great men ought always to be jealous of flatterers, and to be careful that they hear both sides.

Verses 5-14 David bore Shimei's curses much better than Ziba's flatteries; by these he was brought to pass a wrong judgment on another, by those to pass a right judgment on himself: the world's smiles are more dangerous than its frowns. Once and again David spared Saul's life, while Saul sought his. But innocence is no defence against malice and falsehood; nor are we to think it strange, if we are charged with that which we have been most careful to keep ourselves from. It is well for us, that men are not to be our judges, but He whose judgment is according to truth. See how patient David was under this abuse. Let this remind us of Christ, who prayed for those who reviled and crucified him. A humble spirit will turn reproaches into reproofs, and get good from them, instead of being provoked by them. David the hand of God in it, and comforts himself that God would bring good out of his affliction. We may depend upon God to repay, not only our services, but our sufferings.

Verses 15-23 The wisest counsellors of that age were Ahithophel and Hushai: Absalom thinks himself sure of success, when he has both; on them he relies, and consults not the ark, though he had that with him. But miserable counsellors were they both. Hushai would never counsel him to do wisely. Ahithophel counselled him to do wickedly; and so did as effectually betray him, as he did, who was designedly false to him: for they that advise men to sin, certainly advise them to their hurt. After all, honesty is the best policy, and will be found so in the long run. Ahithophel gave wicked counsel to Absalom; to render himself so hateful to his father, that he would never be reconciled to him; this cursed policy was of the devil. How desperately wicked is the human heart!

Cross References 29

  • 1. 2 Samuel 15:30, 32
  • 2. See 2 Samuel 9:2-13
  • 3. [1 Samuel 25:18]
  • 4. [Judges 5:10; Judges 10:4]
  • 5. ver. 14; 2 Samuel 17:29
  • 6. 2 Samuel 19:26, 27
  • 7. See 2 Samuel 3:16
  • 8. 2 Samuel 19:16; See 1 Kgs. 2:8, 36-46
  • 9. 2 Samuel 19:21
  • 10. [See ver. 5 above]
  • 11. Judg. 9:24, 56, 57; 1 Kings 2:32, 33
  • 12. See 2 Samuel 1:16
  • 13. 2 Samuel 9:8; 1 Samuel 24:14; [2 Samuel 3:8]
  • 14. [Exodus 22:28]
  • 15. 2 Samuel 19:22
  • 16. See 1 Samuel 26:6
  • 17. 2 Samuel 12:11
  • 18. 2 Samuel 19:21
  • 19. ver. 2
  • 20. 2 Samuel 15:37
  • 21. [See ver. 15 above]
  • 22. 1 Samuel 10:24; 1 Kings 1:25, 39; 2 Kings 11:12
  • 23. [2 Samuel 19:25]
  • 24. 2 Samuel 15:34
  • 25. 2 Samuel 15:16; 2 Samuel 20:3
  • 26. 2 Samuel 2:7; Zechariah 8:9, 13
  • 27. See 1 Samuel 9:25
  • 28. 2 Samuel 12:11, 12
  • 29. 2 Samuel 15:12

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Septuagint, Vulgate will look upon my affliction
  • [b]. Septuagint; Hebrew lacks at the Jordan

Chapter Summary


In this chapter is an account of Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, getting his inheritance by misrepresentation of him, and by presents to David, 2Sa 16:1-4; and of Shimei's cursing David as he passed along, which David bore patiently, and would not suffer others to avenge it on him, 2Sa 16:5-14; and of Hushai's offer of his service to Absalom, who admitted him to be of his privy council, 2Sa 16:15-19; and of the counsel which Ahithophel gave, 2Sa 15:20-23.

2 Samuel 16 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.