And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeks my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD has bidden him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)How much more now may this Benjamite.—The “Benjamite” is in contrast to his own son, because he represents the adherent of another and rival dynasty. It is noticeable that David accuses Absalom not only of seeking his throne, but his life.2 Samuel 16:11. Behold, my son seeketh my life — Which is a much greater mischief than to reproach me with words. How much more may this Benjamite do it? — One of that tribe and family from which God hath taken away the kingdom, and given it to me. Let him curse — Do not now hinder him by violence from doing it, nor punish him for it. It is meet I should bear the indignation of the Lord, and submit to his pleasure. For the Lord hath bidden him — Not by the word of his precept, or by any powerful influence upon his mind impelling him to it; but by the word of his providence, placing me in such circumstances that he conceives he can curse me with impunity, and by suffering the malignity of his heart to take its natural course, and work without restraint.Matthew 8:29; John 2:4, and a similar complaint about the sons of Zeruiah 2 Samuel 3:39. And for a like striking incident in the life of the Son of David, see Luke 9:52-56.
5-12. when king David came to Bahurim—a city of Benjamin (2Sa 3:16; 19:16). It is, however, only the confines of the district that are here meant.
Shimei, … a man of the family of Saul—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.
behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life; meaning Absalom:
how much more now may this Benjamite do it? who was not only of the same tribe that Saul was, but of the same family, and so bore an ill will to David because of his succession in the throne:
let him alone, and let him curse; do nothing to restrain him, not even by words, and much less by any violent actions, and still less by taking away his life:
for the Lord hath bidden him; in the sense explained in 2 Samuel 16:10.And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. this Benjamite] Who has some plausible ground for spite against a king who has succeeded to the honours once held by his family.
the Lord hath bidden him] David recognises Shimei as the divinely appointed instrument for his chastisement, and therefore he can say, “the Lord hath bidden him.” But Shimei’s cursing was on his part sinful, and God commands no man to sin. God makes use of the evil passions of men to work out His purposes, but those evil passions are not thereby excused or justified. See for example, Genesis 45:5; Acts 2:23. Since He is the Author and Cause of all things, and in a certain sense nothing can be done without His Will, He is sometimes said to do what He permits to be done, to command what He does not forbid. See note on 1 Samuel 26:19 : and 2 Samuel 24:1.2 Samuel 16:5, 2 Samuel 16:6. When the king had come to Bahurim, on the other side of the Mount of Olives, but not far off (see at 2 Samuel 3:16), there came out of that place a man of the family of the house of Saul, i.e., a distant relation of Saul, cursing him; and he pelted David and all his servants with stones, although all the people and all the heroes (the household troops and body-guard: 2 Samuel 15:17-18) were (marking) on the right and left of the king. The words "all the people," etc., are a circumstantial clause.
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