King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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2 Samuel 16

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

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Ziba’s falsehood

1 And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine.

2 And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink.

3 And the king said, And where is thy master’s son? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.

4 Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee that I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king.

David cursed by Shimei

5 And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.

6 And he cast 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 thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:

8 The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.

9 Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head.

10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?

11 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.

12 It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.

13 And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.

14 And the king, and all the people that were with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there.

Ahithophel’s counsel

15 And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.

16 And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king.

17 And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend?

18 And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay; but whom the LORD, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide.

19 And again, whom should I serve? should I not serve in the presence of his son? as I have served in thy father’s presence, so will I be in thy presence.

20 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do.

21 And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong.

22 So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Siba was a mean character, but of sufficient discernment to judge that David would gain the day. He came to calumniate his master; and David paid too much attention to him, though his testimony would not have been received in a court of judicature. C. — We must reflect that the mind of David was full of trouble, and devoid of suspicion. H. — But he did wrong (W.) in condemning Miphiboseth unheard. — Raisins. See 1 K. xxv. 18. C. — Figs; (palatharum) which are often called caricarum. M. — Heb. mea kayits, “a hundred of summer” fruits, like fresh grapes, (Num. xiii. 21.) and other fruits, gathered after harvest time. Mic. vii. 1.

Ver. 2. Loaves. Heb. “and to fight.” But the Sept. and the Masorets reject the letter l, which causes the difference. C.

Ver. 3. Father: a very improbable story, as the son of Jonathan was lame, and all Israel had declared for Absalom. M.

Ver. 4. All. In the East, crimes are generally punished with the loss of goods. C. — Kings. He intimates that he had not spoken against his master, with a design to obtain his effects. M.

Ver. 5. Bahurim, a fortress of Benjamin, about an hour’s walk east of Bethania. Adric. xxviii. — It signifies, “chosen youths;” and it is called Almut, or Almon, “youth.” 1 Par. vi. 60. &c. Hither Phaltiel conducted Michol. C. iii. 16. C.

Ver. 7. Belial; contemner of the laws, and murderer. M.

Ver. 9. Dog. David’s nephew was moved with indignation. He could easily have punished the insolence of Semei. H.

Ver. 10.—11. Hath bid him curse. Not that the Lord was the author of Semei’s sin, which proceeded purely from his own malice, and the abuse of his free-will; but that knowing and suffering his malicious disposition to break out on this occasion, he made use of him as his instrument to punish David for his sins. Ch. — He adored the justice of God; who is often said to do what he does not hinder, or what he only permits. E. — David is here a noble figure of Jesus Christ, excusing his executioners, (H.) and receiving the insults of the Jews, without complaining. C. — If Semei had not been guilty of sin, but acted according to God’s will, he could not have been justly punished. 3 K. ii. W.

Ver. 12. Affliction, of which he makes a sort of sacrifice, being convinced that God will not reject the contrite and humble heart. Ps. l. 19. C.

Ver. 13. Earth, like a man in fury. Acts xxii. 23.

Ver. 14. There, on the hill side, (H.) at Bahurim, v. 5. M.

Ver. 16. Arachite; perhaps descended from the ancient Aracites, who dwelt near Arad and Tripoli, where the pretended Sabbatic river is said to flow; (Jos. Bel. xii. 13.) or rather, as the names are written in a different manner, this person might be a native of Arachi, in Benjamin, west of Bethel. Jos. xvi. 2. C. — See C. xv. 32. — Friend. This was his peculiar title of office. 1 Par. xxvii. 33. C. — King. (Salve.) Lit. “Hail, O King,” in both places. The salutation is repeated for greater emphasis. H.

Ver. 17. Friend. He rather accuses him of treachery. H. — But he does not mention the name of king, or of father, lest it should too plainly speak his own condemnation, as an ungrateful rebel. Salien.

Ver. 18. Chosen. (Vox populi, vox Dei) Private people are not commonly able, or allowed, to judge of the right, which the prince has to the throne. But here Absalom was manifestly an usurper; and many still adhered to David. C. — Chusai assumes the character of a courtier, and flatters the prince; (Salien) who ought to have been on his guard. See C. xv. 34. C.

Ver. 21. Their hands may be strengthened, &c. The people might apprehend lest Absalom should be reconciled to his father; and therefore they followed him with some fear of being left in the lurch, till they saw such a crime committed, as seemed to make a reconciliation impossible. Ch. — This was the most heinous outrage that a son could offer to his father. Jacob resented it to the last. Gen. xlix. 4. Amyntor devoted his son PhÅ“nix to all the furies, for a similar offence. Iliad ix. Armais treated the wives of his brother Sesostris in this manner, when he had resolved to rebel. Joseph. c. Ap. i.

Ver. 22. Israel, who saw him enter the tents, (C.) on the flat roof. C. xi. 2. and xii. 11. H. — The wives of the conquered king were reserved for the victor. Smerdis married all the wives of his predecessor, Cambyses. Herod. iii. 68. and 83. C.

Ver. 23. Absalom. It tended to promote the end which was desired, (H.) whether good or bad. His prudence is hyperbolically compared with the divine oracles; (M.) and his authority must have had great weight, since David began to take precautions, only after he had heard that Achitophel had joined the rebels; and Absalom was persuaded (C.) to perpetrate so foul and unnatural a crime publicly, no one daring to make any opposition. Chusai was silent; as he was aware that, if he began to contradict this counsellor at first, he would only incur suspicion. H. — The unjust commonly endeavour by all means to attach people to themselves: but God, in the end, turns their counsels against themselves. W.