What About Reconciliation? A Lesson from Shimei and King David

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What About Reconciliation? A Lesson from Shimei and King David

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Over 50 years ago several thousand young men boarded the troop transport in New York City, heading off across the Atlantic Ocean for Germany.  They were like thousands of angry men going “over there” to fight the enemy.  Thankfully, despite a tense and problematic world scene of that day they never had to fire their weapons in anger.

Throughout history mankind has been itching for one fight or another.  We fight over big things and little things, important things and unimportant things.

The Bible speaks of “angry”, “anger” or “wrath” over 400 times.  The Apostle James declared in James 4:1-4 James 4:1-4 1 From where come wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. 3 You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it on your lusts. 4 You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
American King James Version×
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

Furthermore, it is declared in James 4:6 James 4:6But he gives more grace. Why he said, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
American King James Version×
 ”…Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Anciently, there was a terribly angry man named Shimei (around 1023BC). So who is this man called Shimei?  This Shimei, was a Benjamite, the son of Gera of the house of Saul.  He was an angry man toward King David for the supposed evil and wicked things he had done, against King Saul.  He certainly appeared to be a very unforgiving man who never sought true reconciliation with King David.

One reads this in 2 Samuel 16:5-13 2 Samuel 16:5-13 5 And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, there 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, you bloody man, and you man of Belial: 8 The LORD has returned on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead you have reigned; and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son: and, behold, you are taken in your mischief, because you are a bloody man. 9 Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah to the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray you, and take off his head. 10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD has said to him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Why have you done so? 11 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. 12 It may be that the LORD will look on my 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.
American King James Version×
  “Now when King David came to Bahurim, there was a man from the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei the son of Gera, coming from there. He came out, cursing continuously as he came. Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue!   (The word “rogue” comes from the Hebrew word for scoundrel or worse yet “Belial” which in akin to Satan as is mentioned in the New Testament book, 2 Corinthians 6:15 2 Corinthians 6:15And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel?
American King James Version×
The Lord has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!” Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!” But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse, because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ Who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’”    (V10 comment: David believed God had sent Shimei to curse him.)  And David said to Abishai and all his servants, “See how my son (speaking of Absolam)  who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day.” And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust.”

God had expressly forbidden what Shimei was doing in Exodus 22:28 Exodus 22:28You shall not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of your people.
American King James Version×
“You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”

Later we see something different in 2 Samuel 19:16-23 2 Samuel 19:16-23 16 And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David. 17 And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king. 18 And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king’s household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan; 19 And said to the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity to me, neither do you remember that which your servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart. 20 For your servant does know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king. 21 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD’s anointed? 22 And David said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be adversaries to me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel? 23 Therefore the king said to Shimei, You shall not die. And the king swore to him.
American King James Version×
, ”And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, who was from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David. Then a ferryboat went across to carry over the king’s household, and to do what he thought good. Now Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king when he had crossed the Jordan. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, “Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed?” Therefore the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king swore to him.”

Did Shimei really come to his senses and have a change of heart?  Or was it merely for personal gain or expedience?

We read about the demise of Shimei in 1 Kings 2:1 1 Kings 2:1Now the days of David drew near that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,
American King James Version×
, 8-9 (after about 20 years of David ruling),”And see, you have with you Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a malicious ( vehement ) curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim. But he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by the Lord, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Now therefore, do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man and know what you ought to do to him; but bring his gray hair down to the grave with blood.”  Even after 20 years Shimei was not held guiltless-he was a self-serving man full of deceit!

Continuing, turn to 1 Kings 2:36 1 Kings 2:36And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said to him, Build you an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth there any where.
American King James Version×
, 38 – 46 (1014AD),   “Then the king (Solomon) sent and called for Shimei, and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there anywhere. And Shimei said to the king, “The saying is good. As my lord the king has said, so your servant will do.” So Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days. Now it happened at the end of three years, that two slaves of Shimei ran away to Achish the son of Maachah, king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, “Look, your slaves are in Gath.So Shimei arose, saddled his donkey, and went to Achish at Gath to seek his slaves. And Shimei went and brought his slaves from Gath. And Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had come back.  Then the king sent and called for Shimei, and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the Lord, and warn you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go out and travel anywhere, you shall surely die’?” And you said to me, ‘The word I have heard is good.’ The king said moreover to Shimei, “You know, as your heart acknowledges, all the wickedness that you did to my father David; therefore the Lord will return your wickedness on your own head.” (Obviously it was more than a one time indiscretion on the part of Shimei.)

What were some of the issues with Shimei:  
1. Shimei overstepped his bounds
2. Attacked David as one would a dog.
3. Empty flattery. 4. Did not keep his word.
4. Left a form of “City of Refuge” where he was offered protection.

Shimei pleaded for David’s mercy, but he did not truly reconcile with David.

What is the application for us today?  Shimei failed in his relationship with someone he did not like and eventually he suffered grave consequences.  Thus what about us as Christians.  Do we desire reconciliation?

Ephesians 4:26 Ephesians 4:26Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath:
American King James Version×
,   “Be angry, and do not sin” : do not let the sun go down on your wrath,   (Shimei kept that grudge for 20 years.)

In Colossians 3:8 Colossians 3:8 But now you also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
American King James Version×
we read,  ”But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”

Each of us often will have differences, but how do we deal with them.  Do we verge on losing our Christianity in the heat of battle?  Even as Shimei was, we all will be called into account when we go before the throne of God for what we did, said, or had in the secret recesses of our hearts and minds.

Galatians 5:14-15 Galatians 5:14-15 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another.
American King James Version×
declares,  “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”

Shimei was without excuse, for these things were known, having been read by righteous leaders since the days of Joshua:  Leviticus 19:18 Leviticus 19:18You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
American King James Version×
“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself…”

Finally, be mindful of Hebrews 12:14 Hebrews 12:14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
American King James Version×
, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord,” as described in Zechariah 14:4 Zechariah 14:4And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
American King James Version×
  “And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east.”

Thus put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking.  Put away all malice.  Do NOT forget the lesson of Shimei.  Be as forgiving as your Savior is to you and live!  If at all possible, become reconciled to your adversary.