II Samuel – Chapter 16

Lies and Bad Advice

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Tziva, servant of Mephiboshes, came to David with donkeys bearing food and drink. While David appreciated the provisions, he wondered where Mephiboshes himself was. Tziva said that he was rejoicing in David’s downfall. He expected that in the chaos, the throne of his family, the family of King Saul, would be restored. This displeased David so much, that he used his royal authority to confiscate all of Mephiboshes’ property, which he then gave to Tziva. (Unfortunately, as we shall later see, Tziva was lying.)

King David continued his travels and came to a place called Bachurim, where a relative of King Saul named Shimei ben Gera came out and cursed him. He threw stones and yelled at David, “This is what you get for what you did to Saul!” Avishai offered to strike him down for his insolence, but David stopped him. “What does it matter?” asked David. “My own son deposed me, what do I care what this Benjaminite thinks?” David walked away, Shimei cursing and throwing stones behind him.

Avshalom and his party reached Jerusalem. David’s friend Chushai arrived and offered his services. “Aren’t you loyal to your friend David?” asked Avshalom? “No,” replied Chushai,”I’m loyal to the position. As I served David, I will serve you.”

Avshalom asked Achitofel, his chief advisor, what steps he should take to cement his kingship. Achitofel told Avshalom to cohabit with the ten concubines of David who had remained behind in the palace; this would demonstrate that he was the king now. So they pitched a tent on the roof (the same roof from which David had originally seen Batsheva!) and Avshalom took the concubines into it, in full view of the public. (This fulfilled Nathan’s prophecy in chapter 12, that what David had done privately would be done to him publicly.)

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