Today’s reading begins with Ziba’s lie to David and concludes with David and his men being refreshed at Mahanaim.
David really isn’t in a great place at this point in his life. His son Amnon raped his daughter, his son Absalom killed Amnon his son, his son Absalom had worked to turn the hearts of the people of Israel away from David and had been so successful at doing so that David had to flee in order to save his life. The reading for today begins with the servant of Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth lying to David, telling David that Mephibosheth had stayed behind in Jerusalem because he expected the kingdom to return to Saul’s family. In accordance with this lie, David granted all that belonged to Mephibosheth to his lying servant Ziba.
After the incident with Ziba as David continued to flee, he came to the land of Bahurim. When he came to this region, a man who was a relative of Saul came out and hurled abuse at and stones at David. Although David’s servants were willing to take this man Shimei and put him to death for his disrespect of the king, David prevented them from doing so because he felt that God may have been prompting Shimei to speak the abusive words and curses at him.
While David was fleeing from his son Absalom, Absalom inquired what he should do in order to gain the respect of those fighting for him against his father David. When Absalom inquired of Ahithophel as to what he should do, Ahithophel advised Absalom to have sex with all of David’s concubines. Absalom followed this advice, but didn’t do so with any sort of discretion. Instead of using discretion, Absalom made a show of his dalliances with his father’s concubines by setting up a tent for all of this to take place. Certainly not an attempt at discretion.
The only positive news for David in the reading for today was when Absalom inquired of Ahithophel what he should do after committing indecent acts with his father’s concubines. Ahithophel recommended that Absalom stay put where he was at, but when Absalom inquired of Hushai the Archite, Hushai recommended that Absalom pursue David. Although Hushai was in the presence of Absalom, he was completely loyal to David and was working a trap against Absalom. Absalom followed Hushai’s advice and began his pursuit to find his father David and put him to death. It would have been wise for Absalom to stay put, where he was safe, but Absalom was out to take the life of his father and the pursuit held too much allure for him not to take advantage of it.