2 Samuel 16
New English Translation
David Receives Gifts from Ziba
16 When David had gone a short way beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth was there to meet him. He had a couple of donkeys that were saddled, and on them were 200 loaves of bread, 100 raisin cakes, 100 baskets of summer fruit,[a] and a container of wine.
2 The king asked Ziba, “Why did you bring these things?”[b] Ziba replied, “The donkeys are for the king’s family to ride on, the loaves of bread[c] and the summer fruit are for the attendants to eat, and the wine is for those who get exhausted in the desert.”[d] 3 The king asked, “Where is your master’s grandson?”[e] Ziba replied to the king, “He remains in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give back to me my grandfather’s[f] kingdom.’” 4 The king said to Ziba, “Everything that was Mephibosheth’s now belongs to you.” Ziba replied, “I bow before you. May I find favor in your sight, my lord the king.”
Shimei Curses David and His Men
5 Then King David reached[g] Bahurim. There a man from Saul’s extended family named Shimei son of Gera came out, yelling curses as he approached.[h] 6 He threw stones at David and all of King David’s servants, as well as all the people and the soldiers who were on his right and on his left. 7 As he yelled curses, Shimei said, “Leave! Leave! You man of bloodshed, you wicked man![i] 8 The Lord has punished you for[j] all the spilled blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you rule. Now the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. Disaster has overtaken you, for you are a man of bloodshed!”
9 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head!” 10 But the king said, “What do we have in common,[k] you sons of Zeruiah? If he curses because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David!,’ who can say to him, ‘Why have you done this?’” 11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son, my very own flesh and blood,[l] is trying to take my life. So also now this Benjaminite! Leave him alone so that he can curse, for the Lord has spoken to him. 12 Perhaps the Lord will notice my affliction[m] and this day grant me good in place of his curse.”[n]
13 So David and his men went on their way. But Shimei kept going along the side of the hill opposite him, yelling curses as he threw stones and dirt at them.[o] 14 The king and all the people who were with him arrived exhausted at their destination, where David[p] refreshed himself.
The Advice of Ahithophel
15 Now when Absalom and all the men[q] of Israel arrived in Jerusalem, Ahithophel was with him. 16 When David’s friend Hushai the Arkite came to Absalom, Hushai said to him,[r] “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
17 Absalom said to Hushai, “Do you call this loyalty to your friend? Why didn’t you go with your friend?” 18 Hushai replied to Absalom, “No, I will be loyal to the one whom the Lord, these people, and all the men of Israel have chosen.[s] 19 Moreover, whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? Just as I served your father, so I will serve you.”[t]
20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give us your advice. What should we do?” 21 Ahithophel replied to Absalom, “Sleep with[u] your father’s concubines whom he left to care for the palace. All Israel will hear that you have made yourself repulsive to your father. Then your followers will be motivated to support you.”[v] 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof,[w] and Absalom slept with[x] his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.
- 2 Samuel 16:1 tn Heb “a hundred summer fruit.”
- 2 Samuel 16:2 tn Heb “What are these to you?”
- 2 Samuel 16:2 tc The translation follows the Qere and many medieval Hebrew mss in reading וְהַלֶּחֶם (vehallekhem, “and the bread”) rather than וּלְהַלֶּחֶם (ulehallekhem, “and to the bread”) of the Kethib. The syntax of the MT is confused here by the needless repetition of the preposition, probably taken from the preceding word.
- 2 Samuel 16:2 tn The Hebrew text adds “to drink.”
- 2 Samuel 16:3 tn Heb “son.”
- 2 Samuel 16:3 tn Heb “my father’s.”
- 2 Samuel 16:5 tn Heb “came to.” The form of the verb in the MT is odd. Some prefer to read וַיַּבֹא (vayyavoʾ, preterite with vav consecutive) rather than וּבָא (uvaʾ, apparently perfect with vav), but this is probably an instance where the narrative offline veqatal construction introduces a new scene.
- 2 Samuel 16:5 tn Heb “And look, from there a man was coming out from the clan of the house of Saul and his name was Shimei son of Gera, continually going out and cursing.”
- 2 Samuel 16:7 tn Heb “man of worthlessness.”
- 2 Samuel 16:8 tn Heb “has brought back upon you.”
- 2 Samuel 16:10 tn Heb “What to me and to you?”
- 2 Samuel 16:11 tn Heb “who came out from my entrails.” David’s point is that is his own son, his child whom he himself had fathered, was now wanting to kill him.
- 2 Samuel 16:12 tc The Hebrew text is difficult here. It is probably preferable to read with the LXX, the Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate בְּעוֹנִי (beʿonyi, “on my affliction”) rather than the Kethib of the MT בָּעַוֹנִי (baʿavoni, “on my wrongdoing”). While this Kethib reading is understandable as an objective genitive (i.e., “the wrong perpetrated upon me”), it does not conform to normal Hebrew idiom for this idea. The Qere of the MT בְּעֵינֵי (beʿeni, “on my eyes”), usually taken as synecdoche to mean “my tears,” does not commend itself as a likely meaning. The Hebrew word is one of the so-called tiqqune sopherim, or “emendations of the scribes.”
- 2 Samuel 16:12 tn Heb “and the Lord will restore to me good in place of his curse this day.”
- 2 Samuel 16:13 tn Heb “and he cursed and threw stones, opposite him, pelting [them] with dirt.” The offline veqatal construction in the last clause indicates an action that was complementary to the action described in the preceding clause. He simultaneously threw stones and dirt.
- 2 Samuel 16:14 tn Heb “he”; the referent (David) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Samuel 16:15 tn Heb “and all the people, the men of Israel.”
- 2 Samuel 16:16 tn Heb “to Absalom.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun “him” in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- 2 Samuel 16:18 tn Heb “No for with the one whom the Lord has chosen, and this people, and all the men of Israel, I will be and with him I will stay.” The translation follows the Qere and several medieval Hebrew mss in reading לוֹ (lo, “[I will be] to him”) rather than the MT לֹא (loʾ, “[I will] not be”), which makes very little sense here.
- 2 Samuel 16:19 tn Heb “Just as I served before your father, so I will be before you.”
- 2 Samuel 16:21 tn Heb “approach,” The verb בּוֹא (boʾ) with the preposition אֶל (ʾel) means “come to” or “approach,” but is also used as a euphemism for sexual relations.
- 2 Samuel 16:21 tn Heb “and the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened.”
- 2 Samuel 16:22 sn That is, on top of the flat roof of the palace, so it would be visible to the public.
- 2 Samuel 16:22 tn Heb “approached.” See note at v. 21.
- 2 Samuel 16:23 tn Heb “And the advice of Ahithophel which he advised in those days was as when one inquires of the word of God.”
- 2 Samuel 16:23 tn Heb “So was all the advice of Ahithophel, also to David, also to Absalom.”