2 Kings xvi.

Notes & 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. (Calmet) — We must reflect that the mind of David was full of trouble, and devoid of suspicion. (Haydock) — But he did wrong (Worthington) in condemning Miphiboseth unheard. — Raisins. See 1 Kings xxv. 18. (Calmet) — Figs; (palatharum) which are often called caricarum. (Menochius) — Hebrew mea kayits, “a hundred of summer” fruits, like fresh grapes, (Numbers xiii. 21.) and other fruits, gathered after harvest time, Micheas vii. 1.

Ver. 2. Loaves. Hebrew, “and to fight.” But the Septuagint and the Masorets reject the letter l, which causes the difference. (Calmet)

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

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

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

Ver. 7. Belial; contemner of the laws, and murderer. (Menochius)

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

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. (Challoner) — He adored the justice of God; who is often said to do what he does not hinder, or what he only permits. (Estius) — David is here a noble figure of Jesus Christ, excusing his executioners, (Haydock) and receiving the insults of the Jews, without complaining. (Calmet) — If Semei had not been guilty of sin, but acted according to God’s will, he could not have been justly punished, 3 Kings ii. (Worthington)

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

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

Ver. 14. There, on the hill side, (Haydock) at Bahurim, ver. 5. (Menochius)

Ver. 16. Arachite; perhaps descended from the ancient Arachites, who dwelt near Arad and Tripoli, where the pretended Sabbatic river is said to flow; (Josephus, Jewish Wars 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, Josue xvi. 2. (Calmet) See chap. xv. 32. — Friend. This was his peculiar title of office, 1 Paralipomenon xxvii. 33. (Calmet) — King. (Salve.) Literally, “Hail, O King,” in both places. The salutation is repeated for greater emphasis. (Haydock)

Ver. 17. Friend. He rather accuses him of treachery. (Haydock) — 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. (Calmet) — Chusai assumes the character of a courtier, and flatters the prince; (Salien) who ought to have been on his guard. See chap. xv. 34. (Calmet)

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. (Challoner) — This was the most heinous outrage that a son could offer to his father. Jacob resented it to the last, Genesis xlix. 4. Amyntor devoted his son PhÅ“nix to all the furies, for a similar offence. (Homer, Iliad ix.) Armais treated the wives of his brother Sesostris in this manner, when he had resolved to rebel. (Josephus, contra Apion i.)

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

Ver. 23. Absalom. It tended to promote the end which was desired, (Haydock) whether good or bad. His prudence is hyperbolically compared with the divine oracles; (Menochius) 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 (Calmet) 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. (Haydock) — The unjust commonly endeavour by all means to attach people to themselves: but God, in the end, turns their counsels against themselves. (Worthington)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Siba bringeth provisions to David. Semei curseth him. Absalom defileth his father’s wives.

1 And *when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold Siba, the servant of Miphiboseth, came to meet him, with two asses, laden with two hundred loaves of bread, and a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs, and a vessel of wine.

2 And the king said to Siba: What mean these things? And Siba answered: The asses are for the king’s household to sit on: and the loaves and the figs for thy servants to eat, and the wine to drink, if any man be faint in the desert.

3 And the king said: Where is thy master’s son? *And Siba answered the king: He remained in Jerusalem, saying: To-day will the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.

4 And the king said to Siba: I give thee all that belonged to Miphiboseth. And Siba said: I beseech thee, let me find grace before thee, my lord the king.

5 And king David came as far as Bahurim: and behold there came out from thence a man of the kindred of the house of Saul, named Semei, the son of Gera; and coming out, *he cursed as he went on.

6 And he threw stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people, and all the warriors walked on the right, and on the left side of the king.

7 And thus said Semei, when he cursed the king: Come out, come out, thou man of blood, and thou man of Belial.

8 The Lord hath repaid thee for all the blood of the house of Saul: because thou hast usurped the kingdom in his stead, and the Lord hath given the kingdom into the hand of Absalom, thy son: and behold thy evils press upon thee, because thou art a man of blood.

9 And Abisai, the son of Sarvia, said to the king: Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? I will go, and cut off his head.

10 And the king said: What have I to do with you, ye sons of Sarvia? Let him alone, and let him curse: for the Lord hath bid him curse David: and who is he that shall dare say, why hath he done so?

11 And the king said to Abisai, and to all his servants: Behold my son, who came forth from my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now a son of Jemini? let him alone, that he may curse as the Lord hath bidden him:

12 Perhaps the Lord may look upon my affliction, and the Lord may render me good for the cursing of this day.

13 And David, and his men with him, went by the way. And Semei, by the hill’s side, went over-against him, cursing, and casting stones at him, and scattering earth.

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

15 But Absalom and all his people came into Jerusalem, and Achitophel was with him.

16 And when Chusai, the Arachite, David’s friend, was come to Absalom, he said to him: God save thee, O king; God save thee, O king.

17 And Absalom said to him: Is this thy kindness to thy friend? Why wentest thou not with thy friend?

18 And Chusai answered Absalom: Nay: for I will be his whom the Lord hath chosen, and all this people, and all Israel, and with him will I abide.

19 Besides this, whom shall I serve? is it not the king’s son? As I have served thy father, so will I serve thee also.

20 And Absalom said to Achitophel: Consult what we are to do.

21 And Achitophel said to Absalom: Go in to the concubines of thy father, whom he hath left to keep the house: that when all Israel shall hear that thou hast disgraced thy father, their hands may be strengthened with thee.

22 *So they spread a tent for Absalom on the top of the house; and he went in to his father’s concubines before all Israel.

23 Now the counsel of Achitophel, which he gave in those days, was as if a man should consult the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Achitophel, both when he was with David, and when he was with Absalom.



1: Year of the World 2981, Year before Christ 1023.

3: 2 Kings xix. 27.

5: 3 Kings ii. 8.

22: 2 Kings xii. 11.