Shmuel 2-Chapter 16: Shimi curses Dovid and Avshalom sleeps with his concubines

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Chapter 16: Shimi curses Dovid and Avshalom sleeps with his concubines

1. Dovid is given food and supplies by Tziva:

  • Dovid descended from the top of the mountain [of olives[1]] and Tziva the lad of Mifiboshes came towards him together with a group of straddled donkeys which were carrying 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, and 100 vessels of dried figs, and baskets of wine. The king asked Tziva as to who all this is being brought for, and he answered him that he is bringing the camels for the Kings house [i.e. the women and children[2]] to ride on, and the bread and other foods he brought for the lads to eat and the wine for them to drink, as he knows of their exhaustion from the trip in the desert.
  • Tziva informs Dovid that Mifiboshes has rebelled against him: Dovid then asked Tziva as to where his master Mifiboshes is located, and he answered him that he is located in Jerusalem and [has rebelled against the king as he] believes that on this day the Jewish people will return the monarchy to him and his father’s household. When the king heard this, he declared that all the belongings of Mifiboshes will now be given to Tziva. Tziva prostrated himself and said to the king, “May I find favor in the eyes of my master the king.”

2. Shimi Ben Geira curses Dovid:

  • King Dovid arrived to the area of Bachurim and there he saw a man from the family of Shaul coming out towards him, cursing at him. His name was Shimi Ben Geira [and he was the head of the Sanhedrin[3]]. He threw stones towards Dovid and towards the servants of king Dovid and towards the entire nation that was to his right and his left. During Shimi’s cursing he stated, “Leave, leave, you man of blood, you barbaric man. May G-d return upon you the blood of the house of Shaul which you have reigned under him, and may G-d give the monarchy to the hand of your son Avshalom. You shall meet your evil being that you are a man of blood.”
  • Avishaiy offers to kill Shimi although Dovid refuses: Avishaiy, the son of Tzurya said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my master the king, let me pass and I will take off his head.” However, the king responded to him, “Why are you getting involved in this the son of Tzeruya, let him curse me as it is G-d who has told him to curse Dovid, and who should tell G-d why He does what He does?” Dovid then said to Avishaiy and to all of his servants, “Behold, my son who came out of my innards desires to assassinate me, and so to now this Benjamite man desires the same. Let him be and let him curse me, as G-d has told. Perhaps G-d will see my suffering and the tears of my eye and return me kindness in return for this curse that I’m going through today.” Dovid and his men continued walking down the road while Shimi walked alongside them at the edge of the mountain all the while cursing them and throwing stones and earth at them. The king and his men who were with him arrived exhausted [to Bachurim], and they rested there.

3. The meeting between Chushaiy and Avshalom:

  • Avshalom settles in Jerusalem: Avshalom, and the entire Jewish nation together with Achitofel, arrived to Jerusalem.
  • Chushaiy befriends Avshalom and gains his trust: When Chushaiy the Arkite, the friend of Dovid, arrived to Avshalom, he said to Avshalom, “May the king live, May the king live.” Avshalom then responded to Chushaiy saying, “Is this the kindness that you show your friend [i.e. my father Dovid[4]] why did you not go with your friend?” Chushaiy responded to Avshalom saying, “No! [I have left Dovid[5] as] I will remain only with the one chosen by G-d and by his nation and by all the Jewish people. I will no longer be with him and dwell with him. Second of all, who am I expected to serve? Will I not serve the son of the king? Just as I served in front of your father so indeed, I will serve you.”

4. Avshalom sleeps with his father’s concubines:

  • Achitofal advises Avshalom to sleep with his father’s concubines: Avshalom requested from Achitofel to advise him as to what he is to now do [in order to solidify his monarchy]. So, Achitofel advised to Avshalom that he should sleep with his father’s concubines which he left in the castle in order so they guard it. “By doing so, you will show the Jewish people that you have overpowered your father [and truly despise him without any chance of reconciliation[6]] and you will gain support of everyone who is with you.”
  • Avshalom publicly sleeps with his father’s concubines: So, Avshalom listened to the advice of Achitofal and he went up to the tent that was on top of the roof of the palace and there he slept with his father’s concubines in front of all the Jewish people.
  • Achitofal’s advice is viewed as sacred: At that time, the advice that Achitofal would give was viewed as sacred, and as if it was the word of G-d, and he was an advisor both to Dovid and to Avshalom.


[1] Metzudos Dovid 15:1

[2] Radak 15:2

[3] Rashi 16:10

[4] Metzudos Dovid 16:17

[5] See Pirush Mahariy Karo 16:18

[6] See Rashi and other Mefarshim on 16:21

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