It may have been King David's lowest moment. His son Absalom was leading a revolution against him. Absalom was a charmer and had convinced many that David was too old and ineffective to lead. When Absalom stormed the city with his troops, David and his army left Jerusalem and left the palace vacant. David decided he would rather be humiliated in retreat than to be involved in a bloody civil war against his own son.
What a horrendous moment this must have been for Israel's most celebrated king. On the way out of Jerusalem, David must have thought: It can't get any worse than this. But it did. A commoner by the name of Shimei taunted David as he fled the city. Shimei stood on a hillside throwing clods of dirt and stones at the king and cursing him, saying, "God is finally getting even with you for what you did to King Saul, you bloody traitor!"
One of David's men snarled, "Let me go up and run that impudent coward through with a sword." David's response was incredible. He said, "No. Don't kill him. Let him go. Maybe I'm just getting what I deserve."
If that were the end of the story, we would hail David as a great man—how magnanimous to forgive such an offense. Well, David was a great man, but that's not the end of the story. The memory of that offense festered in David's mind for years. On his deathbed, about a decade later (see 1 Kings 2:8), David speaks his final words to his son, Solomon:
"Remember you have with you Shimei, son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord: 'I will not put you to death by the ...
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