In 2 Sam 15.30 we have a very prophetic event. As David is fleeing from Absalom, he went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives and wept as he went. His head was covered and he walked barefoot. Then all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up weeping as they went.
In Luke 19.31-41 we have Yeshua coming into the city and he weeps over it near the descent of the Mount of Olives, where David wept. In a Sukkot Machzor (Prayer Book) there is a prayer about the Messiah called “The Voice of the Herald” and it talks about Messiah coming to the Mount of Olives. A student of David Flusser, a professor of Early Christianity and Judaism of the Second Temple period at Hebrew University, said that Gethsemane is a loan word from the Aramaic “Gad’some” and it means “ascent of the Mount of Olives.” Both Yeshua and David weep at the ascent/descent of the Mount of Olives.
David’s life is in peril and it was a time of trial and division, with Israel calling for his death. In the same way Yeshua is in the face of a trial and division, with Israel calling for his death. Rather than consume them, David abdicates his earthly throne with his followers willing to take on the suffering of their king. Likewise, rather that consume them, Yeshua abdicates his earthly throne, with his followers willing to take on the suffering of their king.
In another devastating turn of events, David is told that Ahitophel his friend and counselor has gone over to the conspirators with Absalom. Absalom sent for him while he was offering korbanot and the conspiracy was very strong (v 12), and David is told that Ahitophel is among the conspirators (v 31). David prays that Ahitophel’s counsel is foolish and not carried out. God can and does disappoint crafty counsel and it does not turn out the way it is planned (Job 5.12). This prayer will be answered in 2 Sam 17.14 as we shall soon see. Now Ahitophel is a traitor and he will also hang himself like Judas did (Matt 27.5).
David stops at the top of the Mount of Olives to worship. Hushai (“hasting of Yah”) the Archite (“long”) met him with his coat and was in mourning also. He was a friend of David (v 37) and it is believed that he wrote and sung Psa 3. David tells Hushai that he would be a “burden to me” because he was elderly or he did not have enough provisions. David wanted Hushai to return to the city to serve Absalom and to gather information and frustrate the counsel of Ahitophel. He told him that Zadok and Abiathar were there, too, and to report any information that might be useful to them. It would look like he was conducting religious business with them. They had two sons and they would carry any information they had back to David. This scenario will be similar when believers flee Jerusalem from the False Messiah. Just as Absalom will pursue David into the wilderness, the False Messiah will pursue the believers into the wilderness (Matt 24.16-20; Rev 12.13-17).
In 2 Sam 16.1-23 we have Ziba (“statue”), a servant of Mephiboshet (“exterminate the idol”), the adopted son of David, meeting David with some provisions. David asks where Mephiboshet was, and he is told that he was in Jerusalem waiting to have the kingdom of his father Jonathan restored to him. But this is a lie. Mephiboshet was crippled and this servant just went off and left him. So David gave all that belonged to Mephiboshet to Ziba, based on what Ziba has just told him about Mephiboshet’s treason, but Ziba misrepresented the situation. All of this is happening very fast as David is crossing the Kidron Valley and going up the Mount of Olives.
Now, David comes to Bachurim (“warlike, valiant”) on the road to the Jordan Valley, close to the Mount of Olives. A man named Shimei (“renowned”) of the family of Saul came out and began to curse David. He threw stones at him and his people. He told David saying, “Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed and worthless fellow (“Ish Belial”). The Lord has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned (meaning David usurped the throne); and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are taken in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed.”
This statement about Absalom contradicts what he just said, for if David usurped the throne, then Absalom had no right to it either (v 8). Abishai, David’s nephew, asked, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and cut off his head.” But David did not take his advice (and Joab’s). David says, “If he curses , and if the Lord has told him, ‘Curse David,’ then who shall say, ‘Why have you done so?'” In other words, David is saying to let him go on and curse because this was a part of God’s plan. Shimei had a corrupt hatred of David and God is using it.
David says Absalom, his own son, wants to kill him, so what can the words of Shimei really do. Perhaps the Lord will look upon this and return good to him instead of cursing. Shimei was part of Saul’s family so David was not going to harm him. Besides, David knew his sins and deserved it, but God is gracious and merciful. So they left him alone and this was contrary to the Torah in Exo 22.28 where it says, “You shall not curse a judge or a ruler of your people.”
Now, here is an interesting aspect to this story. In Est 2.5 we learn that Mordechai was the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjaminite” (1 Sam 9.1-2). David had mercy on Shimei and it produced a Mordechai who saved the Jewish people in the book of Esther. On the other hand, Saul had mercy on Agag and it produced a Haman, a descendant of Agag the Amalekite, who will try to kill the Jewish people (Est 3.1). Mordechai and Agag would have a confrontation in the book of Esther, but Mordechai was there to stop him. This teaches us that there is a time for mercy and a time not to show mercy. Misplaced mercy can produce a Haman, and properly placed mercy can produce a Mordechai.
Finally, David arrives in Bachurim (v 15) and at the same time, Absalom and Ahitophel arrive in Jerusalem. Hushai comes to Absalom and says, “Long live the king” trying to gain his confidence. Absalom says, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?” Absalom couldn’t even mention the name ‘David” or “my father” here. But Hushai will be ambiguous here when he says, “No! For whom the Lord, his people, and all the men of Israel have chosen, his will I be, and with him will remain.” Hushai is talking about David, but Absalom thinks he is talking about him. There was a song by Carly Simon in the seventies, released by Elektra records in November of 1972 called “You’re So Vain” and there is a line in the song that says, “You probably think this song is about you.” Well, that’s Absalom. God wants Hushai to serve Absalom, and Hushai wants Absalom to believe that the kingship is in the family, so who he serves makes no difference to him.
Then Absalom says to Ahitophel, “Give your advice.” And Ahitophel tells him to lie with his father’s concubines (2 Sam 15.16, 16.21). By this act, all of Israel will see how much Absalom hates his father and they will be strengthened with resolve against David. But this advice fulfilled a prophecy given by Nathan because of what David did in the Bathsheba/Uriah affair in 2 Sam 12.11 where it says, “Behold I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.” So, this was part of God’s plan.
They “pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof and Absalom went into his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel” (2 Sam 12.12). This symbolized the taking of the kingship from David. Adonijah, another son of David, will try to do the same thing with Abishag, and Solomon will have him killed (1 Kings 2.19-25). The chapter ends with the verse that says, “And the advice of Ahitophel which he gave in those days was as if one inquired of the word of God; so was all the advice of Ahitophel regarded by both David and Absalom” (2 Sam 16.23).
We will pick up in 2 Sam 17.1-29 in Part 15.