Three Men and a Crisis

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), April 28

“When David was a little past the top of the mountain, there was Ziba . . .” (2 Sam 16:1).

Unknown2 Samuel 16 describes David’s encounter with two men (Ziba and Shimei) while he is on the run from Absalom. They represent three kinds of men that appear during a crisis.

Ziba, an opportunist, misleads David concerning Mephibosheth to steal Mephibosheth’s property/inheritance.

David, thinking that his days of reigning are over, makes a hasty decision regarding Ziba without hearing both sides of the story.
Shimei, a bitter Benjamite (Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin), verbally abuses King David.

All three men make faulty decisions based upon their perception of their circumstances, because circumstances are never as they appear. Each man thought that David wouldn’t resume the throne and made decisions accordingly. Ziba took advantage of David’s distress and manipulated him to make one final decision as he left office. The stress of leaving Jerusalem so quickly weakened David’s ability to discern truth from error. Shimei thought that, because David was powerless and on the run, he could verbally abuse David without consequences. All were wrong in their assessment of the situation. All three men lived to regret their hasty decision.

This incident teaches us a number of lessons about crisis:

  • Circumstances are rarely as they appear.
  • Hasty decisions are typically regretted later.
  • Crises expose people’s true motives (Ziba’s greed and Shimei’s bitterness).
  • It is always too soon to panic.
  • One crisis reveals the hearts of three different men. How you respond to a crisis in your life reveals much about you and what you really believe about God.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (2 Samuel 15:1-17:14):

Review 2 Samuel 23:34, 39 and 2 Samuel 15:12. How was Ahithophel related to Bathsheba? What does his counsel against David reveal about his attitude toward David?

Why does Ahithophel align himself with Absalom, and what does this alliance cost him in the end?