Shimei was convinced that David engineered the overthrow of the house of Saul. He might be the best example in Scripture of being accusing and being wrong. The sermon discusses three reasons to avoid being accusing and two ways we can avoid being accusing.
Table of contents
- Family Worship Guide
- Sermon Notes
- Lesson One: Avoid being accusing like Shimei because (part one) it angers us at the wrong people.
- Lesson One: Avoid being accusing because like Shimei (part two) it resembles the devil.
- Lesson One: Avoid being accusing because like Shimei (part three) we could be wrong.
- Lesson Two: Avoid being accusing by (part one) listening to the other side.
- Lesson Two: Avoid being accusing by (part two) ensuring there are adequate witnesses.
Family Worship Guide
Directions: Read the following verses and then answer the questions:
- Day 1: 2 Samuel 16:5-8, Proverbs 3:30—Why did Shimei think David overthrew the house of Saul? Can you think of any other reasons that were not mentioned in the sermon? What accounts can you think of that demonstrate David’s loyalty to Saul instead?
- Day 2: Job 1-2, Zechariah 3:3, Revelation 12:10—What was happening in David’s life when Shimei cursed and threw rocks at him and his men? Why is being accusing so dangerous? Can you think of any other reasons besides those mentioned in the sermon that it is so dangerous to be accusing?
- Day 3: John 7:51, Proverbs 18:13, 17, Numbers 35:30, Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15—How can we avoid being accusing? Can you think of ways to avoid being accusing that were not mentioned in the sermon? Can you think of some accounts in Scripture of individuals who refused to be accusing and instead thought the best?
The title of this morning’s sermon is, “Shimei Teaches Us to Avoid Being Accusing.”
On Sunday mornings we have been working our way through Luke’s gospel verse by verse.
If you have sat under my preaching very long, you know that I like to look at the Old Testament to illustrate New Testament truths we are learning. Romans 15 and 1 Corinthians 10 both tell us this is one of the primary purposes of the Old Testament. Last week we finished a section on forgiveness. I didn’t want to talk about forgiveness for weeks without looking at an example in the Old Testament.
The account I’ve had on my heart, that I’ve been taking notes on for weeks, is David and Shimei. But let me briefly explain why this first sermon won’t deal with forgiveness…
The longer I preach the more I would compare it with sculpting. Every passage feels like clay that you hope God is forming into a sermon as you strive to be faithful to the text. We want the text to provide the sermon (this is known as exegesis), versus coming up with a sermon and then finding text to support it (eisegesis).
As I began working on this passage I saw that the second half deals with forgiveness, which we will talk about next week. But the first half deals with Shimei being accusing and I wanted to be faithful to cover this as well. I think it has lots of application for us and I hope it encourages you hearing it as much as it encouraged me studying it.
For this account to make sense, we are going to have to back up and look at passages that reveal why Shimei hated David so much.
We are going to be jumping around a lot, but I want to let you know I have done my best to be precise and only look at those verses that will give us the background we need. Every single verse I’m going to read lays the foundation.
Let’s start with 1 Samuel 22.
Here’s the context…
David faithfully served King Saul. He was willing to go out to fight Goliath when Saul was unwilling to do so. David continued to excel so much that the people sang, “Saul has killed his thousands, but David his ten thousands.”
This made Saul insanely jealous and he started trying to murder David.
Afraid for his life, and under the encouragement of his close friend, Jonathan, Saul’s son, David fled Jerusalem.
1 Samuel 22:1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him.
Many of David’s family members came to join him when he was on the run, as well as some other individuals…
1 Samuel 22:2 And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.
When it says everyone who was in distress and everyone who was bitter in soul, or some translations say disgruntled, it means toward Saul and his reign. They are in distress and bitter in soul regarding the way he’s running the kingdom.
So, David’s original team consisted of men who disliked Saul and David became their leader.
Now turn to 1 Samuel 27. Here’s the context…
David has been on the run from Saul, probably anywhere from 10 to 15 years. He knows one place he can go that Saul will not follow him and that is to the land of the Philistines. Look at verse 1…
1 Samuel 27:1 Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.”
God repeatedly saved David from Saul. Plus, God anointed David to become king, but he hadn’t become king yet so he should not have been telling himself that Saul was going to kill him.
Skip to verse 4…
1 Samuel 27:4 And when it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath (this is one of the main Philistine cities), he no longer sought him.
Since Saul was told that David went to Philistia, who knows how much that news spread. In other words, many Israelites probably learned David was in Philistia.
Look at verse 7…
1 Samuel 27:7 And the number of the days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
David lived with the Philistines for sixteen months.
Because David had been public enemy number one to the Philistines, having killed tens of thousands of them as the people were singing, including their great champion Goliath, we could easily wonder why the Philistines would let David live with them at all.
There are probably two reasons…
First, I suspect they heard about the rift between David and Saul. They knew Saul wanted to murder David, so it was kind of the enemy of my enemy becomes my friend type of situation.
Second, David would fight against Israel’s enemies, but he told the Philistines that he was fighting against the Israelites. Look at verse 10…
1 Samuel 27:10 When Achish (this is one of the Philistine leaders) asked, “Where have you made a raid today?” David would say (and this is a lie), “Against the Negeb of Judah,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Jerahmeelites,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Kenites.”
David was fighting Israel’s enemies, but he said he was fighting Israelites.
Whenever we come up with a plan that forces us to lie, we can almost always be certain it is not God’s will.
Look at verse 12…
1 Samuel 27:12 And Achish trusted David, thinking, “He has made himself an utter stench to his people Israel; therefore he shall always be my servant.”
Now get this…
David did such a good job convincing Achish that he had become Israel’s enemy that when the Philistines were going to battle against Israel, Achish fully expected David to go with them. Look at the next verse…
1 Samuel 28:1 In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, “Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army.”
Now David finds himself in an incredibly difficult situation that I don’t think he expected when he first went to live with the Philistines…which is often the case when we trust our wisdom, or man’s wisdom, versus God’s wisdom:
David had to either go with the Philistines to battle against Israel – God’s people, the nation he is anointed to rule over – or give away his true loyalty and get himself and his men killed.
Providentially, God delivered David from this predicament. Some of the Philistine generals were not convinced of David’s loyalty.
Look at 1 Samuel 29:3 to see what happened…
1 Samuel 29:4 But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him (this is Achish, who tried to bring David to battle). And the commanders of the Philistines said to him, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place to which you have assigned him. He shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here?
They were afraid that in the middle of the battle David would turn against the Philistines and join the Israelites. So they sent David and his men away. Look at verse 11…
1 Samuel 29:11 So David set out with his men early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. But the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
David and his men are sent away, while the Philistines go out to battle against Israel.
Now two important points to keep in mind:
You don’t have to turn there, but listen to this verse about who joined David when he left the Philistines…
2 Samuel 15:18 The Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and ALL THE SIX HUNDRED GITTITES WHO HAD FOLLOWED HIM FROM GATH, passed on before the king.
Six hundred Gittites joined David when he left the Philistines. Gittites are people from Gath. Gath is one of the principal Philistine cities. Do you know who else was from Gath? The most famous Gittite in the Bible? Goliath!
So, here’s the point: when David left Philistia six hundred Philistines joined him. It looks like David has become close their close friend.
Turn to 2 Samuel 1.
After Saul died in battle an Amalekite wanted the credit, so he lied to David. Look at verse 10…
2 Samuel 1:10 So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”
The Amalekite did this because he thought David wanted Saul dead.
Most people would probably think David wanted Saul dead.
Next turn to 2 Samuel 3.
Here’s the context…
Saul and Jonathan are dead, but David has not become king over all of Israel yet. There continues to be a struggle between the house of David and the house of Saul, because of two men who were standing between David and the throne:
Interestingly, these two men, Ishbosheth and Abner, had a falling out, and Abner, defected from the house of Saul to join David. Look at 2 Samuel 3:12…
2 Samuel 3:12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, “To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and behold, my hand shall be with you to bring over all Israel to you.”
Abner says that if he can join David, he will bring all twelve tribes under his rule. Of course, this sounds great to David, so look at verse 20…
2 Samuel 3:20 When Abner came with twenty men to David at Hebron, David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him.
David made a feast for Abner and then sent him off, but watch what happened…
2 Samuel 3:22 Just then the servants of David arrived with Joab from a raid, bringing much spoil with them. But Abner was not with David at Hebron, for he (David) had sent him (Abner) away, and he had gone in peace.
Joab was David’s nephew and ruthless general and he views Abner, Saul’s general, as a threat to his position as general. Look at verse 27…
2 Samuel 3:27 And when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the midst of the gate to speak with him privately, and there he struck him in the stomach, so that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.
So notice this: right after Abner left a meeting with David, he was murdered by David’s right-hand man, Joab.
Let me ask you…
Now how many people stand between David and the throne?
Only one, Saul’s son, Ishbosheth…who is no longer protected by Abner. Look at 2 Samuel 4:1…
2 Samuel 4:1 When Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, heard that Abner had died at Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed.
Ishbosheth knew he was in danger with Abner dead…and he was. Look at verse 6…
2 Samuel 4:6 And they (two men) came into the midst of the house (of Ishbosheth) as if to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.
They murdered Ishbosheth. Look at verse 8 to see what they did next…
2 Samuel 4:8 and brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life. The Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.”
Why did they bring Ishbosheth’s head to David like this?
They thought he’d want him killed.
But David had these two men executed. Look at verse 12…
2 Samuel 4:12 And David commanded his young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hanged them beside the pool at Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it in the tomb of Abner at Hebron.
Now let’s tie all these accounts together to see why an accusing person could easily think David was behind the destruction of the house of Saul…
First, when Saul was king, David’s original team in the cave of Adullam consisted of men who disliked Saul and opposed his reign. David led the group that opposed Saul.
Second, Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle against the Philistines. BUT…
Third, David didn’t want Saul, Jonathan, Abner, or Ishbosheth dead, but couldn’t it easily look like he wanted them dead?
These are the four men who represent the greatest obstacles to David receiving the throne…and they all end up being killed. None of them die a natural death.
Are you telling me David had nothing to do with any of this?
David and Jonathan were friends, but they tried to keep their friendship secret from Saul, which meant keeping it secret in general. The outside world wouldn’t know about David’s affection for Jonathan.
The Amalekite who brought Saul’s crown to David thought he wanted Saul killed.
Who else could think that?
Probably just about everyone in Israel who knew Saul was trying to murder David.
Abner defected and joined David, but right after leaving that meeting, he was murdered by David’s right-hand man Joab.
Doesn’t it look like David ordered that? Who would believe David’s general would do something like that without David’s permission?
David publicly rebuked Joab for murdering Abner, but that was it. If he was really angry with Joab, wouldn’t he have him executed instead?
David’s leniency toward Joab made him look guilty.
Finally, Ishbosheth was murdered removing the last man standing between David and the throne. The men who murdered Ishbosheth brought his head to David, because of course he would want him dead.
David executed them, but why would he execute the men who murdered Ishbosheth but not execute Joab for murdering Abner?
For all of Joab’s faults he was an incredible general. There’s no record of him ever losing a battle. It could look like David didn’t want to lose Joab’s service, but he wanted the deaths of these two insignificant men to help cover up his involvement in Ishbosheth’s death.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking…
“There’s no way anyone could really think David was responsible for all of this.”
We are about to meet a person who thought just that!
Turn to 2 Samuel 16.
Let me give you the context for these verses since we’re jumping right into the middle of them…
There were many low points in David’s life, but I’m convinced this is one of the lowest:
One of the prominent leaders who joined Absalom was Bathsheba’s grandfather, Ahithophel. More than likely he joined Absalom because he was upset about David’s sins. So painful was Ahithophel’s betrayal that David wrote about it in the Psalms and that’s what Jesus quoted as a prophecy of Judas’s betrayal.
Now just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, Shimei finds David and his men while they are fleeing Jerusalem. Look at verse 5…
2 Samuel 16:5 When King David came to Bahurim (which is a town just outside Jerusalem), there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came he cursed continually. 6 And he threw stones at David (as if cursing wasn’t enough) and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
I’m not sure how many hands Shimei had, but it seems like he had about 20 to be able to throw rocks at that many people. He threw them at David, the people with David, and David’s mighty men.
2 Samuel 16:7 And Shimei said as he cursed, “Get out, get out (he means get out of this area where Shimei lived), you man of blood, you worthless man! 8 The Lord has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.”
The Hebrew word for worthless man is bᵊlîyaʿal (pronounced bu-lee-uh-ell), which was so foul of a title it became a name for the devil in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 6:15).
So Shimei isn’t holding anything back. He’s trying to be as cruel and offensive as possible.
Now unfortunately, because Shimei’s accusations are so wildly off target, some commentators think he was crazy to believe these things.
I don’t think he’s crazy at all. He was convinced that David engineered the overthrow of the house of Saul.
He is one of the best examples in Scripture of the danger of being accusing.
If I asked you to tell me what sins have the greatest potential to ruin people’s lives, I’m guessing that being accusing probably would not be toward the top of the list. But maybe it should be, because even though we won’t see it in this morning’s sermon, this sin ended up ruining Shimei’s life.
I want to help us learn from him by providing reasons to avoid being accusing ourselves…and this brings us to lesson one…
Lesson One: Avoid being accusing like Shimei because (part one) it angers us at the wrong people.
Back in verse 5 notice it says Shimei is from the house of Saul. For a moment, consider what Shimei lost when the house of David replaced the house of Saul…
Shimei used to be part of the royal family. Now he is part of a disgraced family. He thinks it is all David’s fault, and he has become angrier at David for everything he and his family have suffered.
One thing that makes this account even more troubling is WHEN it happened.
If you didn’t know better, you’d think Saul just died. But David has been king for probably 20-30 years. One timeline I looked at said David was 65. He only lived to be 70, which means this would’ve been the 35th year of his reign.
Shimei has hated David for decades and waited a LOOOOOONG time for this moment.
Proverbs 3:30 Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm.
A few translations – like the NIV, HCSB and NET say – Do not accuse anyone without cause or without reason when – they have done you no harm.
Shimei is a good example of disobeying this verse:
But it is common for people to suffer and want to blame someone. The worse they suffer the more they blame.
We have this funny story in our family that happened with one of my children, and he gave me permission to share it.
Katie and I were sitting on a bench watching our children play in a park. One of our kids fell off the swing. He quickly sprang up and angrily looked at the people around him. Although nobody had done anything to him, he was looking for someone to blame.
When Katie and I were going over the sermon she said, “I stub my toe and I’m looking around to see which kids aren’t working.”
I appreciate my wife’s humility in sharing this…because I have definitely seen her act like this frequently and I’m glad she can see it too. I asked her if I could make that joke and she said I could.
But we can all be like this…
“I am going through this. I’m hurting. I want to blame someone. I want someone to be mad at. I want someone to suffer with me.”
Hopefully Shimei will come to mind and discourage this in us.
The next part of lesson one…
Lesson One: Avoid being accusing because like Shimei (part two) it resembles the devil.
Maybe you know that the Greek word for devil is diabolos and it means, “Prone to slander, accusing falsely.” It is also, and I quote, “A metaphor applied to a man who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him.”
The devil’s name means accuser and we frequently see him accusing in Scripture…
In Job 1 and 2, we see him in heaven accusing Job of only serving God because God has blessed him so much.
In Zechariah 3 we see him accusing Joshua the high priest…
Zechariah 3:3 Joshua the high priest [was] standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.
When we see the devil finally cast out of heaven, never able to return, of all the things that could be said about him he is repeatedly called the accuser…
Revelation 12:10 I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying…“THE ACCUSER OF OUR BROTHERS has been thrown down, who ACCUSES THEM DAY AND NIGHT before our God.”
So this is one great reason not to be accusing…
Giving into this temptation causes us to look like the accuser, probably more than any other temptation we might succumb to. I am not saying that being accusing is the worst sin we can commit, but I am saying it is a sin that causes look like the devil.
The next part of lesson one…
Lesson One: Avoid being accusing because like Shimei (part three) we could be wrong.
The third reason we should resist the temptation to be accusing is we could be wrong. And Shimei might be the best example in Scripture of being accusing and being wrong.
Notice the repetition of the word blood…
2 Samuel 16:7 And Shimei said as he cursed, “Get out, get out, you MAN OF BLOOD, you worthless man! 8 The Lord has avenged on you all THE BLOOD of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for YOU ARE A MAN OF BLOOD.”
This captures Shimei’s main accusation against David: he was a violent, murderous, bloodthirsty man who was behind the deaths of Saul, Jonathan, Abner, Shimei, and probably others.
Here’s why this was so ironic…
Saul was the one who slaughtered a town of priests and tried to murder David and his own son, Jonathan.
David was repeatedly kind to people from the house of Saul: Saul, Jonathan, and Mephibosheth.
David had opportunities to execute Saul. We have at least two accounts in Scripture:
Both times David was encouraged to kill Saul, but he spared Saul’s life and prevented his men from harming him.
Second, in verse 8 notice he said…
the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom.
Shimei was wrong about this too. David would become king again and pass the throne to his son, Solomon.
Absalom was going to die a humiliating death getting stuck in a tree by his hair. A good lesson for all of us men to make sure our hair is not too long.
Mostly Shimei was wrong because he said David took the throne from Saul, but God took the throne from Saul because of his unrepentance. If Shimei wanted to be mad at anyone he should’ve been mad at Saul.
So, what can we do to avoid being accusing?
The Bible provides two solutions…
Lesson Two: Avoid being accusing by (part one) listening to the other side.
Nicodemus, the same Pharisee who visited Jesus at night said…
John 7:51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?”
He’s referring to the Mosaic Law, which instructed hearing the person’s side first.
Proverbs 18:13 If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame…
We’re told it’s foolish to respond to one side without hearing the other.
A few verses later…
Proverbs 18:17 The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.
Shimei’s problem is he never heard David’s side. He came to a completely wrong conclusion based off circumstances.
The next part of lesson two…
Lesson Two: Avoid being accusing by (part two) ensuring there are adequate witnesses.
Deuteronomy 19:15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.
To show this is binding, it is frequently quoted in the New Testament: Matthew 18:16, John 8:17, 2 Corinthians 13:1, 1 Timothy 5:19, Hebrews 10:28.
We are also told not to come to a conclusion unless there are two or three witnesses. This means if we hear something from one person, we are not to believe it unless it is verified by two or three others.
I will provide an example from a situation when Katie and I were in CA as you’d have no idea who we’re discussing…
A woman told us how terrible her husband was. She said…
Based on what she said, he couldn’t sound much worse.
When we met with him, we found him to be forgiving and gentle…and he was trying to keep the marriage together…while she was trying to end it.
She later confessed she had a meth problem and had committed adultery with three men. But she never shared any of that with us.
I will use myself as an example of disobeying in this area…
I have heard something, been absolutely convinced that it couldn’t happen any other way, only to hear another side…and learn that there is another side. Sometimes it isn’t even that the first person was lying. They were simply presenting their perspective. This is how it looked to them.
This is why we’re told to hear the other side, not necessarily because the first person is lying, but so we can develop a more accurate understanding of what happened.
As has been said before, there are always AT LEAST three sides: one person’s side, another person’s side, and the truth.
Let me conclude with this…
Much of the sermon was about Shimei accusing David. I told you this makes Shimei look like the devil, because just like Shimei accused David of sin, the devil accuses us of sin.
But there is one major difference between the devil and Shimei”
The devil is called the father of lies, but at least one time he doesn’t have to lie is when he accuses us of sin:
All of us are guilty sinners.
But the Bible also tells us that we have someone advocating on our behalf…
1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
If you have never repented of your sins, you will stand before God as a guilty sinner.
But if you are in Christ, the devil’s accusations pose no threat to you, because Christ took the punishment for your sins and gave you His righteousness.
If you have any questions about anything I have shared in the sermon or I can pray for you in any way, I will be up front after service and I would consider it a privilege to speak with you. Let’s pray.