One of the hardest life lessons to learn is that you can’t please everyone. As David is being driven out of Jerusalem due to the threat of Absalom, he is greeted with a not so happy camper.
The Bible says that Shimei curses David continually, hurling stones and insults at him as he leaves. We must not forget that there is no Second Amendment protecting Shimei giving him freedom of speech. His behavior and outburst were more than enough for a punishment of death. In fact, Abishai refers to Shimei as a “dead dog” and asks permission of David to go and cut off his head. There is no doubt, with the history we have of David, he has killed men for much less. However, David restrains Abishai and allows Shimei to continue his harassment. Pause…. place yourself in David’s shoes; what would you have done? I think we have all been there, in a situation where someone isn’t happy with us and they are being very vocal about it. Sadly, I think most of us would have a knee jerk reaction, to respond to someone like Shimei, in retaliation. We may not have ordered his death, but we would have certainly let him know that we could have; not to mention we would also give him a piece of our mind as well. Yet David refrains. David allows him to continue; why? Because David knows there are much greater issues facing his life: his own son is seeking his life, he is having to leave his kingdom and the nation of God’s people is in shambles being divided. David knows this man is under a great deal of stress and he allows him to vent. There is wisdom in that church! David had no clue what had all happened in Shimei’s life that lead him to do what he did. David knew that he was hurt, angry, but most of all he was confused…confused as to what kind of man David really was. As Paul Harvey would say, “Now here is the rest of the story”. After Absalom’s death, David returns to the throne in Jerusalem. As he enters the city, guess who was there to speak with him?; you guessed it… Shimei. Yet this time instead of insults being hurled from his mouth, he has words of repentance in 2 Samuel 19.16-ff. Maybe the lesson for us is this; how we handle those people who are not pleased by our actions, can only solidify their claim or prove them wrong. We may not be able to control their actions, but we can be able to control our reactions. By controlling our urge to retaliate, we just may gain a friend instead of an enemy.