Shimei, the first SWAT-ter ∙

Shimei, the first SWAT-ter

Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel! The LORD is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the LORD has given it to your son Absalom. At last, you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer! – 2 Samuel 16:7-8

2 Samuel 16:5-13

 5 As King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei, son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family.

 6 He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him.

 7 “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David.

 8 “The LORD is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the LORD has given it to your son Absalom. At last, you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!”

 9 “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai, son of Zeruiah, demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!”

 10 “No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the LORD has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?”

 11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to do it.

 12 And perhaps the LORD will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.”

 13 So David and his men continued down the road, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing as he threw stones at David and tossed dust into the air.

In the United States, a SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team is a police tactical unit that uses specialized or military equipment and tactics. They are trained to deploy against “high-risk” confrontations: terrorism, crowd control, hostage-taking, and situations that exceed the capability of traditional law enforcement.

Swatting is somewhat of a new phenomenon where fraudulent calls to the local police are intended to create a response by a SWAT team to a person’s home. It happened in November 2019 to Adam Mosseri, Instagram CEO. Police in San Francisco received multiple telephone calls claiming that hostages were being held inside Mosseri’s home. The local SWAT team descended upon his house. There was a prolonged standoff. Finally, the SWAT team realized that the calls were pranks and hoaxes. The same thing happened at his home in New York.

The attacks on Mosseri and his family were highlighted in a New York Times, January 23, 2020, referring to the growing trend of these retaliatory attacks spawned by anonymous trolls in dark-web forums. These are disgruntled social media users who target executives for swattings as payback for their accounts being shut down or suspended for hate speech and other online offenses.

These pranks are not harmless either. A 28-year-old man, Andrew Finch, was killed in a swatting incident in Wichita, Kansas, in December 2017. After raising his hands, he was shot outside his home by a Wichita officer who believed Finch was lowering his hands toward his waist, possibly reaching for a weapon, after having his hands raised. Finch was an online gamer, and the culprit in the swatting was believed to be a fellow gamer. Swatting has become a form of revenge against gamers in the last decade.

This is a significant issue. Most everyone is at risk of being swatted. It is a sad state of affairs in the United States.

Modern-day swatting is a matter of seeking revenge for a real or imagined wrong that has been done. Shemei was an ancient swatter. In his day, rather than calling out SWAT teams, Shimei cursed and threw stones, and dirt at King David and his entourage.

Shimei was indignant and felt wronged. He was in an impotent and abusive mood. He blamed David for the death of Saul. He thought that David had stolen the kingdom from Saul. However, he totally ignored the fact that the Father had taken the kingdom from Saul because of his sins and disobedience and gave it to David. He was outraged and sought revenge. He cursed David, throwing rocks and dirt at him and his Mighty Men.

Shimei calls David a “man of blood,” a murderer, and a scoundrel. He warns David that his sins will be punished (2 Samuel 16:7-8). David, of course, was totally safe having an armed escort of Mighty Men surrounding him (2 Samuel 16:6).

REFLECT & PRAY

No children of the King are to seek their own revenge. Revenge is in His hands.

Father thank You that I can entrust myself to You and leave all of the circumstances of my life, good or bad, in Your safekeeping.

INSIGHT

When you are swatted, how should you respond? How do you cope when other people curse you or mistreat you? David’s men had a simple plan. Kill Shimei. End of story.

2 Samuel 16:9 “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai, son of Zeruiah, demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!”

That would certainly solve the problem at hand. But it was not the Father’s will for David to take his own revenge.

2 Samuel 16:10 “No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the LORD has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?”

David was willing to take it all in stride. He put it in perspective, and his reasoning was sound. David had a troubled past, and now he was paying the price. David thought that perhaps the Father had told Shimei to curse him. David realized that maybe he had brought it on himself. “Perhaps David remembered the death of Uriah and realized that Shimei’s accusations were not entirely without foundation” (MacDonald).

2 Samuel 16:11-12

 11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to do it.

 12 And perhaps the LORD will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.”

David reasoned if Absalom, David’s own son, was out to kill him, why should a total stranger be punished for slandering the king and throwing things at him? David had faith that the Father would balance the books one day and deal with people like Absalom and Shimei. (Wiersbe)

David’s attitude was, “When people throw lemons at you, make lemonade rather than retaliate.”

A lesser man would have given the order to silence Shimei’s tongue, but David left such judgments in the Father’s hands. Perhaps he remembered the Father’s words: “Vengeance is Mine, and retribution” (Deuteronomy 32:35) (Stanley). “David was exhausted and discouraged, and yet he never rose to greater heights than when he allowed Shimei to go on attacking him” (Wiersbe). 

The Father restrained David from taking his own revenge. But eventually, revenge was arranged. It is almost like a precursor to “The Godfather.” In his dying words, David put out a hit on Shimei. He told Solomon, “You are a wise man, and you will know how to arrange a bloody death for him” (1 Kings 2:9).

Because of his bad decisions and failure to do the right thing by Absalom, David lost his throne, but the Father God kept His promises to David, and Solomon became the next king. The Father remembered David and all the afflictions and suffering he endured (Psalm 132:1).

The Father continues to remember every child of the King. Nothing is unplanned, and nothing is unnoticed. The Father will have His way in the end.

¯\_()_/¯ 5-14-2

© Dr. H 2022

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