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Some More Thoughts on Cursing (Not Cussing)

November 22, 2006

This morning I read 2 Samuel 16 to the kids at the breakfast table.   As David left Jerusalem in shame, a man named Shimei cursed him.  “Get out, Get out you man of blood, you worthless man!”

Now David was a man of war.  That’s why God wouldn’t let him build the temple.  And, even worse, David was a murderer and an adulterer and this upheaval in his kingdom and family was the God-announced consequences of his sins.   So maybe David’s got this cursing coming.   Maybe God told Shimei to curse him.  That’s the way David reasoned anyway, and so he restrained his military from cutting off Shimei’s head.  And so when we are cursed, we should not revile in return but we should likewise entrust our souls to God who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23)

But what do you think about Shimei?  Did God tell him to curse?  Was he right to denounce David as he’s on his way into exile for his sins?  I don’t think so.  And I fear that we are too eager to assume the mantle of Shimei and pile on the cursing upon fallen leaders.  Leaders who sin need correction and discipline and exile from the ministry.  But this story makes me quite fearful of joining in the cursing of them.

What ever came of Shimei?  Here’s the last words of David to Solomon on his deathbed:

1 Kings 2:8-9 And there is also with you Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim. But when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Now therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man. You will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.”  And now you know, as Paul Harvey says, the rest of the story.  

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