Let patience have her perfect work

2 Samuel 16:5-14

2 Samuel 16:5

At the moment when grief had made poor David most sensitive, the foul mouth of Shimei was opened to curse him. It is an evidence of a very cruel disposition when those who need pity are singled out for abuse. It is reckoned a very cowardly thing to strike a man when he is down, and Shimei was just such a coward. All the while that David prospered we hear nothing of Shimei; but as our trials shew us who are our friends, so do they reveal our enemies.

2 Samuel 16:6

His stones and his words were meant not only to hurt the king, but to shew his utter contempt for him,—contempt which he had found it convenient to conceal through so many years.

2 Samuel 16:7, 8

This was a base libel, for David had never laid his hand upon Saul or any of his house. Did he not execute the Amalekite who professed to have slain Saul? Did he not pour out a passionate lament for Saul and Jonathan? Did he not enquire for any of the house of Jonathan, that he might shew him kindness? Had he not entertained Mephibosheth at his own table? Evil tongues will not be quiet, and no innocence can ward off their calumnies.

2 Samuel 16:9

Nobody can wonder at Abishai’s anger. Shimei was barking like a cur, and it seemed only justice to return him iron for his stones; but David was not of a revengeful mind, and therefore rebuked his angry guardsman.

2 Samuel 16:10-12

How humbly did David kiss the Lord’s rod, and refuse to avenge himself upon the instrument which smote him so furiously. Nothing helps us to bear a provocation so well as humbly seeing the hand of God in it, chastening us for our former faults. David has well said in the Psalms, “I opened not my mouth because thou didst it.” He also consoled himself with the belief that the Lord would not always chide him, but would in due time return and comfort him. Nothing brings God to his children’s rescue like the revilings of their enemies. Fathers cannot bear to hear their dear ones abused.

2 Samuel 16:13

David’s patience encouraged Shimei’s insolence, so that the base fellow went from bad to worse; yet he could not provoke the king to revenge. In this forbearance the exiled monarch looks greater than even in his prosperous days. No ermine or gold so well adorn a king as patience and longsuffering. How like was David to our Redeemer who “endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,” and answered his revilers with prayers and benedictions.

2 Samuel 16:14

So that at his lowest estate David had some followers; and when he and his men were weary, providence found them refreshment. Let us hope in the worst times, for better days are in store.


When gathering clouds around I view,

And days are dark, and friends are few,

On him I lean, who, not in vain,

Experienced every human pain.


If wounded love my bosom swell,

Deceived by those I prized too well,

He shall his pitying aid bestow

Who felt on earth severer woe.


When trouble, like a gloomy cloud,

Has gather’d thick and thunder’d loud,

He near my soul has always stood,

His lovingkindness, oh, how good!


Calm me, my God, and keep me calm,

Let thine outstretchèd wing,

Be like the shade of Elim’s palm

Beside her desert-spring.


Calm in the sufferance of wrong,

Like him who bore my shame;

Calm ‘mid the threatening, taunting throng,

Who hate thy holy name.


Calm me, my God, and keep me calm,

Soft resting on thy breast;

Soothe me with holy hymn and psalm,

And bid my spirit rest.


Lord, what a thoughtless wretch was I,

To mourn, and murmur, and repine,

To see the wicked, placed on high,

In pride and robes of honour shine.


But, oh their end! their dreadful end!

Thy sanctuary taught me so;

On slipp’ry rocks I see them stand,

And fiery billows roll below.


Their fancied joys, how fast they flee!

Just like a dream when man awakes:

Their songs of softest harmony

Are but a preface to their plagues.


My God, I feel the mournful scene,

My bowels yearn o’er dying men;

And fain my pity would reclaim,

And snatch the firebrands from the flame.


But feeble my compassion proves,

And can but weep where most it loves;

Thy own all-saving arm employ,

And turn these drops of grief to joy.


Pray that Jerusalem may have

Peace and felicity:

Let them that love thee and thy peace

Have still prosperity.


Therefore I wish that peace may still

Within thy walls remain,

And ever may thy palaces

Prosperity retain.


Now, for my friends’ and brethren’s sakes,

Peace be in thee, I’ll say:

And for the house of God our Lord,

I’ll seek thy good alway.


O worship the King,

All glorious above;

O gratefully sing

His power and his love;

Our Shield and Defender,

The Ancient of Days,

Pavilion’d in splendour,

And girded with praise.


Frail children of dust,

And feeble as frail,

In thee do we trust,

Nor find thee to fail;

Thy mercies how tender,

How firm to the end,

Our Maker, Defender,

Redeemer, and Friend!


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