(Shimei the Stone Thrower- Part 2)
Paul Harvey was a history teacher — with a smooth tone that changed the daily news into a narrative each week on his well-known segment, The Rest of the Story. He was on radio from the 1970s until he died in 2009.
Paul Harvey would describe the additional information of a recent news story, hence the title of his show, The Rest of the Story.
I can remember coming downstairs as a teenager and hearing Paul Harvey on the kitchen radio and seeing my parents listening with great interest. His voice was unmistakable. My parents, it seemed, always wanted to know what was the “balance of the story.”
There are many fascinating stories in the Scriptures. But many times, we are not familiar with the backstory. One of the reasons for this is that we often read the Bible in segments. A little here and a little there. By reading the Bible more like a novel, we tend to find more of these fascinating nuggets. I recently discovered more of the back story of Shimei, our dirt and stone thrower. I found out where he went and his subsequent recompense for his behavior.
Curious minds like mine wanted to know, so here is the rest of the story on Shimei of Gera.
First, it is essential to know there are 18 different men named Shimei in the Bible. So we must differentiate “our Shimei” from the others. Our Shimei is Shimei of Gera, a relative of Saul.
Let’s start at the very last mention of Shimei of Gera in the Bible. We can find him in the book of Esther, a book where there is no mention of God. In Esther 2:5, it says, At that time there was a Jewish man in the fortress of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair. He was from the tribe of Benjamin and was a descendant of Kish and Shimei.
What we can learn about Shimei of Gera is that for some reason, he was sufficiently significant to be cited as being a forefather of Mordecai from the story of Esther. What a thought-provoking fact. Along with Kish, Saul’s father, we find our stone thrower, Shimei. Mordecai was a distant descendant of King Saul and Kish and Shimei.
Let’s look at more about Shimei’s life. After Shimei threw the dirt and stones at David and his men, he came to the Jordan River, bringing 1,000 men. When he met up with David, Abishai, one of David’s military leaders, said, should we put Shimei to death for this rebellion against you? (paraphrased from 2Sa 19:21) But King David said, no! And right there and then, King David swore that he would not kill Shimei for his vile and rather irritating rebellion.
That is the last we hear of Shimei UNTIL he shows up again in the book of 1 Kings chapter 2. Shimei, it seems, was not going away anytime soon. The truth was David had promised not to kill him, but David was still thinking about Shimei and his bad behavior. And so, David passed this need for revenge onto his son King Solomon.
In 1Kings 2:8-9, David said to Solomon, David’s son, “And remember Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin. He cursed me with a terrible curse as I was fleeing to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan River, I swore by the LORD that I would not kill him. But that oath does not make him innocent. You are a wise man, and you will know how to arrange a bloody death for him.”
Soon after these words to Solomon, David died. Did you see this, the very last recorded declaration David made was to “arrange a bloody death for him (Shimei).” Isn’t that amazing? Shimei’s existence was significant enough to be David’s last recorded concern before he died. Of all the things he could have said, Shimei’s fate was the topic. Most likely, this was because Shimei still presented a threat to David’s throne.
Later in chapter 2, we are told Solomon called for Shimei and told him to build a house in Jerusalem, but don’t step outside the city! Shimei agreed to stay within Jerusalem. He said to King Solomon, “Your sentence is fair.” Of course, what else could he say? And Scripture tells us Shimei lived inside Jerusalem’s walls for a long time.
Three years later, Shimei’s slaves ran away, so he set out to capture them and bring them back, and this was when Shimei made a fatal flaw and crossed the line, the line drawn by Solomon. Someone brought Shimei’s indiscretion to Solomon’s attention exposing his rebellion regarding the city limits.
The King sent for Shimei and told him, we had a deal, and you did not keep your side. You do remember all the things you did to my father, David? Then, in 1 Kings 2:46, we read, Then, at the king’s command, Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, took Shimei outside and killed him. And then one more little peek into Shimei’s influence is offered, “Now the kingdom was firmly in Solomon’s grip.”
Shimei had been a hold out from Saul’s dynasty, and now he too was gone. And now the kingdom was firmly in Solomon’s grip!
And as Paul Harvey would say, now you know the rest of the story!