1 Kings 2:36-37 (KJV) And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither. For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head.
At some point in time, we all have felt alone and separated from the rest of the world. This could be self-inflicted or the result of some unfortunate event induced by others. Some of these moments are necessary for our own personal growth. Other times they are intended to be a form of punishment to correct some form of undesirable actions. Whatever the case, isolation brings forth some heavy burdens along with it.
Understanding The Text
In the text, Solomon has issued judgments against Adonijah, Abiathar, and most recently, Joab (1 Kgs. 2:13-35). He now turns his attention to Shimei the Benjamin who cursed his father, David, while he was in exile because of Absalom (2 Sam. 16:5-13). When the kingdom was restored to David, Shimei met him on his return to Jerusalem and acknowledged his sin before David (2 Sam. 19:16-20). When Abishai approached Shimei to kill him, David commanded that he was not to be touched because he did not want to shed any more blood on that day. However, when David was upon his death bed, he reminded Solomon of Shimei’s actions and issued a charge to “ hold him not guiltless…” (1 Kgs. 2:8).
After Solomon ascended to the throne and he executed the first portion of his charge to his father, Solomon summons Shimei to the throne room (1 Kgs. 2:36). Solomon issues the command for Shimei to remain inside of the Jerusalem city boundaries, and issues a warning of death should he violate the order. At face value, the order appears harmless. However, when we consider the parameters of the order, Solomon was returning the same burden upon Shimei that his father, David, bore when he was exiled from Jerusalem: isolation away from anything and anyone of close familial relations. He was sentenced to exile within the city walls of Jerusalem. For three years, Shimei remained in Jerusalem as he promised king Solomon. One day, two of Shimei’s servants ran away and he elected to pursue them in an effort to bring them home. The problem arises when Solomon becomes aware of Shimei’s violation of the oath. We must consider: Was Shimei in error for pursuing what rightfully belonged to him? Or, was he justified in his actions?
From our initial thoughts, we may assume that Shimei had done nothing wrong and he reserved the right to retrieve what belonged to him. In one sense, this is absolutely correct. However, Shimei could have delegated authority to someone who worked for him to return his servants to him, and therefore, remains in good standing with the oath he made to the king. Because Shimei has proven to be an irrational person who does not completely think through the consequences of his actions, we have to assume that he followed the only course of action he felt was available to him. Whatever the case, Shimei had violated the oath he made to Solomon and, by his own confession, he had done “perversely the day…the king went out of Jerusalem…” (2 Sam. 19:19). In essence, Shimei admitted that he deviated from the proper path, and this act was punishable by death.
Was this justifiable since David promised that Shimei would not be put to death (2 Sam. 19:23)? David held true to his promise of not putting Shimei to death. Solomon, however, was not bound by the oath of his father, and was completely justified in vindicating his father. Solomon ordered that Shimei should be put to death for the wickedness he had done to David.
The burden of isolation often leaves us with spiritual, mental and emotional scars that daily remind us of the power and influence it once held over us.
Why Is This Important To Us?
This is important to us because we often find ourselves isolated from the rest of the world for numerous reasons. One of the main reasons, however, is when other have either directly or indirectly imposed this isolation upon us for various reasons. The pain of not being allowed to associate with others who were once close to us can cause long-lasting scars spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Sometimes we are able to overcome the burdens we often bear from the isolation. At other times, we carry the burden to the grave with us because we do not know how to release it into God’s hands.
It is important for us to know that when we have been cast aside by others, God “will take us up” (Ps. 27:10). What this means is that God will come along and remind us of the fact that He has adopted us as His children through the finished work of Christ Jesus on the Cross. Even in the midst of isolation, God “will not leave us, nor forsake us” (Heb. 13:5). As long as we stay on the proper path, we can be assured that God will intervene in due season and we will be vindicated.
The burden of isolation takes its toll on us and can have devastating effects on our lives. Some of the damage can be reversed. Sometimes, the damage is so extensive that it would take an act of God Himself to remove the stench of isolation from us. When God intervenes and restores us, He “prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies…” and “anoints our head with oil…” until our cup overflows (Ps. 23:3-5). The burden of isolation is lifted from us as we continue to “cast all our cares upon Him…” (1 Pet. 5:7). Why? Because He cares for us.