"And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine.
And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these?
And Ziba said, The asses be for the king's household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink.” (II Samuel 16:1-2)
While Absalom was able to draw those who had little experience with life, those who had more experience followed David. Ziba had been a servant of Saul’s and had seen Saul’s attitude and David’s response. He had also seen David’s willingness to forgive and help those who had opposed him. When he saw him forced out of Jerusalem, he brought food and transportation to make their flight less of a burden.
“And the king said, And where is thy master's son?
And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.
Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained unto Mephibosheth.
And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee that I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king.” (II Samuel 16:3-4)
Saul’s grandson, Mephibosheth had been a special recipient of David’s largesse, and David asked where he was. Ziba accused him of staying behind in hopes that Israel would declare him king. Having been betrayed by his own son, and by one of his advisors, as well as many of the people, David assumed the charges were true and offered to Give Ziba everything that he had given Mephibosheth.
“And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.” (II Samuel 16:5-8)
At Bahurim, one of Saul’s relatives came out and cursed David and his followers and throwing dust at them, accusing him of being responsible for Saul and his family’s deaths. Apparently he had spent many years brooding over it without bothering to find out what really happened. He said that God was just paying David back for what he imagined David had done. Such people usually rush to hit somebody when they are down.
“Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head.” (II Samuel 16:9)
Shimei’s attitude was much like that of Piers Morgan, standing up and accusing the Americans of being stupid for not passing gun legislation, totally ignoring the fact that while the guns are banned in his home country of England, they have about the same number of murders per thousand people as the we do in the US every year. He didn’t bother to consider that people might find his words offensive. Abishai was offended and offered to just behead him for being so stupid.
“And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?
And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.
And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.” (II Samuel 16:10-13)
David basically asked what he was going to do with these cousins of his. Their answer to everything was to kill somebody. Compared to Absalom trying to kill him, Shimei’s cursing was pretty unimportant, and maybe it would catch God‘s attention. With no clue the danger he was in from Abishai, Shimei ran along side cursing, throwing dust and rocks at them. Fortunately he didn’t hit anybody or David probably couldn’t have stopped them.
“And the king, and all the people that were with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there.” (II Samuel 16:14)
With the Jordan river as a barrier between them and Absalom’s forces, David and his men felt safe to stop for a rest, eating the food Ziba had brought and relaxing.