Four  Men Who Shaped David's Life
by George Kirkpatrick 

Vital Words to the Body of Christ 
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give

The two books of Samuel cover over one hundred years of Israel's history. Samuel was the last of the Israelite judges, and he judged Israel for over forty years. Samuel turned his judgship duties over to his two sons, but because they did not judge Israel with the same justice as their father, the people of Israel demanded Samuel to appoint them a king. Samuel objected to this demand because God had commanded Israel to have no other king, than God. But Israel insisted, and God informed Samuel to appoint them a king, saying they had not rejected Samuel, but they had rejected their God. Samuel would live long enough to anoint the first two kings of Israel: Saul, the son of Kish and David the son of Jesse. Saul looked like the perfect choice to be king. Samuel described his qualifications:

"Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power. And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people." I Samuel 9:1-2

Saul's father, Kish, had power, wealth, and prestige in Israel. And Saul, himself, was tall in stature and good looking. Sounds like this is the way we choose the politicians of our day? But we soon discover, Saul turned out to be a coward, blaming everyone else for his failures. Even with Saul's shortcomings, God used him to mold and shape His next king, David.

When Saul lost favor with the people, God directed Samuel to anoint another king. When Samuel came to Jesse's house, he saw David's seven older brothers who were brought before him. Eliah, Jesse's eldest son, came before Samuel. Samuel said, surely this is God's choice to be anointed king. Samuel was about to make the same mistake as he did with Saul:

"And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliah, and said, Surely the Lord's anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." I Samuel 16:6

After looking over David's six other brothers, Samuel told Jesse to call his youngest son, David, who was watching his father's sheep. When David came, God informed Samuel he was the one God had chosen to be king. But it would be several years before David would become king. There would be much testing in David's life, both before and after he became king. David would become the best king Israel would ever have.

There were four men who would be instrumental in shaping David's life to become Israel's most beloved king. These four men were Saul, Nabal, Shimei, and Barzillai.


The first to shape David's life was Saul. How could this be? Saul was an enemy of David and tried to kill him many times. We need to know, first of all, that all things work for good to those who are called of God, Romans 8:28. It would be through the many trials and testings David endured at the hand of Saul that would indeed shape his life and prepare him for kingship. In what ways did Saul shape David's life? These events began to unfold after Samuel anointed David to be king over Israel:

"But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him." I Samuel 16:14

When the evil spirit from the Lord troubled Saul, he became a raving maniac. At these times, Saul's servant recommended:

"Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well." I Samuel 16:16

God was indeed laying out a plan for David to enter in before the king. David must have been very young at this time, and did not yet know how to be a king. So God created a way for him to become a servant to the king.

"And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armour bearer." I Samuel 16:21

David's three older brothers had joined Saul's army who were gathered to fight the Philistines at Shachah. David's father, Jesse, sent him to the battle front to inquire of his brothers' safety. While David was visiting his brothers, the giant Goliath mocked Israel's army. We all know how David killed Goliath. Because of this brave act, Saul honored David and desired to bring him to his palace as his own son.

"And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants." I Samuel 18:2 & 5

Through all these circumstances, God was preparing David for his future kingship. David would learn many necessary things in his new role as the adopted son of the king. During this time, David found great favour with all the people, as he fought Saul's wars. He was becoming very successful as the leader of men. When David returned from the battles...

". . . it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." I Samuel 18:6-7

This glory given to David, soon began to infuriate Saul.

"And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice." I Samuel 18:9-10

Saul continued to plot against David's life, until David was forced to flee from Saul's presence. He did this with the help of Saul's son, Jonathan. David had to flee with nothing, except what he was wearing. David knew Saul would pursue after him, so he fled to Ahimelech the priest to get food and a weapon to protect himself. David took of the shewbread, and when he inquired of Ahimelech about a weapon:

". . . the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me." I Samuel 21:9

David took the mighty sword of Goliath and fled to the wilderness of Gath, where he amassed an army - - - not an army of the social elite, but an army whom the government had failed.

"And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men." I Samuel 22:2

Saul was relentless in pursuing David, but David and his small army were successful in avoiding Saul and his army. Saul did not know, that through each of these battles, God was preparing David to be king. Through Saul, God was teaching David to be aware of the people's needs. He was also teaching David to be resourceful through manifold trials and testings in the wilderness.

One of the most important things God was teaching David was to respect God's anointed. Twice while David was fleeing from Saul, he had a chance to kill Saul. One time was in the cave at Engedi. When Saul went into the cave, David and his men were in the cave, and David could have killed Saul.

"And he (David) said unto his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord." I Samuel 24:6

David was determined not to become king by his own hand. God had anointed him king, but David was willing to let God in His own time make him king.

The second time David could have become king by his own hand was when Saul was camped in the hills of Hachilah. David sent spies to search out Saul's camp. Then David and Abishai went to the camp at night while Saul was sound asleep:

"Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?" I Samuel 26:8-9

Saul received David's mercy this second time, and David spared his life once again. David spoke to Saul and let him know he could have killed him, and both times Saul repented of his murderous plans. But this did not deter him from continuing to try to kill David.

Jonathan, Saul's son, and David were the closest of friends. Jonathan helped David many times. When David was about to flee, Jonathan met with David:

"And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth." I Samuel 23:16-17

Jonathan knew one day David would become king over Israel. And Jonathan promised David he would stand next to him. But Jonathan, like many today, could not leave the comfort of his home and his dependance on the government and the protection of his father. This is true today for all those who depend on the government for their substance. It is also true of those who sit in the dead churches and depend on their denominations for their salvation.

Jonathan died with his father at the hands of the Philistines. Jonathan and Saul were killed, as were two of Saul's other sons, Abinadab and Malchisua, I Samuel 31:2. Upon hearing of their deaths, David returned to Judah and began his reign as king.

In David's wilderness experience, the Lord was teaching David patience and trust. What the Lord promised, He brought to pass in His own time. Praise the Lord!


The next man God used to shape David's life was Nabal:

"And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb." I Samuel 25:2-3

Nabal's name means "foolish, churlish, stiff-necked, cruel, and obstinate." The Scriptures tell us Nabal was very rich, but he was very foolish. We find Nabal shearing his sheep. It took one whole year for the sheep to grow their wool. Now it was time to harvest the wool. The shearing of the sheep was done before the ewes had their lambs. The time of sheep shearing was a festive time with much celebrating.

"And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep. And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name: And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast." I Samuel 25:4-6

When David was fleeing from Saul, David watched over Nabal's shepherds. He not only protected the sheep herders, but he also watched over Nabal's flock of three thousand sheep and one thousand goats. So David thought he had a right to ask Nabal for food to feed his army. David sent ten of his young men to ask Nabal for his assistance:

"And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel." I Samuel 25:7

David had a hard time feeding his army, and he had to depend on the people he helped and protected for his food and clothing. David's young men continued to speak to Nabel:

"Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David." I Samuel 25:8

David's young men came to Nabal and asked for food, and anything else Nabal would provide for David in the wilderness. Nabal was given a chance to find grace in the eyes of the coming king, but Nabal refused to help the king. Many today are like Nabal. They have a chance to find grace in the eyes of their coming King, but they too, act foolishly.

"And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master." I Samuel 25:10

Nabal faulted David for fleeing from his master, Saul. Instead of Nabal desiring to serve God's anointed king, Nabal was willing to serve the government as it was. Like many today, Nabal had placed his faith in a failed government.

Nabal chose the path of least resistance. He chose the easy way that would lead to his destruction. Nabal rebuked David's young men, ranting:

"Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?" I Samuel 25:11

David's young men were very hurt and disappointed at Nabal's words. After all they had done for Nabal, they were scorned:

"So David's young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings." I Samuel 25:12

This angered David, who was depending on Nabal's generosity.

"And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff." I Samuel 25:13

By the time David came to Nabal, his army had grown to six hundred, and David was determined to take vengeance on Nabal:

"But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them. But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields. They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep." I Samuel 25:14-16

One of Nabals' young men spoke to Abigail, Nabal's wife concerning how David and his men had helped Nabal's shepherds while they were in the wilderness. David had acted as the Good Shepherd when he took care of Nabal's sheep in the wilderness. David was a wall of protection to all Nabal owned. David never killed one of Nabal's sheep to feed his army. David had done everything he could do to win Nabal's favor. The Lord has done everything he could do to win His people's favor - - - but they, like Nabal, did not recognize God's blessing.

"Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses. And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal." I Samuel 25:18-19

Abigail determined within herself to meet David's need for his men. Abigail's name means "father of joy." It was Abigail's great joy to meet David's needs in the wilderness, as it is our Father's joy to meet all our needs according to His riches in glory.

The church system, like Nabal, has no vision of what God is bringing forth in the earth. They go along blindly, their foolish hearts being darkened. God was teaching David another lesson through this time. David was about to take vengeance upon his enemy. But David needed to be reminded of the Scripture:

"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." Romans 12:19

So many times God, stopped David from getting even with his enemies by his own hand. Getting even is one of the most fleshly emotions one has. When we are hurt physically or mentally, our emotion is to get even. God always stopped David - - - and if we listen to Him, He will stop us also.

David was not aware it was Abigail who would meet his men's needs. When Abigail met David, she declared:

"Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send." I Samuel 25:25

Abigail was married to Nabal, and she knew what kind of man he was. And as Abigail declared, Nabal was his name, and folly was with him. The word folly means "disgraceful, immoral, and profane actions." Nabal was probably a wife abuser, just a disgusting person.

"Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal." I Samuel 25:26

Abigail was a handmaiden of the Lord who stopped David from shedding blood and avenging himself. Nabal had no vision. It was his wife Abigail who understood and had the vision of who David was. When Abigail came to David, she asked for David's forgiveness:

"I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days. Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel;" I Samuel 25:28-30

What a comfort Abigail was to David. David's blood was still hot, wanting to take vengeance on his enemy, but Abigail interceded for her household. Abigail knew David would become king over Israel. Abigail is a picture of the true church today who know, no matter the circumstances, the one they serve will be the King of the whole earth. Abigail prophesied the Lord would make David a sure house, and that he would be bound in a bundle of life. Abigail asked a favor of David:

"That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid." I Samuel 25:31

Abigail implored David to remember her acts when he was made king. Abigail returned to Nabal, while he was feasting, and found Nabal very drunk. So she said nothing to him as to what she had done.

"But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died." I Samuel 25:37-38

When Nabal refused to serve the anointed king, he did not last long. When David heard of Nabals' death, he blessed the Lord. David learned another important lesson from this, and that was God was his avenger. David took Nabal's wife Abigail to be his wife, and Abigail would live in the house of the king forever.


After the death of Saul and his three sons, David was anointed king over Judea. Later David would become king over all Israel. After David had ruled a number of years, Absalom, his eldest son, began a campaign to overthrow David his father and become king in his stead. Absalom amassed an army and marched on Jerusalem. When David was anointed king, he had many enemies who thought one of Saul's relatives should have been appointed king. One of Saul's relatives was Shimei. We will learn how Shimei also shaped David's life.

In his heart, David could not fight with Absalom, so David decided to flee Jerusalem.

"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 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

Looking at this through Spiritual eyes, it is easy to see the house of Saul represents the old church system. Saul had started out as God's anointed, just as the old church system was the true move of God in its day. But the church system has digressed to teach only the precepts and doctrines of their founders. And these as Shimei, throw stones at God's anointed who are going on in God.

1906 was the beginning of the Pentecostal Movement. At that time, all the older church systems threw rocks at this new move of God. In 1940 the Latter Rain Movement began, and the earlier Pentecostals threw rocks at them. In the 1960's and 70's the Charismatic movement began, and all the previous church systems threw rocks at them. Today, those who are going on in God have all the Shimeis throwing rocks at them also. But, praise the Lord, God is going to have a people who are not hurt by the rocks.

As David went on, and Shimei cursed and threw rocks at him and his servants, we further read:

"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

Abishai was the son of Zeruiah. Zeruiah was David's sister. Abishai wanted to kill those who threw rocks at the Lord's anointed. Abishai also had a `get even attitude'. Getting even, which is only demonstrating our own physical power, is not God's way. Abishai's actions angered David because of his `get even attitude'. Sad to say, this `get even attitude' is the most basic of all human emotions.

"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?" II Samuel 16:10

Absalom pursued David into the wilderness with his army of twelve thousand men. David had three captains in his army: Joab, Abishai, and Ittai. David instructed them not to harm Absalom because David loved his son very much. The battle ensued, and Absalom rode upon a mule. His hair got caught up in the branches of a great oak, and he hung there helpless between heaven and earth. When a man told Joab of Absalom's situation, Joab went against David's orders and killed Absalom. Then the people began their long journey back to Jerusalem. Who do you think was there to greet David on his return?

"And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king's household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan; And said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king sent out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart. For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king." II Samuel 19:18-20

Shimei was the first in line to greet David and ask for his forgiveness. Shimei bowed himself to the earth. This reminds us of what the Holy Spirit revealed to Isaiah when God's people come into their kingdom:

"The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 60:14

Those who come against those who are going on in God will be as Shimei. They will be the first in line seeking our forgiveness. Those who threw their Spiritual rocks and despised God's anointed will recognize that we are the holy city of God, the New Jerusalem, the Zion of God, the holy ones of Israel.

David forgave Shimei, as we must forgive those who speak against us. But all in David's army were not willing to forgive Shimei:

"But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord's anointed?" II Samuel 19:21

We should all take notice of David's response to Abishai:

"And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? Shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? For do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?" II Samuel 19:22

When the day comes when we will know and understand that we have come through every trial and testing as David, and we are victorious, then we will know without a doubt that we have become kings and priests, just as Jesus promised to John on the Isle of Patmos. Those who speak against God's anointed can be forgiven. Jesus spoke of this:

"And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven." Luke 12:10

By Jesus' own words we know those who speak against the Son of man and His anointed can be forgiven, but those who speak against the Holy Ghost can never be forgiven in this world or in the world to come. Shimei sought David's forgiveness, and David promised Shimei:

"Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him." II Samuel 19:23

David kept his promise to Shimei all the days of David's life. The Lord taught David to have a forgiving heart.


The fourth man we want to consider is Barzillai, whose name means "man of war". When David fled from Absalom, he took many people with him. He needed many supplies to keep them all fed, clothed, and cared for. God supplied these needs through those who loved David:

"And it came to pass, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim, brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentils, and parched pulse, and honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness." II Samuel 17:27-29

Barzillai was among those who brought supplies to David when he and his people needed them. When Cushi brought the news to David that Absalom, his son was dead, then all the people made ready to return to Jerusalem. All the people were eager to have King David return to his throne.

"And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants. So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan." II Samuel 19:14-15

So David began his long journey back to Jerusalem to regain his lost kingship.

"And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan." II Samuel 19:31

One of the first to greet the king on his return was Barzillai:

"Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man." II Samuel 19:32

Barzillai was eighty years old, and he was from Gilead which was on the other side of the Jordan River. This must have been a very hard trip for such an old man, but Barzillai made this trip to show his support for King David. Because of Barzillai's loyalty and great kindness, David wanted to show him his appreciation, and said:

". . . Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem." II Samuel 19:33

David wanted to repay Barzillai's great kindness, but Barzillai's response revealed his heart:

". . . How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem?" II Samuel 19:34

Barzillai knew he had lived his life, and he did not want to be a burden to the king. Barzillai remarked:

"I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? Can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? Wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?" II Samuel 19:35

Barzillai was a great man, and he did service to his king with no thought of reward, like many of God's faithful servants of our day who serve their Lord and King with no thought of reward. Barzillais only request was:

"Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold thy servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee." II Samuel 19:37

If Barzillai had any reward, he wanted it bestowed upon Chimham, his servant.

"And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee: and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee." II Samuel 19:38

David honored Barzillai's request and Chimham ate at David's table all the rest of David's reign. Barzillai's desire was to return to Gilead:

"And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place." II Samuel 19:39

What more honor could David have bestowed upon Barzillai then to bless him, kiss him, and take care of his servants. The lesson David learned from Barzillai was gratitude to receive from those who expected nothing in return.

Yes, Saul, Nabal, Shimei, and Barzillai had much to do with shaping David's life and his thinking. Saul who pursued David in the wilderness was killed with three of his sons. But Saul had a fourth son named Mephibosheth who was crippled. His nurse dropped him as a baby and his feet were injured. But when David became king, he provided Mephibosheth with land and servants, so he would be cared for.

Nabal was cruel and wicked and had a bad temper. But when Abigail told him she had saved him from David's fury, the Scriptures state his heart was turned to stone. So we know because of his anger and his drinking, Nabal had a stroke or a heart attack. But because of Abigail's faithfulness to David, he took her to be his wife, and cared for her in the house of the king the rest of her life.

When David was about to die, he called Solomon his son, whom he had made king, and gave him orders concerning Shimei:

"And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood." I Kings 2:8-9

David died, and Solomon became King. Solomon called for Shimei, and gave him the orders his father had given him.

"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." II Kings 2:36

Shimei was to build a house in Jerusalem, and he was commanded not to leave Jerusalem. But three years later, two of Shimei's servants ran away and fled into Gath.

"And Shimei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath." I Kings 2:40

This mistake would cost Shimei his life.

"And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the lord, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die? And thou saidst unto me, The word that I have heard is good." I Kings 2:42

Shimei knew what his fate was if he left Jerusalem, and he had agreed with the king's terms.

"So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon." I Kings 2:46

Shimei repented before David, but rebellion was still in Shimei's heart, and it cost him his life.

David also gave direction to Solomon concerning Barzillai:

"But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother." I Kings 2:7

Even on his death bed, David remembered the kindness of Barzillai, and made sure Solomon would always remember Barzillai - - - and not only Barzillai, but Barzillai's sons and servants.

All four of these men had a chance to bless David. But only Barzillai would receive the king's blessing - - - not only during his life time, but even after his death. These men are given to us as examples of what our relationship can be to our King.

God will deal with the souls of those who are out to destroy God's anointed. He will deal with the Sauls who seek to kill God's anointed. God will deal with the Nabals who have a heart of stone toward God's anointed. He will deal with the Shimeis who throw rocks and dirt at God's anointed. He will also bless the Barzillais who have a heart to serve the king, expecting no reward. Which one of these four men will your life represent when the one, true King comes to judge the hearts of men?

Vital Words to the Body of Christ 
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give