144. And remember you have with you Shimei, son of Gera, the Benjaminite (1 Kings 2:8).
Shimei and Barzilla don’t have the same history with David. The former openly criticized David when he was fleeing from Absalom. At the time, David recognized that the criticisms were valid and chose not to retaliate when he returned to the throne. But now David tells his son that he owes no favors to Shimei. In fact, David has come to see that Shimei needs to be dealt with, so even though he didn’t do so because of his word, he instructs Solomon to take action against Shimei, not because of his words against David, but because Shimei’s spirit is a cancer his son can’t afford to tolerate. When leaders step down, those who have given them problems must be removed lest they become a hindrance to the next leader. Having Shimei killed is a bit extreme for our comfort, but the principle remains.