How God Turns Unfair Criticism into a Blessing for You

From Bahurim to Susa, the Lord’s Providential Ironies Flow from Benjamin’s Tribe

It’s tough to hear criticism—especially when it’s wrong. One of the dark moments of King David’s reign saw him shuffling barefoot over the Mount of Olives, fleeing rather than facing a fight with his rebel son Absalom.

From Bahurim to Susa—God Turns a Curse into a Blessing

(Photo: Sunrise over the Mount of Olives. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

After David made his way over the summit, he passed below the Benjamite village of Bahurim. There a loudmouth named Shimei hurled rocks at David’s passing entourage. But the curses Shimei chucked hurt worse.

David’s response was stellar:

My son who came out from me seeks my life; how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him. Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day. —2 Sam. 16:11–12

Centuries later, another Benjamite named Shimei would play a role in providing blessing to David’s line. In fact to all Jews.

And to you.

Has someone criticized you unfairly? Here’s what you have to look forward to.

Bahurim’s Curse Gets Turned on its Head

The Lord’s unconditional promise to David saw the preservation of David’s line, in spite of the fact that the sin of David’s son, Solomon, split the kingdom and ultimately led the Jews into exile.

When the Jews lived in exile in the Persian empire, they faced the threat of extermination under the cruel hand of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. But God stepped in with irony:

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. . . . This man had a very beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. —Esther 2:5–7

Although some scholars interpret “Kish” as the father of Saul and “Shimei” as the man who cursed David, these names more likely refer to Mordecai’s grandfather and great-grandfather by the same names.

Regardless, the mention of these names—famous and infamous—cause us to ponder the sovereign hand of God.

Sunrise over Shushtar, ancient Susa

(Photo: Sunrise over Shushtar, ancient Susa, by Hosein-hidalo. Own work. CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

God’s Providential Ironies in Our Lives

In spite of the fact that men named Saul and Shimei from the tribe of Benjamin desired the destruction of the house of David, God didn’t allow it. In fact:

  • In His providential plan, God used Mordecai and Esther, Benjamites, to preserve the very line of David their ancestors sought to destroy.
  • The preservation of the house of David played a critical role in paving the way for our Savior, Jesus Christ—the Son of David—to be born.

To take the irony further, God would later use another Benjamite named Saul—also called Paul—to proclaim the Son of David as the promised Savior of the world.

Has someone criticized you unfairly? It’s never easy to hear—especially when you can do nothing about it. But we have the promise that God will turn that curse on its head one day. 

Tell me what you think: How do you usually deal with criticism? To leave a comment, just click here.

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