1 Kings 2 (The Message)

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1 When David's time to die approached, he charged his son Solomon, saying, 2 "I'm about to go the way of all the earth, but you - be strong; show what you're made of! 3 Do what God tells you. Walk in the paths he shows you: Follow the life-map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, his course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you'll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go. 4 Then God will confirm what he promised me when he said, 'If your sons watch their step, staying true to me heart and soul, you'll always have a successor on Israel's throne.' 5 "And don't forget what Joab son of Zeruiah did to the two commanders of Israel's army, to Abner son of Ner and to Amasa son of Jether. He murdered them in cold blood, acting in peacetime as if he were at war, and has been stained with that blood ever since. 6 Do what you think best with him, but by no means let him get off scot-free - make him pay. 7 "But be generous to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite - extend every hospitality to them; that's the way they treated me when I was running for my life from Absalom your brother. 8 "You also will have to deal with Shimei son of Gera the Benjaminite from Bahurim, the one who cursed me so viciously when I was on my way to Mahanaim. Later, when he welcomed me back at the Jordan, I promised him under God, 'I won't put you to death.' 9 But neither should you treat him as if nothing ever happened. You're wise, you know how to handle these things. You'll know what to do to make him pay before he dies." 10 Then David joined his ancestors. He was buried in the City of David. 11 David ruled Israel for forty years - seven years in Hebron and another thirty-three in Jerusalem. 12 Solomon took over on the throne of his father David; he had a firm grip on the kingdom. 13 Adonijah son of Haggith came to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother. She said, "Do you come in peace?" 14 And then, "May I say something to you?" "Go ahead," she said, "speak." 15 "You know that I had the kingdom right in my hands and everyone expected me to be king, and then the whole thing backfired and the kingdom landed in my brother's lap - God's doing. 16 So now I have one request to ask of you; please don't refuse me." "Go ahead, ask," she said. 17 "Ask King Solomon - he won't turn you down - to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife." 18 "Certainly," said Bathsheba. "I'll speak to the king for you." 19 Bathsheba went to King Solomon to present Adonijah's request. The king got up and welcomed her, bowing respectfully, and returned to his throne. Then he had a throne put in place for his mother, and she sat at his right hand. 20 She said, "I have a small favor to ask of you. Don't refuse me." The king replied, "Go ahead, Mother; of course I won't refuse you." 21 She said, "Give Abishag the Shunammite to your brother Adonijah as his wife." 22 King Solomon answered his mother, "What kind of favor is this, asking that Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah? Why don't you just ask me to hand over the whole kingdom to him on a platter since he is my older brother and has Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah on his side!" 23 Then King Solomon swore under God, "May God do his worst to me if Adonijah doesn't pay for this with his life! 24 As surely as God lives, the God who has set me firmly on the throne of my father David and has put me in charge of the kingdom just as he promised, Adonijah will die for this - today!" 25 King Solomon dispatched Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he struck Adonijah and he died. 26 The king then told Abiathar the priest, "You're exiled to your place in Anathoth. You deserve death but I'm not going to kill you - for now anyway - because you were in charge of the Chest of our ruling God in the company of David my father, and because you shared all the hard times with my father." 27 Solomon stripped Abiathar of his priesthood, fulfilling God's word at Shiloh regarding the family of Eli. 28 When this news reached Joab, this Joab who had conspired with Adonijah (although he had remained loyal in the Absalom affair), he took refuge in the sanctuary of God, seizing the horns of the Altar and holding on for dear life. 29 King Solomon was told that Joab had escaped to the sanctuary of God and was clinging to the Altar; he immediately sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada with orders, "Kill him." 30 Benaiah went to the sanctuary of God and said, "King's orders: Come out." He said, "No - I'll die right here." Benaiah went back to the king and reported, "This was Joab's answer." 31 The king said, "Go ahead then, do what he says: Kill him and bury him. Absolve me and my father's family of the guilt from Joab's senseless murders. 32 God is avenging those bloody murders on Joab's head. Two men he murdered, men better by far than he ever was: Behind my father's back he brutally murdered Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel's army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah's army. 33 Responsibility for their murders is forever fixed on Joab and his descendants; but for David and his descendants, his family and kingdom, the final verdict is God's peace." 34 So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went back, struck Joab, and killed him. He was buried in his family plot out in the desert. 35 The king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada over the army in place of Joab, and replaced Abiathar with Zadok the priest. 36 The king next called in Shimei and told him, "Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, but you are not to leave the area. 37 If you so much as cross the Brook Kidron, you're as good as dead - you will have decreed your own death sentence." 38 Shimei answered the king, "Oh, thank you! Your servant will do exactly as my master the king says." Shimei lived in Jerusalem a long time. 39 But it so happened that three years later, two of Shimei's slaves ran away to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath. Shimei was told, "Your slaves are in Gath." 40 Shimei sprang into action, saddled his donkey, and went to Achish in Gath looking for his slaves. And then he came back, bringing his slaves. 41 Solomon was told, "Shimei left Jerusalem for Gath, and now he's back." 42 Solomon then called for Shimei and said, "Didn't I make you promise me under God, and give you a good warning besides, that you would not leave this area? That if you left you would have decreed your own death sentence? And didn't you say, 'Oh, thank you - I'll do exactly as you say'? 43 So why didn't you keep your sacred promise and do what I ordered?" 44 Then the king told Shimei, "Deep in your heart you know all the evil that you did to my father David; God will now avenge that evil on you. 45 But King Solomon will be blessed and the rule of David will be a sure thing under God forever." 46 The king then gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he went out and struck Shimei dead. The kingdom was now securely in Solomon's grasp.
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