1 Kings 2

David’s Charge to Solomon

1 When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.
2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man,
3 and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go
4 and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’
5 “Now you yourself know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me—what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He killed them, shedding their blood in peacetime as if in battle, and with that blood he stained the belt around his waist and the sandals on his feet.
6 Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace.
7 “But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table. They stood by me when I fled from your brother Absalom.
8 “And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD: ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’
9 But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.”
10 Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David.
11 He had reigned forty years over Israel—seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem.
12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established.

Solomon’s Throne Established

13 Now Adonijah, the son of Haggith, went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. Bathsheba asked him, “Do you come peacefully?” He answered, “Yes, peacefully.”
14 Then he added, “I have something to say to you.” “You may say it,” she replied.
15 “As you know,” he said, “the kingdom was mine. All Israel looked to me as their king. But things changed, and the kingdom has gone to my brother; for it has come to him from the LORD.
16 Now I have one request to make of you. Do not refuse me.” “You may make it,” she said.
17 So he continued, “Please ask King Solomon—he will not refuse you—to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.”
18 “Very well,” Bathsheba replied, “I will speak to the king for you.”
19 When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat down at his right hand.
20 “I have one small request to make of you,” she said. “Do not refuse me.” The king replied, “Make it, my mother; I will not refuse you.”
21 So she said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given in marriage to your brother Adonijah.”
22 King Solomon answered his mother, “Why do you request Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? You might as well request the kingdom for him—after all, he is my older brother—yes, for him and for Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah!”
23 Then King Solomon swore by the LORD: “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if Adonijah does not pay with his life for this request!
24 And now, as surely as the LORD lives—he who has established me securely on the throne of my father David and has founded a dynasty for me as he promised—Adonijah shall be put to death today!”
25 So King Solomon gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he struck down Adonijah and he died.
26 To Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go back to your fields in Anathoth. You deserve to die, but I will not put you to death now, because you carried the ark of the Sovereign LORD before my father David and shared all my father’s hardships.”
27 So Solomon removed Abiathar from the priesthood of the LORD, fulfilling the word the LORD had spoken at Shiloh about the house of Eli.
28 When the news reached Joab, who had conspired with Adonijah though not with Absalom, he fled to the tent of the LORD and took hold of the horns of the altar.
29 King Solomon was told that Joab had fled to the tent of the LORD and was beside the altar. Then Solomon ordered Benaiah son of Jehoiada, “Go, strike him down!”
30 So Benaiah entered the tent of the LORD and said to Joab, “The king says, ‘Come out!’ ” But he answered, “No, I will die here.” Benaiah reported to the king, “This is how Joab answered me.”
31 Then the king commanded Benaiah, “Do as he says. Strike him down and bury him, and so clear me and my whole family of the guilt of the innocent blood that Joab shed.
32 The LORD will repay him for the blood he shed, because without my father David knowing it he attacked two men and killed them with the sword. Both of them—Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel’s army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah’s army—were better men and more upright than he.
33 May the guilt of their blood rest on the head of Joab and his descendants forever. But on David and his descendants, his house and his throne, may there be the LORD’s peace forever.”
34 So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up and struck down Joab and killed him, and he was buried at his home out in the country.
35 The king put Benaiah son of Jehoiada over the army in Joab’s position and replaced Abiathar with Zadok the priest.
36 Then the king sent for Shimei and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, but do not go anywhere else.
37 The day you leave and cross the Kidron Valley, you can be sure you will die; your blood will be on your own head.”
38 Shimei answered the king, “What you say is good. Your servant will do as my lord the king has said.” And Shimei stayed in Jerusalem for a long time.
39 But three years later, two of Shimei’s slaves ran off to Achish son of Maakah, king of Gath, and Shimei was told, “Your slaves are in Gath.”
40 At this, he saddled his donkey and went to Achish at Gath in search of his slaves. So Shimei went away and brought the slaves back from Gath.
41 When Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had returned,
42 the king summoned Shimei and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the LORD and warn you, ‘On the day you leave to go anywhere else, you can be sure you will die’? At that time you said to me, ‘What you say is good. I will obey.’
43 Why then did you not keep your oath to the LORD and obey the command I gave you?”
44 The king also said to Shimei, “You know in your heart all the wrong you did to my father David. Now the LORD will repay you for your wrongdoing.
45 But King Solomon will be blessed, and David’s throne will remain secure before the LORD forever.”
46 Then the king gave the order to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck Shimei down and he died. The kingdom was now established in Solomon’s hands.

1 Kings 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

David's dying charge to Solomon. (1-4) David's charge as to Joab and others. (5-11) Solomon reigns, Adonijah aspiring to the throne is put to death. (12-25) Abiathar banished, Joab put to death. (26-34) Shimei is put to death. (35-46)

Verses 1-4 David's charge to Solomon is, to keep the charge of the Lord. The authority of a dying father is much, but nothing to that of a living God. God promised David that the Messiah should come from his descendants, and that promise was absolute; but the promise, that there should not fail of them a man on the throne of Israel, was conditional; if he walks before God in sincerity, with zeal and resolution: in order hereunto, he must take heed to his way.

Verses 5-11 These dying counsels concerning Joab and Shimei, did not come from personal anger, but for the security of Solomon's throne, which was the murders he had committed, but would readily repeat them to carry any purpose; though long reprieved, he shall be reckoned with at last. Time does not wear out the guilt of any sin, particularly of murder. Concerning Shimei, Hold him not guiltless; do not think him any true friend to thee, or thy government, or fit to be trusted; he has no less malice now than he had then. David's dying sentiments are recorded, as delivered under the influence of the Holy Ghost, ( 2 Samuel. 23:1-7 ) salvation of that glorious personage, the Messiah, whose coming he then foretold, and from whom he derived all his comforts and expectations. That passage gives a decided proof that David died under the influence of the Holy Ghost, in the exercise of faith and hope.

Verses 12-25 Solomon received Bathsheba with all the respect that was owing to a mother; but let none be asked for that which they ought not to grant. It ill becomes a good man to prefer a bad request, or to appear in a bad cause. According to eastern customs it was plain that Adonijah sought to be king, by his asking for Abishag as his wife, and Solomon could not be safe while he lived. Ambitious, turbulent spirits commonly prepare death for themselves. Many a head has been lost by catching at a crown.

Verses 26-34 Solomon's words to Abiathar, and his silence, imply that some recent conspiracies had been entered into. Those that show kindness to God's people shall have it remembered to their advantage. For this reason Solomon spares Abiathar's life, but dismisses him from his offices. In case of such sins as the blood of beasts would atone for, the altar was a refuge, but not in Joab's case. Solomon looks upward to God as the Author of peace, and forward to eternity as the perfection of it. The Lord of peace himself gives us that peace which is everlasting.

Verses 35-46 The old malignity remains in the unconverted heart, and a watchful eye should be kept on those who, like Shimei, have manifested their enmity, but have given no evidence of repentance. No engagements or dangers will restrain worldly men; they go on, though they forfeit their lives and souls. Let us remember, God will not accommodate his judgment to us. His eye is over us; and let us strive to walk as in his presence. Let our every act, word, and thought, be governed by this great truth, that the hour is quickly coming when the smallest circumstances of our lives shall be brought to light, and our eternal state be fixed by a righteous and unerring God. Thus Solomon's throne was established in peace, as the type of the Redeemer's kingdom of peace and righteousness. And it is a comfort, in reference to the enmity of the church's enemies, that, how much soever they rage, it is a vain thing they imagine. Christ's throne is established, and they cannot shake it.

Cross References 65

  • 1. S Genesis 27:2; S Numbers 27:13; Genesis 47:29; Deuteronomy 31:14
  • 2. Joshua 23:14
  • 3. Deuteronomy 31:7,23; S Joshua 1:6
  • 4. S Deuteronomy 4:6; S Deuteronomy 10:12; S Deuteronomy 17:14-20; S Joshua 1:7
  • 5. 1 Chronicles 22:13
  • 6. S 2 Samuel 7:13,25; 1 Kings 8:25; 2 Chronicles 23:3
  • 7. 2 Kings 18:3-6; 2 Kings 20:3; Psalms 26:1-3; Psalms 132:12
  • 8. S 2 Samuel 2:18; 2 Samuel 18:5,12,14
  • 9. S 1 Samuel 14:50; S 2 Samuel 3:27
  • 10. S 2 Samuel 17:25; 2 Samuel 20:10
  • 11. ver 9
  • 12. S Genesis 40:14
  • 13. S 2 Samuel 17:27; 2 Samuel 19:31-39
  • 14. S 2 Samuel 9:7
  • 15. ver 36-46; 2 Samuel 16:5-13
  • 16. S Genesis 32:2
  • 17. 2 Samuel 19:18-23
  • 18. ver 6
  • 19. Acts 2:29; Acts 13:36
  • 20. S 2 Samuel 5:7
  • 21. S 2 Samuel 5:4,5
  • 22. 1 Chronicles 17:14; 1 Chronicles 29:23; 2 Chronicles 9:8
  • 23. ver 46; 2 Chronicles 1:1; 2 Chronicles 12:13; 2 Chronicles 17:1; 2 Chronicles 21:4
  • 24. S 2 Samuel 3:4
  • 25. S 1 Samuel 16:4
  • 26. S 1 Kings 1:3
  • 27. 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 10:13; 2 Kings 24:15; 2 Chronicles 15:16; Jeremiah 13:18; Jeremiah 22:26; Jeremiah 29:2
  • 28. Psalms 45:9
  • 29. 1 Kings 1:3
  • 30. S Genesis 22:24; 2 Samuel 12:8; S 1 Kings 1:3
  • 31. 1 Chronicles 3:2
  • 32. S 1 Samuel 22:20
  • 33. S Ruth 1:17
  • 34. 2 Samuel 7:11; 1 Chronicles 22:10
  • 35. S 2 Samuel 8:18
  • 36. S 2 Samuel 12:10
  • 37. S 1 Samuel 22:20
  • 38. S Joshua 21:18
  • 39. S 2 Samuel 15:24
  • 40. 1 Samuel 23:6; S 2 Samuel 15:14
  • 41. S 1 Samuel 2:27-36
  • 42. S Exodus 27:2; 1 Kings 1:7,50
  • 43. Exodus 21:14
  • 44. ver 25
  • 45. 2 Kings 11:15
  • 46. Exodus 21:14
  • 47. Numbers 35:33; S Deuteronomy 19:13; Deuteronomy 21:8-9
  • 48. Judges 9:57; Psalms 7:16
  • 49. S Genesis 4:14; S Judges 9:24
  • 50. 2 Samuel 3:27; 2 Samuel 20:10; S 2 Samuel 17:25
  • 51. 2 Chronicles 21:13
  • 52. ver 25
  • 53. S 2 Samuel 2:18
  • 54. S 2 Samuel 8:18; 1 Kings 4:4
  • 55. S 1 Samuel 2:35; ver 27; 1 Chronicles 29:22
  • 56. ver 8; S 2 Samuel 16:5
  • 57. S 2 Samuel 15:23; John 18:1
  • 58. S Leviticus 20:9; Joshua 2:19; 2 Samuel 1:16
  • 59. 1 Samuel 27:2
  • 60. S 2 Samuel 19:23
  • 61. 1 Samuel 25:39; 2 Samuel 16:5-13; Ezekiel 17:19
  • 62. S 2 Samuel 7:13; Proverbs 25:5
  • 63. S 2 Samuel 8:18
  • 64. S ver 8
  • 65. S ver 12; 2 Chronicles 1:1

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO FIRST KING 2

This chapter gives an account of the charge David gave to his son Solomon, a little before his death, to walk in the ways of the Lord, 1Ki 2:1-4; and of some instructions delivered to him concerning some particular persons he should either show favour to, or execute justice on, 1Ki 2:5-9; and the next account in it is concerning his death and burial, and the years of his reign, 1Ki 2:10,11; after which it relates an address of Bathsheba to Solomon in favour of Adonijah, which was refused, and the issue of it was his death, 1Ki 2:12-25; and the deposition of Abiathar from the priesthood, 1Ki 2:26,27; and the putting of Joab to death for his treason and murders, 1Ki 2:28-34; in whose post Benaiah was put, as Zadok was in the place of Abiathar, 1Ki 2:35; and lastly the confinement of Shimei in Jerusalem, who had cursed David, 1Ki 2:36-38; who upon transgressing the orders given him was put to death, 1Ki 2:39-46.

1 Kings 2 Commentaries