1 Kings 2

1 Now the time of David's death came near; and he gave orders to Solomon his son, saying,
2 I am going the way of all the earth: so be strong and be a man;
3 And keep the orders of the Lord your God, walking in his ways, keeping his laws and his orders and his rules and his words, as they are recorded in the law of Moses; so that you may do well in all you do and wherever you go,
4 So that the Lord may give effect to what he said of me, If your children give attention to their ways, living uprightly before me with all their heart and their soul, you will never be without a man to be king in Israel.
5 Now you have knowledge of what Joab, the son of Zeruiah, did to me, and to the two captains of the army of Israel, Abner, the son of Ner, and Amasa, the son of Jether, whom he put to death, taking payment for the blood of war in time of peace, and making the band of my clothing and the shoes on my feet red with the blood of one put to death without cause.
6 So be guided by your wisdom, and let not his white head go down to the underworld in peace.
7 But be good to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be guests at your table; for so they came to me when I went in flight from Absalom your brother.
8 Now you have with you Shimei, the son of Gera the Benjamite of Bahurim, who put a bitter curse on me on the day when I went to Mahanaim; but he came down to see me at Jordan, and I gave him my oath by the Lord, saying, I will not put you to death by the sword.
9 But do not let him be free from punishment, for you are a wise man; and it will be clear to you what you have to do with him; see that his white head goes down to the underworld in blood.
10 Then David went to rest with his fathers, and his body was put into the earth in the town of David.
11 David was king over Israel for forty years: for seven years he was king in Hebron and for thirty-three years in Jerusalem.
12 And Solomon took his place on the seat of David his father, and his kingdom was made safe and strong.
13 Then Adonijah, the son of Haggith, came to Bath-sheba, the mother of Solomon. And she said, Come you in peace? And he said, Yes, in peace.
14 Then he said, I have something to say to you. And she said, Say on.
15 And he said, You saw how the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had the idea that I would be their king; but now the kingdom is turned about, and has become my brother's, for it was given to him by the Lord.
16 Now I have one request to make to you, and do not say, No, to me. And she said to him, Say on.
17 Then he said, Will you go to Solomon the king (for he will not say, No, to you) and put before him my request that he will give me Abishag the Shunammite for a wife?
18 And Bath-sheba said, Good! I will make your request to the king.
19 So Bath-sheba went to King Solomon to have talk with him on Adonijah's account. And the king got up to come to her, and went down low to the earth before her; then he took his place on the king's seat and had a seat made ready for the king's mother and she took her place at his right hand.
20 Then she said, I have one small request to make to you; do not say, No, to me. And the king said, Say on, my mother, for I will not say, No, to you.
21 And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother for a wife.
22 Then King Solomon made answer and said to his mother, Why are you requesting me to give Abishag the Shunammite to Adonijah? Take the kingdom for him in addition, for he is my older brother, and Abiathar the priest and Joab, the son of Zeruiah, are on his side.
23 Then King Solomon took an oath by the Lord, saying, May God's punishment be on me if Adonijah does not give payment for these words with his life.
24 Now by the living Lord, who has given me my place on the seat of David my father, and made me one of a line of kings, as he gave me his word, truly Adonijah will be put to death this day.
25 And King Solomon sent Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, and he made an attack on him and put him to death.
26 And to Abiathar the priest the king said, Go to Anathoth, to your fields; for death would be your right reward; but I will not put you to death now, because you took up the ark of the Lord God before David my father, and you were with him in all his troubles.
27 So Solomon let Abiathar be priest no longer, so that he might make the word of the Lord come true which he said about the sons of Eli in Shiloh.
28 And news of this came to Joab; for Joab had been one of Adonijah's supporters, though he had not been on Absalom's side. Then Joab went in flight to the Tent of the Lord, and put his hands on the horns of the altar.
29 And they said to King Solomon, Joab has gone in flight to the Tent of the Lord and is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, make an attack on him.
30 And Benaiah came to the Tent of the Lord and said to him, The king says, Come out. And he said, No; but let death come to me here. And Benaiah went back to the king and gave him word of the answer which Joab had given.
31 And the king said, Do as he has said and make an attack on him there, and put his body into the earth; so that you may take away from me and from my family the blood of one put to death by Joab without cause.
32 And the Lord will send back his blood on his head, because of the attack he made on two men more upright and better than himself, putting them to the sword without my father's knowledge; even Abner, the son of Ner, captain of the army of Israel, and Amasa, the son of Jether, captain of the army of Judah.
33 So their blood will be on the head of Joab, and on the head of his seed for ever; but for David and his seed and his family and the seat of his kingdom, there will be peace for ever from the Lord.
34 So Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, went up, and falling on him, put him to death; and his body was put to rest in his house in the waste land.
35 And the king put Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, in his place over the army; and Zadok the priest he put in the place of Abiathar.
36 Then the king sent for Shimei, and said to him, Make a house for yourself in Jerusalem and keep there and go to no other place.
37 For be certain that on the day when you go out and go over the stream Kidron, death will overtake you: and your blood will be on your head.
38 And Shimei said to the king, Very well! as my lord the king has said, so will your servant do. And for a long time Shimei went on living in Jerusalem.
39 But after three years, two of the servants of Shimei went in flight to Achish, son of Maacah, king of Gath. And word was given to Shimei that his servants had gone to Gath.
40 Then Shimei got up, and making ready his ass, he went to Gath, to Achish, in search of his servants; and he sent and got them from Gath.
41 And news was given to Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had come back again.
42 Then the king sent for Shimei, and said to him, Did I not make you take an oath by the Lord, protesting to you and saying, Be certain that on the day when you go out from here, wherever you go, death will overtake you? and you said to me, Very well!
43 Why then have you not kept the oath of the Lord and the order which I gave you?
44 And the king said to Shimei, You have knowledge of all the evil which you did to David my father; and now the Lord has sent back your evil on yourself.
45 But a blessing will be on King Solomon, and the kingdom of David will keep its place before the Lord for ever.
46 So the king gave orders to Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada; and he went out and, falling on him, put him to death. And Solomon's authority over the kingdom was complete.

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.

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