1 Kings 2

Listen to 1 Kings 2

David's Instructions to Solomon

1 1When David's time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying,
2 2"I am about to go the way of all the earth. 3Be strong, and show yourself a man,
3 and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, 4that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn,
4 that the LORD may 5establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, 6'If your sons pay close attention to their way, 7to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, 8you shall not lack[a] a man on the throne of Israel.'
5 "Moreover, you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah 9did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, 10Abner the son of Ner, 11and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed, avenging[b] in time of peace for blood that had been shed in war, and putting the blood of war[c] on the belt around his[d] waist and on the sandals on his feet.
6 Act therefore 12according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace.
7 But deal loyally with the sons of 13Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be 14among those who eat at your table, 15for with such loyalty[e] they met me when I fled from Absalom your brother.
8 And there is also with you 16Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day 17when I went to Mahanaim. 18But when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD, saying, 'I will not put you to death with the sword.'
9 Now therefore do not hold him guiltless, 19for you are a wise man. You will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall 20bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol."

The Death of David

10 21Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in 22the city of David.
11 And the time that David reigned over Israel was 23forty years. He reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.
12 24So Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.

Solomon's Reign Established

13 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, 25"Do you come peacefully?" He said, "Peacefully."
14 Then he said, "I have something to say to you." She said, "Speak."
15 He said, "You know that 26the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel fully expected me to reign. However, the kingdom has turned about and become my brother's, 27for it was his from the LORD.
16 And now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me." She said to him, "Speak."
17 And he said, "Please ask King Solomon--he will not refuse you--to give me 28Abishag the Shunammite as my wife."
18 Bathsheba said, "Very well; I will speak for you to the king."
19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her and bowed down to her. Then he sat on his throne and had a seat brought for the king's mother, 29and she sat on his right.
20 Then she said, "I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me." And the king said to her, "Make your request, my mother, for I will not refuse you."
21 She said, "Let 30Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as his wife."
22 King Solomon answered his mother, "And why do you ask 31Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also, 32for he is my older brother, and on his side 33are Abiathar[f] the priest and Joab the son of Zeruiah."
23 Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, 34"God do so to me and more also if this word does not cost Adonijah his life!
24 Now therefore 35as the LORD lives, who has established me and placed me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a house, 36as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death today."
25 So King Solomon sent 37Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and he struck him down, and he died.
26 And to Abiathar the priest the king said, "Go to 38Anathoth, to your estate, for you deserve death. But I will not at this time put you to death, 39because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father, 40and because you shared in all my father's affliction."
27 41So Solomon expelled Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, thus fulfilling 42the word of the LORD that he had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.
28 When the news came to Joab--for Joab 43had supported Adonijah although 44he had not supported Absalom--Joab fled to the tent of the LORD and caught hold of the 45horns of the altar.
29 And when it was told King Solomon, "Joab has fled to the tent of the LORD, and behold, he is beside the altar," Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, "Go, strike him down."
30 So Benaiah came to the tent of the LORD and said to him, "The king commands, 'Come out.'" But he said, "No, I will die here." Then Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, "Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me."
31 The king replied to him, 46"Do as he has said, strike him down and bury him, 47and thus take away from me and from my father's house the guilt for the blood that Joab shed without cause.
32 The LORD will 48bring back his bloody deeds on his own head, because, without the knowledge of my father David, he attacked and killed with the sword two men 49more righteous and better than himself, 50Abner the son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and 51Amasa the son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah.
33 52So shall their blood come back on the head of Joab and on the head of his descendants forever. But for David and for his descendants and for his house and for his throne there shall be peace from the LORD forevermore."
34 Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and struck him down and put him to death. And he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.
35 53The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada over the army in place of Joab, and the king put 54Zadok the priest 55in the place of Abiathar.
36 Then the king sent and summoned 56Shimei and said to him, "Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there to any place whatever.
37 For on the day you go out and cross 57the brook Kidron, know for certain that you shall die. 58Your blood shall be on your own head."
38 And Shimei said to the king, "What you say is good; as my lord the king has said, so will your servant do." So Shimei lived in Jerusalem many days.
39 But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shimei's servants ran away to 59Achish, son of Maacah, king of Gath. And when it was told Shimei, "Behold, your servants are in Gath,"
40 Shimei arose and saddled a donkey and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants. Shimei went and brought his servants from Gath.
41 And when Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and returned,
42 the king sent and summoned Shimei and said to him, "Did I not make you swear by the LORD and solemnly warn you, saying, 'Know for certain that on the day you go out and go to any place whatever, you shall die'? And you said to me, 'What you say is good; I will obey.'
43 Why then have you not kept your oath to the LORD and the commandment with which I commanded you?"
44 The king also said to Shimei, "You know in your own heart 60all the harm that you did to David my father. So the LORD will 61bring back your harm on your own head.
45 But King Solomon shall be blessed, 62and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever."
46 Then the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck him down, and he died. 63So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.

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 63

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

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Hebrew there shall not be cut off for you
  • [b]. Septuagint; Hebrew placing
  • [c]. Septuagint innocent blood
  • [d]. Septuagint my; twice in this verse
  • [e]. Or steadfast love
  • [f]. Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew and for him and for Abiathar

Chapter Summary


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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.