1 Kings Chapter 2

When King David was getting nearer to the end of his life, he passed his kingdom to his son, Solomon. Solomon’s older brother, Adonijah, had desires to be king, and had attempted to claim the throne before anyone else had taken it. Is plans were thwarted by David, when Solomon took the throne. Adonijah had made a promise to Solomon and the newly appointed king had allowed him to go in peace. However the plans of Adonijah, did not end there. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,
2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
3 And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
4 That the Lord may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
5 Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet.
6 Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.
7 But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother.
8 And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword.
9 Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.
10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
11 And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.

David was upon his death bed, and so he gave parting words to Solomon. David told Solomon to keep the commandments of the Lord, so that he would prosper in all he did and wherever he went. David had been promised by the Lord, that so long as his children would walk in righteousness, his posterity would remain on the throne in Israel. David also told Solomon to remember the things that Joab had done against David and his captains, which was to kill the captains and cause unnecessary bloodshed. David charged Solomon to not allow Joab to die in peace. David told Solomon to show kindness to the family of Barzillai, who had helped him during his time in hiding from Absalom. He also told Solomon to deal with Shimei, who had cursed David and had received a promise that the king would not kill him. After giving counsel to Solomon, David died and was buried in the city of David after 40 years of ruling in Hebron and Israel. He was about 70 years old at this time.

12 Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.

Solomon began to reign in his father’s stead.

13 And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.
14 He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.
15 And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother’s: for it was his from the Lord.
16 And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.
17 And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.
18 And Bath-sheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.

Adonijah continued his plans to get the kingdom, by going to Bath-sheba and after pointing out his desires to have the kingdom, but acknowledging that it was given to Solomon by the Lord, he asks her to give him Abishag to wife. Abishag was the last wife of David who had been given to him in his old age. Bath-Sheba said she would bring it up with the king.

19 Bath-sheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand.
20 Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay.
21 And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.
22 And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.
23 Then king Solomon sware by the Lord, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life.
24 Now therefore, as the Lord liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.
25 And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.

Bath-Sheba took the matter to king Solomon. She asked for Abishag to be given to Adonijah. Solomon responded by pointing out that this desire was a way to try to gain the kingdom from Solomon. As his older brother, allowing him to marry the wife of King David, would be a way to give him the kingdom. He saw this attempt by Adonijah, as going against the king, and worthy of punishment by death. Solomon called for the death of Adonijah, and it was done.

26 And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord God before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted.
27 So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord; that he might fulfil the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

Abiathar was sent away, spared from death that he deserved for his acts of rebellion, because he had been one to serve the Lord while King David had reigned. He had served Solomon’s father, through all his trials. Solomon showed mercy to Abiathar, but was cast out from his service as high priest to the Lord. In their time and in his life of service, this consequence probably felt worse than death itself. There must have been so much shame in no longer being able to serve, which was his life’s calling.

28 Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.
29 And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him.
30 And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the Lord, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.
31 And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father.
32 And the Lord shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah.
33 Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the Lord.
34 So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.

Joab learned what had happened, because he had conspired with Adonijah. In fear, he went to the tabernacle and held onto the horns of the altar. Solomon sent Benaiah to fall upon Joab. Joab was commanded by the words of the king, to come forth, but he refused and said he would die there. Solomon was told what Joab said, and told Benaiah to kill Joab and bury him, so that justice for the innocent, would be had. This was because Joab had killed Abner and Amasa by his own design and they had been good men who had served David faithfully. The Lord had commanded Israel to purge themselves of those who had guilt of innocent blood, or who had killed the innocent (see Deuteronomy 19:13). Since Solomon needed to start his reign free of the damage done by Joab, he needed to follow through on the instructions of his father. So, Benaiah did as he was commanded by the king.

35 And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his room over the host: and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar.

Benaiah became the captain over the host of Israel, and Zadok became the new high priest.

36 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither.
37 For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head.
38 And Shimei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.
39 And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, Behold, thy servants be in Gath.
40 And Shimei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath.
41 And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again.
42 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the Lord, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst unto me, The word that I have heard is good.
43 Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the Lord, and the commandment that I have charged thee with?
44 The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the Lord shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head;
45 And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord for ever.
46 So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.

Shimei, the man who had cursed David, was commanded to build a house in Jerusalem and remain there. Solomon told him that if he was to leave the house, he would surely die. So, Shimei did as he was commanded and lived for a while in Jerusalem. After three years, a few of his men left the house and ran away to Gath. Shimei learned that his servants were in Gath, and he went himself to get them. Solomon learned that Shimei had gone to Gath and back, and so Shimei was called before Solomon. Solomon reminded him that he had made an agreement with the king, that if he was to leave, he would die. He had not kept the oath made to the king, and because of those things which he had done to King David, Solomon commanded Benaiah to kill him. Benaiah did as he was commanded. The kingdom was established with Solomon.

With the death of David, it was necessary for Solomon to put his kingdom in order. This meant that he had to do away with those who had caused rebellion and disloyalty under the reign of his father, David. The decisions to be rid of men, such as Joab and Abiathar, were necessary for the line of David to remain on the throne in Israel, which had been promised by the Lord. Unity, peace, success and happiness, are not fostered in a place where dissenters, rebels, and those without loyalty, are left to influence and persuade others to join them. It was time to ‘clean the inner vessel’ of Israel, so that the nation could be strong. A lesson in this, is that it is good to take a look at our own house (those things which we have stewardship over, as Solomon had stewardship over Israel) and see that it is in order. What are those things that should be done away with in order to keep us strong? If we were preparing to leave this mortal life, what would be the things we would ask of our own family members? Knowing those things, what could we do now? If we desire to be like our Father in Heaven, following after the Lord, we should have a desire to have a house of order, because God’s house, is a house of order as well.

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