The First Book of the Kings

Chapter 2

David, having given a charge to Solomon, 1, 2, of religiousness, 3, 4; of Joab, 5, 6; of Barzillai, 7; of Shimei, 8, 9; dies, 10, 11. Solomon succeeds, 12. Adonijah, moving Bath-sheba to appeal to Solomon for Abishag, is put to death, 13-25. Abiathar, having his life given him, is deprived of the priesthood, 26, 27. Joab, fleeing to the horns of the altar, is there slain, 28-34. Benaiah is put in Joab's place, and Zadok in Abiathar's, 35. Shimei, confined to Jerusalem by occasion of going there to Gath, is put to death, 36-46.

1 Now the days of David drew near that he should die. And he charged Solomon his son, saying, 2 "I go the way of all the earth. Be strong therefore, and show yourself a man. 3 And keep the charge of the LORD your God to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, his commandments, his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn yourself, 4 So that the LORD may continue his word which he spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your 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 you,' he said, 'a man on the throne of Israel.'

5 "Moreover, you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me and what he did to the two captains of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner, and to Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, shedding the blood of war in peace and putting the blood of war upon his girdle that was around his loins and in his shoes that were on his feet. 6 Do therefore according to your wisdom, and do not let his hoary head go down to the grave in peace. 7 But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite and let them be of those who eat at your table, for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom your brother. 8 And behold, you have with you Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjaminite of Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim. But he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and 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, for you are a wise man and know what you ought to do to him, but his hoary head you shall bring 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 he reigned in Hebron and thirty-three years he reigned in Jerusalem. 12 Then Solomon was seated upon the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was greatly established.

13 And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, "Do you come peaceably?" And he said, "Peaceably." 14 He said moreover, "I have something to say to you." And she said, "Say on." 15 And he said, "You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me that I should reign. But the kingdom has turned and become my brother's, for it was his from the LORD. 16 And now I ask one petition of you, do not deny me." And she said to him, "Say on." 17 And he said, "Speak, I pray you, to Solomon the king (for he will not deny you) that he give me Abishag the Shunamite for a wife." 18 And Bath-sheba said, "Very well. I will speak for you to the king."

19 Bath-sheba therefore went to king Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, bowed himself to her, 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 you. I pray you, do not deny me." And the king said to her, "Ask on, my mother, for I will not deny you." 21 And she said, "Let Abishag the Shunamite be given to Adonijah your brother for a wife." 22 And king Solomon answered and said to his mother, "And why do you ask Abishag the Shunamite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also, for he is my elder brother, even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah." 23 Then king Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, "May God do so to me and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life. 24 Now therefore, as the LORD lives, who has established me and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a 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 so that he died.

26 And to Abiathar the priest, the king said, "Depart to your own fields in Anathoth, for you are worthy of death. But I will not at this time put you to death because you bore the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father and because you have been afflicted in all in which my father was afflicted." 27 So Solomon removed Abiathar from being priest to the LORD so that he might fulfill the word of the LORD which he spoke concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

28 Then tidings came to Joab, for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he did not turn after Absalom. And Joab fled to the tabernacle of the LORD and caught hold of the horns of the altar. 29 And it was told to king Solomon that Joab had fled to 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 to him, "Thus says the king: 'Come forth.'" And he said, "No, 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 to him, "Do as he has said and fall upon him and bury him so that you may 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 is and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing of it, namely, 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 offspring forever. But upon David, upon his offspring, upon his house, and upon his throne, there shall be peace forever from the LORD." 34 So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went, fell upon him, and slew him. And he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. 35 And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his place over the army. And the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.

36 And the king sent and called for Shimei and said to him, "Build yourself a house in Jerusalem, dwell there, and do not go forth from there to any place. 37 For it shall be, that on the day you go out and pass over the brook Kidron, you shall know for certain that you shall surely die. Your blood shall be upon your own head." 38 And Shimei said to the king, "The saying is good. As my lord the king has said, so your servant will 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 to Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, "Behold, your servants are in Gath." 40 And Shimei arose, saddled his donkey, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants. And Shimei went and brought his servants from Gath. 41 And it was told to Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had returned. 42 And the king sent and called for Shimei and said to him, "Did I not make you swear by the LORD and testify to you, saying, 'Know for certain, on the day you go out and walk anywhere abroad, that you shall surely die'? And you said to me, 'The word that I have heard is good.' 43 Why then have you not kept the oath of the LORD and the commandment that I have charged you with?" 44 The king said moreover to Shimei, "You know all the wickedness which your heart has known that you did to David my father; therefore, the LORD will return your wickedness upon your own head. 45 And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever." 46 So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, who went out and fell upon him so that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Kings, Chapter 2[➚]


[v.3] - Reference, Deuteronomy 29:9.

[v.4] - Reference, 2nd Samuel 7:12-16.

[v.5a] - "to Abner the son of Ner" - Reference, 2nd Samuel 3:26-27.

[v.5b] - "to Amasa the son of Jether" - Reference, 2nd Samuel 20:4-10.

[v.7] - "for so they came to me when I fled" - Reference, 2nd Samuel 17:27-29. See also, 2nd Samuel 19:31-39.

[v.8] - "Shimei" - Reference, 2nd Samuel 16:5-8, 19:16-23.

[v.9] - "his hoary head you shall bring down to the grave" - Reference, verses 36-46.

[v.15a] - "You know that the kingdom was mine" - Reference, 1st Kings 1:5-10.

[v.15b] - "But the kingdom has turned and become my brother's, for it was his from the LORD" - Reference, 1st Kings 1:29-40.

[v.17] - "Abishag the Shunamite" - Abishag was the girl chosen to minister to David in his old age when he couldn't keep warm (1st Kings 1:1-4). From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "Adonijah's treasonable project, which was to marry Abishag, David's concubine, not because he was in love with her, but because, by her, he hoped to renew his claim to the crown, which might stand him in stead, or because it was then looked upon as a branch of the government to have the wives of the predecessor, 2nd Samuel 12:8. Absalom thought his pretensions much supported by lying with his father's concubines. Adonijah flatters himself that if he may succeed him in his bed, especially with the best of his wives, he may by that means step up to succeed him in his throne. Restless and turbulent spirits reach high. It was but a small game to play at, as it should seem, yet he hoped to make it an after-game for the kingdom, and now to gain that by a wife which he could not gain by force."

[v.22-24] - Here, Solomon rejects Adonijah's request to marry Abishag. Matthew Henry made an interesting comparison with Solomon's response. In his commentary, Henry said, "If Herod had not had a mind to cut off John Baptist's head, he would not have thought himself obliged to do it by a general promise, like this, made to Herodias. The best friend we have in the world must not have such an interest in us as to bring us to do a wrong thing, either unjust or unwise."

[v.27] - "the word of the LORD, which he spoke concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh" - Reference, 1st Samuel 2:27-36.