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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
1 Kings 2

 

 

Verses 1-46


David's last Will and Testament

The recital of David's last charge to Solomon and his death is followed by an account of the execution of Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei.

3, 4. Cp. Deuteronomy 17; 2 Samuel 7.

5. Abner.. Amasa] For Abner see 1 Chronicles 9:36; 1 Samuel 14:50; 2 Samuel 2-3 for Amasa see 2 Samuel 17:25 (Cp. 1 Chronicles 2), 2 Samuel 19:13; 2 Samuel 20:4-13. Joab's slaying of Abner may be palliated, though not justified, in consideration of his kinship with Asahel, whom Abner had killed; but his assassination of Amasa was due merely to the mortification he had sustained when the latter displaced him in the king's favour. He had thus been guilty of murder, which, if unavenged, would bring guilt on the land: cp. 2 Samuel 1:21. David may also have thought it expedient to remove Joab in order to safeguard Solomon's throne, which could never be secure so long as so capable and unscrupulous an officer was alive. The blood of war.. girdle] The LXX has 'innocent blood,' which the sense requires.

6. The grave] Heb. Sheol, the abode of departed spirits.

7. Barzillai] For his kindness to David see 2 Samuel 19:3; 2 Samuel 1 f.

8. Shimei] For his offence against David and David's oath to him see 2 Samuel 16:5-13; 2 Samuel 19:18-23.

9. Hold him not guiltless] Personal resentment seems to have entered into David's feelings towards Shimei, but it is probable that his injunctions respecting him were partly dictated by political reasons, for Shimei was a Benjamite who had reproached David with supplanting Saul, and might be suspected of hostility towards David's successor; and who was influential enough to be attended by a thousand of his fellow-tribesmen when he met the king after Absalom's defeat (2 Samuel 19:17).

10. The city of David] i.e. the stronghold of Zion: see 2 Samuel 5:6-9. At this time Jerusalem probably occupied only the eastern of the two hills upon which the modern city stands.

David's reign was more important and critical than any other in the history of Israel, both from a secular and from a religious point of view. In the first place, he consolidated into a kingdom what had previously been an aggregate of jealous tribes, and so enabled his countrymen to take a place among the nations of the Eastern world; and, in the second place, he strengthened his people's attachment to the Lord, alike by the zeal he showed for God's honour and worship, and by the obedience he rendered to the prophets who counselled or admonished him in the divine name. Consequently later times regarded the period of his rule as Israel's golden age, and the memories of it coloured the anticipations which were entertained respecting the coming of the Messiah. His character, indeed, was not free from reproach; for, besides being guilty of adultery and murder, he was cruel in war (2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Samuel 12:31) and negligent of justice at home (though in these respects he was doubtless no worse than his contemporaries). But if he sinned grievously, he repented sincerely;"and by his humility under reproof (2 Samuel 12:13), his resignation in adversity (2 Samuel 15:25-26), and his faith in the divine mercy (2 Samuel 24:14), he still affords an example for Christian people.

17. That he give me Abishag] Amongst Eastern nations the wives and concubines of a deceased or dethroned king were taken by his successor (see 2 Samuel 12:8; 2 Samuel 16:21-22); and so Adoni-jah's request for Abishag was regarded as tantamount to a claim on the throne.

19. Rose up to meet her] the queen-dowager occupied a very important position at the court of the kings of Israel: cp. 1 Kings 15:13; Jeremiah 13:18.

23. God do so, etc.] an expression implying a wish that God would avenge the failure to carry out what was promised or threatened.

24. Made me an house] see 2 Samuel 7:11.

26. Anathoth] NNE. of Jerusalem. It was the home of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:1).

Barest the ark] perhaps referring to the transport of the ark from the house of Obededom to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15), or to its removal from Jerusalem on the occasion of Absalom's rebellion (2 Samuel 15:24-29).

27. That he might.. the Lord] see 1 Samuel 2:31-36. it is not meant that the fulfilment was designed by Solomon, but he was the unconscious agent of divine providence.

28. Horns of the altar] see on 1 Kings 1:50. The tabernacle] see on 1 Kings 1:39.

31. Bury him] Denial of burial would have made Joab's fate more ignominious: see 2 Kings 9:10, 2 Kings 9:34; Isaiah 14:19, Isaiah 14:20. Take away the innocent blood] This, if not avenged, would have brought a judgment upon the king and his people: see Numbers 35:33, and cp. 2 Samuel 21:1-14.

32, 33 In these vv. the futures are best rendered as wishes. Captain of the host of Judah] At this time there was no formal division between Israel and Judah, but Amasa had been specially connected with the latter: see 2 Samuel 19:11-13; 2 Samuel 20:4;

34. Buried in his own house] cp. 1 Samuel 25:1; 2 Kings 21:18. In the wilderness] i.e. of Judah, to which tribe Joab belonged.

35. Put.. Abiathar] i.e. appointed him to be first priest, instead of Abiathar.

36. Build thee an house in Jerusalem] i.e. that he might be under surveillance.

37. The brook Kidron] This would actually limit him only on the E., the quarter in which his former home, Bahurim, was situated; but it was doubtless meant to designate the distance beyond which he was not to go in any direction: cp. 1 Kings 2:42.

39. Shhnei's visit to Achish might be construed as an intrigue with a foreign power.

43. The oath of the Lord] i.e. the oath which the Lord witnessed.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 2:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/1-kings-2.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, February 19th, 2019
the Sixth Week after Epiphany
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