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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 2

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-12

David’s Final Charge to Solomon and Death 1 Kings 2:1-12 records King David’s final charge to his son Solomon, and the transfer of the throne at his death. In his charge, the king charged Solomon to keep the commandments of the Lord, and to judge the remaining enemies of the king. There is a desire within us to outlive our enemies, and to see God’s judgment upon them. At the end of David’s life, several enemies remained alive, who were going to outlive the king. Two of these enemies, Joab and Shimei, had the potential to overthrow the Davidic lineage and take over the kingship. Joab was head of the military forces, and Shimei was a son of King Saul. Thus, David passed their impending judgment on to his heir Solomon. A man of righteous, such as David, is as zealous to judge wickedness as he is to bless those who do good. King David had bless all those who had done him good, which characterized his time in exile (1 Samuel 30:26-31), as well as his reign (1 Kings). In order for David to complete his office as a king, he must also complete its judgments of remaining sin. In this case, King David fulfilled this necessary requirement of his kingship by delegating this responsibility to Solomon. Thus, David’s ministry was now complete, and he could face death in peace.

1 Kings 2:1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,

1 Kings 2:2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;

1 Kings 2:2 Comments - We find a similar statement in 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” The Philistines used a similar statement in order to encourage themselves and win the battle (1 Samuel 4:7-9).

1 Samuel 4:7-9, “And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, and quit yourselves like men , O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.”

The children of Israel encouraged themselves in the Lord:

Judges 20:22, “And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day.”

King David told his son Solomon to be strong like a man should be.

1 Kings 2:2, ”I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;”

God told Job to gird up his loins like a man and interact with Him in dialogue.

Job 38:3, “Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.”

1 Kings 2:3 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:

1 Kings 2:3 Comments - The language that David used to charge his son Solomon in 1 Kings 2:3 is reflected in the writings of Solomon, as well as in other Old Testament passages, such as Joshua 1:8 and Psalms 1:1-3.

1 Kings 2:5 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.

1 Kings 2:5 “and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel” Comments - The two captains of the armies of Israel were Abner and Amasa. Solomon mentions these two men again in 1 Kings 2:32 at the time of Joab’s execution, “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.”

1 Kings 2:5 “and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet” Comments - This phrase reflects a man’s thoughts and actions. A man girds himself because he has a plan to carry out that has been conceived in his mind, then his feet take him into acting out that plan.

1 Kings 2:5 Comments - David was angry with Absalom, but he did not judge the situation by the Law (2 Samuel 13:21). Therefore, David will pay the price later during Absalom's revolt. Instead of Absalom's sin costing one life, it will cost twenty thousand (20,000) lives (2 Samuel 18:7). David also failed to judge Joab for the murder of two men, Abner and Amasa (1 Kings 2:5). This almost cost Solomon the kingdom during his revolt with Adonijah, Solomon's brother (1 Kings 1:0).

2 Samuel 13:21, “But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.”

2 Samuel 18:7, “Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men.”

1 Kings 2:7 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.

1 Kings 2:10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.

1 Kings 2:10 “David slept with his fathers” Comments - Paul the apostle refers to King David falling asleep in Acts 13:36, “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:” The New Testament uses the term “sleep” as a direct reference to the First Resurrection of the saints. All of the saints are said to be “asleep in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 11:30, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep .”

1 Corinthians 15:6, “After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep .”

1 Corinthians 15:18, “Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.”

1 Corinthians 15:51, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep , but we shall all be changed,”

1 Thessalonians 4:13, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep , that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”

1 Thessalonians 5:10, “Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep , we should live together with him.”

Even David, himself, declares his hope of the resurrection.

Psalms 16:9, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope .”

It is certain that God had showed this prophet concerning the resurrection of the saints.

1 Kings 2:10 “and was buried in the city of David” Comments - The “city of David” is a reference to mount Zion, or Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 5:7, “Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David .”

1 Chronicles 11:6-7, “And David said, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain. So Joab the son of Zeruiah went first up, and was chief. And David dwelt in the castle; therefore they called it the city of David .”

The sepulchre of David lasted at least one thousand year, since Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost, referred to the fact that his grave still existed.

Acts 2:29, “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day .”

David was not buried in his hometown of Bethlehem, as was the tradition, but in the city of David, since he was a king.

1 Kings 2:10 Comments - The Scriptures say that David died “in a good old age, full of days.” David was seventy year old at his death (2 Samuel 5:4).

1 Chronicles 29:28, “And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.”

2 Samuel 5:4, “David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.”

1 Kings 2:11 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.

1 Kings 2:12 Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.

Verses 1-46

The Reign of King Solomon over a United Israel (970-930 B.C.) 1 Kings 1:1 to 1 Kings 11:43 records the story of the reign of King Solomon. The plot of this historical account of Solomon’s life takes a familiar structure as it discusses the establishment, prosperity and failure of his reign as king over Israel.

1. The Establishment of Solomon’ Reign 1 Kings 1:1 to 1 Kings 2:46

2. The Prosperity of Solomon’s Reign 1 Kings 3:1 to 1 Kings 10:29

3. The Failure of Solomon’s Reign 1 Kings 11:1-40

4. Epilogue 1 Kings 11:41-43

Verses 13-25

Solomon Slays Adonijah 1 Kings 2:13-25 records the story of King Solomon slaying his brother Adonijah. One ancient tradition was for a king who takes the throne is to inherit his father’s possessions, including his wives. David took Saul’s harem (2 Samuel 12:8), and Herodotus tells us that this was an ancient Persian tradition ( The Histories 3.68). [17] This was why Adonijah’s brother, Absalom, lay with King David’s concubines (2 Samuel 16:22). Adonijah saw this pretty young virgin named Abishag and desired her. His request for her also meant that he had not given up his desire to be king, for he was asking for a part of the king’s inheritance.

[17] Herodotus writes, “Suspicious of the imposture, he took these measures: he had a daughter named Phiedyma, who had been married to Cambyses, and whom, with the other Avives of the late king, the usurper had taken to himself.” See Herodotus, Herodotus, vol. 2, trans. William Beloe (London: A. J. Valpy, 1803), 59-60.

2 Samuel 12:8, “And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.”

2 Samuel 16:22, “So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.”

Solomon saw into the heart of Adonijah through this request. He saw the elder brother as someone who would continue to compete with Solomon for leadership of the kingdom and one day make a violent attempt to seize the throne as his brother Absalom had done. This is why Solomon says to Bathsheba in 1 Kings 2:22, “Ask him for the kingdom also?” Solomon well remembered the tactics of Adonijah’s brother, Absalom, who tried to take over the kingdom.

Solomon had given Adonijah one chance to show his loyalty after calling himself king in the place of Solomon. Now his lack of loyalty was revealed, and Solomon’s kingship would always be in jeopardy unless Adonijah was judged. So judgment was the king’s decision.

1 Kings 2:27 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.

1 Kings 2:27 “that he might fulfil the word of the LORD, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh” - Comments - See the prophecy in 1 Samuel 2:31-36 that was fulfilled in 1 Kings 2:27.

This word was prophesied by an unnamed man of God to Eli, the high priest.

1 Samuel 2:27, “And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house?”

The specific words of the lengthy prophecy that relate to this passage in 1 Kings are found in 1 Kings 2:31 of this same prophecy.

1 Samuel 2:31, “Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.”

1 Kings 2:28 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.

1 Kings 1:50 Comments As did Adonijah (1 Kings 1:50), Joab ran to the brazen altar and held onto the horns, hoping that the king would not kill him and shed human blood at the sacred altar, thus defiling it forever. The Jewish people would have reacted against such shedding of blood at this altar.

1 Kings 1:50 And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.”

1 Kings 2:29 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.

1 Kings 2:29 “Go, fall upon him” - Comments - This commandment was in accordance with the Mosaic Law, for Joab was a murderer.

Exodus 21:14, “But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Kings 2". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/1-kings-2.html. 2013.
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