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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 2

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

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

Now the days of David. — Days are one of the shortest measures of time; but long enough to decipher man’s life by. We are Eρημεροβιοι .

That he should die. — Death is the only king against whom there is no rising up. Proverbs 30:31 He may give for his motto that of Terminus, Nulli cedo, I give place to none.

And he charged Solomon his son, saying. — Natural motion is more swift and violent toward the end of it. And grace will bestir itself when it hath not long to act; being oft most lively in those that lie a-dying.

Verse 2

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

I go the way of all the earth. — Behold, I die, as Genesis 48:21 .

Be thou strong, therefore, and show thyself a man.sc., In understanding and courage, 1 Corinthians 14:20 making up thy want of years by thy virtues, and not prevaricating either for fear or favour. The least deviation in the greatest and highest orb is both most sensible and most dangerous.

Verse 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:

And keep the charge of the Lord. — Piety maketh true magnanimity. The "spirit of a sound mind" is "a spirit of power," 2 Timothy 1:7 and "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Proverbs 1:7

To walk in his ways,i.e., To imitate him, saith Vatablus, and to resemble him, as much as is possible.

Verse 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.

If thy children take heed to their way. — Walking circumspectly and by rule; not at random, at all adventures. Here observe that God’s promises are with a condition; which is as an oar in a boat, or stern of a ship, and turneth the promise another way.

Verse 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.

What Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me. — Why, what did Joab to David? Pellican justifieth him, and commendeth Joab highly for a good man; but few interpreters are of his mind. David had much ado with him all along, and complained of his insolences, which yet he dared not punish, till in his old age the armies fell off from him, and Benaiah, captain of the guard, was able to deal with him. What is it that David here meaneth which Joab had done against him, is uncertain. The Hebrews tell us, that he showed David’s letters to him concerning the death of Uriah, which was much to his disgrace. Others hold that the death of Absalom still stuck in David’s stomach, together with that rough and rude language which Joab gave him for his excessive mourning thereupon. Theodoret thinketh it was his siding with Adonijah, and the evil that he might yet work against Solomon, whom he never loved, but held him unworthy to reign for his scandalous birth.

And what he did to the two captains, … — This seemeth to be the very thing that he did against David; for besides that the sovereign is smitten in the subject, David had given the public faith to these two captains for their safety, and, therefore, appropriateth their slaughter, as good reason he had.

And put the blood of war upon his girdle, … — In a bold and public way, as if he had bragged of his murders; like as Alexander Pheraeus is said to have consecrated the javelin wherewith he slew his uncle Polyphron, and called it his god Tychon, of great luck. Plutarch, in Pelopida.

Verse 6

Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.

Do therefore according to thy wisdom,q.d., He is of a turbulent spirit, and will be apt enough to give thee just occasion to fall upon him. See that it be thoroughly done, for it lieth upon my conscience, that he hath hitherto passed unpunished. Of his adultery and murder we hear not a word, because he had made a thorough peace with God for those sins in his lifetime; he had compounded with his judge, …: but the cases of Joab and Shimei troubled him on his death bed.

And let not his hoar head, … — Let him be well punished, though he is now old, and hath done great exploits.

Verse 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.

For so they came to me. — So as I now desire thee to do to them, as did they to me when I was in distress - viz., they fed and relieved me, for which I hold myself their perpetual debtor. Eaten bread, we say, is soon forgotten; but not with the thankful. Agesilaus, king of Sparta, was always very grateful for any courtesies that he received; and used to say, that it was not only an unjust thing not to be thankful, but if a man did not return greater kindness than he received. Plut. How bountifully dealt the Lord Cromwell with Francis Frescobald, the Florentine, who had sometime relieved him in his great necessity, furnishing him with a horse, clothes, and money to bear his charges from Italy to England. Act. and Mon.

Verse 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.

Thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gerah. — Some think that, moved by David’s favour in forgiving him, 2 Samuel 19:23 he would not take part with Adonijah. 1 Kings 1:8 But if it were the same Shimei, and not rather another and better of his name, 1 Kings 4:18 yet now he must answer for his old faults. So that deferring payment is no breach of bond: there will come a time wherein the Lord will have a full blow at the impenitent person, be the pretences of impunity what they will.

Which cursed me with a grievous curse. — Heb., Strong; Gr., Dolorous; Chald., Bitter. Indeed his mouth was "full of cursing and bitterness," as if he had been as far as hell to fetch every word. 2 Samuel 16:5-13

And I sware to him. — See on 2 Samuel 19:23 .

Verse 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.

Hold him not guiltless. — But when he shall have "added iniquity to his iniquity," pay him home for the new and the old together. It hath been before observed, that sin may sleep a long time, like a sleeping debt, not called for of many years.

Verse 10

So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.

So David slept with his fathers. — When he had served out his time, Acts 13:25 when he had done his work, God sent him to bed. Isaiah 57:2 In 1 Chronicles 29:28 , it is said that "he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour." He was regum omnium idea et exemplar, a notable pattern for princes, and in very many things a type of Christ.

And was buried in the city of David. — Not in Bethlehem, but in Zion, 2 Samuel 5:7 the usual royal burying place. Josephus Lib. vii. writeth that his son Solomon buried him magnificently; and that into his sepulchre were put very great riches, … It was to be seen till the apostles’ times. Acts 2:29

Verse 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.

Were forty years. — Scarce any king of Judah reigned so long. Our Queen Elizabeth reigned four and forty years, and lived about seventy years; having been the most glorious woman that ever swayed sceptre, as her very enemies acknowledged.

Verse 12

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

And his kingdom was established greatly,sc., After that he had cut off those three arch-rebels Joab, Adonijah, and Shimei.

Verse 13

And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.

And Adonijah … came to Bathsheba. — Being put on and advised thereunto, as it is thought, by Joab and Abiathar.

Comest thou peaceably? — She had reason to suspect the contrary; as knowing him discontented and turbulent.

Verse 14

He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.

I have somewhat to say unto thee. — But take heed that your tongue cut not your throat, as the Arabic proverb hath it.

Verse 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.

Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, — viz., By right of succession, I being the eldest son now alive, see 1 Kings 1:6 and chosen by the people too. 1 Kings 1:25

Howbeit the kingdom is turned about. — By that great Induperator, who putteth down one and setteth up another;

Ludit in humanis divina potentia rebus.

For it was his from the Lord. — Why then would Adonijah dash against the divine decree, and sin against his own knowledge, by saying, I will be king?

Verse 16

And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.

Deny me not. — Heb., Turn not away my face, i.e., Ne reiecias me more denegantium, reject me not as those do that deny one a request. Quaeque repulsa gravis: A repulse is grievous.

Verse 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.

For he will not say thee nay. — He knew that a mother might do much, as Olympias with Alexander, Agrippina with Nero, … The Romanists blasphemously pray to the mother of Christ, to command her Son to do this or that for them.

Verse 18

And Bathsheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.

Well; I will speak for thee. — Though Bathsheba were a wise woman, grandchild to Ahithophel, yet she perceived not Adonijah’s drift - viz., to undermine her son Solomon, and to shoulder him out of the throne. Hence she was so facile and forward to gratify him.

Verse 19

Bathsheba 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.

And bowed himself unto her. — Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, would in Westminster Hall beg his father’s blessing on his knees.

Verse 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.

I desire one small petition of thee. — Small she called it, but Solomon, who saw further into the matter, judged otherwise of it. 1 Kings 2:22 There are depths of the devil which every one cannot dive into.

Ut fugias quae sunt noxia, tuta time.

Verse 21

And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.

Let Abishag … be given to Adonijah to wife. — Overcome by Adonijah’s fair words and her own melting thoughts of compassion towards him, Bathsheba, not considering the consequents, proposeth the suit, and presseth it by the relation that was betwixt Solomon and Adonijah his brother. But was not David Adonijah’s father also? and will none serve his turn but his father’s concubine was not this to attempt against natural honesty and common decency? What if Abishag were καλη και σοφη - as Aelian saith Aspasia Milesia, Cyrus’s concubine, was - both fair and discreet, which is a rare mixture, yet she was not so fit for Adonijah; but he had a further fetch in this incestuous desire of his.

Verse 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.

Ask for him the kingdom also. — For that is it he gapes after, and seeks to strengthen his cracked title by marrying the late king’s concubine, see 2 Samuel 3:7 ; 2 Samuel 12:8 ; 2 Samuel 16:21 who was likely grown very gracious with the great ones, and as potent at court, as was once here Dame Alice Pierce, King Edward III’s concubine, who did whatsoever she pleased.

And for Abiathar the priest and for Joab. — Who are his counsellors, and fellow conspirators. This he knew, by a specal instinct of the Spirit.

Verse 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.

And Solomon sware. — That his mother, seeing him so resolute, might no more solicit.

Verse 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.

Adonijah shall be put to death this day. — This day; before tomorrow, lest delay should breed danger: who knoweth what a great-bellied day may bring forth? We use to say, A day breaketh no square: but that is not always true. Oh that we would be as quick in slaying our arch-rebels, those predominant sins that threaten our precious souls!

Verse 25

And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.

And he fell upon him that he died. — This was another piece of the punishment of David’s two great sins: the small and short pleasure whereof, behold, what a train and tail of calamities it draweth after it!

Verse 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.

And unto Abiathar the priest.Cuius et Ioabi consilio atque auxilio usus est Adoniiah, who together with Joab had conspired with Adonijah, and had his hand elbow deep in this new plot.

Get thee to Anathoth. — Here Solomon exauthorateth him, and depriveth him of the chief priesthood, for the execution whereof he should have been resident at Jerusalem.

Because thou hast been afflicted. — But for this, he had been now a dead man. So God by the rod preventeth the sword; and therefore will not condemn his saints for their sins, because they have suffered, 1 Corinthians 11:31 and in his account suffered double. Isaiah 40:2

Verse 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.

So Solomon thrust out Abiathar. — Our Henry II could not so easily rid his hands of Thomas Becket, that arch-traitor; but having had him above his wit while he lived, he was forced to have him over his faith being dead, kneeling and praying to his shrine. And yet forty-eight years after he was sainted, it was disputed at Paris among the doctors whether he was damned or saved. And one Roger, a Norman, maintained he had justly deserved death for rebelling against his sovereign, the minister of God. Dan., Hist., 99.

Verse 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.

For Joab had turned after Adonijah. — And that was his bane. If men do not cast away all their transgressions - that "all" is a little word but of large extent - they perish undoubtedly. Many here, like Benhadad, recover of one disease and die of another.

And caught hold. — See on 1 Kings 1:50 .

Verse 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.

Go, fall upon him. — Wilful murderers were to be drawn from the altar to the slaughter. Exodus 21:14

Verse 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.

Nay, but I will die here. — He dreamed not now of death; as hoping that his murdering of the two captains had been forgotten, and that for his conspiracy with Adonijah, the altar might secure him. But "the hypocrite’s hope is as the giving up of the ghost." Job 27:8

Verse 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.

Do as he hath said. — Slay him, though it be at the altar. Becket, the traitor, was so served by some that belonged to our Henry II, and thought to gratify him thereby. And although the king constantly protested, se nec mandasse, nec voluisse, nec suo artificio quaesivisse necem Thomae, that he was neither witting nor willing to the taking away of his life in that sort; yet, for a penance, he was, by the command of the Pope’s legate, lashed on the bare [back] with rods, each of the priests and friars there present - and they were not a few - giving him three or four stripes, till the blood followed: besides that he was forced to go three miles on his bare feet, which yielded bloody tokens of his devotion, on the way to Becket’s sepulchre, which he went to visit. Rev., De Vit. Pontif., 149. Dan., Hist., fol. 101.

Verse 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.

My father David not knowing of it. — This he is careful to insert for the honour of his father.

Verse 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.

And upon the head of his seed for ever. — See 2 Samuel 3:29 . See Trapp on " 2 Samuel 3:29 "

Verse 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.

And he was buried in his own house in the wilderness,i.e., In a forest, fit for pasturage, and but thinly inhabited. The Hebrews say that Joab’s house here mentioned was a hospital that he built in the way for the harbouring of poor passengers: and that for this good deed his soul was saved. But of this none can judge, saith Pet. Martyr, because the Scripture saith nothing of it. But this it saith, that when Joab was dead and buried, Hadad the Edomite hearing thereof, returned out of Egypt into his own country, and became an adversary to Solomon, when once he forgot his God. 1 Kings 11:14 ; 1 Kings 11:22

Verse 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.

And Zadok the priest did the king put, … — Abiathar, the fourth from Eli, was of the race of Ithamar, the younger brother. Zadok was the right heir of Eleazar and Phinehas, Numbers 25:13 1 Chronicles 6:3 , … and was therefore rightly restored by Solomon. Of his commendation, see 1 Samuel 2:35 .

Verse 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.

Build thee a house in Jerusalem. — Shimei was no further to be trusted than he might be seen, and is therefore confined, and kept within compass: so should our deceitful hearts be dealt with. Set a jealous eye upon them, or else they will give you the slip, as David’s did. Psalms 39:1-2 He said he would look to his ways and bridle his tongue; but presently after, he shows how he broke his word. 1 Kings 2:3

Verse 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.

And passest over the brook Kidron. — The black brook, the town ditch: this was between Jerusalem and Bahurim, Shimei’s inheritance. He might do much hurt among his Benjamites; and is therefore kept from them. We must also set bounds to our affections, and threaten them if extravagant.

Verse 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.

The saying is good: … so will thy servant do. — The false heart praiseth the law and promiseth obedience, but faileth in performance; here it "starteth aside, like a deceitful bow." Psalms 78:57 See Trapp on " Psalms 78:57 "

And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days. — Till he had an occasion of doing otherwise. Augustine thanks God that the heart and temptation met not together.

Verse 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.

At the end of three years. — When he might haply hope that Solomon had forgotten him, or did not at least so strictly look to him. God had an overruling hand in it, to bring Shimei to condign punishment.

And they told Shimei. — Either for good or evil will; so shall a man sooner or later hear of his faults either by his friends or his foes: and malice though an ill judge, may be a good informer.

Verse 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.

And Shimei arose, … — The dust of covetousness had blinded him: his passions also miscarried him - as they oft do better men - to his cost.

And brought his servants from Gath. — But to the loss of his life. How many are there who cry out of this folly, and yet imitate it! These earthly things either are our servants, or should be: how commonly do men break the bound set them by God’s law, to hunt after them, though they perish for it!

Verse 41

And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again.

And it was told Solomon. — Kings have long ears, and more eyes than their own.

And was come again. — He thought by a secret escape and a speedy return haply to do it unnoticed.

Verse 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.

Did not I make thee to swear. — Oρκος quasi ιρκος , oaths should bind to good abearance: but some can play with them as apes do with nuts, or monkeys with their collars, which they slip on and off again at pleasure.

Verse 43

Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the LORD, and the commandment that I have charged thee with?

The oath of the Lord. — Made in his name, and to be kept to his glory, whereof he is jealous.

Verse 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;

Thou knowest all the wickedness. — To know other things is science: but to know ourselves is conscience. This is the reflection of the soul upon itself. "Our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them." Quid tibi prodest non habere conscium, habenti couscientiam?

Verse 45

And king Solomon [shall be] blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD for ever.

And king Solomon shall be blessed. — For such due execution of justice. See Numbers 25:11-12 Psalms 106:30 .

Verse 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.

And the kingdom was established.Hoc est, sine aemulis regnare coepit; the contrary faction was destroyed, and none left to oppose him.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 2". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/1-kings-2.html. 1865-1868.
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