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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

1 Kings 2

Verses 1-4

David Encourages Solomon

David sees that the end of his life on earth is near. That is the moment to command his son Solomon some things. In his introductory words he speaks the word which Joshua also spoke (Joshua 23:14) and which applies to all people, except to the believers who belong to the church. Believers who belong to the church do not expect to go “the way of all the earth”, but expect the coming of the Lord Jesus to take them to Himself in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:15-Job :).

David also speaks to Solomon the encouraging words which Moses and the LORD once spoke to Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:23; Joshua 1:9). Farewells of believers like Moses and David contain encouragements for the next generation (cf. 2 Timothy 2:1). Just as David refers his son Solomon to what is “written in the Law of Moses” (1 Kings 2:3), so must the Word of God be the norm for us in maintaining God’s rights. If we keep to this, He will make His Word true to us. This also applies to our children, both physically and spiritually.

Being strong and showing oneself a man Solomon can do by keeping the commandments of the LORD. He must show the keeping of these commandments by walking in His ways, which means “to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies”. These four words indicate the different intentions of the law and serve to make the rich and multiple contents of the law more individual. Adherence to this is the condition for wisdom and prosperity (Deuteronomy 29:9).

The blessings in both books of Kings are always made dependent on obedience, which is indicated by the word “if”. That not a man will lack who will sit on the throne does not mean that there will always be someone who will be sitting on David’s throne. It means that David’s offspring will not be permanently eradicated, and there never will be someone to sit on the throne again. The final fulfilment will take place in Christ.

Verses 5-6

Command to Deal With Joab

The murder committed by Joab on Abner should have been punished by David, but he did not do so out of weakness (2 Samuel 3:39). However, he has no rest and instructs Solomon to do so. Also the murder of Amasa (2 Samuel 20:10) committed by Joab has yet to be punished. Solomon must exercise God’s right, as the Lord Jesus will do one day.

Justice must have its course. Joab unjustly smeared his service (belt) and his walk (shoes) with blood. Therefore he will not die peacefully, but by the sword of judgment. In the case of Joab, the general, special wisdom is needed in order for the right to have its course in the right way. Otherwise the army could revolt. David connects righteousness to wisdom or understanding (Jeremiah 23:5). Justice must be exercised with Divine wisdom. Only then no mistakes are made. The work of righteousness is peace (Isaiah 32:17).

Verse 7

Kindness for Barzillai

David thinks not only of judgment, but also of reward. He did not punish directly, nor did he reward directly, but both are properly exercised. He never forgot the benefit Barzillai did to him by giving him his sons (2 Samuel 17:27-Joel :; 2 Samuel 19:32-Zechariah :). These sons will be allowed to eat with Solomon in his realm of peace and justice, they will be allowed to lie down in that realm. The dedication of parents to Christ is rewarded in the children (cf. 2 Timothy 1:5).

The blessings we have received from our friends should not be buried in their graves or in our graves, but our children should reward them to their children. Perhaps Solomon derived the saying from that: “Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend” (Proverbs 27:10).

Verses 8-9

Command to Deal With Shimei

David was also weak with Shimei. Or is it the generosity of David that he has endured this evil for so long in his environment? Shimei made a terrible curse when David fled from Absalom (2 Samuel 16:5-Ruth :). That David spared him then (2 Samuel 19:19-Isaiah :) can be an understandable and perhaps even admirable weakness. But what Shimei has done must be punished. That is why Solomon is given the task not to let Shimei go unpunished. Solomon’s way of dealing with Shimei again bears witness to Divine wisdom.

Both in judging Joab and Shimei, David appeals to the wisdom of Solomon (1 Kings 2:6; 1 Kings 2:9). These two cases indicate that both bad deeds, done by Joab, and bad words, pronounced by Shimei, are judged.

Verses 10-12

David Dies – Solomon Is King Alone

What is said here of David (cf. 1 Chronicles 29:28), will unfortunately not be said of Solomon. David has ruled a total of forty years.

When David died, Solomon alone is king. He continued the kingship of his father David on his throne. By God’s blessing his kingship becomes great (2 Chronicles 1:1).

Through the one throne on which both David and Solomon sit, we see that together they are a picture of the Lord Jesus in His reign. In David we see a reign which he has obtained in battle; in Solomon this is a reign which he exercises in peace and justice.

Verses 13-25

Solomon Deals With Adonijah

After Solomon came to power as king, not all opposition has been completely banned. There is still someone who wants to attract to himself the authority given by God to Solomon. We must always be vigilant to such a danger, both within ourselves and with others. Solomon’s brother Adonijah wants to do another hold on power. He wants to do that by taking Abishag as his wife along a detour.

He cunningly frames his coup. He is pretending to have a small request, but one that is very far-reaching. He uses Bathsheba for this. She is suspicious and asks if he comes peacefully. However, he speaks very convincingly, even using the name of the LORD. The feelings of Bathsheba are reassured. She sees nothing special behind the request and tells him to go to the king.

Solomon treats his mother with the necessary honor. He gives her the opportunity to make her “small request” and promised not to refuse her. Bathsheba does her request. However, Solomon sees through what is behind it (cf. 2 Samuel 12:8; 2 Samuel 3:72 Samuel 16:21). As is customary in the Orient, marrying the wife or concubine of a deceased king was at the same time a claim to the throne. He also knows that Abiathar and Joab are involved.

Solomon acts in justice in judgment with Adonijah because of his evil intent. He sends Benaiah to carry out the sentence. Benaiah is the man who first gained victories in secret for the benefit of God’s people. Now he shares in the open government of Solomon and is an upholder of the law of God.

Benaiah is a special man. His name means “built up by the LORD” or “the LORD has insight, is wise”. Several people bear that name; but the man so closely associated with David is found in 2 Samuel 8; 20; 23; 1 Kings 1; 2; 4. [See a more extended description of Benaiah in the explanation of 2 Samuel 23:20-23].

Verses 26-27

Solomon Deals With Abiathar

Solomon doesn’t forget what Abjathar did in good things. Therefore he does not kill him, but banishes him. He expels him from the priesthood. With this he fulfills the word of the LORD, which he spoke to Eli, the priest from the line of Ithamar, more than eighty years ago (1 Samuel 2:30-Habakkuk :; 1 Samuel 3:12). Because of his unfaithfulness, the priesthood is taken away from him. In his place, Zadok is taken from the line of Eleazar (1 Kings 2:35). That it all lasted so long shows the patience of God.

Verses 28-34

Solomon Deals With Joab

Joab sees that he will be judged and flees to the tent of the LORD. There he takes refuge to the horns of the altar, as Adonijah did before (1 Kings 1:50; cf. Exodus 21:13-2 Chronicles :). Joab did not have the right to take hold the horns, because he had not accidentally killed someone. Whether he was aware of this, given the long time that has passed, is unclear. He may also have fled because he assisted Adonijah in his uprising and therefore feared punishment.

Solomon knows that the altar is not intended as a refuge for murderers. Therefore he has Joab killed by Benaiah. Thus the ungodly is discarded from the king and his throne is confirmed by righteousness (Proverbs 25:5). If a throne is confirmed by righteousness, there will be eternal peace. Solomon points this out in 1 Kings 2:33.

Verse 35

A New Commander and a New Priest

Benaja is now openly appointed as army commander instead of Joab who has behaved unworthy of this position. The priest Zadok replaces Abiathar (1 Samuel 2:35).

Verses 36-46

Solomon Deals With Shimei

Shimei gets the chance to prove his obedience by coming to and living in Jerusalem, near Solomon. He is told where the limits of his freedom of expression lie. Jerusalem becomes his prison. He agrees with the terms and conditions. The language he uses is reminiscent of the consent of the people of Israel to the conditions for obtaining the blessing of God (Exodus 19:8). It will be Shimei as Israel, because like Israel, he is not keeping his promise either.

Shimei calls for judgment upon himself by not keeping the promise made. Here we see the person who does not know himself. It can take a long time, but then what is in his heart becomes public. Shimei adheres to the conditions, until two slaves run away, resulting in a personal loss. He can’t let that go. To do so, he crosses the limits that have been set for him and breaks the oath that he has taken. His runaway slaves are more important than his promise to Solomon to be obedient.

Solomon hears it and lets him bring it to him. He reminds him of the appointment. He also reminds him of what he did to his father David and that he did so consciously. Solomon orders Benaiah to kill him. The judgment is carried out quickly, as is appropriate for a king who rules in justice.

In what Shimei does, we see the principle that a person can win the whole world, but can lose his soul (Matthew 16:26). What use is it to Shimei that he has his servants back, while it costs him his life? People can admit that they are sinners without drawing the right conclusions. In contrast to this unfaithful conduct, David’s throne stands forever.

Solomon is confirmed in the kingship when he has removed all stumbling blocks from his kingdom (cf. Matthew 13:41-John :). Thus, the Christian will know and enjoy the peace of God if he removes from his life everything that prevents his life from being ruled by the Lord Jesus as the Prince of Peace.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Kings 2". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/1-kings-2.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.