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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
1 Kings 2

 

 

Verses 1-12

B.—David’s last words to Song of Solomon, and his death

1 Kings 2:1-12

1Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his Song of Solomon, saying, 2I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; 3and keep the charge of the Lord [Jehovah] 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[FN1] in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: 4that the Lord [Jehovah] may continue [confirm][FN2] His word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children [sons][FN3] take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,[FN4] there shall not fail thee (said he)[FN5] a man on the throne of Israel 5 Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and [even][FN6] 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[FN7] upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet 6 Do therefore according to thy Wisdom of Solomon, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace 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 8 me when I fled because of [before][FN8] Absalom thy brother. And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite [a son of the Jaminite][FN9] 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 [Jehovah], saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword 9 Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise Prayer of Manasseh, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.

10So [And] 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 reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.

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

Exegetical and Critical

1 Kings 2:1. Now the days of David, &c. The Chronicles omit the history of Adonijah, but narrate instead, that David ordered a solemn act of homage of the entire people, in the persons of their representatives, towards Solomon when he was anointed “a second time” ( 1 Chronicles 23:1 sq, and 1 Chronicles 29:20-25). Such also was the case with Saul ( 1 Samuel 11:12-15), and with David himself ( 2 Samuel 5:1-3; 1 Chronicles 11:1-3). Solomon’s first anointing was rather impromptu, called for by the pressure of circumstances, upon which account it was proper that it should be followed by another done with all solemnity before the whole people. It took place also before that which is narrated in the section to be considered. The words, “a second time,” show that the first anointing was well known to the chronicler. His narrative, besides, does not “rest upon liberty with the history” (Thenius), but is a filling-out of our own, with which it agrees very well.

1 Kings 2:2-4. I go the way, &c. The form of expression reminds one of Joshua 23:14; 1 Samuel 4:9; but especially of Joshua 1:7. The exhortation: Be thou strong, therefore, and show thyself a man! does not mean: be consoled on account of my departure, bear it manfully; but it refers to what follows—be strong and brave in the “charge” of Jehovah, in the fulfilment of His prescripts. The expression: שָׁמַרְתָּ מִשְׁמֶרֶת יְהוָֹה does not convey the sense: consider what Jehovah wills to have considered, i.e, His laws (for then the following would be pleonastic), but rather custodies custodiam Jehovae, keep the charge which thou art bound to Jehovah, to accomplish; be a true watchman in the service of Jehovah and for Him (comp. 1 Chronicles 23:32; 1 Chronicles 12:29; Numbers 3:6-8; Numbers 3:38). This charge is fulfilled in walking in the ways of God—in observing His various commandments. The expressions which here, as elsewhere, so frequently standing side by side, denote the latter ( Deuteronomy 5:28; Deuteronomy 8:11; Psalm 118:5 sq.), do not admit of sharply-drawn distinctions; but they “denote together the totality of the law upon its different sides and relations to men” (Keil).—הִשְׂכִּיל does not mean exactly “to have good fortune” (Gesenius, De Wette, and others), but to be skilful, wise. He who in all things stands upon the commandments of God, and governs himself thereafter, is and carries himself wisely. What he does, will and must have a prosperous issue, and come to a right conclusion ( Deuteronomy 29:8; Jeremiah 3:15 sq.; Jeremiah 23:5; Proverbs 17:8; 2 Kings 18:7).—In 1 Kings 2:4 the positive promise in 2 Samuel 7:11 sq. is expressed in negative form, as also in 1 Kings 8:25; 1 Kings 9:5; Jeremiah 33:17. The לֹא־יִכָּרֵת “does not denote a completely unbroken succession, but only the opposite of a break forever” (Hengstenberg). Thy house and seed shall never be exterminated, what catastrophies soever may happen.

1 Kings 2:5-6. The charge which David delivers in 1 Kings 2:5-9, were not, according to Ewald and Eisenlohr, originally made by him; but were first, at some subsequent time, put into his mouth in order to explain and justify Solomon’s severity to Joab and to Shimei ( 1 Kings 2:28 sq.). This supposition is as unnecessary as arbitrary.—Upon the double murder of which Joab was guilty, comp. 2 Samuel 3:27 sq, and 1 Kings 20:8 sq. The first threw a false suspicion upon David ( 2 Samuel 3:37); the second was coupled with scorn and defiance of the royal authority ( 2 Samuel 20:11); hence what he has done to me (to my injury).—יָשֶׂם, 1 Kings 2:5, literally, he shed “blood of war” in peace, i.e, he furnished an unheard of example when he killed Abner and Amasa, not as foes, in open, honorable warfare, but murderously destroyed the inoffensive. Instead of the second “blood of war,” Thenius, after the Sept. (αἶμα ἀθῶον), reads דָּם נַקִי, which makes good sense, certainly, but is unnecessary.—Girdle and shoes are not here introduced as “especial parts of oriental costume” (Thenius, Keil); nor is it thereby said, “from the girdle of his loins, to the latchet of his shoes,” i.e, over and over (Ewald); but girdle and shoes here are rather the marks of the warrior, as in Isaiah 5:27 and Ephesians 6:14 sq, for the sword is fastened to the girdle ( 2 Samuel 20:8), and the shoes serve for marching, and provided with both, one enters upon battle. David also means to say: Joab has soiled with murder and blood the insignia of his rank and dignity as a soldier and generalissimo, and covered his office with shame and disgrace.—According to thy wisdom. “David does not wish Solomon to invent a pretext for taking Joab’s life; but he exhorts him to observe wisely the right moment and occasion, when Joab shall furnish a reason, to hold him to account also for his blood-guiltiness, so that no murmuring shall arise among the people; but every one can see the justice of the punishment” (Starke).—In peace,i.e, so unpunished as if he had done only good, and committed no crime worthy of death.

1 Kings 2:7-9. Barzillai. Comp. 2 Samuel 17:27 sq.At thy table,i.e, not “that they shall have the privilege of eating with the king at the royal table itself” (Keil); but they shall receive their necessary food from the court, like the royal servants ( Daniel 1:5). The recollection of the noble service of Barzillai leads to the mention of the crime of Shimei, committed on the same occasion ( 2 Samuel 16:5 sq, and 1 Kings 19:21).—עִמְּךָ ( 1 Kings 2:8) does not mean under thy power (Starke), but near thee. Bahurim, where Shimei dwelt ( 2 Samuel 16:5), was a village in the neighborhood of Jerusalem (Joseph. Ant. 7, 9, 7), about one and a-half hours’ (five miles and a quarter) distant from it. David does not say simply, he cursed me; but emphatically, he cursed me with a curse, and adds the epithet, נִמְרֶצֶת, which, according to Thenius, because the primary signification of מרץ, Isaiah, to be exhausted, sick, means “heinous” in the sense of horrendus. According to Kimchi and Gesenius, the primary signification Isaiah, to be powerful, strong, and for this the remaining passages, where the word occurs, decide ( Micah 2:10; Job 6:25; Job 16:3; Vulgate, Maledictio pessima).—For thou art a wise Prayer of Manasseh, and knowest,i.e, I leave to thy discretion the how and when of the punishment. An αἰτία εὔλογος (Josephus), will not be wanting. With blood, the opposite of the “in peace” in 1 Kings 2:6, inasmuch as he has deserved it.

1 Kings 2:10-11. In the city of David,i.e, in Mount Zion, in which, caves that served as burial vaults were constructed (Winer, R-W-B, ii. s. 736). According to Thenius the entrance into these vaults was on the east, in the vale Tyropoeon, in a sloping declivity of the mountain, opposite the spring Siloam. The later kings also were buried here ( 1 Kings 11:43; 1 Kings 14:31; 1 Kings 15:8, &c.). The still Song of Solomon -called kings’ graves are different, and are situated on the opposite side, to the north of the Damascus gate (Robinson, Palestine, vol. i. p240,357 sq.). David had, without doubt, prepared these burial-places for himself and his successors. In what high estimation his tomb was held is clear from the circumstance that it was known even during the time of Christ ( Acts 2:29). According to 2 Samuel 5:5, six months were added to the seven years. 1 Kings 2:12 is the transition to the next section, where it is told how Solomon’s administration was strengthened.

Historical and Ethical

1. In the last words of David to Song of Solomon, it is not so much the father speaking to his Song of Solomon, as the king of Israel, the head of the theocratic kingdom, to his successor upon the throne. From this stand-point we must view alike the general and the special portions of the whole discourse. The calling of a king of Israel consisted especially in this: to preserve the “kingdom of Jehovah” ( 1 Chronicles 28:5; 1 Chronicles 29:23); to be not the representative, but the servant of Jehovah, the true and proper king, also to observe “all the words of the Law, and all the ordinances of Jehovah” ( Deuteronomy 17:14-20); but, before all, that supreme and chief command, Exodus 20:3-6, to observe completely the covenant which Jehovah had made with His chosen people. With this high calling David’s soul was completely filled; and as he had continually “done what was right in the eyes of Jehovah, and had not turned aside from anything that had been enjoined upon him all his life long” ( 1 Kings 15:5), Song of Solomon, also, in the last moments of his life, it was his greatest solicitude that his successor upon the throne should stand upon “the charge of Jehovah” ( 1 Kings 2:3), i.e, should take care that the law of Moses, with all its particular prescripts, in their entire circumference, should be maintained. This he earnestly and solemnly sets forth as the foundation of a prosperous and blessed reign, and as the condition of the fulfilment of the promise made to him in respect of the continuance of his “house” ( 2 Samuel 7.). So David appears here, yet once more, in his grand historical significance, namely, as the type of a theocratic king, by which the conduct of all subsequent kings is measured ( 1 Kings 3:3; 1 Kings 3:6; 1 Kings 3:14; 1 Kings 9:4; 1 Kings 10:4-6; 1 Kings 11:33-38; 1 Kings 14:8; 1 Kings 15:5-11; 2 Kings 14:3; 2 Kings 16:2; 2 Kings 18:3; 2 Kings 22:2). The throne of David is Israel’s model throne; no king of Israel has left behind him such a testament as David here.

2. It is worthy of remark, that the man who reigned forty years, and whose life as ruler was so rich in experience, should, amongst the counsels he imparted to his successor, have placed this in the fore front; “be thou strong, therefore, and show thyself a man!” He knew what belongs to the office of ruler. Moral weaknesses, swaying hither and thither like a reed moved by the wind; unseasonable pliability is a greater defect in a ruler than if he be overtaken by this or that particular sin in private life. Rightly says the Scripture, Woe to the land whose king is a child (instead of a man), Ecclesiastes 10:16. Firmness and manliness, however, are not the fruit of caprice, and of an unbroken heart. It is through grace that the heart is made strong ( Hebrews 13:9).

3. The special directions, which refer to individual persons, David likewise communicates, not as a private Prayer of Manasseh, but as king of Israel. Joab’s double murder had gone fully unpunished. At the time of its commission David was not in a condition to be able to punish him; but he felt the full weight of the deed, and in his horror of it uttered an imprecation of Joab ( 2 Samuel 3:29). In the eyes of the people, nevertheless, the non-punishment must have been regarded as an insult against law and righteousness, the charge of which devolved upon the king. “It was a stain upon his reign not yet blotted out. Even upon his death-bed he cannot think otherwise than that it is his duty, as that of the supreme Judges, to deliver to his successor a definite direction about it” (Hess, Gesch. David’s, ii. s. 220). It lay upon his conscience, and he desired that this stain somehow (“do according to thy Wisdom of Solomon,1 Kings 2:1) should be removed. Moreover, Joab’s participation in Adonijah’s revolt must have appeared as dangerous for the throne of Solomon. As the punishment of Joab was to him a matter of conscience, so also was Barzillai’s compensation. What Barzillai had done, he had done for him as king, as the anointed of Jehovah. Such fidelity and devotion to the legitimate reigning house (Königthum) in a time of great and almost universal falling away, ought to be publicly requited, and to be recognized in honorable remembrance after the death of the king. This compensation must serve, no less than the righteous punishment of Joab, to the firm establishment of the throne of Solomon. In direct contrast with the action of Barzillai was that of Shimei. He did not curse David as a private person, but he cursed him with the heaviest curse as the “anointed of Jehovah,” and therein Jehovah himself directly. For blasphemy against the king was on the same level with blasphemy against God ( 2 Kings 21:10). Both were punished with death ( Leviticus 24:14 sq.; Exodus 22:27; 2 Samuel 16:9), hence also Abishai thought that Shimei should be put to death ( 2 Samuel 19:22). But David wished on the day when God had shown him a great mercy, to show mercy himself, and upon that account spared his life. But “it was no small matter to allow the miscreant to spend his life near him (no banishment was talked of). And to permit him to spend his days quietly under the following reign (which had never been promised him), would have been a kindness that might have been greatly abused as a precedent of unpunished crimes” (Hess). In fact, Shimei was a dangerous Prayer of Manasseh, and capable of repeating what he had done to David. As for the rest, David left Solomon to choose the manner and time of his punishment, only he was not to go unpunished.

4. David’s conduct on his dying-bed has frequently been regarded as a great reproach to him. The latest (secular) history passes the following judgment upon it: “If David’s life and deeds had not sufficiently shown his mind, these last words of the dying man would leave no doubt about his character.… We must turn away from such blood-thirsty desire for revenge which, though innate with the Semitic races, is united here with a concealment of purpose and malice that are peculiar to David. His vengeance, even out of the grave itself, determines to strike, through the hand of his Song of Solomon, an insignificant Prayer of Manasseh, to whom he (David) had once promised forgiveness when he himself was in a strait. Forgetting all the services and victories he owed to Joab, David determines, in order to gratify a long-cherished ill-feeling, to have a Prayer of Manasseh, to whom he owed his kingdom and whom he himself had not ventured to touch, murdered by his Song of Solomon, ostensibly for two acts which Joab did, if not with David’s consent, yet by no means against his will; the fruits of which David had willingly accepted, and which acts he had not made the slightest efforts to punish” (Duncker, Gesch. des Alterthums, i. s. 386). In this view it is entirely overlooked that David did not then speak as a private Prayer of Manasseh, but as a theocratic king, and this judgment of him is quite false, no regard being paid to the time and the circumstances. The rough, false assassin Joab, who finally conspires with Adonijah, is made to appear as a man of high merit, and the blasphemer and traitor Shimei, as an insignificant, unfairly-treated Prayer of Manasseh, while David, who departs life without one crime on his conscience as king, and who desires to fulfil the demands of justice as well as of gratitude, is said to have displayed the whole of his wicked and malicious character at the last. “Nothing but an uncritical confusion, which wished to behold in David a saint and a complete model of virtue (which the Scriptures nowhere assert him to be), could call forth, as contrast, the degradation of the king, which is as one-sided as unpsychological” (Winer, R-W-B, i s. 258). [Yes! but our author forgets that David had sworn to Shimei, Thou shalt not die! ( 2 Samuel 19:23); and “the king” it was (i.e, David as king) that “swore unto him.” Clearly David’s act of grace to Shimei was an act of royal right, royal clemency, and nothing but sophistry can justify his dying charge to Solomon not to let the unfortunate man die in peace.—E. H.] When Bunsen’s Bibel-werk says: “The vengeance of David can never be justified from the Christian point of view,” it is quite overlooked that that point of view is not the fitting one here. David belonged to the Old Testament economy, to the time of the law, not the gospel, and his conduct must be judged in the light of the former. It is an anachronism to measure Old Testament persons by the standard of the sermon on the mount. Besides, the same apostle who exhorts the believers as follows: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, immediately after, speaking of authorities—and David speaks as such here—tells them that they are “ministers of God, revengers to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” ( Romans 12:9; Romans 13:4). In the kingdom of God in which the law of earthly punishments prevailed, such a crime (like that of Joab and Shimei) could not remain unpunished. Hebrews, too, who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; who, when He suffered, threatened not ( 1 Peter 2:23), announced in a parable the final judgment of His enemies: “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” ( Luke 19:27 : v. Gerlach). We scarcely find as many instances of personal love to a foe, generosity and goodness, in the life of any Old Testament hero, as in David’s. It is evident that the author of our books does not relate the commissions objected to, to vilify David at the last, as Duncker does, but on the contrary he tells them, to his honor, to show how entirely king of Israel David was, even on his dying-bed.

5. Chronicles ( 1 Chronicles 29:28) relates the death of David with the addition that “he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honor.” We see how much he was honored even in death, from the fact that his weapons were preserved as relics in the sanctuary ( 2 Kings 11:10). Compare the eulogy in Sirach 47:2-11. For the character of the great, and indeed greatest, king of Israel, though now so often unjustly judged, by whose name the expected Messiah was designated by the prophets ( Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 37:24; Hosea 3:5), comp. Niemeyer, Charaktistik der Bibel, iv. s. 107–358, and Ewald, Gesch. Isr, iii. s. 250–257, which says, with regard to the “last (poetical) words” of David ( 2 Samuel 23:1-7): “No prince, especially one who did not inherit the kingdom, could close his life with more blessed divine peace, or a more assured and cheerful view into the future.”

Homiletical and Practical

1 Kings 2:1-9. David’s last words to Solomon (a) with regard to the kingdom generally ( 1 Kings 2:1-4), (b) respecting some individuals ( 1 Kings 2:5-9; see Historical and Ethical).

1 Kings 2:2. Various as are the paths of men from their birth, yet they all, kings as well as beggars, rich and poor, go the way to the grave ( Sirach 40:1-3). And yet so many live as if they had not to travel that road ( Psalm 39:5-6; Psalm 90:11-12).—The passing nature and vanity of the world, with its allurements and splendor, is a strong exhortation and warning from God to hold fast to the word that lives forever, and shall not pass even when heaven and earth pass away ( 1 Peter 1:24-25; 1 John 2:17; Luke 21:33).—Be firm and be a man! What is requisite to be one? how shall one become one? of what use? ( Hebrews 13:9; 1 Corinthians 15:5-8; 1 Corinthians 16:13).

1 Kings 2:3. The last and best will of a father to his son: (a) Trust in God’s protection of yourself and all whom God has confided to your care; (b) walk in His ways; let Him lead and guide you, He will do it well ( Proverbs 23:26; Psalm 35:5); (c) keep His ways and ordinances ( Ecclesiastes 12:13; Psalm 1:1-6; Tobit 4:6). Such an inheritance is greater and better than all the gold and land he might leave you.—True prudence and wisdom are not born of human thought and much knowledge, but are the fruit of the fear of God, and of walking in His ways and commandments ( Psalm 111:10; Job 28:28).—God-fearing parents are more anxious about their children keeping close to God and His word, than about leaving them temporal goods.

1 Kings 2:4. The promises of God only proceed from His grace, not our merit; but their fulfilment is always coupled with conditions, which we have to perform if we would enjoy them ( Hebrews 11:6; 1 Timothy 4:8).

1 Kings 2:5-9. We cannot go the way of all the world in peace, as long as we have anything remaining on our conscience, or any debt to justice and grateful love to cancel. We should forgive our enemies from our hearts, as we desire the Lord to forgive us, and especially on our dying-beds. But authority was instituted to “do justice; to prevent and punish wickedness;” it commits a sin and has a crime to answer for so long as it does not do this ( Romans 13:4; Genesis 9:6).

1 Kings 2:6. Gray hairs, if found in the way of righteousness, are a crown of glory ( Proverbs 16:31), adorned with which a man may go the way of all flesh in peace and comfort; but an old sinner, whom even gray hairs have not brought to repentance, goes down to the grave without solace or peace.

1 Kings 2:7. A noble heart does not forget what was done for him in times of trouble especially, and thinks of it even in the hour of death. The world is ungrateful. A blessing rests on deeds of faithfulness and self-sacrificing disinterested love, and it descends to children and children’s children.

1 Kings 2:8-9. A curse rests on those who curse the “powers” which are God’s ministers, instead of praying for them, and they are made, sooner or later, to feel the curse ( 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Peter 2:6). The Lord prayed for those who cursed Him; but when they did not repent and become converted, divine judgment came down on them. No doubt a wicked man often goes a long time unpunished for his deeds, but divine justice does not fail to overtake him finally, ere he is aware.—It requires wisdom to punish; a premature ill-judged chastisement does more harm than good.

1 Kings 2:10-12. David’s death: (a) He slept with his fathers (Starke: The death of believers is a sleep, and being gathered to their fathers, who also still live with God, and await the coming resurrection to eternal life, Isaiah 26:19); (b) they rest in the grave. (Rest is good to those who have borne the burden and heat of the day forty years long—that rest which God has promised to those who strive after eternal life with patient continuing in good works. Romans 2:7; Isaiah 57:2).—David’s grave is a pledge that the memory of the just is blessed ( Proverbs 40:7; Acts 2:29), and that the blessing of the father builds the children’s houses ( 1 Kings 2:12; Sirach 3:11).

Footnotes:

FN#1 - 1 Kings 2:3.—[The Heb. תַּשְׂכִיל bears equally well the sense prosper or do wisely; cf. Joshua 1:7. The VV. generally adopt the former.

FN#2 - 1 Kings 2:4.—[Confirm is the proper sense of יָקִים as in all the VV.

FN#3 - 1 Kings 2:4.—[It is better here to preserve the masculine form as in all the VV, the reference being undoubtedly to the line upon the throne.

FN#4 - 1 Kings 2:4.—[The Vatican Sept. omits the words concerning me, and also with all their soul.

FN#5 - 1 Kings 2:4.—[De Rossi rejects as spurious the word לֵאמֹר, which is wanting in Kennicott’s MS170, and in the Vulg. and Arab.

FN#6 - 1 Kings 2:5.—[Many MSS, the Syr. and Arab, express the conjunction וַאֲשֶׁר.

FN#7 - 1 Kings 2:5.—[The Sept. have here “innocent blood”—αῖμα ἀθῶον.

FN#8 - 1 Kings 2:7.—[Heb. מִפְּנֵי.

FN#9 - 1 Kings 2:8.—[Heb. בֶן־הַיְמִינִי—son of the Jaminite, i.e, of the descendants of Jamin, a son of Simeon ( Numbers 26:12). The Heb. for the patriarch Benjamin is written in one word; the Gentile name is written separately, but without the article. All the instances cited by Gesenius in verbo, are either without the article, or else refer to this very Shimei. Of the VV, the Sept. and Vulg. have appreciated the distinction; Chald, Syr, and Arab. agree with the A. V.—F. G.]


Verses 13-46

C.—Solomon’s course with the opposers of his accession to the throne

1 Kings 2:13-46

13And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon.[FN10] 14And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably. He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said,[FN11] Say on 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 [Jehovah]. 16And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on 17 And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that 18 he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife. And Bath-sheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.

19Bath-sheba therefore went unto king Song of 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 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 21 And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife 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[FN12] Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah 23 Then king Solomon sware by the Lord [Jehovah], saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah 24 hath not spoken this word against his own life. Now therefore, as the Lord [Jehovah] liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath 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 that he died.

26And 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[FN13] put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord [Jehovah] God before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted 27 So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord [Jehovah]; that he might fulfil the word of the Lord [Jehovah], which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

28Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom.[FN14] And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord [Jehovah], and caught hold on the horns of the altar 29 And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord [Jehovah]; and, behold, he is by the altar.[FN15] Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him.[FN16] 30And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the Lord [Jehovah], and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay;[FN17] 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 unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away[FN18] the innocent32[omit] blood, which Joab shed [without cause], from me, and from the house of my father. And the Lord [Jehovah] shall return his blood[FN19] upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than Hebrews, and slew them with the sword, [and] my father David not knowing thereof [knew it not[FN20]], 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 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 [Jehovah]. 34So 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.

35And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his room over the host:[FN21] and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar.[FN22]

36And 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 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.[FN23] 38And 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 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 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 41 And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again 42 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the Lord [Jehovah], 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?[FN24] and thou saidst unto me, The word that I have heard is good 43 Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the Lord [Jehovah], and the commandment that I have charged thee with? 44The 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 [Jehovah] shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head: 45and king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord [Jehovah] for e 1 Kings 1 Kings 2:46 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.[FN25]

Exegetical and Critical

1 Kings 2:13. And Adonijah … to Bath-Sheba, &c. What Adonijah really aimed at in his petition to Bath-Sheba is made apparent in 1 Kings 2:22. He did not care about the fair Abishag, but about the kingdom, which he hoped to acquire through possession of her. In the ancient East, after a king died, or his kingdom passed from him, the harem fell to the new ruler. On the other hand, also, he who took to himself the king’s wives, was regarded as having taken to himself the rights of the king. The claim to the possession of the women of the harem was understood to mean the claim to the throne. It was so also with the Persians (Herodot3:68; Justin10:2 : occiso Cyro Aspasiam pellicem ejus rex Artaxerxes in matrimonium acceperat. Hanc patrem cedere sibi, sicuti regnum Darius postulaverat). When Absalom went, according to Ahithophel’s advice, into the king’s harem and to his concubines in the sight of all the people, it was a public, practical announcement that he had assumed the king’s rights ( 2 Samuel 16:20-23; comp. 1 Kings 12:11). When, therefore, Adonijah demanded Abishag for his wife, ostensibly from love to her, it was a secret claim to the throne; for Abishag was looked on by the nation as David’s last wife, although he had not known her. He did not venture to make his request personally to Song of Solomon, but, as Grotius says: aggreditur mulierem, ut regnandi ignaram, ita amoribus facilem. He plays, before Bath-Sheba, the part of an humble saint who has been set aside—who is resigned to God’s will, thus softening her woman’s heart. His assertion that all Israel wished him for their king, if not exactly a lie, showed great self-deception and boasting. He very wisely and prudently says, instead of: through thy intercession my brother became king ( 1 Kings 1:17)—the kingdom is turned about, and it was his from the Lord, which he of course did not believe, because he wished himself to be king. Bath-Sheba may have thought that a discontented subject might be satisfied by granting his request, and the kingdom made thus more secure to her son.

1 Kings 2:19-21. Bath-Sheba therefore went unto king Song of Solomon, &c, 1 Kings 2:19. Solomon received his mother as גְּבִירָה ( 1 Kings 15:13). The queen-mother was in great honor; and therefore the name of the king’s mother is always expressly given in the account of the commencement of a new king’s reign ( 1 Kings 14:21; 1 Kings 15:2, &c.). The כִּסֵּא offered her was not literally a throne, but only a particular seat of honor. The seat at the right hand was the one of highest distinction ( Psalm 110:1; Joseph, Antiq. vi.–xi9). Bath-Sheba calls her petition a small one, because she thought it was only about a love-affair, and did not think of its political results.

1 Kings 2:22-25. And King Solomon answered, &c. Solomon instantly detected the intrigue. He says, in asking Abishag for Adonijah, you indirectly request the kingdom for him too. He is my elder brother, and thinks that the kingdom belongs to him on that account; if he gets Abishag as wife, he will be further strengthened in his imaginary claims, and his entire party will have a firm footing. The וְלוֹ beginning the concluding statement in 1 Kings 2:22, cannot be understood otherwise than the preceding לוֹ, and the ל in the following words must consequently mean the same. The meaning is this then: In asking the kingdom for him, thou askest it at the same time for Abiathar and Joab; they who have joined themselves to him, would reign with and through him; but they are well known to be my enemies. It follows, then, that both are included in Adonijah’s plan. We cannot, therefore, translate like the Sept.: καὶ αὐτῷ ’Αβιαθὰρ καὶ αὐτῷ ’Ιωὰβ ἑταῖρος, or with the Vulg.: et habet Abiathar et Joab; there is therefore no reason to strike out, with Thenius, the ל before Abiathar and Joab. Solomon’s anger, which appears in 1 Kings 2:23, was the more natural, because Adonijah had dared to gain over and abuse the queen-mother. The oath, which means: may God punish me continually if Adonijah be not, &c, is a usual one ( Ruth 1:17; 1 Samuel 14:44; 1 Samuel 20:13; Jeremiah 22:5).—The words of 1 Kings 2:24 : and who hath made me an house, are not to be understood, with Keil and others, as if Solomon had then had issue (his marriage did not occur till afterwards, 1 Kings 3:1); the meaning is this rather: Adonijah demands Abishag to wife, to found a dynasty through his union with her; but Jehovah has determined that David’s dynasty and line of kings shall come from me ( 2 Samuel 7:11 sq.).—The execution of Adonijah was performed by Benaiah, as captain of the Cherethites and Pelethites ( 1 Kings 1:38). בְּיַד does not mean exactly with “his own hand” (Thenius), but only that Benaiah was charged with the execution. Comp. 1 Kings 2:34-46. Capital punishment was executed in Egypt, and also in Babylon, by the king’s guard, the captain of which was therefore called שַׂר (רב) טַבָּחִים, Genesis 37:36; 2 Kings 25:8; Daniel 2:14.

1 Kings 2:26-27. And unto Abiathar the priest, &c. The proceedings now commenced against Abiathar and Joab, were no doubt caused by the share both had taken in the new plans of Adonijah to usurp the kingdom.—Anathoth, a priests’ town in the tribe of Benjamin ( Joshua 21:18; 1 Chronicles 6:45), about one hour and a quarter’s distance northeast of Jerusalem (Robinson, Palestine, vol. i. p437–8). Abiathar had possessions there.—To strike out the ו before בּיוֹם with Thenius (according to the Sept.), and place it before לֹא, is unnecessary: the meaning remains the same.—Bearing the Ark, on the occasion of David’s flight from Absalom ( 2 Samuel 15:24). That Abiathar and Zadok went with David then, bearing the ark of the covenant, showed great veneration and fidelity, upon their part, to him. Of course they did not carry the ark themselves; but it was borne by the levites, whose office it was to do so ( Numbers 4:15; 1 Chronicles 16:15), and who did it at their command. It is therefore quite unnecessary to read, with Thenius, אֵפוֹד instead of אֲרוֹן.—It does not follow from the banishment of Abiathar, that every king has the right to set up and depose a high-priest at pleasure. This case was a peculiar one. A high-priest who had repeatedly conspired against the anointed of Jehovah, had thereby become incapable of filling his office, and, strictly speaking, deserved death.—לְמַלֵּא is an addition of the narrator, not the intention of Solomon; it is the ἲνα πληρωθῆ of the New Testament. The divine threatenings upon Eli’s house, from which Abiathar was (through Ithamar) descended, were now fulfilled; for when Saul slew the priests, Abiathar alone, of all his house, escaped ( 1 Samuel 22:20). With his deposition the hereditary high-priesthood passed over to Eleazar’s house, to which Zadok belonged ( Numbers 25:13; 1 Chronicles 24:5-6).

1 Kings 2:28-35. Then tidings came to Joab, &c. The parenthesis means that Joab, who was formerly such a decided enemy of Absalom, who promised much more than his brother, had twice conspired with the pretender, Adonijah, and now feared for his own life, as he heard of his death, and of Abiathar’s punishment. All old translations, except the Chaldee, have Solomon instead of “Absalom,” and Ewald and Thenius declare the former to be the right reading; this, however, is not sustained by any Hebrew MS, and would, besides, make the sentence superfluous; for when Joab was on Adonijah’s side, it follows of course that he was not on that of Solomon.—If Joab, who had been unpunished for his share in the first conspiracy, had felt free from all share in the second, he would not have fled to a place of refuge ( 1 Kings 1:50).—The Sept. adds, before Solomon’s words, 1 Kings 2:29 : “What has happened to thee, that thou hast fled to the altar? And Joab said: I was afraid of thee, and have fled to Lord.” Surely this is only a gloss; but it explains the passage. When Joab saw that Benalah did not venture to kill him at the altar, he defied him, either because he hoped that Solomon would not dare to give the order, or that if he did, he (Solomon) would be guilty of desecrating the altar. But according to the law ( Exodus 21:14; Deuteronomy 19:11-13), the altar was only an asylum for those who had killed unwittingly, and Joab was no such person. He had sinned grievously against Israel and Judah by a double assassination ( 1 Kings 2:32), and yet had gone hitherto unpunished. This guilt could not rest upon David and his house, if the kingdom was to continue in his line ( 1 Kings 2:33). Not to add the utmost disgrace to the punishment ( 1 Kings 14:11; 2 Kings 9:35; Jeremiah 7:33; Jeremiah 22:19), and in consideration of his military achievements, Solomon commanded that Joab should be buried with his fathers in the wilderness of Judah, which was not far from Bethlehem, near Tekoa, and was a rocky district containing some towns ( Joshua 15:61; Judges 1:16).

1 Kings 2:36-46. And the king sent and called for Shimei, &c, 1 Kings 2:36. As Adonijah and his faction had made such repeated efforts to seize the helm of state, Solomon deemed it needful to keep a watch on all suspected persons. Now the restless Shimei was the principal of these; he was a close adherent of the house of Saul, and a bitter foe of David’s house. Song of Solomon, therefore, in order to keep him in sight, and test his obedience, ordered him to settle in Jerusalem, and to leave it only under penalty of death. The brook Kidron is scarcely named as the exact limit of his confinement (Ewald); but Shimei was not to cross it, because, in doing Song of Solomon, he went towards Bahurim, in his native district, where he had most influence ( 2 Samuel 19:16 sq.).—Thy blood, &c.—the usual mode of the death sentence, Leviticus 20:9-16.—Shimei declared he was satisfied to observe the king’s command, for he knew right well that according to the ideas of that time, no king, not even Song of Solomon, need feel himself bound by the promise of his predecessor ( 2 Samuel 19:23), (Ewald, Gesch. Isr, iii. s. 271).—The Philistine king Achish, of Gath ( Joshua 13:3; 1 Samuel 5:8), may be the same who is mentioned in 1 Samuel 21:11; 1 Samuel 27:2; he must have certainly attained a great age; if Song of Solomon, Shimei, then, in spite of his solemn vow, not only left Jerusalem for his native place, not distant, but even went into the far-off land of the Philistines, thus giving proof of his disobedience and obstinacy. Solomon now reproaches him with his old crime, and says to him: thy measure is full; the Lord has turned thy curse into a blessing, as David hoped ( 2 Samuel 16:12).—The Vulgate, Thenius, Bunsen, and others place the concluding sentence of 1 Kings 2:46 at the commencement of 1 Kings3 : “and when the kingdom was established in the hand of Song of Solomon, he made affinity,” &c.; it seems, however, to refer back to 1 Kings 2:12, and in the manner of Semitic histories, as Keil remarks, concludes the whole section of Solomon’s throne-ascension. Thus the kingdom was established in the hand of Song of Solomon, i.e, under him.

Historical and Ethical

1. The repeated attempt of Adonijah to gain the throne throws real light on his character. Though his enterprise came to a lamentable and disgraceful end, he immediately began to concoct new plans in spite of the favor and the warning he had received. As he once sought to obtain his purpose by collecting chariots, horsemen, and soldiers, through making fortified places, in short, by grand and showy preparations, he now pursued the opposite plan of fawning and artifice. He steals alone to Bath-sheba, placing his hopes on woman’s influence. When she is astonished at his visit, he utters the most peaceful sentiments, acts as one deeply disappointed, but now humbly and piously resigned to God’s will, and as an unhappy lover. If anything deserves the name of a “harem intrigue,” through which, according to Duncker, Solomon came to the throne (see above), it is Adonijah’s device. He could not have shown more clearly that he was not the chosen of Jehovah ( Deuteronomy 17:15). What would have become of the kingdom which David had at last brought to tranquillity and its proper position, if a man like Adonijah had succeeded him?

2. Adonijah and his faction show the truth of what is often found, namely, that revolutionary men are not discouraged by the failure of their plans, and even disgraceful defeat, but they always brood over the means of attaining their ambitious views and gratifying their thirst for power. Pardon and forbearance do not change them, but generally harden and embolden them. If they do not succeed by open force, they choose deceitful ways, notwithstanding all the promises they may have given; and they feign submission until they think their opportunity has arrived. Every one, however, to whom God has confided the government, should hear the words of David to Solomon ( 1 Kings 2:2): “be thou strong, therefore, and show thyself a man!” for weakness Isaiah, in this respect, sin against God and man. The old Würtemburg summaries say: “let authorities learn from Solomon to punish such crimes severely, if they wish to have a happy, peaceful, and lasting reign. If they wink at such things, God’s anger and punishments come down on them, on their land and people.”

3. Solomon’s treatment of his foes, has often been called great cruelty, or at least extreme severity. “ Song of Solomon,” says Duncker, “began his reign with bloody deeds.… He first promised Adonijah he should be spared, then had him slain by Benaiah. Joab fled to the sanctuary and caught hold of the horns of the altar. Benaiah trembled to stain the altar with blood, but Solomon tells him to go and stab him there!… Benaiah also killed Shimei at Solomon’s command.” In reading this imperfect and detestable view of the circumstances, we must remember that there is not to be found in the forty years of Solomon’s reign, one single trace of baroarous tyranny or cruelty, such as are here said to have characterized him, though these qualities rather strengthen than otherwise with age. We cannot judge Solomon any more than David in the light of the sermon on the mount, but should recollect what the time and circumstances were. The vital point was to establish the kingdom, and in order to avert the dangers that threatened it, “every firm and sagacious ruler had to act Song of Solomon, for the artificial means now used in similar cases, for instance, imprisonment for life, were wholly unknown” (Ewald). As to Adonijah, the whole East knew but one punishment for such plans as he cherished, viz, death. Had his enterprise succeeded he would doubtless (see above, on 1 Kings 1:11) have destroyed Solomon and his principal adherents, in accordance with the usual practice hitherto. Song of Solomon, on the contrary, did not follow this custom, but showed forgiveness and generosity; in fact, he avoided all persecution of Adonijah’s partisans. Only when Adonijah, contrary to his word, and notwithstanding his humble homage ( 1 Kings 1:51), again appeared as pretender to the throne, and sought to reach his end by deceit and hypocrisy, did he order the affixed punishment. He had allowed Abiathar, too, to go unpunished at first, which scarcely any other eastern prince would have done. But when the repeated attempt of Adonijah to seize the kingdom was discovered, Abiathar could no longer be passed over. Yet instead of inflicting death on him, he deprived him of his influential office, and let him live at liberty on his estate, on account of his former good behavior. Here was no severity, but gratitude, kindness, and generosity. Joab was the most formidable opponent, because of his position at the head of the entire army, and his well-known military roughness and unscrupulousness; he was also unpunished after Adonijah’s first attempt, and the last was certainly not planned without his consent, but more likely, as some suppose, originated by him. The fact that he instantly fled to the horns of the altar, on hearing of Adonijah’s death, shows that he knew himself to have deserved death. Besides this, the guilt of a double murder rested on him, and should be washed out. “When this was superadded,” says Ewald (s. 271), “Solomon did not venture to show him any further grace,” and adds in the note with great truth: “A superficial observer alone can charge Solomon with needless cruelty here.” Finally, with regard to Shimei, nothing was more natural than that Song of Solomon, in the circumstances attending the beginning of his reign, should have kept especial guard over such a restless, suspected person, who one day cursed the king, calling him a bloody Prayer of Manasseh, and the next fawned upon and flattered him, and who besides was not without partisans ( 2 Samuel 16:7, comp. with 1 Kings 19:16-20). Shimei was himself quite content with his confinement to Jerusalem, and Solomon let him live there “many days” ( 1 Kings 2:38), placing his fate in his own hand. After three years (not before), ( 1 Kings 2:39), when Shimei broke his solemn promise, what his king had threatened him with upon oath came upon him. “Surely, every one must at that time have seen in such fatal oblivion of the oath which the old arch-traitor had sworn against David, a divine sign, that that old sin still rested on him and that he must be punished; otherwise he would not have acted with such defiance of God and with such madness. Solomon had him also executed, evidently not out of revenge nor any other passion, but from the belief that the last of those who had sinned greatly against David, should fall under divine Providence” (Ewald, s. 272). How weak and forgetful of his word would the king have seemed to all the people if he had let Shimei now go free, particularly with the notions then entertained about a king! ( Proverbs 16:12-15; Proverbs 20:2; Proverbs 20:26). It is worthy of remark that the settlement of Shimei at Jerusalem was coincident with Solomon’s elevation to the throne; that his punishment did not at once follow that of Adonijah and Joab, but was three years later. We cannot therefore possibly reckon this among the “bloody deeds” with which Solomon is said to have begun his reign. The union of mildness and firmness, generosity and official justice, in the conduct of the young sovereign, must have deeply impressed the people, have increased his authority, and established his rule.

4. The establishment of Solomon’s kingdom ( 1 Kings 2:46) is the result of all that chapters1,2relate, and is therefore expressly stated again at their close. Our author evidently does this, not only from purely historical, but also from religious and theocratic grounds. In fact, throughout the whole of the genuine Old Testament history of Solomon’s succession to the throne, the guiding hand of the living God is made apparent, far above the ferment of human passions and inclinations. He knows how to fulfil his threatenings, and to lead the way which each chooses for himself, to a goal where he shall find retribution of his deeds ( Job 34:11).

Homiletical and Practical

1 Kings 2:13-25. Adonijah’s repeated attempt to gain the throne: (a) Wherein this attempt consisted ( 1 Kings 2:13-18); (b) how it ended ( 1 Kings 2:19-25).

1 Kings 2:13-18. Adonijah before Bath-sheba: (a) The feigned sentiment, in which he comes ( 1 Kings 2:13-15); (b) the request he brings ( 1 Kings 2:16-17); (c) the answer he receives ( 1 Kings 2:18).

1 Kings 2:13. Ambitious and power-loving people do not scruple to reach the ends which they cannot obtain by open force, by means that are mortifying to their pride; when they can no longer demand, they beg.—Those are least to be trusted who have proved themselves enemies, and suddenly appear with tokens of peace. Joab met Amasa with the words: Peace be to thee! and while kissing him, ran him through the body ( 2 Samuel 20:9). Judas betrayed the Lord with a greeting and a kiss ( Luke 22:48).

1 Kings 2:15. Adonijah’s boast and hypocrisy: (a) He boasts, like most rebels, of having all the people on his side, but his few adherents were some faithless men, who were won over by good eating and drinking, and who would desert him with the first change of the wind ( 1 Kings 1:41; 1 Kings 1:49). (b) He speaks and acts as a pious Prayer of Manasseh, who humbles himself under God’s hand ( Job 1:21), while he resists His will in his heart, and seeks to overthrow His purpose ( Matthew 7:21; Proverbs 12:22).

1 Kings 2:16 sq. The most presumptuous character is often hid under the mask of unassuming deportment.

1 Kings 2:17. He who has an honest and just request to make seeks no roundabout ways, but goes openly and courageously with it to the person who can grant it. The serpent addresses the woman first, in order to gain the Prayer of Manasseh, in paradise ( Genesis 3:1; Genesis 3:6; 1 Timothy 2:14).

1 Kings 2:18. Bath-sheba’s consent to Adonijah’s request shows want of sagacity, experience, and knowledge of human nature, but at the same time shows that her heart was free from revenge and bitterness, and was willing to serve even one who had caused her great anxiety and sorrow ( 1 Kings 1:21).—Kind and unsuspicious persons are apt to yield to their first feelings and impressions rather than reflect calmly and deliberately; it is therefore the more needful for them to guard against being led away by flattering speeches into promises and actions that may greatly injure themselves and others.—We ought not to refuse to intercede for others, but to take great care not to do it for the unworthy, thus injuring those who are deserving.—Those who are high in favor with the powerful are often used, without their wish or knowledge, for unworthy ends.

1 Kings 2:19-25. Bath-sheba before the king: (a) How she was received by him ( 1 Kings 2:19-20), but (b) was refused her petition ( 1 Kings 2:22-24).

1 Kings 2:19. Song of Solomon, when on the throne, did not forget what he owed his mother. How often do children forget their parents and nearest relations, and even become ashamed of them, when they attain to great riches and honor; but no position or rank dispenses with our observance of the fourth commandment, the first with promise (Ephes. 1 Kings 6:2; Proverbs 19:26).

1 Kings 2:21. Starke: Even pious Christians are often ignorant of what they ask ( Romans 8:26), and are therefore often unheard ( Matthew 20:22).

1 Kings 2:22. Kings and princes should not grant even an apparently small petition, that interferes with the welfare of the kingdom and people committed to their charge. Seeming severity is in such cases sacred duty.—Hall: Considerations arising from personal relationship must be laid aside in the official acts of rulers.

1 Kings 2:25. Punishment of Adonijah, how far it was (a) according to law, (b) just and deserved.

1 Kings 2:26-46. Solomon’s treatment of his enemies (see Historical).

1 Kings 2:26-27. Ecclesiastical office can be no protection from just punishment of crime (see Luke 12:47; 1 Corinthians 9:27).—Former fidelity cannot efface later treachery. It is most lamentable that a man who was faithful in times of trouble should end his career as a sinner ( 1 Corinthians 10:12).—[Bp. Hall: No man held so close to David,… yet now is he called to reckon for his old sins, and must repay blood to Amasa and Abner.—E. H.] When circumstances permit, mildness and forgiveness should go hand in hand with justice.—Children should not forget kindness shown to their parents, but look on it as done to themselves; this is fulfilling the fourth commandment.—The promises of God are yea and amen; but so are also His threatenings, which are often executed when men have forgotten them.

1 Kings 2:28-34. The terrible end of Joab: (a) He dies conscious of his guilt, without peace and pardon; (b) even in the very jaws of death he is defiant, rough, and proud; (c) he does not leave the world like a hero, but like a criminal. How differently David dies! ( 1 Kings 2:2).

1 Kings 2:28. An evil conscience can put to flight a hero who never yielded to the enemy in a single bloody field.—Starke: It is thus the wicked act when they get into danger; though they never before cared about God and His children, they will seek their protection then.

1 Kings 2:30. What good is there in dying in a sacred place if one has not a sanctified heart and pure conscience? Proverbs 3:21-26.

1 Kings 2:31 sq. Starke: God has no sanctuary or city of refuge for an intentional murderer ( Exodus 21:14).—Lange: If a ruler leaves shed blood unavenged, the guilt attaches to himself; through just revenge it is averted.

1 Kings 2:33. Only that throne stands firm upon which justice, without respect of persons, is exercised ( Proverbs 25:5).

1 Kings 2:36-46. Shimei’s fate plainly proves the truth of the word Job 34:11; Psalm 141:10; Proverbs 5:22.

1 Kings 2:39. Avarice, i.e, covetousness, is the root of all evil. The loss of two servants led Shimei to disobedience, even to forget his oath and to risk his life. [ 1 Kings 2:40 sq. Bp. Hall: “Covetousness, and presumption of impunity, are the destruction of many a soul: Shimei seeks his servants and loses himself.”—E. H.]

1 Kings 2:41 sq. Divine justice at length overtakes those whose crimes have long been unpunished, and when they least expect it.—Those also who have cursed the anointed of the Lord, the eternal king of God’s realm, and who have shot their poisoned shafts at Him, shall hereafter say to the mountains: Fall on us! and to the hills: cover us! ( Luke 23:30).

Footnotes:

FN#10 - 1 Kings 2:13.—[The Sept. adds καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτῇ (Al. αὐτήν).

FN#11 - 1 Kings 2:14.—[Two MSS. and some editions (followed by the Sept, Vulg, and Syriac) add לוֹ = to him.

FN#12 - 1 Kings 2:22.—[All the VV. here give a sense which seems based on the supposition that ל before Abiathar and before Joab is pleonastic; but for this there is no authority. Thus the Vulg.: “et habet Abiathar,” etc. Sept.: καὶ αὐτῷ ’Αβιάθαρ κ.τ.λ. Similarly Syr. and Arab. The Chald.: “nonne in consilio fuerunt ille et Abiathar,” etc.

FN#13 - 1 Kings 2:26.—[The Sept, without authority, alters the place of the conjunction so as to read ἀνἠρ θανάτου εῖ σὺ ἐν τῇ ἡμἑρᾳ ταὑτῃ, καὶ οὐ θανατώσω σε.

FN#14 - 1 Kings 2:28.—[The Vulg, Sept.. (Vatican) and Syr. curiously substitute here the name of Solomon for that of Absalom. The Arab. attempts to reconcile both by translating “neither did he love Solomon.”

FN#15 - 1 Kings 2:29.—[The Sept. and “And king (Alex. omit king) Solomon sent to Joab, saying, What has been done to thee that thou hast fled to the altar? And Joab said, Because I was afraid of thee, and I fled to the Lord.”

FN#16 - 1 Kings 2:29.—[The Sept. add “and bury him.” See 1 Kings 2:31.

FN#17 - 1 Kings 2:30.—[One MS, followed by the Sept, Vulg, and Syr, adds אצא after לֹא.

FN#18 - 1 Kings 2:31.—[The Sept. add σήμερον and translate הִנָם accurately “without cause.” The Chald. gives both senses. The Vatican Sept. omits the name of Joab.

FN#19 - 1 Kings 2:32.—[Sept. = the blood of his iniquity.

FN#20 - 1 Kings 2:32.—[There is no reason for omitting the conjunction and changing the preterite of the Hebr. which are preserved in the Sept. and the Chald.

FN#21 - 1 Kings 2:35.—[The Sept. add καὶ βασιλεία κατωρθοῦτο ἐν ‘Ιερουσαλήμ. Cf. 1 Kings 2:46.

FN#22 - 1 Kings 2:35—[The Sept. add καὶ Σαλωμὼν υἱὸς Δαυὶδ ἐβασίλευσεν ἐπὶ ’Ισραὴλ καὶ ’Ιούδα ἐν ‘Ιερουσαλήμ.. (Thus far Alex. Omits) καὶ ἔδωκε κύριος φρόνησιν τῷ Σαλωμὼν καὶ σοφἱαν πολλὴν σφόδρα καὶ πλάτος καρδίας ὡς ἄμμος παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν. (See 1 Kings 4:29.) Then follows the first verse of chap 3 much altered, and a long interpolation which may he thus translated: “And the wisdom of Solomon was increased greatly above the wisdom of all the ancients and above all the wise men of Egypt (see 1 Kings 4:30), and he ( 1 Kings 3:1) took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until ho had made an end of building his own house and the house of the Lord in the first place, and the wall of Jerusalem round about: in seven years he made and finished them.” V:15 follows then… “And Solomon made the sea and the bases and the great levers and the pillars and the fountain of the court and the brazen sea. And he built the citadel and battlements upon it, he divided the city of David. So Pharaoh’s daughter went up from the city of David into her own house which he built for her. Then he built the citadel. And three times in the year Solomon offered whole, burnt-offerings and peace-offerings upon the altar which he built to the Lord, and he offered incense before the Lord, and finished the house. And these were the chiefs ( 1 Kings 5:16) which were set over the works of Solomon: three thousand and six hundred rulers of the people that wrought in the work. And he built Asshur and Magdo and Gezer ( 1 Kings 9:15; 1 Kings 9:17-18) and Bethhoron the upper and Ballath. Besides his building the house of the Lord and the wall of Jerusalem round about, after these he built these cities.” Then follows, with some variations, 1 Kings 2:8-9, which form the junction again with 1 Kings 2:36.

FN#23 - 1 Kings 2:37.—[The Sept. add καὶ ὥρκισεν αὐτὸν βασιλεὺς ἰν τῆ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκεινῃ. Cf. 1 Kings 2:42-43.

FN#24 - 1 Kings 2:42.—[The Vatican Sept. omits the rest of 1 Kings 2:42. The last clause is sometimes pointed, “The word is good: I have heard.”

FN#25 - 1 Kings 2:46.—[Here follows in the Sept. a passage made up of extracts from chap 4 and containing about one-fourth of that chapter, most of which is omitted from its place.—F. G.]

 


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Kings 2:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/1-kings-2.html. 1857-84.

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