1 Kings
1-4 David Encourages Solomon 5-6 Command to Deal with Joab 7 Kindness for Barzillai 8-9 Command to Deal with Shimei 10-12 David Dies – Solomon Is King Alone 13-25 Solomon deals with Adonijah 26-27 Solomon Deals with Abiathar 28-34 Solomon Deals with Joab 35 A New Commander and a New Priest 36-46 Solomon Deals with Shimei
David Encourages Solomon

1As David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, 2“I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. 3Keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, 4so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’

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 (Jos 23:1414“Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed.) 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 (1Thes 4:15-1815For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of [the] archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.18Therefore comfort one another with these words.).

David also speaks to Solomon the encouraging words which Moses and the LORD once spoke to Joshua (Deu 31:2323Then He commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.”; Jos 1:99Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”). Farewells of believers like Moses and David contain encouragements for the next generation (cf. 2Tim 2:11You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.). Just as David refers his son Solomon to what is “written in the Law of Moses” (verse 33Keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn,), 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 (Deu 29:99So keep the words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.).

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.

Command to Deal with Joab

5“Now you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner, and to Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed; he also shed the blood of war in peace. And he put the blood of war on his belt about his waist, and on his sandals on his feet. 6So act according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to Sheol in peace.

The murder committed by Joab on Abner should have been punished by David, but he did not do so out of weakness (2Sam 3:3939I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too difficult for me. May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil.”). However, he has no rest and instructs Solomon to do so. Also the murder of Amasa (2Sam 20:1010But Amasa was not on guard against the sword which was in Joab’s hand so he struck him in the belly with it and poured out his inward parts on the ground, and did not [strike] him again, and he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri.) 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 (Jer 23:55“Behold, [the] days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
). Justice must be exercised with Divine wisdom. Only then no mistakes are made. The work of righteousness is peace (Isa 32:1717And the work of righteousness will be peace,
And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.

Kindness for Barzillai

7But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table; for they assisted me when I fled from Absalom your brother.

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 (2Sam 17:27-2927Now when David had come to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the sons of Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim,28brought beds, basins, pottery, wheat, barley, flour, parched [grain], beans, lentils, parched [seeds],29honey, curds, sheep, and cheese of the herd, for David and for the people who [were] with him, to eat; for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”; 19:32-3832Now Barzillai was very old, being eighty years old; and he had sustained the king while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very great man.33The king said to Barzillai, “You cross over with me and I will sustain you in Jerusalem with me.”34But Barzillai said to the king, “How long have I yet to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem?35I am now eighty years old. Can I distinguish between good and bad? Or can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Or can I hear anymore the voice of singing men and women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?36Your servant would merely cross over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king compensate me [with] this reward?37Please let your servant return, that I may die in my own city near the grave of my father and my mother. However, here is your servant Chimham, let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what is good in your sight.”38The king answered, “Chimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him what is good in your sight; and whatever you require of me, I will do for you.”). 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. 2Tim 1:55For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that [it is] in you as well.).

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” (Pro 27:10a10Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend,
And do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity;
Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away.

Command to Deal with Shimei

8Behold, there is with you Shimei the son of Gera the Benjamite, of Bahurim; now it was he who cursed me with a violent curse on the day I went to Mahanaim. But when he came down to me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ 9Now therefore, do not let him go unpunished, for you are a wise man; and you will know what you ought to do to him, and you will bring his gray hair down to Sheol with blood.”

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 (2Sam 16:5-85When King David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out from there a man of the family of the house of Saul whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he came out cursing continually as he came.6He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left.7Thus Shimei said when he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow!8The LORD has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are [taken] in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!”). That David spared him then (2Sam 19:19-2319So he said to the king, “Let not my lord consider me guilty, nor remember what your servant did wrong on the day when my lord the king came out from Jerusalem, so that the king would take [it] to heart.20For your servant knows that I have sinned; therefore behold, I have come today, the first of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.”21But Abishai the son of Zeruiah said, “Should not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD’s anointed?”22David then said, “What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be an adversary to me? Should any man be put to death in Israel today? For do I not know that I am king over Israel today?”23The king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” Thus the king swore to him.) 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 (verses 6,96So act according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to Sheol in peace.9Now therefore, do not let him go unpunished, for you are a wise man; and you will know what you ought to do to him, and you will bring his gray hair down to Sheol with blood.”). These two cases indicate that both bad deeds, done by Joab, and bad words, pronounced by Shimei, are judged.

David Dies – Solomon Is King Alone

10Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David. 11The days that David reigned over Israel [were] forty years: seven years he reigned in Hebron and thirty-three years he reigned in Jerusalem. 12And Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.

What is said here of David (cf. 1Chr 29:2828Then he died in a ripe old age, full of days, riches and honor; and his son Solomon reigned in his place.), 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 (2Chr 1:11Now Solomon the son of David established himself securely over his kingdom, and the LORD his God [was] with him and exalted him greatly.).

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.

Solomon deals with Adonijah

13Now Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, “Do you come peacefully?” And he said, “Peacefully.” 14Then he said, “I have something [to say] to you.” And she said, “Speak.” 15So he said, “You know that the kingdom was mine and that all Israel expected me to be king; however, the kingdom has turned about and become my brother’s, for it was his from the LORD. 16Now I am making one request of you; do not refuse me.” And she said to him, “Speak.” 17Then he said, “Please speak to Solomon the king, for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Abishag the Shunammite as a wife.” 18Bathsheba said, “Very well; I will speak to the king for you.” 19So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king arose to meet her, bowed before her, and sat on his throne; then he had a throne set for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right. 20Then she said, “I am making one small request of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Ask, my mother, for I will not refuse you.” 21So she said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as a wife.” 22King Solomon answered and said to his mother, “And why are you asking Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him also the kingdom—for he is my older brother—even for him, for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah!” 23Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, “May God do so to me and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life. 24Now therefore, as the LORD lives, who has established me and set me on the throne of David my father and who has made me a house as He promised, surely Adonijah shall be put to death today.” 25So King Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him so that he died.

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. 2Sam 12:88I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if [that had been] too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!; 3:77Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?”; 16:2121Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. The hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.”). 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].

Solomon Deals with Abiathar

26Then to Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go to Anathoth to your own field, for you deserve to die; but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before my father David, and because you were afflicted in everything with which my father was afflicted.” 27So Solomon dismissed Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD, which He had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

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 (1Sam 2:30-3530Therefore the LORD God of Israel declares, ‘I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever’; but now the LORD declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.31Behold, the days are coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father’s house so that there will not be an old man in your house.32You will see the distress of [My] dwelling, in [spite of] all the good that I do for Israel; and an old man will not be in your house forever.33Yet I will not cut off every man of yours from My altar so that your eyes will fail [from weeping] and your soul grieve, and all the increase of your house will die in the prime of life.34This will be the sign to you which will come concerning your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: on the same day both of them will die.35But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.; 3:1212In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.). Because of his unfaithfulness, the priesthood is taken away from him. In his place, Zadok is taken from the line of Eleazar (verse 3535The king appointed Benaiah the son of Jehoiada over the army in his place, and the king appointed Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.). That it all lasted so long shows the patience of God.

Solomon Deals with Joab

28Now the news came to Joab, for Joab had followed Adonijah, although he had not followed Absalom. And Joab fled to the tent of the LORD and took hold of the horns of the altar. 29It was told King Solomon that Joab had fled to the tent of the LORD, and behold, he is beside the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, fall upon him.” 30So Benaiah came to the tent of the LORD and said to him, “Thus the king has said, ‘Come out.’” But he said, “No, for I will die here.” And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, “Thus spoke Joab, and thus he answered me.” 31The king said to him, “Do as he has spoken and fall upon him and bury him, that you may remove from me and from my father’s house the blood which Joab shed without cause. 32The LORD will return his blood on his own head, because he fell upon two men more righteous and better than he and killed them with the sword, while my father David did not know [it]: Abner the son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah. 33So shall their blood return on the head of Joab and on the head of his descendants forever; but to David and his descendants and his house and his throne, may there be peace from the LORD forever.” 34Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and fell upon him and put him to death, and he was buried at his own house in the wilderness.

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 (1Kgs 1:5050And Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, and he arose, went and took hold of the horns of the altar.; cf. Exo 21:13-1413But if he did not lie in wait [for him], but God let [him] fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee.14If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him [even] from My altar, that he may die.). 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 (Pro 25:55Take away the wicked before the king,
And his throne will be established in righteousness.
). If a throne is confirmed by righteousness, there will be eternal peace. Solomon points this out in verse 3333So shall their blood return on the head of Joab and on the head of his descendants forever; but to David and his descendants and his house and his throne, may there be peace from the LORD forever.”.

A New Commander and a New Priest

35The king appointed Benaiah the son of Jehoiada over the army in his place, and the king appointed Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.

Benaja is now openly appointed as army commander instead of Joab who has behaved unworthy of this position. The priest Zadok replaces Abiathar (1Sam 2:3535But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.).

Solomon Deals with Shimei

36Now the king sent and called for Shimei and said to him, “Build for yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, and do not go out from there to any place. 37For on the day you go out and cross over the brook Kidron, you will know for certain that you shall surely die; your blood shall be on your own head.” 38Shimei then said to the king, “The word is good. As my lord the king has said, so your servant will do.” So Shimei lived in Jerusalem many days. 39But it came about at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, “Behold, your servants are in Gath.” 40Then Shimei arose and saddled his donkey, and went to Gath to Achish to look for his servants. And Shimei went and brought his servants from Gath. 41It was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and had returned. 42So the king sent and called for Shimei and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the LORD and solemnly warn you, saying, ‘You will know for certain that on the day you depart and go anywhere, you shall surely die’? And you said to me, ‘The word which I have heard is good.’ 43Why then have you not kept the oath of the LORD, and the command which I have laid on you?” 44The king also said to Shimei, “You know all the evil which you acknowledge in your heart, which you did to my father David; therefore the LORD shall return your evil on your own head. 45But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.” 46So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and he went out and fell upon him so that he died. Thus the kingdom was established in the hands of Solomon.

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 (Exo 19:88All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.). 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 (Mt 16:2626For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?). 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. Mt 13:41-4341The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,42and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.43Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.). 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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