The First Book of Kings
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The First Book of Kings
The Deathbed Injunctions of David to Solomon.
The Divine Promises to David: Were they Unconditional?
The Need for Public Example
Respecting Our Ancestors Through Righteous Living
The Jewish City of Hebron
Adonijah Tries to take Abishag and is Executed for Treason
Solomon exiles Abiathar the Priest, executes Joab and replaces him with Benaiah, and puts Shimei son of Gera to death.
The Deathbed Injunctions of David to Solomon.
[1-Kings 2:1] NOW THE DAYS OF DAVID DREW NIGH THAT HE SHOULD DIE; AND HE CHARGED
SOLOMON HIS SON, SAYING,
[1-Kings 2:2] I GO THE WAY OF ALL THE EARTH: BE THOU STRONG THEREFORE, AND SHEW
THYSELF A MAN;
[1-Kings 2:3] AND KEEP THE CHARGE OF THE LORD THY GOD, TO WALK IN HIS WAYS, TO
KEEP HIS STATUTES, AND HIS COMMANDMENTS, AND HIS JUDGMENTS, AND HIS TESTIMONIES,
AS IT IS WRITTEN IN THE LAW OF MOSES, THAT THOU MAYEST PROSPER IN ALL THAT THOU
DOEST, AND WHITHERSOEVER THOU TURNEST THYSELF:
David ordered Solomon to keep all the
commandments and remain faithful to the Almighty.
[1-Kings 2:4] THAT THE LORD MAY CONTINUE HIS WORD WHICH HE SPAKE CONCERNING ME,
SAYING, IF THY CHILDREN TAKE HEED TO THEIR WAY, TO WALK BEFORE ME IN TRUTH WITH
ALL THEIR HEART AND WITH ALL THEIR SOUL, THERE SHALL NOT FAIL THEE (SAID HE) A
MAN ON THE THRONE OF ISRAEL.
This verse brings up the question of
David and his descendants and the future rulers of Israel and Judah. This
includes both Judah in the future and the Lost Ten Tribes in their places of
The Divine Promises to David:
Were they Unconditional?
(1) The Prophecy of Nathan:
[2-Samuel 7:11] AND AS SINCE THE TIME
THAT I COMMANDED JUDGES TO BE OVER MY PEOPLE ISRAEL, AND HAVE CAUSED THEE TO
REST FROM ALL THINE
ENEMIES. ALSO THE LORD TELLETH
THEE THAT HE WILL MAKE THEE AN HOUSE.
[2-Samuel 7:1 AND WHEN THY DAYS BE FULFILLED, AND THOU
SLEEP WITH THY FATHERS, I WILL SET UP THY SEED AFTER THEE, WHICH SHALL PROCEED
OUT OF THY BOWELS, AND I WILL ESTABLISH HIS KINGDOM.
[2-Samuel 7:13] HE SHALL BUILD AN HOUSE FOR MY NAME, AND I WILL
THE THRONE OF HIS KINGDOM FOR EVER.
[2-Samuel 7:14] I WILL BE HIS FATHER, AND HE SHALL BE MY SON. IF HE COMMIT
INIQUITY, I WILL CHASTEN HIM WITH THE ROD OF MEN, AND WITH THE STRIPES OF THE
CHILDREN OF MEN:
[2-Samuel 7:15] BUT MY MERCY SHALL NOT DEPART AWAY FROM HIM, AS I TOOK IT FROM
SAUL, WHOM I PUT AWAY BEFORE THEE.
[2-Samuel 7:16] AND THINE
HOUSE AND THY KINGDOM SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOR EVER BEFORE THEE: THY THRONE
SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOR EVER.
[2-Samuel 7:17] ACCORDING TO ALL THESE WORDS, AND ACCORDING TO ALL THIS VISION,
SO DID NATHAN SPEAK UNTO DAVID.
Cf. 1-Chronicles 17:1-14
(2) Acknowledgement of David
[2-Samuel 23:5] ALTHOUGH MY HOUSE
BE NOT SO WITH GOD; YET HE HATH MADE WITH ME AN EVERLASTING COVENANT, ORDERED IN
ALL THINGS, AND SURE: FOR THIS IS ALL MY SALVATION, AND ALL MY DESIRE, ALTHOUGH
HE MAKE IT NOT TO GROW.
[2-Samuel 22:51] HE IS THE TOWER OF SALVATION FOR HIS KING: AND
MERCY TO HIS ANOINTED, UNTO DAVID, AND TO HIS SEED FOR EVERMORE.
(3) Psalms: Promise on Condition
of Keeping the Covenant?
[Psalms 132:10] FOR THY SERVANT DAVID'S SAKE TURN NOT AWAY THE FACE OF
[Psalms 132:11] THE LORD HATH SWORN IN TRUTH UNTO DAVID; HE WILL NOT TURN FROM
IT; OF THE FRUIT OF THY BODY WILL I SET UPON THY THRONE.
[Psalms 132:12] IF THY CHILDREN WILL KEEP MY COVENANT AND MY TESTIMONY THAT I
SHALL TEACH THEM, THEIR CHILDREN SHALL ALSO SIT UPON THY THRONE FOR
(4) Promise to Solomon
[1-Chronicles 22:9] BEHOLD, A SON
SHALL BE BORN TO THEE, WHO SHALL BE A MAN OF REST; AND I WILL GIVE HIM REST FROM
ALL HIS ENEMIES ROUND ABOUT: FOR HIS NAME SHALL BE SOLOMON, AND I WILL GIVE
PEACE AND QUIETNESS UNTO ISRAEL IN HIS DAYS.
[1-Chronicles 22:10] HE SHALL BUILD AN HOUSE FOR MY NAME; AND HE SHALL BE MY
SON, AND I WILL BE HIS FATHER; AND I WILL ESTABLISH THE THRONE OF HIS KINGDOM
OVER ISRAEL FOR EVER.
[1-Kings 8:25] THEREFORE NOW, LORD GOD OF ISRAEL, KEEP WITH THY SERVANT DAVID MY
FATHER THAT THOU PROMISEDST
HIM, SAYING, THERE SHALL NOT FAIL THEE A MAN IN MY SIGHT TO SIT ON THE THRONE
OF ISRAEL; SO THAT THY CHILDREN TAKE HEED TO THEIR WAY, THAT THEY WALK BEFORE
ME AS THOU HAST WALKED BEFORE ME.
[1-Kings 9:5] THEN I WILL ESTABLISH THE THRONE OF THY KINGDOM UPON ISRAEL FOR
EVER, AS I PROMISED TO DAVID THY FATHER, SAYING, THERE SHALL NOT FAIL THEE A
MAN UPON THE THRONE OF ISRAEL.
[1-Chronicles 28:4] HOWBEIT THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL CHOSE ME BEFORE ALL THE HOUSE
OF MY FATHER TO BE KING OVER ISRAEL FOR EVER: FOR HE HATH CHOSEN JUDAH TO BE THE
RULER; AND OF THE HOUSE OF JUDAH, THE HOUSE OF MY FATHER; AND AMONG THE SONS OF
MY FATHER HE LIKED ME TO MAKE ME KING OVER ALL ISRAEL:
[1-Chronicles 28:5] AND OF ALL MY SONS, (FOR THE LORD HATH GIVEN ME MANY SONS,)
HE HATH CHOSEN SOLOMON MY SON TO SIT UPON THE THRONE OF THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD
[1-Chronicles 28:6] AND HE SAID UNTO ME, SOLOMON THY SON, HE SHALL BUILD MY
HOUSE AND MY COURTS: FOR I HAVE CHOSEN HIM TO BE MY SON, AND I WILL BE HIS
[1-Chronicles 28:7] MOREOVER I WILL ESTABLISH HIS KINGDOM FOR EVER, IF HE BE
CONSTANT TO DO MY COMMANDMENTS AND MY JUDGMENTS, AS AT THIS DAY.
[2-Chronicles 6:16] NOW THEREFORE, O LORD GOD OF ISRAEL, KEEP WITH THY SERVANT
DAVID MY FATHER THAT WHICH THOU HAST PROMISED HIM, SAYING, THERE SHALL NOT FAIL
THEE A MAN IN MY SIGHT TO SIT UPON THE THRONE OF ISRAEL; YET SO THAT THY
CHILDREN TAKE HEED TO THEIR WAY TO WALK IN MY LAW, AS THOU HAST WALKED BEFORE
[2-Chronicles 7:17] AND AS FOR THEE, IF THOU WILT WALK BEFORE ME, AS DAVID THY
FATHER WALKED, AND DO ACCORDING TO ALL THAT I HAVE COMMANDED THEE, AND
OBSERVE MY STATUTES AND MY JUDGMENTS:
[2-Chronicles 7:18] THEN WILL I
STABLISH THE THRONE OF THY
KINGDOM, ACCORDING AS I HAVE COVENANTED WITH DAVID THY FATHER, SAYING, THERE
SHALL NOT FAIL THEE A MAN TO BE RULER IN ISRAEL.
(5) In Jeremiah
[Jeremiah 33:17] FOR THUS SAITH
THE LORD; DAVID SHALL NEVER WANT A MAN TO SIT UPON THE THRONE OF THE HOUSE OF
From the above verse (1-Kings 2:4) it would appear that the Promise to David
that there would always be someone of his seed sitting on the Throne of Israel
was conditional upon their behavior. Others have assumed that the Promises to
David were unconditional at least to a degree.
For a brief discussion of this matter, see:
"Ruled by Sons of David"
See also the Brit-Am Commentary to Jeremiah chapter 33 and read the chapter
right through if possible since it all relates to the Lost Tribes of Israel.
The Promise on Condition? Verses.
On the one hand, it cannot be
denied that the Promise to David and Solomon that there should always be someone
of their descendants ruling over Israel was conditional on the behavior of the
said descendants, cf.
IF THY CHILDREN TAKE HEED TO THEIR WAY, TO WALK BEFORE ME IN TRUTH WITH ALL
THEIR HEART AND WITH ALL THEIR SOUL
YET SO THAT THY CHILDREN TAKE HEED TO THEIR WAY TO WALK IN MY LAW, AS THOU HAST
WALKED BEFORE ME.
SO THAT THY CHILDREN TAKE HEED TO THEIR WAY, THAT THEY WALK BEFORE ME AS THOU
HAST WALKED BEFORE ME.
IF THY CHILDREN WILL KEEP MY COVENANT AND MY TESTIMONY THAT I SHALL TEACH THEM
Despite the Promise to the
descendants of David being on condition of their behavior it would seem that
some degree of unconditionality
We have shown elsewhere that descendants of David as well as continuing to be
found amongst certain Jewish families ALSO attached themselves to the Lost Ten
The probability exists that many of the historical leaders and perhaps also the
monarchs of the Lost Ten Tribes in Exile were indeed descendants of King David.
It should also noted that amongst the Jews certain leading Rabbis (such as the
the Rabbi of Lubavitch,
etc) and leading Jewish families had a tradition that they were descended from
The Need for Public Example
[1-Kings 2:5] MOREOVER THOU KNOWEST ALSO WHAT JOAB THE SON OF ZERUIAH DID TO ME,
AND WHAT HE DID TO THE TWO CAPTAINS OF THE HOSTS OF ISRAEL, UNTO ABNER THE SON
OF NER, AND UNTO AMASA THE SON OF JETHER, WHOM HE SLEW, AND SHED THE BLOOD OF
WAR IN PEACE, AND PUT THE BLOOD OF WAR UPON HIS GIRDLE THAT WAS ABOUT HIS
LOINS, AND IN HIS SHOES THAT WERE ON HIS FEET.
[1-Kings 2:6] DO THEREFORE ACCORDING TO THY WISDOM, AND LET NOT HIS HOAR HEAD GO
DOWN TO THE GRAVE IN PEACE.
[1-Kings 2:7] BUT SHEW KINDNESS UNTO THE SONS OF BARZILLAI THE GILEADITE, AND
LET THEM BE OF THOSE THAT EAT AT THY TABLE: FOR SO THEY CAME TO ME WHEN I FLED
BECAUSE OF ABSALOM THY BROTHER.
[1-Kings 2:8] AND, BEHOLD, THOU HAST WITH THEE SHIMEI THE SON OF GERA, A
BENJAMITE OF BAHURIM, WHICH CURSED ME WITH A GRIEVOUS CURSE IN THE DAY WHEN I
WENT TO MAHANAIM: BUT HE CAME DOWN TO MEET ME AT JORDAN, AND I SWARE TO HIM BY
THE LORD, SAYING, I WILL NOT PUT THEE TO DEATH WITH THE
[1-Kings 2:9] NOW THEREFORE HOLD HIM NOT GUILTLESS: FOR THOU ART A WISE MAN, AND
KNOWEST WHAT THOU OUGHTEST TO DO UNTO HIM; BUT HIS HOAR HEAD BRING THOU DOWN TO
THE GRAVE WITH BLOOD.
had both personally offended David as well as impugning the Principle of
Royalty. For the sake of the Kingdom an example needed to be made of them.
David had been unable to do anything himself in these matters but the incidents
well-known. As long as the offences continued to be unrequited their bad effect
was liable to be perpetuated. So too,
had shown loyalty to the Royal House and beyond the personal family debt owed to
him an ongoing demonstration of public favor was also in order.
Respecting Our Ancestors Through Righteous Living
[1-Kings 2:10] SO DAVID SLEPT WITH HIS FATHERS, AND WAS BURIED IN THE CITY OF
David joined his ancestors. So will we
all one day. Whether our forefathers were good or bad or a mixture of both they
are part of us. We have a debt to them and one day will join them and have to
make a family accounting along with them. It
us all in the time we have to do what we can both for our sake and for that of
they who went before us as well as those who will come after.
The Jewish City of Hebron
[1-Kings 2:11] AND THE DAYS THAT DAVID REIGNED OVER ISRAEL WERE FORTY YEARS:
SEVEN YEARS REIGNED HE IN HEBRON, AND THIRTY AND THREE YEARS REIGNED HE IN
Hebron is a holy city. There is a small
Jewish community in Hebron as well as a large city (Kiryat
near by and other Jewish settlements around about.
lived for a few years in Kiryat
For several months Yair
also worked in the city of Hebron itself helping to rebuild and renovate a large
Jewish building, "Beit
in the city. Yair
was featured working and being interviewed in a short film about the rebuilding
of Jewish homes in Hebron. A group of visitors who had seen the film in the USA
working in Hebron.
One of them exclaimed, "There's the film-star!"
had not discovered Brit-Am maybe Hollywood would have discovered
From Hebron Joseph was sent to search for his brother (Genesis 37:14).
Hebron is also the place of the Cave of the Patriarchs where Abraham (Genesis
25:9), Sarah (Genesis 23:19), Isaac and Rebecca (Genesis 49:31), Jacob (Genesis
50:13), and Leah (Genesis 49:31) are all buried. It is a very holy site with a
unique atmosphere of its own.
We strongly recommend visiting it.
The Cave of the Patriarchs consists of a group of underground caves etc that may
no longer be viewed. Over the caves in the time of the
(or according to other opinions in the time of Herod) a very impressive building
was constructed using enormous
cyclopedian stones similar to
those of Baal-Bek
in Lebanon or to those found in the lower layers of the Western Wall which is a
remnant of the Second Temple. On top of this building was placed a Byzantine
Church. Then came the Mamelukes
from Egypt, added a minaret and a few embellishments and changed the whole
edifice into a mosque. Finally the Jews returned and now use part of the
complex as a Synagogue.
[1-Kings 2:12] THEN SAT SOLOMON UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID HIS
FATHER; AND HIS KINGDOM WAS ESTABLISHED GREATLY.
Solomon consolidated his hold on the
Kingdom and it prospered.
[1-Kings 2:13] AND ADONIJAH THE SON OF HAGGITH CAME TO BATHSHEBA THE MOTHER OF
SOLOMON. AND SHE SAID, COMEST THOU PEACEABLY? AND HE SAID, PEACEABLY.
had tried to usurp the kingship. If he had have been successful the lives of
both Bath-Sheba and her son Solomon may have been forfeit as Bath-Sheba said to
OTHERWISE IT SHALL COME TO PASS, WHEN MY LORD THE KING SHALL SLEEP WITH HIS
FATHERS, THAT I AND MY SON SOLOMON SHALL BE COUNTED OFFENDERS [1-Kings 1:21].
[1-Kings 2:14] HE SAID MOREOVER, I HAVE SOMEWHAT TO SAY UNTO THEE. AND SHE
SAID, SAY ON.
[1-Kings 2:15] 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.
speaks as if the Kingdom should have been his and indeed was in his hands but a
Divine Injunction had taken it from him and given it to Solomon. This was true
to a degree but not exact.
is speaking as if the monarchy was in his hands and should have been rightfully
his only Solomon had the benefit of "bigger guns" (heavenly ones!) that decided
the issue. In point of fact, from the beginning the inheritance had been
promised to Solomon and to the mother of Solomon on his behalf from the
beginning. David the king had never acquiesced in anything else.
had attempted a de facto coup trying to usurp the succession while King David
yet lived and place everybody in the position of having to accept his
or be considered a traitor. This had caused David to have Solomon anointed as
This is not the place to go into it but there is an exaggerated degree of
feminine passivity in the character of Bath-Sheba. She lets herself be taken by
the king. She is prepared to go back to her husband at the command of the king
(even though she did not) and when Nathan tells her to expostulate on behalf of
Solomon in front of the king she indeed does so but appears to leave the
decision to the king's discretion (cf.
1-Kings 1:20). So too, she does not appear to catch the inaccuracy and
prejudicial representation of the facts by
Neither does she see anything sinister in his request for the hand of
[1-Kings 2:16] AND NOW I ASK ONE PETITION OF THEE, DENY ME NOT. AND SHE SAID
UNTO HIM, SAY ON.
[1-Kings 2:17] AND HE SAID, SPEAK, I PRAY THEE, UNTO SOLOMON THE KING, (FOR HE
WILL NOT SAY THEE NAY,) THAT HE GIVE ME ABISHAG THE SHUNAMMITE TO WIFE.
In Modern Hebrew the name is pronounced "Avishag".
To understand the affair of
we should have recourse to the Law. Even they who do not accept the Oral Law
should benefit from this explanation since it is based on Biblical Principles
and helps reveal some of the
This Oral law is an aspect of the Torah but like the Torah itself in some ways
reflects extant tradition variations of which prevailed throughout the Ancient
When Nathan the Prophet upbraided David for having sinned with Beth-Sheba he
AND NATHAN SAID TO DAVID, THOU ART THE MAN. THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL, I
ANOINTED THEE KING OVER ISRAEL, AND I DELIVERED THEE OUT OF THE HAND OF SAUL
AND I GAVE THEE THY MASTER'S HOUSE, AND THY MASTER'S WIVES INTO THY BOSOM, AND
GAVE THEE THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND OF JUDAH; AND IF THAT HAD BEEN TOO LITTLE, I
WOULD MOREOVER HAVE GIVEN UNTO THEE SUCH AND SUCH THINGS [2-Samuel 12:8].
MASTER'S WIVES. Hebrew "Nashei
(Women of) Adonecha
(Your master) i.e. the women of Saul. The Sages were divided on this matter.
said that a king can marry the widow of a king but other of the Sages said he
could not but rather that the verse meant that a king could marry women worthy
of a king. In the case of David this meant the daughters of Saul (Sanhedrin
In Ancient China, Sumer
(Mesopotamia), China, Gaul, Scythia, Egypt (to a degree), and elsewhere when a
monarch died all his servants and appurtenances were killed and buried with him.
This included his wives.
In Israel no-one was killed and buried but the personal possessions were burnt.
That which pertained to royalty if it was not destroyed went to the service of
the monarch who came in succession.
Maimonides, "Mishneh Torah".
The Laws of Kings
2:2. Great honor is paid to the king.
Fear and respect for him is to be instilled in the heart of every man, as it
says, THOU SHALT
SET HIM KING OVER THEE (Deuteronomy 17:15): The awe of him is to be upon you.
We are not to ride his horse, nor to sit in his chair, not to use his staff, and not his
diadem, and not any of his appurtenances.
When he dies his appurtenances are all to be burnt.
by S.T. Rubenstein ("Rambam
Le-Am") cf. Jeremiah 34:5 BUT THOU
DIE IN PEACE: AND WITH THE BURNINGS OF THY FATHERS... SO SHALL THEY BURN
So too, it is forbidden for anybody
apart from another king to use his slaves and maidservants and ministers. For
this reason Abishag
permitted to Solomon but forbidden to
The horse of the king was not burnt but hamstrung and not to be ridden on by
[1-Kings 2:18] AND BATHSHEBA SAID, WELL; I WILL SPEAK FOR THEE UNTO THE KING.
Bath-Sheba was probably relieved that
had no hostile intentions. It is the way of women to seek reconciliation
between contesting parties. Helping
in the eyes of bath-Sheba may have seemed to her a mean of placating any rancor
he may have held over having been "displaced" by Solomon.
Another factor may lie in feminine rivalry:
had been the serving-girl of David and warmed his body even though they did not
have intercourse. Nevertheless,
Abishag had been an extra female
in the life of David and fulfilled part of the functions that a wife normally
would have been expected to. Bathsheba therefore consciously or unconsciously
may have been glad to get her out of the way. This is despite the fact that
David was dead and there was no-one left to "compete" over. Another element may
well be that the young King Solomon had already probably set his "eye" on
as we shall see. This may not have sat well with Bath-Sheba.
[1-Kings 2:19] BATHSHEBA THEREFORE WENT UNTO KING SOLOMON, TO SPEAK UNTO HIM FOR
ADONIJAH. AND THE KING ROSE UP TO MEET HER, AND BOWED HIMSELF UNTO HER, AND SAT
DOWN ON HIS THRONE, AND CAUSED A SEAT TO BE SET FOR THE KING'S MOTHER; AND SHE
SAT ON HIS RIGHT HAND.
Solomon gave respect to his mother and
publicly honored her. We should realize that the honor of our parents is our
[1-Kings 2:20] 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.
[1-Kings 2:21] AND SHE SAID, LET ABISHAG THE SHUNAMMITE BE GIVEN TO ADONIJAH
THY BROTHER TO WIFE.
Bath-Sheba emphasizes that
is the brother of Solomon and therefore worthy to be granted this request of
[1-Kings 2:22] AND KING SOLOMON ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO HIS MOTHER, AND WHY DOST
THOU ASK ABISHAG THE SHUNAMMITE FOR ADONIJAH? ASK FOR HIM THE KINGDOM ALSO; FOR
HE IS MINE ELDER BROTHER; EVEN FOR HIM, AND FOR ABIATHAR THE PRIEST, AND FOR
JOAB THE SON OF ZERUIAH.
It should be remembered that
was the full-brother of Abshalom
(they had the same mother) who had tried to take the kingdom from David.
had publicly defiled the concubines of his father. Now
was seeking to take for himself the woman who had warmed his father's body.
had have been given to Adonijah
in the eyes of the people it would have meant that
was stepping up in the place of David.
THE PRIEST, AND FOR JOAB
THE SON OF ZERUIAH:
says that the request of Adonijah
was due to the advice of Abiathat
and that all three were plotting to take over the kingdom.
Solomon was saying that just as
Adonijah was the elder son and in
the eyes of some merited to be king
So too by giving him Abishag
who by rights could only belong to the king it would be seen as if Solomon was
recognizing the prerogative of
Adonijah and the rights of
primogeniture (first-born succession but also extending to the eldest extant
son) that would have displaced him.
[1-Kings 2:23] THEN KING SOLOMON SWARE BY THE LORD, SAYING, GOD DO SO TO ME,
AND MORE ALSO, IF ADONIJAH HAVE NOT SPOKEN THIS WORD AGAINST HIS OWN LIFE.
The Bible only gives us major points.
Other factors also existed that we are not aware of.
may well have been plotting against the king serving as a focus for rebellious
forces as Targum
says. His request for the hand of
may have been merely the culmination of much other capricious behavior of this
[1-Kings 2:24] NOW THEREFORE, AS THE LORD LIVETH, WHICH HATH ESTABLISHED ME,
AND SET ME ON THE THRONE OF DAVID MY FATHER, AND WHO HATH MADE ME AN HOUSE, AS
HE PROMISED, ADONIJAH SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH THIS DAY.
[1-Kings 2:25] AND KING SOLOMON SENT BY THE HAND OF BENAIAH THE SON OF JEHOIADA;
AND HE FELL UPON HIM THAT HE DIED.
For more about King Solomon and Abishag see our article:
THE SONG OF SOLOMON. A New Love Story
Solomon exiles Abiathar the Priest, executes Joab and replaces him with Benaiah, and puts Shimei son of Gera to Death.
[1-Kings 2:26] AND UNTO ABIATHAR THE PRIEST SAID THE KING, GET THEE TO ANATHOTH,
UNTO THINE OWN FIELDS; FOR THOU ART WORTHY OF DEATH: BUT I WILL NOT AT THIS
TIME PUT THEE TO DEATH, BECAUSE THOU BAREST THE ARK OF THE LORD GOD BEFORE
DAVID MY FATHER, AND BECAUSE THOU HAST BEEN AFFLICTED IN ALL WHEREIN MY FATHER
THE PRIEST had been High priest until the rebellion of
when David deposed him and appointed
in his place (Radak).
The position of High Priest required a high degree of ritual purity that was
strictly adhered to. It would be a not too uncommon occurrence for a High
Priest to be unable temporarily to fulfill his priestly functions. For this
reason a substitute (usually a former High Priest himself) was always held at
ready and he too was of high status. Even after being deposed by David it
appears that Abiathar
had remained in the vicinity of his former office as a kind of reserve
under-study in case of need. In the eyes of the populace it often happened that
both the High Priest and his under-study were of almost equal status.
had been a party to the initial attempt of
to pre-empt Solomon and take the throne (1-Kings 1:7). After their
unsuccessful attempt with
Adonijah Solomon had apparently
along with the other plotters and they had even served as Ministers in the early
government of Solomon as listed further on (1-Kings 4:4). Despite this the
Conspirators had continued their wicked machinations against the King.
had also continued plotting and may have advised
to make claim to Abishag
as a preliminary step before renewing the rebellion.
[1-Kings 2:27] SO SOLOMON THRUST OUT ABIATHAR FROM BEING PRIEST UNTO THE LORD;
THAT HE MIGHT FULFIL THE WORD OF THE LORD, WHICH HE SPAKE CONCERNING THE HOUSE
OF ELI IN SHILOH.
was henceforth barred from functioning as High Priest and this ban extended to
If we remember the story of Eli in Shiloh we shall recall that is where the
tabernacle was stationed. Eli served as High Priest and his two sons,
and Phinehas, assisted
offended the Almighty and it was decreed that the office of High Priest be
removed from their family.
[1-Samuel 2:34] AND THIS SHALL BE A SIGN UNTO THEE, THAT SHALL COME UPON THY TWO
SONS, ON HOPHNI
IN ONE DAY THEY SHALL DIE BOTH OF THEM.
[1-Samuel 2:35] AND I WILL RAISE ME UP A FAITHFUL PRIEST, THAT SHALL DO
ACCORDING TO THAT WHICH IS IN MINE HEART AND IN MY MIND: AND I WILL BUILD HIM A
SURE HOUSE; AND HE SHALL WALK BEFORE MINE ANOINTED FOR
[1-Samuel 2:36] AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT EVERY ONE THAT IS LEFT IN
HOUSE SHALL COME AND CROUCH TO HIM FOR A PIECE OF SILVER AND A MORSEL OF BREAD,
AND SHALL SAY, PUT ME, I PRAY THEE, INTO ONE OF THE PRIESTS' OFFICES, THAT I
MAY EAT A PIECE OF BREAD.
The incident of Hophni
had occurred about a hundred years or more previously. During all that time
descendants of Eli had served in the High Priesthood. Only now at the
beginning of the reign of Solomon was the prophesied heavenly interdiction to
come into effect through the agency of Solomon.
There is a Biblical Principle we may learn from this. It happens that a
blessing or curse may be predicted against a person or people and it not
immediately go into effect. Only later when the bearer of the prediction does
some other deed does the previous decree come into full effect.
We may learn from this:
Even when we have done something very wrong we often have a second chance to
avert or mitigate whatever would otherwise happen to us. Sometimes a blessing
will come to us or to our descendants because of something we or our ancestors
did long ago. It only needs a minor "good deed" on our part to trigger it off.
The same applies for punishments. Concerning this specific example we referred
to the Commentary "Daat
but concerning delayed punishment or reward the best reference may be the
who refers to it several times.
We may also learn from the above example that ones does not really know why
things happen as they do. A minor misdemeanor may cause a great deal of trouble
but this may be because previous offences of ours or our forebears are being
visited upon us and the minor offence has only served as a catalyst.
[1-Kings 2:28] THEN TIDINGS CAME TO JOAB: FOR JOAB HAD TURNED AFTER ADONIJAH,
THOUGH HE TURNED NOT AFTER ABSALOM. AND JOAB FLED UNTO THE TABERNACLE OF THE
LORD, AND CAUGHT HOLD ON THE HORNS OF THE ALTAR.
David had advised Solomon to put
to death for offences against his kingdom. So too,
had been part of the Adonijah
Plot all along the line. Now Solomon had decided to put an end to it
[1-Kings 2:29] AND IT WAS TOLD KING SOLOMON THAT JOAB WAS FLED UNTO THE
TABERNACLE OF THE LORD; AND, BEHOLD, HE IS BY THE ALTAR. THEN SOLOMON SENT
BENAIAH THE SON OF JEHOIADA, SAYING, GO, FALL UPON HIM.
[1-Kings 2:30] AND BENAIAH CAME TO THE TABERNACLE OF THE LORD, AND SAID UNTO
HIM, THUS SAITH THE KING, COME FORTH. AND HE SAID, NAY; BUT I WILL DIE HERE.
AND BENAIAH BROUGHT THE KING WORD AGAIN, SAYING, THUS SAID JOAB, AND THUS HE
[1-Kings 2:31] AND THE KING SAID UNTO HIM, DO AS HE HATH SAID, AND FALL UPON
HIM, AND BURY HIM; THAT THOU MAYEST TAKE AWAY THE INNOCENT BLOOD, WHICH JOAB
SHED, FROM ME, AND FROM THE HOUSE OF MY FATHER.
[1-Kings 2:32] AND THE LORD SHALL RETURN HIS BLOOD UPON HIS OWN HEAD, WHO FELL
UPON TWO MEN MORE RIGHTEOUS AND BETTER THAN HE, AND SLEW THEM WITH THE SWORD, MY
FATHER DAVID NOT KNOWING THEREOF, TO WIT, ABNER THE SON OF NER, CAPTAIN OF THE
HOST OF ISRAEL, AND AMASA THE SON OF JETHER, CAPTAIN OF THE HOST OF
had been the Chief Military Commander of Saul who
had killed even though David had just concluded a pact with him.
had been appointed by David to head the army in place of
(2-Samuel 19:12-14) but had been tardy in getting the army together to subdue
the revolt of Absalom so Joab
killed him as well.
In both cases Joab
could have claimed "reasons of state" for these execution but David did not buy
[1-Kings 2:33] 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
[1-Kings 2:34] SO BENAIAH THE SON OF JEHOIADA WENT UP, AND FELL UPON HIM, AND
SLEW HIM: AND HE WAS BURIED IN HIS OWN HOUSE IN THE
[1-Kings 2:35] AND THE KING PUT BENAIAH THE SON OF JEHOIADA IN HIS ROOM OVER
THE HOST: AND ZADOK THE PRIEST DID THE KING PUT IN THE ROOM OF ABIATHAR.
THE SON OF JEHOIADA
had been in charge of THE
CHERETHITES AND THE
[2-Samuel 8:18] who served as a kind of personal bodyguard for the King. Now
Solomon placed Beniaiah
over all the armed forces.
[1-Kings 2:36] AND THE KING SENT AND CALLED FOR SHIMEI, AND SAID UNTO HIM, BUILD
THEE AN HOUSE IN JERUSALEM, AND DWELL THERE, AND GO NOT FORTH THENCE ANY
THE SON OF GERA
from the Tribe of Benjamin had cursed King David when he fled from Absalom
(2-Samuel 16:5-8). At that time David had refrained from putting him to death
apparently for fear of bringing "bad luck" in his time of tribulation. The Sages
said that this was a mistake and that David was obliged to uphold the dignity of
his office and for the good of his kingdom should have taken retribution at
once. Later on his deathbed David had exhorted Solomon to take vengeance from
[1-Kings 2:8] AND, BEHOLD, THOU HAST WITH THEE
THE SON OF GERA,
WHICH CURSED ME WITH A GRIEVOUS CURSE IN THE DAY WHEN I WENT TO
BUT HE CAME DOWN TO MEET ME AT JORDAN, AND I
TO HIM BY THE LORD, SAYING, I WILL NOT PUT THEE TO DEATH WITH THE
[1-Kings 2:9] NOW THEREFORE HOLD HIM NOT GUILTLESS: FOR THOU ART A WISE MAN, AND
WHAT THOU OUGHTEST
TO DO UNTO HIM; BUT HIS HOAR HEAD BRING THOU DOWN TO THE GRAVE WITH
[1-Kings 2:37] 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.
Solomon put a restriction
on the movements of Shimei who
was a powerful man and a potential focus for treasonous
[1-Kings 2:38] AND SHIMEI SAID UNTO THE KING, THE SAYING IS GOOD: AS MY LORD THE
KING HATH SAID, SO WILL THY SERVANT DO. AND SHIMEI DWELT IN JERUSALEM MANY
[1-Kings 2:39] 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.
We see here that
had possessions of his own as well as servants and the ability to speak to the
King of Gath
on almost equal terms.
[1-Kings 2:40] 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.
The servants had fled to
for protection which may have been extended to them.
however was unable to refuse
Shimei and handed the servants
over to him.
[1-Kings 2:41] AND IT WAS TOLD SOLOMON THAT SHIMEI HAD GONE FROM JERUSALEM TO
GATH, AND WAS COME AGAIN.
[1-Kings 2:42] AND THE KING SENT AND CALLED FOR SHIMEI, AND SAID UNTO HIM, DID I
NOT MAKE THEE TO SWEAR BY THE LORD, AND PROTESTED UNTO THEE, SAYING, KNOW FOR
A CERTAIN, ON THE DAY THOU GOEST OUT, AND WALKEST ABROAD ANY WHITHER, THAT THOU
SHALT SURELY DIE? AND THOU SAIDST UNTO ME, THE WORD THAT I HAVE HEARD IS
[1-Kings 2:43] WHY THEN HAST THOU NOT KEPT THE OATH OF THE LORD, AND THE
COMMANDMENT THAT I HAVE CHARGED THEE WITH?
[1-Kings 2:44] THE KING SAID MOREOVER TO SHIMEI, THOU KNOWEST ALL THE
WICKEDNESS WHICH THINE HEART IS PRIVY TO, THAT THOU DIDST TO DAVID MY FATHER:
THEREFORE THE LORD SHALL RETURN THY WICKEDNESS UPON THINE OWN HEAD;
We may ask, concerning this incident and
the others listed above, if Solomon was bound by the injunction of David to kill
why did he not execute him at once? Why put him to the test, place an extra
constraint upon his movements and only when he transgressed take vengeance?
The answer may be that since David had stayed his hand at the time of
cursing him and throwing stones at him and had also berated
for wanting to punish Shimei
on the spot it may have been out of place to summarily put him to death years
David had also used the occasion of
putting him to shame as a king of "offering" to the Almighty so that God might
have mercy on him.
[2-Samuel 16:9] THEN SAID
ABISHAI THE SON OF
UNTO THE KING, WHY SHOULD THIS DEAD DOG CURSE MY LORD THE KING? LET ME GO OVER,
I PRAY THEE, AND TAKE OFF HIS HEAD.
[2-Samuel 16:10] AND THE KING SAID, WHAT HAVE I TO DO WITH YOU, YE SONS OF
SO LET HIM CURSE, BECAUSE THE LORD HATH SAID UNTO HIM, CURSE DAVID. WHO SHALL
THEN SAY, WHEREFORE HAST THOU DONE SO?
[2-Samuel 16:11] AND DAVID SAID TO
AND TO ALL HIS SERVANTS, BEHOLD, MY SON, WHICH CAME FORTH OF MY BOWELS,
MY LIFE: HOW MUCH MORE NOW MAY THIS
DO IT? LET HIM ALONE, AND LET HIM CURSE; FOR THE LORD HATH BIDDEN
[2-Samuel 16:12] IT MAY BE THAT THE LORD WILL LOOK ON MINE AFFLICTION, AND THAT
THE LORD WILL REQUITE ME GOOD FOR HIS CURSING THIS DAY.
It follows that there were weighty reasons why Solomon gave
what appears to have been a "second chance". Solomon however was a good judge
of human nature. Shimei
was a relative of Saul whose house he considered
e the rightful rulers of Israel.
Shimei himself may have had
Monarchical pretensions. We see above that he was a wealthy and powerful man who
ruled over his servants with an iron hand and made even neighboring potentates
bow to his will. He had publicly cursed and shamed David in front of all the
army and heroes of David and gotten away with it. He had despised David and
evidently also his son. Solomon. He was evidently intrinsically incapable of
accepting the authority of Solomon. His act in taking back under evident
threat of force his servants and at the same time defying the well-known
injunction of the king was an open challenge of rebellion. He deserved what he
got and had revealed his true character to everyone.
[1-Kings 2:45] AND KING SOLOMON SHALL BE BLESSED, AND THE THRONE OF DAVID SHALL
BE ESTABLISHED BEFORE THE LORD FOR EVER.
[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.
Sometimes a firm hand is needed for the
sake of the public peace. So too, in our own lives. Everyone is different and
lives under differing circumstances. It may be that as a general rule for most
of us the best policy is an easygoing forbearing one, not being strict with
others and overlooking offences. Even for such a policy to be
and bear good fruit however it may be necessary to open occasion "put our foot