King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

1 Kings > Old Testament > Home

1 Kings 2

David’s dying charge to Solomon. (1-4) David’s charge as to Joab and others. (5-11) Solomon reigns, Adonijah aspiring to the throne is put to death. (12-25) Abiathar banished, Joab put to death. (26-34) Shimei is put to death. (35-46)

1 Kings 2 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

David’s dying charge to Solomon

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

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

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:

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.

David’s charge as to Joab and others

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.

6 Do therefore according to thy wisdom, 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 me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother.

8 And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword.

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.

10 So 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.

Solomon reigns, Adonijah aspiring to the throne is put to death

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

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

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

16 And 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 he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.

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

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.

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 Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.

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.

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.

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

Abiathar banished, Joab put to death

26 And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the LORD God before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted.

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.

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.

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.

30 And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the LORD, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.

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.

32 And the LORD shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah.

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.

34 So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.

Shimei is put to death

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.

36 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither.

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.

38 And Shimei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.

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, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst unto me, The word that I have heard is good.

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

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;

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

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.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Flesh, to the tomb. Omnium idem exitus est, sed & idem domicilium. Petron. —In life each follows his own course. C.

Ver. 3. Charge, what he orders. — Understand. Heb. “act prudently,” (M.) or “with success,” Gr. interp. (C.) and Chal. M. — The observance of God’s law, both in private and in public, will ensure to thee the title of a wise prince.

Ver. 4. Truth and sincerity. C. — This promise was made, 2 K. vii. 16. M.

Ver. 5. Joab. These instructions given by David to his son, with relation to Joab and Semei, proceeded not from any rancour of heart, or private pique; but from a zeal for justice: that crimes so public and heinous might not pass unpunished. Ch. — David and Solomon esteemed themselves, in a manner, defiled, as long as these continued unpunished, v. 31. Joab had behaved to David with great insolence, after the death of Absalom. H. — He had lately sided with Adonias. M. — But what touched the good old king more particularly, were the treacherous murders of two great generals, who had put themselves under his protection, and were endeavouring to promote his welfare. Only the fear of greater commotions had hitherto prevented David from bringing his nephew to public execution, as the people expected. He deemed it requisite to remind his successor of this obligation, when his power should be sufficiently strong, that the impunity of such daring offenders might not destroy the commonwealth. H. — Peace. Pretending affection. Joab had treated Abner and Amasa as the worst of enemies, and their blood had stained his garments. M.

Ver. 6. To hell. This word hell doth not signify the place or state of damnation; but the place and state of the dead. Ch. — It would have been a great scandal if this murderer had died quietly in his old age. Joab had rendered great services to his uncle, for which he had been rewarded. He had been at the head of the armies 40 years. His great age rendered him now less formidable; particularly as the nation enjoyed peace.

Ver. 7. Table, or of the meat, which had been served upon it; as was the custom at the court of Persia. Dan. i. 5. — Brother. See 2 K. xix. 31. C.

Ver. 8. Curse. Saying, Go out, &c. 2 K. xvi. 5. — Camp. Heb. Machanayim. H. — Sword. He would revenge his private wrongs, but reserved the punishment of a notorious offender, till a time when passion would have no influence. Solomon was not bound by the personal oath of his father.

Ver. 9. Man. Many have thought that Solomon was only 12 years old. Euseb. &c. — But the best chronologers suppose that he was about 20. God had blessed him with a happy disposition, which he adorned with various graces. C. iii. 12. Wisd. viii. 19.

Ver. 10. David. Thus died this perfect model of princes, and this great saint, whose only fault, of consequence, was occasioned by Bethsabee: (2 K. xi. 4.) and this served to display his repentance. S. Chrys. hom lxxvii. — He prefigured Jesus Christ in a wonderful manner; in his birth, at the same city; his election, in preference to his brethren; his persecutions, and subsequent glory. Jesus was, in like manner, betrayed by a false friend, and obliged to go out of Jerusalem, laden with his cross. But he acquired fresh splendour by his sufferings, and purchased a more faithful people. The tomb of David remained for many ages. Acts ii. 29. Josephus says that it contained vast riches: but this seems to be fabulous. S. Jerom often went to pray at this tomb. Ep. ad Marcel. — If it be now unknown, the Holy Ghost has left us a more illustrious monument to the honour of this great man, in the Psalms, and EcclI. xlvii. 2. &c. C. — We have now only an abridgment of his history. 1 Par. xxix. 29.

Ver. 11. Seven years. The odd six months are not mentioned. 2 K. ii. 11. H.

Ver. 12. Sat, exercising the same authority, as he had done in his father’s life-time. C. i. 53. C. S. Aug. de C. xvii. 8. Salien, A.C. 1033. — The public assembly of Israel, convoked by David, had already sworn fidelity to him. 1 Par. xxviii. 1. H.

Ver. 15. Mine, according to the ordinary course of things. But I was willing to forego my claims, when I perceived that the Lord had made choice of my brother. C.

Ver. 17. Wife. Some think that Joab had instigated Adonias to make this petition, that his party might be strengthened. Theod. q. 7. But love might be his prompter. C. — Bethsabee consented to further his petition, (M.) without suspecting any bad consequences. H.

Ver. 19. To her. Only fools will despise their parents. Prov. xv. 20. Eccli. iii. 18. Tob. iv. 3. The Persians would allow no one to sit in his mother’s presence, without her leave; and Alexander would treat Sysigambis with the like respect. Q. Curt. v. — Right hand. In the most honourable place, next to his own. Gen. xlviii. 13. The Turks and Persians give the preference to the left. Xenop. Cyrop. viii.

Ver. 20. Thy face, with confusion. He engages to grant her request, if it could be done with any propriety, (C.) as a son ought to do. W.

Ver. 22. The kingdom. It was a maxim in most of the oriental courts, that the things which had belonged to the king, should not be enjoyed by any but his successor. Grotius. — Hence Adonias might be suspected of ambitious projects, as his party was still formidable. C. — The marriage seems also to be unlawful. M. See C. i. 4. — Yet, if the aforesaid custom subsisted at that time; or, if the marriage had been evidently prohibited, both Adonias and Bethsabee must have acted in a very inconsistent manner, so that we must hesitate before we pronounce sentence. H. — Many condemn Solomon of precipitation and cruelty in his judgment; (Cajet.) while others approve of his conduct, (Theod. q. 7.) and think any delay might have proved dangerous. Ubi facto magis quam consulto opus. Tacit. C.

Ver. 24. House. This generally denotes children, and Roboam was born this year. Some have considered his birth as miraculous, supposing that Solomon was not above 12 years old, v. 9. S. Jer. Ep. ad Vital.

Ver. 25. Banaias. The chief officers became executioners, on such occasions. Dan. ii. 24. The Romans employed soldiers; which makes Tertullian (Coron. xi.) dissuade Christians from entering the service.

Ver. 26. Priest. Sadoc had been anointed in his stead, probably by Nathan, in the general assembly, while David was present: they anointed…Sadoc to be high priest, 1 Par. xxix. 22. Salien. — But not, Solomon orders Abiathar to retire to his estate, in punishment of his conspiracy. C. — He might have justly put him to death, if he had committed a crime worthy of it; as his dignity did not give him a right to disturb the peace of the state with impunity. H. — Solomon acted as a prophet. W. — God had long before denounced that the family of Eleazar should regain the dignity, which Heli had obtained by some means or other. 1 K. ii. 31. H. — Solomon only put the divine decree in execution. Pineda vi. 15. — Sadoc had perhaps also passed sentence, as the Levitical tribe had a great sway in the courts of judicature. M. — Abiathar was still honoured with his former title. C. iv. 4. But he was not permitted to officiate, (C.) nor to remain in the royal city, as he seemed now to be a dangerous man. H. — Anathoth was a sacerdotal town in Benjamin. M. — A portion of the suburbs had been assigned to Abiathar, unless he had obtained a field by inheritance, or by marrying an heiress. See Jeremias xxxii. 7. C.

Ver. 28. Joab. The Latin MSS. except one, and almost all the ancient editions of Sixtus, &c. read Solomon. “And a messenger came to Solomon that Joab,” &c. — Solomon. Heb. “Absalom.” Sept. vary. The difference is of little consequence. C.

Ver. 30. Die, if my life must not be spared. H. — He knew that the like precaution would not have been able to protect Adonias. It was not just that he, who had despised all that was sacred, should find an asylum at the altar itself.

Ver. 34. Slew him, holding the altar; though some think that he was removed by force, like Athalia, 4 K. xi. 15. Both actions were contrary to the reverence due to so holy a place, and perhaps inexcusable; (C.) unless the law had ordered it otherwise. Ex. xxi. 14. H.

Ver. 35. Abiathar. See v. 26. Secular princes sometimes nominate, but they must obey, the pastor. W.

Ver. 37. Cedron, which led towards Bahurim. He was equally forbidden to go out by any other road; and was put to death for going to Geth. — Head. Thou canst blame only thyself. Solomon might have put this man to death before: but he chose to pay so much deference to the oath of his father, as not to bring him to execution without a fresh offence.

Ver. 39. Servants. Two in number; (Heb. Sept.) perhaps originally from Geth; (M.) to the king of which place David had fled, 44 years before. Abul. q. 44.