1 Kings 2

David’s Final Words to Solomon

1When David was close to death,
Heb “and the days of David approached to die.”
he told
Or “commanded.”
Solomon his son:
2“I am about to die.
Heb “going the way of all the earth.”
Be strong and become a man!
3Do the job the Lord your God has assigned you
Heb “keep the charge of the Lord your God.”
by following his instructions
Heb “by walking in his ways.”
and obeying
Or “keeping.”
his rules, commandments, regulations, and laws as written in the law of Moses. Then you will succeed in all you do and seek to accomplish,
Heb “then you will cause to succeed all which you do and all which you turn there.”
4and the Lord will fulfill his promise to me,
Heb “then the Lord will establish his word which he spoke to me, saying.”
‘If your descendants watch their step
Heb “guard their way.”
and live faithfully in my presence
Heb “by walking before me in faithfulness.”
with all their heart and being,
Or “soul.”
then,’ he promised,
Heb “saying.”
‘you will not fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’
Heb “there will not be cut off from you a man from upon the throne of Israel.”

5 “You know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me – how he murdered two commanders of the Israelite armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether.
Heb “what he did to the two commanders…and he killed them.”
During peacetime he struck them down like he would in battle;
Heb “he shed the blood of battle in peace.”
when he shed their blood as if in battle, he stained his own belt and the sandals on his feet.
Heb “and he shed the blood of battle when he killed which is on his waist and on his sandal[s] which are on his feet.” That is, he covered himself with guilt and his guilt was obvious to all who saw him.
6Do to him what you think is appropriate,
Heb “according to your wisdom.”
but don’t let him live long and die a peaceful death.
Heb “and do not bring down his grey hair in peace [to] Sheol.”

7 “Treat fairly
Heb “do loyalty with”; or “act faithfully toward.”
the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and provide for their needs,
Heb “and let them be among the ones who eat [at] your table.”
because they helped me
Heb “drew near to.”
when I had to flee from your brother Absalom.

8 “Note well, you still have to contend with Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim,
Heb “Look, with you is Shimei….”
who tried to call down upon me a horrible judgment when I went to Mahanaim.
Heb “and he cursed me with a horrible curse on the day I went to Mahanaim.”
He came down and met me at the Jordan, and I solemnly promised
Or “swore an oath to.”
him by the Lord, ‘I will not strike you down
Heb “kill you.”
with the sword.’
9But now
The Lucianic recension of the Old Greek and the Vulgate have here “you” rather than “now.” The two words are homonyms in Hebrew.
don’t treat him as if he were innocent. You are a wise man and you know how to handle him;
Heb “what you should do to him.”
make sure he has a bloody death.”
Heb “bring his grey hair down in blood [to] Sheol.”

10 Then David passed away
Heb “and David lay down with his fathers.”
and was buried in the city of David.
The phrase the city of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.
11David reigned over Israel forty years; he reigned in Hebron seven years, and in Jerusalem thirty-three years.

Solomon Secures the Throne

12 Solomon sat on his father David’s throne, and his royal authority
Or “kingship.”
was firmly solidified.

13 Haggith’s son Adonijah visited Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. She asked, “Do you come in peace?” He answered, “Yes.”
Heb “[in] peace.”
14He added,
Heb “and he said.”
“I have something to say to you.” She replied, “Speak.”
15He said, “You know that the kingdom
Or “kingship.”
was mine and all Israel considered me king.
Heb “set their face to me to be king.”
But then the kingdom was given to my brother, for the Lord decided it should be his.
Heb “and the kingdom turned about and became my brother’s, for from the Lord it became his.”
16Now I’d like to ask you for just one thing. Please don’t refuse me.”
Heb “Do not turn back my face.”
She said, “Go ahead and ask.”
Heb “She said, ‘Speak!’”
17He said, “Please ask King Solomon if he would give me Abishag the Shunammite as a wife, for he won’t refuse you.”
Heb “Say to Solomon the king, for he will not turn back your face, that he might give to me Abishag the Shunammite for a wife.”
18Bathsheba replied, “That’s fine,
Heb “[It is] good!”
I’ll speak to the king on your behalf.”

19 So Bathsheba visited King Solomon to speak to him on Adonijah’s behalf. The king got up to greet
Or “meet.”
her, bowed to her, and then sat on his throne. He ordered a throne to be brought for the king’s mother,
Heb “he set up a throne for the mother of the king.”
and she sat at his right hand.
20She said, “I would like to ask you for just one small favor.
Or “I’d like to make just one request of you.”
Please don’t refuse me.”
Heb “Do not turn back my face.”
He said,
Heb “and the king said to her.”
“Go ahead and ask, my mother, for I would not refuse you.”
21She said, “Allow Abishag the Shunammite to be given to your brother Adonijah as a wife.” 22King Solomon answered his mother, “Why just request Abishag the Shunammite for him?
Heb “for Adonijah.”
Since he is my older brother, you should also request the kingdom for him, for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab son of Zeruiah!”

23 King Solomon then swore an oath by the Lord, “May God judge me severely,
Heb “So may God do to me, and so may he add.”
if Adonijah does not pay for this request with his life!
Heb “if with his life Adonijah has not spoken this word.”
24Now, as certainly as the Lord lives (he who made me secure, allowed me to sit on my father David’s throne, and established a dynasty
Heb “house.”
for me as he promised), Adonijah will be executed today!”
25King Solomon then sent
The Hebrew text adds, “by the hand of.”
Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he killed Adonijah.
Heb “and he struck him and he died.”

26 The king then told Abiathar the priest, “Go back to your property
Or “field.”
in Anathoth. You deserve to die,
Heb “you are a man of death.”
but today I will not kill you because you did carry the ark of the sovereign Lord before my father David and you suffered with my father through all his difficult times.”
Heb “and because you suffered through all which my father suffered.”
27Solomon dismissed Abiathar from his position as priest of the Lord,
Heb “Solomon drove out Abiathar from being a priest to the Lord.
fulfilling the decree of judgment the Lord made in Shiloh against the family of Eli.
Heb “fulfilling the word of the Lord which he spoke against the house of Eli in Shiloh.”

28 When the news reached Joab (for Joab had supported
Heb “turned after” (also later in this verse).
Adonijah, although he had not supported Absalom), he
Heb “Joab.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
ran to the tent of the Lord and grabbed hold of the horns of the altar.
Grabbed hold of the horns of the altar. The “horns” of the altar were the horn-shaped projections on the four corners of the altar (see Exod 27:2). By going to the holy place and grabbing hold of the horns of the altar, Joab was seeking asylum from Solomon.
29When King Solomon heard
Heb “and it was related to King Solomon.”
that Joab had run to the tent of the Lord and was right there beside the altar, he ordered Benaiah son of Jehoiada,
Heb “so Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada, saying.”
“Go, strike him down.”
30When Benaiah arrived at the tent of the Lord, he said to him, “The king says, ‘Come out!’” But he replied, “No, I will die here!” So Benaiah sent word to the king and reported Joab’s reply.
Heb “saying, “In this way Joab spoke and in this way he answered me.”
31The king told him, “Do as he said! Strike him down and bury him. Take away from me and from my father’s family
Heb “house.”
the guilt of Joab’s murderous, bloody deeds.
Heb “take away the undeserved bloodshed which Joab spilled from upon me and from upon the house of my father.”
32May the Lord punish him for the blood he shed;
Heb “The Lord will cause his blood to return upon his head.”
behind my father David’s back he struck down and murdered with the sword two men who were more innocent and morally upright than he
Heb “because he struck down two men more innocent and better than he and he killed them with the sword, and my father David did not know.”
– Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel’s army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah’s army.
33May Joab and his descendants be perpetually guilty of their shed blood, but may the Lord give perpetual peace to David, his descendants, his family,
Heb “house.”
and his dynasty.”
Heb “his throne.”
34So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up and executed Joab;
Heb “struck him and killed him.” The referent (Joab) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
he was buried at his home in the wilderness.
35The king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada to take his place at the head of
Heb “over.”
the army, and the king appointed Zadok the priest to take Abiathar’s place.
The Old Greek translation includes after v. 35 some fourteen verses that are absent from the MT.

36 Next the king summoned
Heb “sent and summoned.”
Shimei and told him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there – but you may not leave there to go anywhere!
Heb “and you may not go out from there here or there.”
37If you ever do leave and cross the Kidron Valley, know for sure that you will certainly die! You will be responsible for your own death.”
Heb “your blood will be upon your head.”
38Shimei said to the king, “My master the king’s proposal is acceptable.
Heb “Good is the word, as my master the king has spoken.”
Your servant will do as you say.”
Heb “so your servant will do.”
So Shimei lived in Jerusalem for a long time.
Heb “many days.”

39 Three years later two of Shimei’s servants ran away to King Achish son of Maacah of Gath. Shimei was told, “Look, your servants are in Gath.” 40So Shimei got up, saddled his donkey, and went to Achish at Gath to find his servants; Shimei went and brought back his servants from Gath. 41When Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had then returned, 42the king summoned
Heb “sent and summoned.”
Shimei and said to him, “You will recall
Heb “Is it not [true]…?” In the Hebrew text the statement is interrogative; the rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course it is.”
that I made you take an oath by the Lord, and I solemnly warned you, ‘If you ever leave and go anywhere,
Heb “here or there.”
know for sure that you will certainly die.’ You said to me, ‘The proposal is acceptable; I agree to it.’
Heb “good is the word; I have heard.”
43Why then have you broken the oath you made before the Lord and disobeyed the order I gave you?”
Heb “Why have you not kept the oath [to] the Lord and the commandment I commanded you?”
44Then the king said to Shimei, “You are well aware of the way you mistreated my father David.
Heb “You know all the evil, for your heart knows, which you did to David my father.”
The Lord will punish you for what you did.
Heb “The Lord will cause your evil to return upon your head.”
45But King Solomon will be empowered
Or “blessed.”
and David’s dynasty
Heb “throne.”
will endure permanently before the Lord.”
46The king then gave the order to Benaiah son of Jehoiada who went and executed Shimei.
“The king commanded Benaiah son of Jehoiada and he went out and struck him down and he died.”

So Solomon took firm control of the kingdom.
“And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.”

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