Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
THE THIRD BOOK OF KINGS.
This and the following Book are called by the holy Fathers, The Third and Fourth Book of Kings; but by the Hebrews, the First and Second. They contain the history of the kingdoms of Israel and Juda, from the beginning of the reign of Solomon to the captivity. As to the writer of these books, it seem most probable they were not written by one man, nor at one time; but as there was all along a succession of prophets in Israel, who recorded, by divine inspiration, the most remarkable things that happened in their days, these books seem to have been written by these prophets. See 2 Paralipomenon, alias 2 Chronicles ix. 29., xii. 15., xiii. 22., xx. 34., xxvi. 22., and xxxii. 32. (Challoner) --- This book informs us of the death of David, chap. ii. 11, where some Greek copies concluded the second book "of the reigns or kingdoms," as they style all the four books. Theodoret and Diodorus follow this division. The point is of no consequence; and the Hebrew editions have often varied. Origen observes, that the Jews denoted these two books from the first words, "Ouammelech David." (Eusebius, Hist. vi. 25.) (Haydock) --- In St. Jerome's time, the four books made only two. The present book details the actions of Solomon, (Calmet) till the end of the 12th chapter. Then we behold the division of the kingdom: Roboam, Abias, Asa, and Josaphat, reign over Juda; Jeroboam, &c., over Israel; while the prophets Abias, Elias, Eliseus, appear in the remaining eleven chapters. (Worthington) --- Though the memoirs seem to have been left by contemporary authors, (Haydock) one, and most probably Esdras, made the compilation, after the captivity, inserting frequently the very words of his authors, yet so as to make some additional reflections. (Calmet) --- The Rabbins generally attribute the work to Jeremias. (Haydock) --- He is more attentive to the house of David, and to display the rewards of the piety, and the punishment of vice, as well as the glory of the temple and of religion, than to describe the military exploits, which occupy so much of the profane history. (Calmet)
Years; sixty-nine, as he died when he was seventy years old. (Calmet) (2 Kings v. 4.) --- Warm. Though David was of a strong constitution, he had been so much exposed to fatigue, and so harassed with domestic broils, that his vigour was nearly decayed. (Calmet) --- The Rabbins say, that the sight of the angel had greatly contributed to weaken him. Lyranus, and others, suppose that he was affected with the palsy. (Abulensis; Salien, the year of the world 3019.)
Servants. Physicians. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] vii. 14.) --- People of the faculty still adopt the same sentiments; and when fire and clothes will not procure heat, they advise the application of living creatures. (Bartholin ix.; Galen vii.; Vales. Philos. c. 19.)
Sunamitess. Sunam was not far from Thabor, in the tribe of Issachar. (Calmet) --- This history leads us to explain the ambition and death of Adonias. (Haydock)
Her. Which shews the virtue and temperance of David. (Menochius) --- She was his wife, at least of a second order. Adonias flattered himself, on account of Abisag's virginity, that the law did not hinder him from marrying her; (Leviticus xviii. 8.; Kimchi) or he was blinded by ambition. (Calmet) --- Heretics and persecutors thus attempt in vain, (Haydock) to defile the Church, the chaste spouse of Jesus, that they may usurp his throne. (Calmet)
Him. He was not deterred by the fate of Absalom. (Haydock) --- He was now the eldest son, and gave himself out for the presumptive heir. (Calmet) --- David is blamed for some remissness, in not repressing him; (Salien) as his conduct tended to excite confusion, and to frustrate the appointment of God. But the king was convinced that nothing would be able to disturb that order; and he would take measures, in due time, to curb the ambition of his eldest son, from which, as yet, he apprehended no danger. (Haydock) --- Old age renders people slow. (Menochius)
Side. For their own interest, and because they supposed that the throne belonged of course to him. (Menochius) --- This was the natural privilege, when no other disposition was made by God, or by the kings who succeeded David. They did not esteem themselves bound to leave the crown to their eldest sons. Hitherto God had made choice himself, as he had required, Deuteronomy xvii. 15. In favour of David, he pleased to grant sovereignty to his descendants. But the king expected to declare which he preferred, in case he chose to deviate from the natural order, ver. 20.
Sadoc, the rival of Abiathar, and a descendant of Eleazar. David had permitted both to perform the functions of the high priesthood; (Calmet) or one had acted as the delegate of the other. (Salien) --- Banaias was distinguished for his valour, 2 Kings xxiii. 20. He was the flower of his age, and, perhaps, aspired at the authority of Joab, whose credit began to decline; as he was grown old, and was known to be rather disagreeable to David, and had been guilty of such horrid murders. Both the contending princes sought to ingratiate themselves with the army and with the priests, as their influence was of the utmost consequence. Solomon was more fortunate, in having also Nathan the prophet on his side; but the throne was secured to him much more on account of the divine decree, 2 Kings vii. 12., and xii. 25. (Haydock) --- Nathan is commonly considered as the tutor of the young prince, (Menochius) and was styled his "father." (Calmet) --- Semei, or Nabath, father of Jeroboam; and Rei, or Ira, who is styled the priest of David, 2 Kings xx. 26. (St. Jerome, Tradit.) (Menochius) --- To confound Semei with Nabath is wrong. (Salien) --- Army; the king's guard consisting chiefly of the Cerethi, &c., (Calmet) who were under Banaias. The whole army, over which Joab was general, was not always in arms. Septuagint, "Semei and Resi, other copies read (Haydock) his friends," (with Syriac; Arabic) "and Daia, heroes of David." Hebrew may be, "neither the hearers nor the seers, nor the brave men of David were with Adonias." The populace, or the disciples, as well as the prophets, may be thus denoted.
Slain. Either for sacrifice, or simply for a feast; (Calmet) though it is probable that victims of peace would be offered, as on similar occasions, on which the guests would afterwards feast, 1 Kings xi. (Haydock) --- Rogel, east of Jerusalem, in the vale of Josaphat. (Menochius)
Not. Out of contempt, (Calmet) and because he knew that they would oppose his measures. (Haydock)\
It not. So that we may safely endeavour to overturn his plane. (Menochius)
Life. Both would have been in imminent danger, if the ambitious projects of Adonias succeeded, as he knew that the throne had been promised to Solomon by his father, and he would consider him as a dangerous rival. (Calmet) --- The Turkish emperors usually destroy or confine their brethren, when they commence their reign. (Haydock)
Swear. This he did, either when he comforted her, after the death of her first-born; (2 Kings xii. 24.) or rather, when Solomon had received so glorious a name, and was declared the heir by Nathan, 2 Kings vii. 12., and 1 Paralipomenon xxii. 20., and xxviii. 5. Adonias acknowledges that God had made choice of his brother, chap. ii. 15. (Calmet)
Words, and confirm what thou hast said, (Menochius) reminding the king of God's express declaration. (Haydock)
Worshipped. Protestants, "did obeisance." Hebrew, "fell prostrate on the ground before the king," (Calmet) without any danger of idolatry. (Haydock)
Of it. So that thy authority is also contemned. (Menochius)
Thee. Adonias boasts that all Israel was on his side, chap. ii. 15. (Calmet)
Offenders. I, as guilty of adultery; and my son, as a mamzer; (Deuteronomy xxiii. 2.; Tirinus) or we shall be accounted pretenders, (Haydock) and condemned as guilty of high treason. (Calmet) --- Our hopes and expectations will be frustrated. (Vatable) (Estius) --- We shall be despised or punished. (Worthington)
Come in. Nathan went out, at the same time; (Menochius) so that each had a private audience. (Calmet)
Lord, David. (Menochius) --- The Cerethi, and other life-guards, went under the command of their captain, Banaias, (Calmet) to repel any force that might disturb this solemn inauguration. (Haydock) --- Mule. None but the king was allowed to mount it. --- Gihon, a fountain, or place of public resort, on the west of Jerusalem. Ezechias brought its waters into the city, 2 Paralipomenon xxxii. 30. (Calmet) --- Adonias was at Rogel, on the east. (Menochius)
Save, (Vavat.) "Live." May Solomon reign for many years. (Haydock)
Stead. Not after me only. David voluntarily abdicates the throne, so that Solomon reigned in his life-time. (Menochius)
King. May all have a prosperous issue, conformably to the wishes of your majesty and the decrees of God. (Calmet)
David. Parents wish their children to be still more happy than themselves, how jealous soever they may be of their own glory. (Calmet)Aspice completum votum; jam natus adæquat
Te meritis, &, quod magis est optabile, vincit. (Claud. iv. con. Honor.)
Horn of oil. Such liquors were commonly kept in vessels of horn. (Calmet) --- Some say that oil, for the consecration of priests, was used on this occasion; and that the ceremony was performed only, when the throne was contested: as in the case of Joas, Joachaz, &c. (Haydock) --- Nathan assisted Sadoc, (ver. 34.) who was not yet the high priest. (Menochius)
Rang. Hebrew, "was split." Chaldean, "shook." (Menochius)
Uproar. Nathan had conducted the affair with singular address. A little delay might have plunged the kingdom into all the horrors of a civil war.
Not so. Hebrew, "Misfortune or mourning, or verily." A man of character did not willingly deliver a disagreeable message, 2 Kings xviii. 25. (Calmet) --- But Jonathan was concerned for his father. (Haydock)
Blessed. Congratulating him on the exaltation of Solomon. --- Bed. Shewing respect to the new king, as Jacob had done to Joseph; (Genesis xlvii. 31.; Sanctius) or laying himself down again; (Calmet) or rather giving thanks to God, (Menochius) whom he adored, in gratitude for the favour of a successor being granted to him. (Worthington)
Afraid. As they had offended both David and Solomon, and had rendered themselves suspected of high treason.
Altar. At Gabaon, (2 Paralipomenon i. 3.) or at Sion. All nations seemed to grant the right of an asylum to sacred places; but only in favour of the innocent, Exodus xxi. 14. (Calmet)
House. He does not forbid him the court, but grants him pardon. (Menochius)