Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
The anointing of Solomon as king, which was effected by David's command (1 Kings 1), is only briefly mentioned in 1 Chronicles 23:1 in the words, "When David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel;" which serve as an introduction to the account of the arrangements made by David during the closing days of his life. After these arrangements have been described, there follow in 1 Chronicles 28 and 29 his last instructions and his death. The aged king gathered together the tribe-princes and the rest of the dignitaries and superior officers to a diet at Jerusalem, and having introduced Solomon to them as the successor chosen by God, exhorted them to keep the commandments of God, and urged upon Solomon and the whole assembly the building of the temple, gave his son the model of the temple and all the materials which he had collected towards its erection, called upon the great men of the kingdom to contribute to this work, which they willingly agreed to, and closed this last act of his reign with praise and thanksgiving to God and a great sacrificial festival, at which the assembled states of the realm made Solomon king a second time, and anointed him prince in the presence of Jehovah (1 Chronicles 29:22). - A repetition of the anointing of the new king at the instigation of the states of the realm, accompanied by their solemn homage, had also taken place in the case of both Saul (2 Samuel 11) and David (2 Samuel 2:4 and 2 Samuel 5:3), and appears to have been an essential requirement to secure the general recognition of the king on the part of the nation, at any rate in those cases in which the succession to the throne was not undisputed. In order, therefore, to preclude any rebellion after his death, David summoned this national assembly again after Solomon's first anointing and ascent of the throne, that the representatives of the whole nation might pay the requisite homage to king Solomon, who had been installed as his successor according to the will of God. - To this national assembly, which is only reported in the Chronicles, there are appended the last instructions which David gave, according to 1 Chronicles 29:1-9 of our chapter, to his successor Solomon immediately before his death. Just as in the Chronicles, according to the peculiar plan of that work, there is no detailed description of the installation of David on the throne; so here the author of our books has omitted the account of this national diet, and the homage paid by the estates of the realm to the new king, as not being required by the purpose of his work, and has communicated the last personal admonitions and instructions of the dying king David instead.
(Note: To refute the assertion of De Wette, Gramberg, and Thenius, that this account of the Chronicles arises from a free mode of dealing with the history, and an intention to suppress everything that did not contribute to the honour of David and his house, - an assertion which can only be attributed to their completely overlooking, not to say studiously ignoring, the different plans of the two works (the books of Kings on the one hand, and those of Chronicles on the other), - it will be sufficient to quote the unprejudiced and thoughtful decision of Bertheau, who says, in his Comm. on 1 Chronicles 23:1 : "These few words (1 Chronicles 23:1) give in a condensed form the substance of the account in 1 Kings 1, which is intimately bound up with the account of the family affairs of David in the books of Samuel and Kings, and therefore, according to the whole plan of our historical work, would have been out of place in the Chronicles.")
Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,David's Last Instructions and Death. - 1 Kings 2:1-4. When David saw that his life was drawing to a close, he first of all admonished his son Solomon to be valiant in the observance of the commandments of God. "I go the way of all the world" (as in Joshua 23:14), i.e., the way of death; "be strong and be a man," - not "bear my departure bravely," as Thenius supposes, but prove thyself brave (cf. 1 Samuel 4:9) to keep the commandments of the Lord. Just as in 1 Samuel 4:9 the object in which the bravery is to show itself is appended simply by the copula Vv; so is it here also with וגו ושׁמרתּ. The phrase יי את־משׁמרת שׁמר, to keep the keeping of Jehovah, which so frequently occurs in the Thorah, i.e., to observe or obey whatever is to be observed in relation to Jehovah (cf. Genesis 26:5; Leviticus 8:35; Leviticus 18:30, etc.), always receives its more precise definition from the context, and is used here, as in Genesis 26:5, to denote obedience to the law of God in all its extent, or, according to the first definition, to walk in the ways of Jehovah. This is afterwards more fully expanded in the expression וגו חקּתין לשׁמר, to keep the ordinances, commandments, rights, and testimonies of Jehovah. These four words were applied to the different precepts of the law, the first three of which are connected together in Genesis 26:5; Deuteronomy 5:28; Deuteronomy 8:11, and served to individualize the rich and manifold substance of the demands of the Lord to His people as laid down in the Thorah. תּשׂכּיל למען, that thou mayest act wisely and execute well, as in Deuteronomy 29:8; Joshua 1:7.
I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
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:
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.Solomon would then experience still further this blessing of walking in the ways of the Lord, since the Lord would fulfil to him His promise of the everlasting possession of the throne. וגו יקים למען is grammatically subordinate to תּשׂכּיל למען in 1 Kings 2:3. The word which Jehovah has spoken concerning David (עלי דּבּר) is the promise in 2 Samuel 7:12., the substance of which is quoted here by David with a negative turn, וגו יכּרת לא, and with express allusion to the condition on which God would assuredly fulfil His promise, viz., if the descendants of David preserve their ways, to walk before the Lord in truth. בּאמת is more precisely defined by נפשׁם...בּכל. For the fact itself see Deuteronomy 5:5; Deuteronomy 11:13, Deuteronomy 11:18. The formula וגו יכּרת לא is formed after 1 Samuel 2:33 (compare also 2 Samuel 3:29 and Joshua 9:23). "There shall not be cut off to thee a man from upon the throne of Israel," i.e., there shall never be wanting to thee a descendant to take the throne; in other words, the sovereignty shall always remain in thy family. This promise, which reads thus in 2 Samuel 7:16, "Thy house and thy kingdom shall be continual for ever before thee, and thy throne stand fast for ever," and which was confirmed to Solomon by the Lord Himself after his prayer at the consecration of the temple (1 Kings 8:25; 1 Kings 9:5), is not to be understood as implying that no king of the Davidic house would be thrust away from the throne, but simply affirms that the posterity of David was not to be cut off, so as to leave no offshoot which could take possession of the throne. Its ultimate fulfilment it received in Christ (see at 2 Samuel 7:12.). The second לאמר in 2 Samuel 7:4 is not to be erased as suspicious, as being merely a repetition of the first in consequence of the long conditional clause, even though it is wanting in the Vulgate, the Arabic, and a Hebrew codex.
After a general admonition David communicated to his successor a few more special instructions; viz., first of all (2 Samuel 7:5, 2 Samuel 7:6), to punish Joab for his wickedness. "What Joab did to me:" - of this David mentions only the two principal crimes of Joab, by which he had already twice deserved death, namely, his killing the two generals. Abner (2 Samuel 3:27) and Amasa the son of Jether (2 Samuel 20:10). The name יתר is written יתרא in 2 Samuel 17:25. Joab had murdered both of them out of jealousy in a treacherous and malicious manner; and thereby he had not only grievously displeased David and bidden defiance to his royal authority, but by the murder of Abner had exposed the king to the suspicion in the eyes of the people of having instigated the crime (see at 2 Samuel 3:28, 2 Samuel 3:37). דּמי מ ויּשׂם "and he made war-blood in peace," i.e., he shed in the time of peace blood that ought only to flow in war (שׂים in the sense of making, as in Deuteronomy 14:1; Exodus 10:2, etc.), "and brought war-blood upon his girdle which was about his loins, and upon his shoes under his feet," sc. in the time of peace. This was the crime therefore: that Joab had murdered the two generals in a time of peace, as one ought only to slay his opponent in time of war. Girdle and shoes, the principal features in oriental attire when a man is preparing himself for any business, were covered with blood, since Joab, while saluting them, had treacherously stabbed both of them with the sword. David ought to have punished these two crimes; but when Abner was murdered, he felt himself too weak to visit a man like Joab with the punishment he deserved, as he had only just been anointed king, and consequently he did nothing more than invoke divine retribution upon his head (2 Samuel 3:29). And when Amasa was slain, the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba had crippled the power of David too much, for him to visit the deed with the punishment that was due. But as king of the nation of God, it was not right for him to allow such crimes to pass unpunished: he therefore transferred the punishment, for which he had wanted the requisite power, to his son and successor.
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.
Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace."Do according to thy wisdom ("mark the proper opportunity of punishing him" - Seb. Schmidt), and let not his grey hair go down into hell (the region of the dead) in peace (i.e., punished)." The punishment of so powerful a man as Joab the commander-in-chief was, required great wisdom, to avoid occasioning a rebellion in the army, which was devoted to him.
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.If the demands of justice required that Joab should be punished, the duty of gratitude was no less holy to the dying king. And Solomon was to show this to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and make them companions of his table; because Barzillai had supplied David with provisions on his flight from Absalom (2 Samuel 17:27., 2 Samuel 19:32.). שׁלחנך בּאכלי והיוּ, "let them be among those eating of thy table;" i.e., not, "let them draw their food from the royal table," - for there was no particular distinction in this, as all the royal attendants at the court received their food from the royal kitchen, as an equivalent for the pay that was owing - but, "let them join in the meals at the royal table." The fact that in 2 Samuel 9:10-11, 2 Samuel 9:13, we have על־שׁלחן אכל to express this, makes no material difference. According to 2 Samuel 19:38, Barzillai had, it is true, allowed only one son to follow the king to his court. "For so they drew near to me," i.e., they showed the kindness to me of supplying me with food; compare 2 Samuel 17:27, where Barzillai alone is named, though, as he was a man of eighty years old, he was certainly supported by his sons.
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.On the other hand, Shimei the Benjamite had shown great hostility to David (cf. 2 Samuel 16:5-8). He had cursed him with a vehement curse as he fled from Absalom (נמרצת, vehement, violent, not ill, heillos, from the primary meaning to be sick or ill, as Thenius supposes, since it cannot be shown that מרץ has any such meaning); and when David returned to Jerusalem and Shimei fell at his feet, he had promised to spare his life, because he did not want to mar the joy at his reinstatement in his kingdom by an act of punishment (2 Samuel 19:19-24), and therefore had personally forgiven him. But the insult which Shimei had offered in his person to the anointed of the Lord, as king and representative of the rights of God, he could not forgive. The instruction given to his successor (אל־תּנקּהוּ, let him not be guiltless) did not spring from personal revenge, but was the duty of the king as judge and administrator of the divine right.
(Note: "Shimei is and remains rather a proof of David's magnanimity than of vengeance. It was not a little thing to tolerate the miscreant in his immediate neighbourhood for his whole life long (not even banishment being thought of). And if under the following reign also he had been allowed to end his days in peace (which had never been promised him), this would have been a kindness which would have furnished an example of unpunished crimes that might easily have been abused." This is the verdict of J. J. Hess in his Geschichte Davids, ii. p. 221.)
It follows from the expression עמּך, with thee, i.e., in thy neighbourhood, that Shimei was living at that time in Jerusalem (cf. 1 Kings 2:36).
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.
So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.After these instructions David died, and was buried in the city of David, i.e., upon Mount Zion, where the sepulchre of David still existed in the time of Christ (Acts 2:29).
(Note: The situation of the tombs of the kings of Judah upon Zion, Thenius has attempted to trace minutely in a separate article in Illgen's Zeitschrift fr die histor. Theol. 1844, i. p. 1ff., and more especially to show that the entrance to these tombs must have been on the eastern slope of Mount Zion, which falls into the valley of Tyropoeon, and obliquely opposite to the spring of Siloah. This is in harmony with the statement of Theodoret (quaest. 6 in iii. Reg.), to the effect that Josephus says, τὸ δὲ μνῆμα (τῆς ταφῆς) παρὰ τὴν Σιλοὰμ εἶναι ἀντροειδὲς ἔχον τὸ σχῆμα, καὶ τῆν βασιλικὴν δηλοῦν πολυτέλειαν; although this statement does not occur in any passage of his works as they have come down to us.)
On the length of his reign see 2 Samuel 5:5.
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.
Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.Accession of Solomon and Establishment of his Government. - 1 Kings 2:12 is a heading embracing the substance of what follows, and is more fully expanded in 1 Chronicles 29:23-25. Solomon established his monarchy first of all by punishing the rebels, Adonijah (1 Chronicles 29:13-25) and his adherents (1 Chronicles 29:26 -35), and by carrying out the final instructions of his father (vv. 36-46).
And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.Adonijah forfeits his life. - 1 Kings 2:13-18. Adonijah came to Bathsheba with the request that she would apply to king Solomon to give him Abishag of Shunem as his wife. Bathsheba asked him, "Is peace thy coming?" i.e., comest thou with a peaceable intention? (as in 1 Samuel 16:4), because after what had occurred (1 Kings 1:5.) she suspected an evil intention. He introduced his petition with these words: "Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set its face upon me that I should be king, then the kingdom turned about and became my brother's; for it became his from the Lord." The throne was his, not because he had usurped it, but because it belonged to him as the eldest son at that time, according to the right of primogeniture. Moreover it might have been the case that many of the people wished him to be king, and the fact that he had found adherents in Joab, Abiathar, and others, confirms this; but his assertion, that all Israel had set its eyes upon him as the future king, went beyond the bounds of truth. At the same time, he knew how to cover over the dangerous sentiment implied in his words in a very skilful manner by adding the further remark, that the transfer of the kingdom to his brother had come from Jehovah; so that Bathsheba did not detect the artifice, and promised to fulfil his request (1 Kings 2:16.) to intercede with king Solomon for Abishag to be given him to wife. את־פּני אל־תּשׁבי, "do not turn back my face," i.e., do not refuse my request.
He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.
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.
And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.
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.
And Bathsheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.
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.When Bathsheba came to Solomon, he received her with the reverence due to the queen-mother: "he rose up to meet her" (a pregnant expression for "he rose up and went to meet her"), made a low bow, then sat upon his throne again, and bade her sit upon a throne at his right hand. The seat at the right hand of the king was the place of honour among the Israelites (cf. Psalm 110:1), also with the ancient Arabian kings (cf. Eichhorn, Monumenta Antiq. Hist. Arab. p. 220), as well as among the Greeks and Romans.
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.To her request, "Let Abishag of Shunem be given to Adonijah thy brother for a wife" (את יתּן, cf. Ges. 143, 1, a.), which she regarded in her womanly simplicity as a very small one (קטנּה), he replied with indignation, detecting at once the intrigues of Adonijah: "And why dost thou ask Abishag of Shunem for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom, for he is my elder brother; and indeed for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah." The repetition of לו in ולו (1 Kings 2:22), for the purpose of linking on another clause, answers entirely to the emotional character of the words. "For him, and for Abiathar and Joab:" Solomon said this, because these two men of high rank had supported Adonijah's rebellion and wished to rule under his name. There is no ground for any such alterations of the text as Thenius proposes. - Although Abishag had been only David's nurse, in the eyes of the people she passed as his concubine; and among the Israelites, just as with the ancient Persians (Herod. iii. 68), taking possession of the harem of a deceased king was equivalent to an establishment of the claim to the throne (see at 2 Samuel 12:8 and 2 Samuel 3:7-8). According to 2 Samuel 16:21, this cannot have been unknown even to Bathsheba; but as Adonijah's wily words had disarmed all suspicion, she may not have thought of this, or may perhaps have thought that Abishag was not to be reckoned as one of David's concubines, because David had not known her (1 Kings 1:4).
And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.
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.
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.Solomon thereupon solemnly swore (the formula of an oath, and the כּי introducing the oath, as in 1 Samuel 14:44, etc.), "Adonijah has spoken this word against his own life." בּנפשׁו, at the cost of his life, as in 2 Samuel 23:17, i.e., at the hazard of his life, or to his destruction. 2 Samuel 23:24. "And now, as truly as Jehovah liveth, who hath established me and set me on the throne of my father David, and hath made me a house, as He said (verbatim, 2 Samuel 7:11): yea, to-day shall Adonijah be put to death." Jehovah established Solomon, or founded him firmly, by raising him to the throne in spite of Adonijah's usurpation. In ויושׁיביני the central י has got into the text through a copyist's error. בּית לי עשׂה, i.e., He has bestowed upon me a family or posterity. Solomon had already one son, viz., Rehoboam, about a year old (compare 1 Kings 11:42 with 1 Kings 14:21 and 2 Chronicles 12:13).
(Note: When Thenius denies this, and maintains that Rehoboam cannot have been 41 years old when he began to reign, referring to his discussion at 1 Kings 14:21, he answers himself, inasmuch as at 1 Kings 14:21 he demonstrates the fallacy of the objections which Cappellus has raised against the correctness of the reading "41 years.")
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.
And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.Solomon had this sentence immediately executed upon Adonijah by Benaiah, the chief of the body-guard, according to the oriental custom of both ancient and modern times. The king was perfectly just in doing this. For since Adonijah, even after his first attempt to seize upon the throne had been forgiven by Solomon, endeavoured to secure his end by fresh machinations, duty to God, who had exalted Solomon to the throne, demanded that the rebel should be punished with all the severity of the law, without regard to blood-relationship.
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.Deposition of Abiathar. - The conduct of Solomon towards the high priest Abiathar is a proof how free his actions were from personal revenge or too great severity. Abiathar had also forfeited his life through the part he took in Adonijah's conspiracy; but Solomon simply sent him to Anathoth (i.e., Anata; see at Joshua 18:24), to his own fields, i.e., to his property there, telling him, "Thou art indeed a man of death," i.e., thou hast deserved to die, "but I will not put thee to death to-day, because thou hast borne the ark of Jehovah," namely, both on the occasion of its solemn conveyance to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:11.) and also on David's flight from Absalom (2 Samuel 15:24, 2 Samuel 15:29), that is to say, because of his high-priestly dignity, and because thou didst endure all that my father endured, i.e., thou didst share all his afflictions and sufferings, both in the period of Saul's persecution (1 Samuel 22:20., 1 Samuel 23:8.), and during the rebellion of Absalom (2 Samuel 15:24.). ההוּא בּיּום (to-day) puts a limit upon the pardon, because Solomon could not foresee whether Abiathar would always keep quiet, and not forfeit his life again by fresh crimes.
(Note: There is no meaning in the objection of Thenius, that Abiathar did not carry the ark himself, since this was not the duty of the high priest. For, in the first place, it is questionable whether Abiathar did not lend a helping hand at the removal of the ark during Absalom's conspiracy. And, secondly, the duty binding upon the high priest, to superintend and conduct the removal of the ark, might very well be called carrying the ark. The conjecture, that for ארון we should read אפוד, founders on the preterite נשׂאת; for Abiathar had not only worn the ephod once before, but he wore it till the very hour in which Solomon deposed him from his office.)
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.The banishment of Abiathar to his own private possession involved his deposition from the priesthood. And, as the historian adds, thus was the word of the Lord concerning the house of Eli fulfilled (1 Samuel 2:30-33). למלּא corresponds to the New Testament ἵνα πληρωθῇ. For further remarks on this prophecy and its fulfilment, see at 1 Samuel 2:30.
(Note: Nothing is related concerning the subsequent fate of Abiathar, since the death of a high priest who had been deprived of his office was a matter of no importance to the history of the kingdom of God. At any rate, he would not survive his deposition very long, as he was certainly eighty years old already (see Comm. on Sam. p. 267). - The inference which Ewald (Gesch. iii. pp. 269,270) draws from 1 Samuel 2:31-36 as to the manner of his death, namely, that he fell by the sword, is one of the numerous fictions founded upon naturalistic assumptions with which this scholar has ornamented the biblical history.)
Thus was the high-priesthood of the house of Eli extinguished, and henceforth this dignity passed through Zadok into the sole possession of the line of Eleazar.
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.Execution of Joab. - When the report (of the execution of Adonijah and the deposition of Abiathar) came to Joab, he fled to the tent of Jehovah (not to the tabernacle, but to the holy tent upon Zion) to seek protection at the altar (see at 1 Kings 1:50). The words נטה לא...יואב כּי are introduced as a parenthesis to explain Joab's flight: "for Joab had leaned after Adonijah," i.e., taken his side (אהרי נטה, as in Exodus 23:2; Judges 9:3), "but not after Absalom."
(Note: Instead of אבשׁלום the lxx (Cod. Vat.), Vulgate, Syr., and Arab. have adopted the reading שּׁלמה, and both Thenius and Ewald propose to alter the text accordingly. But whatever plausibility this reading may have, especially if we alter the preterite נטה into the participle נטה after the ἦν κεκλικώς of the lxx, as Thenius does, it has no other foundation than an arbitrary rendering of the lxx, who thought, but quite erroneously, that the allusion to Absalom was inapplicable here. For אחר נטה, to take a person's side, would suit very well in the case of Adonijah and Absalom, but not in that of Solomon, whose claim to the throne was not a party affair, but had been previously determined by God.)
There is no foundation in the biblical text for the conjecture, that Joab had given Adonijah the advice to ask for Abishag as his wife, just as Ahithophel had given similar advice to Absalom (2 Samuel 16:21). For not only is there no intimation of anything of the kind, but Solomon punished Joab solely because of his crimes in the case of Abner and Amasa. Moreover, Abiathar was also deposed, without having any fresh machinations in favour of Adonijah laid to his charge. The punishment of Adonijah and Abiathar was quite sufficient to warn Joab of his approaching fate, and lead him to seek to save his life by fleeing to the altar. It is true that, according to Exodus 21:13-14, the altar could afford no protection to a man who had committed two murders. But he probably thought no more of these crimes, which had been committed a long time before, but simply of his participation in Adonijah's usurpation; and he might very well hope that religious awe would keep Solomon from putting him to death in a holy place for such a crime as that. And it is very evident that this hope was not altogether a visionary one, from the fact that, according to Exodus 21:30, when Joab refused to leave the altar at the summons addressed to him in the name of the king, Benaiah did not give him the death-blow at once, but informed Solomon of the fact and received his further commands. Solomon, however, did not arrest the course of justice, but ordered him to be put to death there and afterwards buried. The burial of the persons executed was a matter of course, as, according to Deuteronomy 21:23, even a person who had been hanged was to be buried before sunset. When, therefore, Solomon gives special orders for the burial of Joab, the meaning is that Benaiah is to provide for the burial with distinct reference to the services which Joab had rendered to his father. "And take away the blood, which Joab shed without cause, from me and my father's house." So long as Joab remained unpunished for the double murder, the blood-guiltiness rested upon the king and his house, on whom the duty of punishment devolved (cf. Numbers 35:30-31; Deuteronomy 19:13). חנּם דּמי, blood without cause, i.e., blood shed in innocence. On the connection of the adverb with the substantive, at which Thenius takes offence, comp. Ges. 151, 1, and Ewald, 287, d. - For V. 32, compare Deuteronomy 21:5. The words of Solomon in v. 33a point back to the curse which David uttered upon Joab and his descendants after the murder of Abner (2 Samuel 3:28-29). "But to David, and his seed, and his house, and his throne, let there be salvation for ever from Jehovah." This wish sprang from a conviction, based upon 2 Samuel 7:14, that the Lord would not fulfil His promise to David unless his successors upon the throne exercised right and justice according to the command of the Lord.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Benaiah went up (ויּעל), inasmuch as the altar by the ark of the covenant stood higher up Mount Zion than Solomon's house. Joab was buried "in his house" (i.e., in the tomb prepared in his house, either in the court or in the garden: cf. 1 Samuel 25:1), "in the desert," probably the wilderness of Judah, as Joab's mother was a step-sister of David, and therefore probably dwelt in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem.
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.Solomon appointed Benaiah commander-in-chief in the place of Joab, and put Zadok in Abiathar's place (cf. 1 Kings 1:8-9).
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.Punishment of Shimei. - Solomon thereupon ordered Shimei to come, probably from Bahurim, where his home was (2 Samuel 16:5), and commanded him to build himself a house in Jerusalem to dwell in, and not to leave the city "any whither" (ואנה אנה), threatening him with death if ever he should cross the brook Kidron. The valley of Kidron is mentioned as the eastern boundary of the city with an allusion to the fact, that Bahurim was to the east of Jerusalem towards the desert.
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.
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.Shimei vowed obedience, and that on oath, as is supplementarily observed in 1 Kings 2:42, though it has been arbitrarily interpolated by the lxx here; and he kept his word a considerable time.
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.But after the lapse of three years, when two slaves fled to Gath to king Achish, with whom David had also sought and found refuge (1 Samuel 27:2, compare 1 Kings 21:11.), he started for Gath as soon as he knew this, and fetched them back.
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.
And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again.When this was reported to Solomon, he sent for Shimei and charged him with the breach of his command: "Did I not swear to thee by Jehovah, and testify to thee, etc.? Why hast thou not kept the oath of Jehovah (the oath sworn by Jehovah)...?"
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.
Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the LORD, and the commandment that I have charged thee with?
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;He then reminded him of the evil which he had done to his father: "Thou knowest all the evil, which thy heart knoweth (i.e., which thy conscience must tell thee); and now Jehovah returns the evil upon thy head," namely, by decreeing the punishment of death, which he deserved for blaspheming the anointed of the Lord (2 Samuel 16:9).
And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD for ever."And king Solomon will be blessed, and the throne of David be established before Jehovah for ever," namely, because the king does justice (compare the remark on 1 Kings 2:33).
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.Solomon then ordered him to be executed by Benaiah. This punishment was also just. As Solomon had put Shimei's life in his own hand by imposing upon him confinement in Jerusalem, and Shimei had promised on oath to obey the king's command, the breach of his oath was a crime for which he had no excuse. There is no force at all in the excuses which some commentators adduce in his favour, founded upon the money which his salves had cost him, and the wish to recover possession of them, which was a right one in itself. If Shimei had wished to remain faithful to his oath, he might have informed the king of the flight of his slaves, have entreated the king that they might be brought back, and have awaited the king's decision; but he had no right thus lightly to break the promise given on oath. By the breach of his oath he had forfeited his life. And this is the first thing with which Solomon charges him, without his being able to offer any excuse; and it is not till afterwards that he adduces as a second fact in confirmation of the justice of his procedure, the wickedness that he practised towards his father. - The last clause, "and the kingdom was established by (בּיד) Solomon," is attached to the following chapter in the Cod. Al. of the lxx (in the Cod. Vat. it is wanting, or rather its place is supplied by a long interpolation), in the Vulgate, and in the Syriac; and indeed rightly so, as Thenius has shown, not merely because of the רק in 1 Kings 3:2, but also because of its form as a circumstantial clause, to which the following account (1 Kings 3:1.) is appended.