Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,
I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
2:2 I go the way, and c. - Even the sons and heirs of heaven, must go the way of all the earth, of all who dwell thereon. But they walk with pleasure in this way, thro' the valley of the shadow of death. Prophets, yea kings must go this way to brighter light and honour than prophecy or sovereignty. Be strong - For, to govern his people according to the law of God, requires great fortitude, or strength of mind. And a man - In manly wisdom, and courage, and constancy, though thou art but young in years.
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:
2:3 The law - Which the prince was enjoined to transcribe and read, Deut 17:11, that be might govern his own and his peoples actions by it. Mayest profit - Or, behave thyself prudently. Hereby he intimates, that religion is the truest reason of state, and that all true wisdom and good success depend upon piety.
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.
2:4 Confirm his word - Fulfil his promise, the condition upon which it was suspended, being performed.
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.
2:5 To me - That is, against me; in what he did against Abner and Amasa: whose death was a great injury to David, as it was a breach of his laws and peace; a contempt of his person and government; a pernicious example to his subjects, and a great scandal to him, as if Joab had been only David's instrument, to affect what he secretly designed. And shed - He slew them as if they had been in the state of war, when there was not only a cessation of arms, but also a treaty of peace. Put the blood - This is added to note his impenitency, that although by his perfidious manner of killing them when he pretended to embrace them, he stained his own garments with their blood, yet he was not ashamed of it, but gloried in it, and marched boldly along with the army, with the same girdle and shoes which were sprinkled with their blood.
Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.
2:6 Do therefore - That is, what in reason and justice thou seest fit. For tho' I was forced to forbear him, yet I never forgave him; punish him according to his demerits.
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.
2:7 For so - With such kindness.
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.
2:8 I will not, and c. - The words are, The king said unto Shimei, thou shalt not die: and the king sware unto him, 2Sam 19:23. The oath, we see, was absolute. It was not, I will not put thee to death now. or, I will not put thee to death with the sword. But who can reconcile his charge to Solomon with this oath? Surely, considering the time of that charge, this next to the matter of Uriah, is the greatest blemish in all David's life.
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.
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.
And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2:25 Benaiah - For the execution of justice was not then committed to obscure persons, as now it is; but to persons of great honour and authority. It is far from clear, that Solomon did right herein, or that Adonijah had any ill design in asking Abishag.
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.
2:26 Because, and c. - Thus Solomon shews respect to his sacred function. He mixes mercy with justice, and requites Abiathar's former kindness to David; hereby teaching princes, that they should not write injuries in marble, and benefits in sand, as they have been so often observed to do.
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.
2:27 Which he spake - Concerning the translation of the priesthood from the house of Eli, and of Ithamar, to that of Eleazar: which being threatened eighty years ago, is now executed. So divine vengeance, though sometimes it be slow, is always sure.
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.
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.
2:30 He said, Nay, and c. - For he supposed, either, that Solomon would not defile that place with his blood, but would spare him for his respect to it, as he had done Adonijah: or, he had a superstitious conceit, that his dying there might give his guilty and miserable soul some advantage.
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.
2:31 Do, and c. - Kill him, though he be there; take him from that place, and then kill him: for, Exod 21:14, doth not command the ruler to kill the murderer there, but to remove him thence, to take him from the altar, that he may die.
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.
2:34 Wilderness - Places which have but few houses and inhabitants, are often so called in scripture. He was buried privately, like a criminal, not pompously, like a general.
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.
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.
2:36 Go not forth - This Solomon ordered, both for his own security; and as a penalty for his former wickedness.
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.
2:37 Kidron - A brook nigh Jerusalem, which he particularly names, because that was the way to Bahurim, his former habitation: but this is not all, for the restraint was general, that he should not go forth thence any whither. Thy blood - The blame and guilt of thy blood shall lie upon thyself only.
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.
2:38 Is good - Thy sentence is more merciful than I expected, or deserved.
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.
2:39 Achish - A king, but subject and tributary, to Solomon. Permitted to enjoy the title and honour of a king, but not the full power; whence it was, that Achish could not keep these servants though they had fled to him for protection; but suffered Shimei to take them away from his royal city.
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.
2:40 To seek his servants - By seeking his servants, says Bp. Hall, he lost himself. These earthly things either are, or should be our servants. How commonly do we see men run out of the bounds set by God's laws, to hunt after them, till their souls incur a fearful judgment.
And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again.
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;
2:44 Thine heart - For which thine own conscience accuseth thee, and there is no need of other witnesses. The Lord - God hath punished thee for thy former wickedness, by suffering thee to expose thyself to thy deserved death.
And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD for ever.
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.