The punishment of sin may be slow of foot but it is sure of nose and will at length find the offender.
Even a hoary head, ought not to be any man’s protection from justice.
I Kings 1
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.
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.
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 Bath-sheba 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 Bath-sheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.
19 ¶ Bath-sheba 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.
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.
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.
I Kings – J. Vernon McGee
1 Kings 2:1-9 – New Responsibilities for the New King
I Chronicles 28-29 should be read as coming between this and the preceding chapter. It was with a ripe knowledge of life that David urged Solomon to keep God’s charge, to walk in His ways and do His commandments, as the sure road to prosperity. The guiding-star of David’s life—II Samuel 7:25—shone over him in death. God never goes back on a word that he has once spoken. He continues His word—only we must walk before Him in obedience and faith, that it may have free course.
At first sight, we might suppose that the old king cherished bitter feelings against those named in this parting charge; but it should be remembered that he speaks here from a public, rather than a private, standpoint. He knew that these men constituted a grave peril to the peace and stability of the State; and indeed his fears were abundantly justified, for each of them was discovered in acts of treachery, on account of which, and not because of David’s words, he suffered death. David held that the claims of gratitude were not less binding than those of justice; hence his warm recommendation of Barzillai. “Show thyself a man” was good advice to a youth called to rule in turbulent times.
1 Kings 2:4—That the LORD may continue His word.
How strongly David held to God’s promise! It was deeply graven in his soul. How could he forget the word which guaranteed the succession of his race upon the throne of Israel! At the same time be distinctly recognized that the fulfillment was conditional. There was an “if” in it. It was only in so far as his children took heed to walk before God in truth that God was bound to place them on the throne of Israel; therefore he urged Solomon to keep the charge of the Lord, that the Lord might continue his word. We also must obey the threefold condition if we would enjoy a continuance of God’s helpful care.
1. “Be thou strong” (1 Kings 2:2): The strength which is in Jesus Christ waits to make us strong. In the Lion of the tribe of Judah there is the boldness which will not swerve in the face of the foe. Timid women and little children in the days of persecution have waxed valiant in the fight, and have not flinched from death, because Jesus was beside them.
2. “Keep the charge of the LORD thy God” (1 Kings 2:3): He has committed to our care many a sacred deposit, in return for our deposit with Him (2 Timothy 1:12, 14). They are his holy Gospel, the Rest Day, the doctrines of the Evangelical Faith, and the Inspired Word. Let us watch them until we see them weighed out in the temple as were the sacred vessels which Ezra committed to the priests for transport across the desert (Ezra 8:33).
3. “Keep his statutes, and his commandments” (1 Kings 2:3): We must obey with reverent care the one great law of love, which includes all the rest. Acting thus, we shall put ourselves in the way of enjoying a continuance of that favor which God has promised.
1 Kings 2:10-25 – A Foolish and Fatal Petition
So David’s troubled life came to a close, but he has never ceased to lead the praises of the saints.
At the very beginning of his reign Solomon was confronted by a difficult problem. There was so close a connection in public opinion between the title to the crown and the possession of a deceased monarch’s harem, that it would have been impossible to grant Adonijah’s request without giving strong encouragement to his pretensions. Solomon treated Bathsheba with profound respect, but his love for her did not blind him to his duty to his realm, Proverbs 20:26.
Notice that solemn declaration, “As the LORD liveth,” I Kings 2:24. It was common to the godly of those days. See I Kings 17:1. They would not use the phrase lightly nor flippantly, but with a profound realization of standing in the presence of God. Let us recall those words of our Lord, “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father” (John 6:57), and let us draw daily on His life, so that we may live—yet not we, but he in us and we in Him, Galatians 2:20.
1 Kings 2:26-35 – Paying Penalty for Bloody Deeds
The removal of Abiathar from the office of high priest and the execution of Joab quenched the last faint hopes of the house of Saul. In the case of Abiathar, note the remarkable fulfillment of the divine prediction, I Samuel 2:31-35. God does not fail to keep His word, whether of threatening or of promise.
Joab fled to the altar. Men who, throughout their life, have disregarded or despised religion will often turn to it in their extremity. Those who blaspheme when the seas are smooth, will be the first to cry for mercy when the storm-winds lash the waters into foam.
Joab’s attempt to find mercy through the altar was futile; but no sinner ever flees to the Cross in vain. If he fulfills the conditions of repentance and faith, the sword of the avenger cannot touch him there. If we confess and forsake our sins, and humbly trust in the mercy of the Redeemer, no weapon that is formed against us can prosper, and every tongue that rises in judgment is condemned. “This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD” (Isaiah 54:17).
1 Kings 2:36-46 – Presuming and Perishing Therefore
Shimei broke the one condition on which his life had been given back to him, and could have no just cause of complaint against the king. It may be argued that his offense was a trifling and excusable one, but we must remember that it was committed not only against the royal commandment, but against the oath of God, I Kings 2:43. By this one act he forfeited all claim upon Solomon’s clemency.
We are here reminded of the parable of the two debtors in Matthew 18:28, etc. The debtor who owed the most had been released, and we naturally look to see the forgiven man’s glad forgiveness of his brother, who was, in turn, indebted to him. But, so far from forgiveness, there was rough retaliation. This canceled the first offer of pardon and it was withdrawn. So this act on the part of Shimei was fatal in its effect. The Jews were doubtful as to the forgivableness of presumptuous sins, and our Lord also taught that there is a sin against the Holy Spirit which cannot be forgiven. May God’s Holy Spirit Himself preserve us from this!