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The first book of the Kings : with map, introduction and notes online

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that shall come after him. saying, If thy children take heed to

their way] In the passage just mentioned where the promise is
recorded there are none of these conditions specified ; but we are
sure that God's promise was not an unconditional one. there

shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel] The sense
is ' there never shall be wanting some one of thy race to sit on the
throne.' The promise was made to David's line, and was fulfilled ;
for as long as the kingdom of Judah existed the family of David
were kings. 5. what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me]

This one of the sons of Zeruiah had been all through his reign too
strong for his uncle. See 2 Sam. iii. 39: and for the rough remon-
strances of Joab with David, cf. 2 Sam. xix. 5 — 7. The slaughter
of Absalom, though neither mentioned here by David, nor after-
wards by Solomon, when Joab is put to death, must have been
constantly present to their minds. unto Abner the son of Xcr]

Ner being brother of K.ish (1 Chron. ix. 30), the father of Saul, we
can understand how Abner became a man of much importance in
the court of Saul, under whom he was commander-in-chief. During
the earlier events of the war between Ishbosbeth's supporters and
those of David, Abner to save bis own life had slain Asahel, Joab's
younger brother. To avenge this death Joab, calling Abner aside
as he was departing from the court, in conjunction with Abishai his
brother, treacherously slew him. Owing to Abner's early course of
action David might have been suspected of conniving at his murder.
The exposure to such a suspicion no doubt aggravated the king's
sorrow. David's lament over Abner's death is found 2 Sam. iii. 33,
34. He never forgave the murder, though he Avas unable during bis
lifetime to take vengeance on the perpetrator. unto Amasa the

son of Jether] Amasa was a son of David's sister Abigail, and the
name of her husband is elsewhere (2 Sam. xvii. 2f>) written 'Ithra.'
the blood of war in peace] For both these murders were com-
mitted when the opportunity had been pained under the guise of
friendship. 6. Do therefore according to thy wisdom j Compare



I. KINGS, II. 7—11. 19

his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. But shew kind- 7
ness 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. And behold, thou hast 8
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. 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 10
in the city of David. And the days that David reigned over n
Israel were forty years : seven years reigned he in Hebron, and
thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.

verse 9. Such men were specially dangerous in the court of a
young king. his hoar head] Most likely Joab was already an

old man not much younger than David himself. go down to

the grave in peace] The advice is put in a more direct form in
verse 9, concerning Shimei, ' Bring his hoar head down to the grave
with blood.' 7. sons of Barzillai the Gileadite] The deserv-

ing conduct of Barzillai, during David's flight from Absalom, is
narrated 2 Sam. xix. 31 seqq. The Chimham there mentioned was
probably a son of Barzillai, though we are not expressly told so.

of those that eat at thy table] A common mode in Eastern
countries of shewing regard. for so they came to me] i.e. With

kind acts and generous supplies of food when I was in great need.

8. thou hast with thee Shimei] Shimei was not at present
living in Jerusalem (see verse 36), but Solomon compelled him to
come and dwell in the city. Bahurim] Besides its connexion
with the story of Shimei, this place is mentioned 2 Sam. iii. 16, xvii.
18. It must have been situate near the road from Jerusalem to the
fords of the Jordan. Mahanaim] was on the east of Jordan,
and was so named by Jacob (Gen. xxxii. 2) because lie there saw
the host (Mahaneh) of God. Its strong position no doubt led Abner
to choose it, as did David likewise in his flight before Absalom.

came down to meet me] Shimei makes a merit of being among
the first to give the king welcome on his return (2 Sam. xix. 20).

9. hold him not guiltless] i.e. Be sure not to let liim go unpunished.
We are not to wonder at these injunctions of David. Joab was a
dangerous man to be left alive, and Shimei, with Oriental fickle-
ness, would curse Solomon as readily as he had cursed David,
should a reverse of fortune come upon him. Nor are we to look
for New Testament virtues in even the best men of the older
covenant. Yet David was very generous toward Saul. He seems
to have become less forgiving in his old age, though doubtless he
was thinking chiefly of Solomon's safety. 10. in the city
of David] The place is defined (2 Sam. v. 7) as 'the stronghold of
Zion.' 11. seven years reigned he in Hebron] According to

2—2



20 I. KINGS, II. 12—19.

12 Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father ; and

13 his kingdom was established greatly. 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

15 she said, Say on. And he said, Thou knowest that the king-
dom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I
should reign : howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is

io 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

17 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

18 Abishag the Shunammite to wife. And Bath-sheba said, Well;

19 I will speak for thee unto the king. 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



2 Sam. v. 5 the time was seven years and six months. The Old
Testament writers often in this way omit pieces of a year, and
speak only of the full years. Cf . 1 Chron. xxix. 27.

13. Comest thou peaceably'] There was the same sort of alarm in
Bath-sheba's mind as was in those of the people of Bethlehem when
Samuel came to visit Jesse before David was anointed (1 Sam. xvi. 4).

15. Thou hnowest that the kingdom was mine'] He means that as
the eldest living son of David, he could rightly claim it. set their

faces on vie] They looked forward to my accession and were resolved
on bringing it about. Adonijah would thus also make it appear that
the voice and goodwill of the people had been on his side. for

it was his from the Lord] He professes his resignation to what has
happened, and ascribes it to the Divine will that he may the better
cloak his desires and intentions. Perhaps ' it became his from the
Lord' would give the force of his words better. 16. deny me

not] Adonijah's argument was to this effect: 'You know I have
lost a great deal, surely you will not refuse me this slight request.'

17. that he give me Abishag] It is highly probable that the con-
struction which Solomon put upon Adonijah's request was the true
one, for in the East the widows of the late king become the wives
of his successor, and to many, or seek to marry, such a widow is
equivalent to putting forward a claim to the throne. 18. / will
speak for thee] Bath-sheba does not seem to have suspected Ado-
nijah's design, and this simplicity of hers he perhaps hoped to
trade upon, and thought that his petition, coming to Solomon
through her, might appear less dangerous. 19. caused a seat

to be set for the king's mother] For 'seat' we should have throne.
The word is the same as that which occurs earlier hi the verse for
Solomon's own ' throne.' In Eastern nations the queen-mother
was a very important personage and treated with the same sort of
reverence as the king. Compare the influential position of Atha-
liah, which enabled her to destroy nearly all the seed-royal (2 Kings



I. KINGS, II. 20—26. 21

mother; and she sat on his right hand. Then she said, I 20
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 21
given to Adonijah thy brother to wife. And king Solomon 22
answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask
Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah ? ask for him the king-
dom also ; for he is mine elder brother ; even for him, and for
Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah. Then 23
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 24
established me, and set me on the throne of David my father,
and who hath made me a house, as he promised, Adonijah
shall be put to death this day. And king Solomon sent by the 25
hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada ; and he fell upon him
that he died.

And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to 26
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 wherem my father was

xi. 1). and she sat on his right hand] The place of greatest

honour, cf. Ps. xlv. 9. 20. I desire one small petition of thee]

These words seem to confirm what has been said above, that Bath-
sheba had not realized the grave import of her request. / will

not say thee nay] i.e. If it be possible for me to grant it.

22. and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah]
These two having aided Adonijah in his attempt on the throne,
would naturally have been his chief ministers and advisers had he
succeeded. 23. God do so to me, and more also] This is a

very idiomatic rendering for the Hebrew, which is literally ' Thus
shall God do to me, and thus shall he add.' 24. who hath

made me a house] ' House ' here is used in the sense of ' possessions,'
'property.' 25. by the hand of Benaiah] To Benaiah was

committed not the oversight, but the execution of the sentence.
In like manner he puts to death Joab (ver. 34) and Shimei (ver. 46).

26. Get thee to Anathoth] This city was in the tribe of Ben-
jamin. Here Abiathar must have had some ground, and to this
Solomon banished him. We find that the cousin of Jeremiah, Ha-
nameel, possessed land at Anathoth, which Jeremiah purchased
(Jer. xxxii. 6—12). worthy of death] Hebrew, a man of death,

deserving it. thou barest the ark of the Lord] Abiathar was

with David in his flight before Absalom (2 Sam. xv. 24 — 29) when
the ark of God was carried away from Jerusalem. hast been

afflicted] Abiathar fled from Nob and came to David when he was
pursued by Saul (1 Sam. xxii. 20), and also remained with him in
the dangerous days which followed. See 1 Sam. xxiii. 8 — 9.



22 I. KINGS, II. 27—32.

27 afflicted. 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 Adoni-
jah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled
unto the tabernacle of the Lord, and caught hold on the horns

2«) 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,

")


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Online LibraryJoseph Rawson LumbyThe first book of the Kings : with map, introduction and notes → online text (page 3 of 18)