The Bible – Old Testament
1 When the time of David’s death drew near, he gave these instructions to his son Solomon:
“I am going the way of all mankind. Take courage and be a man.
Keep the mandate of the LORD, your God, following his ways and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees as they are written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in whatever you do, wherever you turn,
and the LORD may fulfill the promise he made on my behalf when he said, ‘If your sons so conduct themselves that they remain faithful to me with their whole heart and with their whole soul, you shall always have someone of your line on the throne of Israel.’
You yourself know what Joab, son of Zeruiah, did to me when he slew the two generals of Israel’s armies, Abner, son of Ner, and Amasa, son of Jether. He took revenge for the blood of war in a time of peace, and put bloodshed without provocation on the belt about my waist and the sandal on my foot.
Act with the wisdom you possess; you must not allow him to go down to the grave in peaceful old age.
“But be kind to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and have them eat at your table. For they received me kindly when I was fleeing your brother Absalom.
“You also have with you Shimei, son of Gera, the Benjaminite of Bahurim, who cursed me balefully when I was going to Mahanaim. Because he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD that I would not put him to the sword.
But you must not let him go unpunished. You are a prudent man and will know how to deal with him to send down his hoary head in blood to the grave.”
David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David.
The length of David’s reign over Israel was forty years: he reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.
When Solomon was seated on the throne of his father David, with his sovereignty firmly established,
Adonijah, son of Haggith, went to Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon. “Do you come as a friend?” she asked. “Yes,” he answered,
and added, “I have something to say to you.” She replied, “Say it.”
So he said: “You know that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel expected me to be king. But the kingdom escaped me and became my brother’s, for the LORD gave it to him.
But now there is one favor I would ask of you. Do not refuse me.” And she said, “Speak on.”
2 He said, “Please ask King Solomon, who will not refuse you, to give me Abishag the Shunamite for my wife.”
“Very well,” replied Bathsheba, “I will speak to the king for you.”
Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, and the king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king’s mother, who sat at his right.
“There is one small favor I would ask of you,” she said. “Do not refuse me.” “Ask it, my mother,” the king said to her, “for I will not refuse you.”
So she said, “Let Abishag the Shunamite be given to your brother Adonijah for his wife.”
“And why do you ask Abishag the Shunamite for Adonijah?” King Solomon answered his mother. “Ask the kingdom for him as well, for he is my elder brother and has with him Abiathar the priest and Joab, son of Zeruiah.”
And King Solomon swore by the LORD: “May God do thus and so to me, and more besides, if Adonijah has not proposed this at the cost of his life.
And now, as the LORD lives, who has seated me firmly on the throne of my father David and made of me a dynasty as he promised, this day shall Adonijah be put to death.”
Then King Solomon sent Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, who struck him dead.
The king said to Abiathar the priest: “Go to your land in Anathoth. Though you deserve to die, I will not put you to death this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before my father David and shared in all the hardships my father endured.”
So Solomon deposed Abiathar from his office of priest of the LORD, thus fulfilling the prophecy which the LORD had made in Shiloh about the house of Eli.
When the news came to Joab, who had sided with Adonijah, though not with Absalom, he fled to the tent of the LORD and seized the horns of the altar.
King Solomon was told that Joab had fled to the tent of the LORD and was at the altar. He sent Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, with the order, “Go, strike him down.”
Benaiah went to the tent of the LORD and said to him, “The king says, ‘Come out.'” But he answered, “No! I will die here.” Benaiah reported to the king, “This is what Joab said to me in reply.”
The king answered him: “Do as he has said, Strike him down and bury him, and you will remove from me and from my family the blood which Joab shed without provocation.
The LORD will hold him responsible for his own blood, because he struck down two men better and more just than himself, and slew them with the sword without my father David’s knowledge: Abner, son of Ner, general of Israel’s army, and Amasa, son of Jether, general of Judah’s army.
Joab and his descendants shall be responsible forever for their blood. But there shall be the peace of the LORD forever for David, and his descendants, and his house, and his throne.”
Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, went back, struck him down and killed him; he was buried in his house in the desert.
The king appointed Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, over the army in his place, and put Zadok the priest in place of Abiathar.
Then the king summoned Shimei and said to him: “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there. Do not go anywhere else.
For if you leave, and cross the Kidron Valley, be certain you shall die without fail. You shall be responsible for your own blood.”
Shimei answered the king: “I accept. Your servant will do just as the king’s majesty has said.” So Shimei stayed in Jerusalem for a long time.
But three years later, two of Shimei’s servants ran away to Achish, son of Maacah, king of Gath, and Shimei was informed that his servants were in Gath.
So Shimei rose, saddled his ass, and went to Achish in Gath in search of his servants, whom he brought back.
When Solomon was informed that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and had returned,
the king summoned Shimei and said to him: “Did I not have you swear by the LORD to your clear understanding of my warning that, if you left and went anywhere else, you should die without fail? And you answered, ‘I accept and obey.’
Why, then, have you not kept the oath of the LORD and the command that I gave you?”
And the king said to Shimei: “You know in your heart the evil that you did to my father David. Now the LORD requites you for your own wickedness.
But King Solomon shall be blessed, and David’s throne shall endure before the LORD forever.”
The king then gave the order to Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, who struck him dead as he left.
1 [1-6,8-9] Solomon is expected to remove from his father’s family the imputation of blood guilt brought upon it by Joab in the unwarranted killings of Abner (⇒ 2 Sam 3:27-29) and Amasa (⇒ 2 Sam 19:9-10); and likewise to punish Shimei for his curse, the effects of which David had pledged himself not to avenge in person (⇒ 2 Sam 19:21-23). The standards of morality presumed in these verses are far from the Christian ones.
2 [17,22-25] Abishag had been the concubine of King David (⇒ 1 Kings 1:4). His successor, Solomon, inherited his father’s harem. When Adonijah requested Abishag as his wife, he was subtly undermining the security of Solomon’s throne and exposing himself to the suspicion of insurrection that would cost him his life; cf ⇒ 2 Sam 3:6-11; ⇒ 16:22.