1 Kings 2
Solomon eliminates competition
David’s deathbed talk with his son1When David realized he was about to die, he gave his son Solomon orders and advice. 2David said, “I’m headed to the place we all have to go. In the days ahead, stay strong and be brave.
3Do what the LORD your God says. Obey his orders, honor his commandments, respect everything written in the laws he gave us through Moses. He’ll enrich your life if you do this. Everywhere you turn and in everything you do, you’ll see him taking care of you.
4If you and the future kings in our family can do this, the LORD will keep his promise to me. He said, ‘I want your descendants to follow the path I’ve given them. And with all their heart and soul they need to stay true to me. If they do, the kings of Israel will always come from your family.’ 
David’s deathbed hit list5Now, son, you know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me. He murdered two commanders of Israel’s armies. He killed Abner, the son of Ner. And he killed Amasa, the son of Jether.  He murdered them during peacetime to retaliate for what happened in wartime. He splashed their innocent blood all over me. I was the king and what he did reflected on me.
6Do what you think best, but for heaven’s sake don’t let that old gray head die a peaceful death.
7I want you to honor the family of Barzillai from Gilead. Invite them to eat with you. When I had to flee Jerusalem during Absalom’s coup, they remained loyal to me.
8Don’t forget Shimei, the son of Gera. He’s from the Benjamin tribe and the town of Bahurim.  The day I fled Jerusalem for the town of Mahanaim in Gilead, he met me along the way, and he cussed me out.  I swore on the LORD’s name I wouldn’t execute him for this. 9But you can do it. Don’t treat him like an innocent man. You’re smart enough to know not to let him die a natural death. Send that gray head to an early death and a bloody grave.
David, rest in peace10David died. The people buried him in the City of David. 11He had reigned over the people of Israel for 40 years. Seven of those years he reigned in Hebron, over the tribe of Judah. For the remaining 37 years, he reigned in Jerusalem over all the tribes of Israel.
Solomon is king12So, Solomon became king. There was no doubting it. He had firm control of the kingdom.
13Adonijah, David’s son with Haggith, went to see Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba. She asked him, “Is this going to be a peaceful visit.” He said, “Yes. It’s peaceful. 14I’d like to talk with you a bit.” She said, “I’m listening.”
15He said, “You know that Israel was mine. Everyone expected I would reign. And I did, for a moment. But the kingdom came and went. Now it belongs to my brother, as the LORD intended. 16I’d like to ask for a favor. Please say you’ll help me.” She said, “I’m still here.”
17He said, “Please ask King Solomon to let me marry Abishag of Shunem.  He can’t say no to his mother.” 18Bathsheba said, “Okay, I’ll take your request to the king.” 
Bathsheba takes Adonijah’s request to the king19Bathsheba went to see Solomon about Adonijah’s request. Solomon rose when she came into the room. He bowed to her and called for a second throne, so she could sit in a place of high honor, at his right side.
20She said, “I have one tiny request for you. Please don’t say no.” The king said, “Tell me what you need, Mother. I’m not going to tell you no.” 21Bathsheba said, “Let your brother Adonijah marry Abishag of Shunem.”
22Solomon said, “What? Why would you ask me to give Abishag to Adonijah? You might as well ask me to give him the throne. There are people out there who think he’s the rightful king. He is my older brother. And he has the backing of Abiathar the priest and Joab the son of Zeruiah.
23Solomon swore an oath in the LORD’s name, “Adonijah put his life on the line with that question. May God take my life if I don’t stop Adonijah. 24Adonijah dies today. He dies as surely as the living LORD put me on this throne. And as surely as he made me—not Adonijah—part of David’s dynasty of kings. 25Solomon gave the order. Benaiah,  the son of Jehoiada, killed Adonijah.
Solomon retires priest Abiathar26King Solomon told the priest Abiathar, “Go back to where you came from, in Anathoth. Then stay there. I should execute you. But I’ll spare you because you carried the sacred box of the Ten Commandments  for my father, and you shared some of his hard times.”
27So, Solomon banished Abiathar from the priesthood. That fulfilled a promise God made about the family of the priest Eli, who lived in Shiloh. 
Solomon executes Joab at the altar28When Joab heard what Solomon did to these men, he ran to the worship tent and held on to the horns  on the altar. Like the priest Abiathar, Joab had supported Adonijah as king. 29When Solomon found out Joab was seeking sanctuary in the worship tent, he sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada there with this order: “Kill him.”
30Benaiah went to the worship tent and called in to Joab, “The king orders you to come out.” Joab said, “No. I’ll die where I stand, right here.” Benaiah reported the conversation to the king. 31The king said, “Do what he said. Kill him where he stands then take him away and bury him. Finally, my family will be rid of the guilt he brought on us when he killed innocent people for no good reason.
32The LORD is giving Joab the bloody taste of his own medicine. He murdered two men better than him. He took a sword to Abner the son of Ner, the commander of Israel’s army. He did the same to Amasa the son of Jether and commander of Judah’s army. 33Once he’s dead, the guilt leaves us and returns to him and his descendants. David’s descendants will live in peace from now on.
34Benaiah, son of Jehoiada executed Joab and buried him by his home near the desert. 35Joab had been commander of the army, but Solomon replaced him with Benaiah. The king replaced Abiathar with the priest Zadok.
House arrest for the cussing Shimei36The king sent for Shimei and told him, “Build a house in Jerusalem. Live there and don’t leave there. 37If you leave and go so far as to cross the Kidron Valley creek bed below us, you’re dead. And it will be your fault.”
38Shimei said, “Fair enough. You are my king and my master. I will do what you said. Shimei lived in Jerusalem.
39After three years, two of his slaves escaped. They ran to the Philistine King Achish in the town of Gath.  Shimei got the news. 40He rushed outside, saddled a donkey, and rode to King Achish in Gath. He caught the slaves and brought them back home.
Shimei busted, then executed41Solomon found out about Shimei’s expedition to Gath. 42He sent for him and said, “Didn’t I make you a promise on the LORD’s name? Didn’t I warn you that if you ever leave here and go anywhere else, you’ll die? And didn’t you say that’s fair enough?
43You broke your word, and you broke my law. Why?
44You know the terrible things you did to my father, David. Well here comes the LORD, bringing that terrible stuff back home to you. 45As for me and my father’s dynasty, the LORD is blessing our family of kings. And he’ll keep right on doing it.”
46The king ordered Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, to kill Shimei right there. He did. With Solomon’s competition and leading enemies dead or banished, he was in complete control of his kingdom.
Well, that lasted for one generation. After Solomon died, Israel split in two. David’s tribe of Judah lived in the south. And all the other tribes lived in the north and took the name of Israel with them. David’s descendants remained kings of Judah, but not of Israel in the north. David’s line of kings ended in 586 BC, when Babylonian invaders from what is now Iraq leveled Jerusalem and other cities in the region. They deported most of the population that survived the war. When Jews began returning a generation later, they were relegated to a province of the Persian empire. They weren’t a country, and they didn’t have a king.
Joab also murdered David’s son Absalom at the end of a battle for control of the kingdom (2 Samuel 18:14-15). David was Joab’s uncle. Joab’s mother was Zeruiah, David’s sister (1 Chronicles 2:15-16).
Location of Bahurim is uncertain. Scholars suggest several locations, most of which are a few miles or kilometers east of Jerusalem and along the trail down to Jericho, in the Jordan River Valley.
Shimei threw stones and dirt at David, too (2 Samuel 16:13).
Abishag was the beautiful, warm-blooded young woman officials found to help David deal with the chill of poor circulation in his old age. David did not marry her, add her to his harem as a concubine, or have sex with her. She belonged to Solomon now. It’s possible, perhaps even a good bet, that Solomon took this beautiful woman as more than a warm body on a cold night, and he married her. Some scholars speculate that the Song of Songs, also known as the Song of Solomon, is about this couple.
As the Queen Mother, part of Bathsheba’s responsibility was to manage the king’s women—the harem and the servants.
Benaiah was a skilled and famous warrior, and commander of the king’s royal bodyguards (2 Samuel 23:20-24).
Also known as the Ark of the Covenant. It was a wooden chest covered in gold. It held the stone tablets with the 10 laws written in some fashion. The Hebrew language didn’t seem to exist in the time of Moses.
Abiathar was a descendant of Eli (1 Samuel 22:20). God told Eli, the priest who raised Samuel, that his family of priests would “lose its influence in Israel” (1 Samuel 2:31). Eli had raised two sons who became incredibly corrupt priests who slept with the help and stole sacrificed meat reserved for God (1 Samuel 2:12-17).
The sacrificial altar at the first tent worship center included four corners, each shaped “like an animal horn” (Exodus 27:2). Archaeologists have uncovered many “horned altars” in Israel and Palestinian Territories. Bible writers never explained why altars were built with the corners turned up like animal horns. Perhaps the horns were a tribute to the livestock sacrificed on the altar. One more common guess is that the horns gave priests something to which they could tie the dead animal. This could help keep the sacrificed animal from rolling off the fire before it was burned. Psalm 118:27 seems to add credibility to that theory: “Go ahead and tie the festival sacrifice to the four corners of the altar.” Consider how it might feel for a worshiper to watch the sacrificed animal roll off the flaming altar before the animal had even caught fire. We might understand that the animal fell off because the burning wood pile shifted as wood disintegrated in the fire. But someone offering a sacrifice to seek forgiveness for sin might think God had just rejected the offering.
Roughly 30 miles (45 km) west of Jerusalem. It took about a day and a half to walk.
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