Lesson 1: Chapters 1-2
The United Davidic Kingdom of Israel
Solomon becomes King of Israel

Lord God, King of Heaven,
You chose David as a boy to be anointed as Your future king of Israel. You saw in him a greatness that was anchored in his great love for You above all else. Even though he experienced triumphs as well as failures, he was always ready to humble himself and submit himself to Your divine will for his life. It is a humility and love that is reflected in the poetry of his psalms and it is the reason You made an eternal covenant with David that his descendant, the Redeemer-Messiah Jesus of Nazareth, would secure his throne forever. Send Your Holy Spirit to guide us, Lord, as we study the end of this great man's life and the life of the son who succeeded him as Israel's king. We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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These are the last words of David: Thus speaks David son of Jesse, thus speaks the man raised to eminence, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the singer of the songs of Israel: "The spirit of Yahweh speaks through me, his word is on my tongue; the God of Jacob has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me: He whose rule is upright on earth, who rules in the fear of God, is like the morning light at sunrise on a cloudless morning, making the grass of the earth sparkle after rain. Yes, my House stands firm with God: he has made an eternal covenant with me, all in order, well assured; does he not bring to fruition my every victory and desire?"
2 Samuel 23:1-5

We will be using the New Jerusalem Bible translation in our study of I Kings. The designation IBHE indicates the Interlineal Bible: Hebrew-English and NAB indicates the New American Bible translation.

The Book of Kings was originally one book that was later divided into I Kings and II Kings. The division into two books is first found in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, where it is combined with the books of Samuel into a single four-part composition. The division of Kings into two books was later copied by St. Jerome in the Latin Vulgate, and this division continues in modern Christian Old Testament translations. The Jewish Old Testament translations did not divided the two books until sometime in the 16th century AD.

The two books of Kings are the last books of the "Former Prophets" in the Jewish canon and among the Historical Books of the Christian Old Testament. No single author is credited with the work. The book provides a series of stories from the royal histories of the two kingdoms of Israel and the disasters that occur when the covenant people and their rulers are disloyal to Yahweh and abandon His covenant. And yet, the book assures us that God does not abandon His people; instead He continually sends His faithful prophets to call the people to repentance and to restoration fellowship with the God of Israel.

The Book of 1 Kings is divided into two main parts: the history of the United Kingdom under King Solomon in chapters 1-11 and the history of the divided kingdoms of Israel in the north and Judah in the south in chapters 12-22. The first half of 1 Kings recounts the completion of the story of the great King David in the events of the succession of David's son, Solomon, and David's death. The book continues with Solomon's reign in the building of the Jerusalem Temple, and the positive and negative political events of Solomon's rule. The second half of the book is concerned with the disaster that led to the dissolution of the United Kingdom of Israel and the formation of the two kingdoms of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (ruled by nine different dynasties) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (that continued to be ruled by Davidic kings). The book concludes with the introduction of the Elijah saga that is continued in II Kings.

Bible scholars identify two or three possible writers. It is suggested the first writer compiled the major part of the history in the Book of Kings from 1 Kings Chapter 1 to the death of King Josiah in 2 Kings 23:25. The inspired writer offers additional evidence to the veracity of his account by citing three sources to which his readers might refer for verification or additional information concerning the kings mentioned in his work:

  1. Annals of Solomon (1 Kng 11:41)
  2. Annals of the Kings of Israel (1 Kng 14:19)
  3. Annals of the Kings of Judah (1 Kng 14:20)

Copies of these sources have never been discovered, but a compendium of these works may exist in the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles.

Biblical scholars suggest the second writer took up the narrative during the Babylonian exile without providing a detailed narrative and completed the book through 2 Kings 25:26. Then it is suggested that about 25 years after the destruction of Jerusalem, a third writer appended a few sentences to the composition that are the last four verses of the book that record Davidic King Jehoiachin's (in Hebrew yehoiakin also yekonyah = Jechoniah) release from prison in Persia that is the harbinger of a change in fortune for the covenant people (2 Kng 25:27-30 repeated in Jer 52:31-34). The revelation that Jehoiachin/Jechoniah lived gives hope to the covenant people that God has not forgotten His unconditional and eternal covenant with David and provides the hope that a Davidic king will one day return to redeem and restore Israel so that David's throne will endure forever (2 Sam 7:14-16; 23:5; Is 55:3-5; Ez 34:23-24). It is a promise that is fulfilled in chapter one of St. Matthew's Gospel in the genealogy that reveals Jesus of Nazareth as the Davidic heir who has finally come to announce His kingdom (Mt 1:1, 6-16; 4:17).

However, the Book of 1 Kings is not a history in the contemporary sense. It is more a theological essay written from the view point of a writer or writers who had firmly held beliefs concerning the dissolution of the United Kingdom of Israel that was a result of God's divine judgment on the misguided policies of Israel's kings and the apostasy of the covenant people. The inspired writers relate that the Lord God controls mankind's destiny and the destiny of His covenant people in making his divine will known with regard to blessings for covenant obedience and punishments for covenant failures that are preceded by warnings through God's holy prophets. Those who suffer God's divine judgment are responsible for the consequences of their free-will choices. Yet, despite the sins of Israel's kings and the sins of the people, the inspired writers give the people the hope that God remains true to His covenant promises.

Biblical Periods #6 The United Kingdom ---- #7 The Divided Kingdoms
Focus United Davidic Kingdom of Israel The Divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
Covenant The Sinai Covenant [& the Davidic Covenant]
Scripture 1:1------------3:1-----------9:1--------------12:1------------15:1-----------16:29---22:53
Division Solomon becomes king of Israel The successes of the reign of King Solomon The failures of King Solomon The Great Schism: civil war = political and religious division of the kingdom Histories of the kings of Israel and Judah Elijah prophet of God
Location Jerusalem: Capital of United Israel Samaria: Capital of Israel
Jerusalem: Capital of Judah
Time 40 years 90 years

Part I: The United Davidic Kingdom of Israel

  1. Solomon Becomes King of Israel (1:1-2:46)
    1. Solomon is anointed king (1:1-53)
    2. David's death and Solomon solidifies his kingship (2:1-46)
  2. The Successes of the Reign of Solomon (3:1-8:66)
    1. Solomon petitions God for wisdom (3:1-28)
    2. Solomon's administration of the kingdom (4:1-34)
    3. The building of the Temple and the palace (5:1-8:66)
  3. The Failures of the Reign of King Solomon (9:1-11:43)
    1. Reiteration of the Davidic Covenant (9:1-9)
    2. Disobedience of Solomon to the covenant laws for Israel's kings (9:10-11:8)
    3. Chastisement of Solomon for breaking the covenant laws (11:9-40)
    4. Death of Solomon (11:41-43)

Chapter 1: The Intrigues at David's Court and Solomon becomes King of Israel

David then summoned to Jerusalem all the officials of Israel, the tribal chief, the senior officials in the royal service, the commanders of the thousands, the commanders of the hundreds ... King David then rose to his feet and said: "My brothers and my people, listen to me ... Out of all my sons, for Yahweh has given me many, he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on Yahweh's sovereign throne over Israel. Furthermore, he has told me, 'Solomon your son is the man to build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son and I shall be his father. I shall make his sovereignty secure forever if he sturdily caries out my commandments and ordinances as he does now.'"
1 Chronicles 28:1, 2, 5-6

1 Kings 1:1-4 ~ The last days of David
1 King David was now a very old man, and though wrapped in bedclothes he could not keep warm. 2 So his servants said to him, "Let us find a young girl for my lord the king, to wait on the king and look after him; she will lie close beside you and this will keep my lord the king warm." 3 Having searched for a beautiful girl throughout the territory of Israel, they found Abishag of Shunem and brought her to the king. 4 The girl was very beautiful. She looked after the king and waited on him but the king did not have intercourse with her.

All the events in chapter 1 take place within the span of a single day. The once mighty David who killed Goliath when he was only a youth and established Israel as a powerful nation in the ancient Near East whose borders stretched from the Euphrates River to the boundary with Egypt in the Sinai is now frail and bedridden. His circulation is so bad that he is constantly cold and it is decided that he needs a young woman to take care of him. Abishag is a beautiful young woman from a town in northern Israel located near the Plain of Jezreel in the tribal territory of Issachar. It is significant that verse 4 establishes that the young woman did not have intimate relations with the king. She is neither a wife nor a sexual partner; she is his nurse.

Question: Approximately how old is David as he nears the end of his life? See 2 Sam 5:4
Answer: If David was anointed King of Israel when he was 30 years old and ruled the United Kingdom of Israel for 33 years, he is now about 63 years old. If, however, the passage is interpreted to read that he was 30 years old when he became king of Judah and ruled for a total of 40 years, he is now 70 years old.

The Hebrew text is ambiguous and can be interpreted either way. It is unclear if David became king of Israel when the elders of Israel came to anoint him when he was thirty years old or thirty when he became king of Judah and seven years later became king of Israel. The IBHE reads in the English translation: The elders came and David they anointed before Yahweh at Hebron, a covenant [with] David king he when David [was] years thirty... So at this point in our story, at the end of his life, David is either 70 years old or 63 years old. If age 63 seems too young for David to be so infirm, consider that he led a very hard life. He lived in privation as an outlaw for a number of years; he was a warrior who led his people in wars against their enemies and was probably wounded many times. The harsh conditions of his life may have prematurely aged the once vigorous David.

1 Kings 1:5-10 ~ The intrigues of Adonijah
5 Now Adonijah son of Haggith was growing pretentious and saying, "I shall be king!" Accordingly, he procured a chariot and team with fifty guards to run ahead of him. 6 Never once in his life had his father crossed him by saying, "Why are you behaving like that?" 7 He was very handsome too; his mother had given birth to him after Absalom. He conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with the priest Abiathar, who both rallied to Adonijah's cause; 8 but neither Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah son of Jehoiada, nor the prophet Nathan, nor Shimei and Rei, nor David's champions, supported Adonijah. 9 One day when Adonijah was sacrificing sheep, oxen and fattened calves at the Sliding Stone which is beside the Fuller's Spring, he invited all his brothers, the royal princes, and all the men of Judah in the king's service, 10 but he did not invite the prophet Nathan, or Benaiah, or the champions, or his brother Solomon.

Adonijah is the fourth of David's sons and assumes that since he is the eldest living heir that he will inherit his father's throne (1 Kng 2:15). His elder half-brothers Amnon (first born) and Absalom (third born) are dead and another brother, Chileab (second son), is only mentioned in the list of sons born in Hebron and is therefore believed to have died as a child (see 2 Sam 3:2-5). However, there was no law designating the eldest son as the king's heir. In most ancient Near Eastern kingdoms, the eldest son was understood to be the heir with the strongest claim to succeed his father; however, a dying king was within his rights to designate another son to succeed him.

6 Never once in his life had his father crossed him by saying, "Why are you behaving like that?" He was very handsome too; his mother had given birth to him after Absalom.
One of David's failings was his inability to discipline his sons:

  1. He didn't punish his eldest son Amnon's rape of his half-sister because he loved him and the penalty for rape of a betrothed virgin or incest was death (2 Sam 13:1-21).
  2. That failure in justice led David's son Absalom to murder his half-brother Amnon for violating his sister Tamar (2 Sam 13:22-28).
  3. David never had Absalom brought to trial for the murder of his brother, but forgave his son because he loved him (2 Sam 24:33).
  4. David's failure to secure justice within his family resulted in Absalom's utter contempt for his father, and he led a revolt to deprive David of this kingdom (2 Sam 15:1-19:5).

Question: Why does the writer mention Adonijah's older, handsome half-brother Absalom? See 2 Sam 15:1-6.
Answer: It is for the purpose of inviting the reader to compare Adonijah and Absalom. Both were handsome men and both shared the ambition to be king. Like Absalom, Adonijah began his campaign to become king by conspicuously driving around in a chariot, assuming royal trappings, and winning over allies including David's most important servants and his royal brothers.

It would have been better if Adonijah had reflected a little more on how Absalom's plan failed and brought about his death.

7b He conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with the priest Abiathar, who both rallied to Adonijah's cause ... 9 he invited all his brothers, the royal princes, and all the men of Judah in the king's service,
Question: Who are the men that are united with Adonijah in his bid to succeed David as king of Israel? See 1 Chr 2:13-16; 2 Sam 8:16; 1 Sam 22:9-11, 17, 20.

  1. Joab is David's nephew and the commander of David's army.
  2. Abiathar is a chief priest who sought David's protection after his family was massacred by King Saul.
  3. He also enlisted the support of the important men of his family's tribe, the tribe of Judah, that are in service to his father.
  4. As the eldest royal son, he also has the support of his younger royal brothers.

According to the 1st century AD Jewish priest/historian Flavius Josephus, the chief priests Abiathar and Zadok, descendants of the priestly line of the first High Priest's (Aaron) two younger sons, served as David's co-high priests. Both Abiathar and Joab have been loyal to David throughout his outlaw years and in his years as king of Judah and later when he was the king of Israel. But, they have decided to support Abiathar's bit for kingship over Israel, perhaps because they think David is too senile to choose a successor and that Abiathar is strong enough to establish himself as king. Abiathar has cleverly secured the cooperation of a chief priest (who probably hopes to become the sole high priest) who can anoint him king and Israel's chief military commander who can persuade the army to support him.

8 but neither Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah son of Jehoiada, nor the prophet Nathan, nor Shimei and Rei, nor David's champions, supported Adonijah.
Solomon's supporters include several of David's most loyal retainers:

9 One day when Adonijah was sacrificing sheep, oxen and fattened calves at the Sliding Stone which is beside the Fuller's Spring, he invited all his brothers, the royal princes, and all the men of Judah in the king's service, 10 but he did not invite the prophet Nathan, or Benaiah, or the champions, or his brother Solomon.
Verse 9 describes the slaughtering of animals for a royal banquet given by Adonijah for his supporters. It is not a religious act. The site of the banquet was a spring southeast of Jerusalem just beyond the confluence of the Kidron and Hinnon Valleys on the border between the tribal lands of Benjamin and Judah and just out of sight of the city of David in Jerusalem (see 2 Sam 7:17). The area around the spring could easily have accommodated a large gathering. The site had also served as a rendezvous point for David's men during Absalom's revolt (2 Sam 17:17).

Adonijah has plans to have his kingship confirmed by an oligarchy of a priest (Abiathar), a commanding general (Joab), the Davidic princes and tribal leaders. He does not invite David's most loyal supporters or the prince he must realize is David's favored son, Solomon. The place name translated "Sliding Stone" in verse 9 can also be translated "Serpent's Stone" and may be the "Dragon's Fountain" that is mentioned in Nehemiah 2:13. It is a fitting name for a place where a disobedient son seeks to overturn the will of his father and the will of God (1 Chr 28:5).

1 Kings 1:11-14 ~ Nathan's plan
11 Nathan then said to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, "Have you not heard that unknown to our lord David, Adonijah son of Haggith has become king? 12 Well, this is my advice to you if you want to save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go straight in to King David and say, 'My lord king, did you not make your servant this promise on oath: Your son Solomon is to be king after me; he is the one who is to sit on my throne? How is it, then, that Adonijah is king?' 14 And while you are still there talking to the king, I shall come in after you and confirm what you say."

When Nathan becomes aware of Adonijah's plan, he immediately went to Solomon's mother, Bathsheba, the favorite wife and formerly the young woman who was the center of David's first great scandal in 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25. It was Nathan who confronted David concerning his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and in arranging the death of her husband when she became pregnant. God punished David for his sins by allowing the innocent child conceived in sin to die (God did not condemn the innocent child for the sins of his parents), but when David repented, God also forgave him (2 Sam 12:13-15). It was Nathan who named Bathsheba and David's next son Jedidah [in Hebrerw = Yedidyah means "beloved of Yahweh"], as God had instructed him, a sign of God's forgiveness, but Bathsheba called her son Solomon [Selomoh], a name derived from the Hebrew word salom, meaning "peace" (2 Sam 12:24-25).
Question: What strategy does Nathan give Bathsheba to defeat Adonijah's bid for the throne?
Answer: She is to go to David and remind him of his oath that Solomon is to be his successor.

The events recorded in 1 Chronicles 22:5-19 are prior to this time period when David is so feeble and prior to Solomon's coronation. That passage records that God selected Solomon to be David's heir and informed David that He had chosen Solomon to be the man to build Yahweh's Temple in Jerusalem (1 Chr 22:7-10). It was at that time that David made a public announcement that Solomon was to be his heir and the next King of Israel. That passage is followed by Solomon's coronation in chapter 23. Jewish tradition records that Solomon was only 14 years old when he became king (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 8.7.8 [211].

Question: Why does Nathan tell Bathsheba that her life and Solomon's life is in danger in verse 12?
Answer: It is likely that Adonijah knew of David's vow to Bathsheba and their lives are in danger because Adonijah will surely eliminate any threat to his succession.

1 Kings 1:15-27 ~ Bathsheba goes to David
15 So Bathsheba went to the king in his room (he was very old and Abishag of Shunem was in attendance on him). 16 She knelt, prostrated herself before the king, and the king said, "What do you want?" 17 "My lord," she replied, "you swore to your servant by Yahweh your God, 'Your son Solomon is to be king after me; he is the one who is to sit on my throne.' 18 And now there is Adonijah king, and you, my lord king, knowing nothing about it! 19 He has sacrificed quantities of oxen, fattened calves and sheep, and invited all the royal princes, the priest Abiathar, and Joab the army commander; but he has not invited your servant Solomon. 20 Yet you are the man, my lord king, to whom all Israel looks, to tell them who is to succeed my lord the king. 21 And when my lord the king falls asleep with his ancestors, Solomon and I shall be made to suffer for this." 22 She was still speaking to the king when the prophet Nathan came in. 23 The king was told, "The prophet Nathan is here"; and he came into the king's presence and prostrated himself on his face before the king. 24 "My lord king," said Nathan, "is this, then, your decree, 'Adonijah is to be king after me; he is the one who is to sit on my throne'? 25 For he has gone down today and sacrificed quantities of oxen, fattened calves and sheep, and invited all the royal princes, the army commanders, and the priest Abiathar; and they are there now, eating and drinking in his presence and shouting, 'Long live King Adonijah!' 26 He has not, however, invited me your servant, Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, or your servant Solomon. 27 Can it be that this is done with my lord the king's approval and that you have not told those loyal to you who is to succeed to the throne of my lord the king?"

Notice that Queen Bathsheba has direct access to the king but Nathan must be announced before coming into the king's presence.
Question: Bathsheba has presented her case according to Nathan's suggestion, but what has she added?
Answer: She has cleverly added the list of the names of Adonijah's supporters and the list of those who were not invited to his feast.

When it is announced that Nathan seeks an audience with the king, Bathsheba withdraws so it is not obvious that they have not conspired to reveal Adonijah's treachery but are independently coming to warn the king. Nathan also includes the names of Adonijah's supporters as well those who are not part of the conspiracy. Both Bathsheba and Nathan have petitioned the king to end Adonijah's plans by publically announcing his successor.

1 Kings 1:28-40 ~ David orders that Solomon is to be anointed King of Israel
28 King David then spoke, "Call Bathsheba to me," he said. And she came into the king's presence and stood before him. 29 Then the king swore this oath, "As Yahweh lives, who had delivered me from all adversity, 30 just as I swore to you by Yahweh God of Israel, that your son Solomon should be king after me and take my place on my throne, so I shall bring it about this very day." 31 Bathsheba knelt down, prostrated herself on her face before the king and said, "May my lord King David live forever!" 32 Then King David said, "Summon Zadok the priest, the prophet Nathan and Benaiah son of Jehoiada." So they came into the king's presence. 33 "Take the royal guard with you," said the king, "mount my son Solomon on my own mule and escort him down to Gihon. 34 There Zadok the priest and the prophet Nathan are to anoint him king of Israel; then sound the trumpet and shout, 'Long live King Solomon!' 35 Then you are to escort him back, and he is then to assume my throne and be king in place of me, for he is the man whom I have appointed as ruler of Israel and of Judah." 36 Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king. "Amen!" he said. "And may Yahweh, God of my lord the king, confirm it! 37 As Yahweh has been with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon and make his throne even greater than the throne of my lord King David!" 38 Zadok the priest, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and Pelethites then went down; they mounted Solomon in King David's mule and escorted him to Gihon. 39 Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the Tent and anointed Solomon. They sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, "Long live King Solomon!" 40 The people all escorted him back, with pipes playing and loud rejoicing and shouts to split the earth.

David arranges for Solomon's coronation by charging the priest Zadok, his court prophet Nathan, and the commander of the royal guard to see that his wishes are carried out. Riding on the kings mount is a symbolic gesture of succession.
Question: Why were mules the mounts of kings and princes in Israel? See Lev 19:19; 2 Sam 13:29; 18:9; 1 Kng 10:25; 2 Chr 9:24; etc.
Answer: The Law of the Sinai Covenant forbids the cross-breeding of animals in Israel. Mules had to be imported from other countries and therefore, they were expensive and only the wealthy could afford to own them.

A mule was a cross-breed between a male ass and a mare while the hinny was the offspring of a stallion and a she-ass. As a rule, mules cannot reproduce and therefore were an affront to God's gift of fertility for all living things in His Creation (Gen 1:22, 28; 8:17).(1) Mules were brought into Israel through tribute and trade and were favored by royalty and the upper class (2 Sam 13:29; 18:9; 1 Kng 10:25; Ez 27:14). Solomon will ride a mule into the city of Jerusalem to the acclaim of the crowds. When Jesus repeats Solomon's triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He will be obedient to the Law and will fulfill the words of the prophet Zechariah by riding upon the foal of an ass (Zec 9:9; Mt 21:1-4; Mk 11:1-10; Lk 19:28-38; Jn 12:12-16).

The Cherethites and Pelethites were Gentiles who were originally from the area of the Aegean Sea and were part of the migrating Sea Peoples who became allies of the Philistines. In his outlaw days when David served the Philistine king of Gath, when David and his men were absent from their camp, Amalekite raiders had captured all the women, children, and old people. When David rescued his people who had been captured by the Amalekite slave traders, he also rescued the Cherethite women and children. In gratitude, the tribe of Gentiles transferred its allegiance to David and served him loyally since that time (1 Sam 30:1-23). The Pelethites may have been part of that rescue or they may have become faithful to David when they came under his command during the time he fought for the Philistine king of Gath.

Question: David may have been in bad health but he was certainly not senile. How does he take the initiative and do more than the request made by both Bathsheba and Nathan?
Answer: They asked David to make a proclamation designating Solomon as his heir, but instead, David arranges for Solomon to be anointed co-regent and to be seating on his throne as acting king. It is a move that is meant to put an end to Adonijah's plan to succeed David.

34 There Zadok the priest and the prophet Nathan are to anoint him king of Israel; then sound the trumpet and shout, 'Long live King Solomon!'
Notice that both priest and prophet participate in the coronation. The three holy offices of Yahweh are represented: priest, prophet and king. Jesus will come to fulfill all three holy offices.

38 Zadok the priest, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and Pelethites then went down; they mounted Solomon in King David's mule and escorted him to Gihon. 39 Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the Tent and anointed Solomon.
Zadok brought a horn of sacred oil from the tent that was erected by David to house the Ark of the Covenant and the Altar of Sacrifice on the height of Mount Moriah. It was where God commanded David to build the sacrificial altar (2 Sam 24:18-25; 1 Kng 2:29; 1 Chr 21:18-19, 26; 2 Chr 3:1).

The coronation of Solomon took place at the Gihon spring; it was the principal source of water for the city of Jerusalem and it was also the name of one of the four rivers of Eden (Gen 2:13).
The Gihon spring was located on the eastern slope of the hill of Zion in the oldest part of Jerusalem. It was probably selected for the coronation because it provided maximum public access for the coronation route from David's palace on Mount Zion to the site of the spring and it was considered to be a holy site for the citizens of Jerusalem.

They sounded the trumpet [shofar] and all the people shouted, "Long live King Solomon!" 40 The people all escorted him back, with pipes playing and loud rejoicing and shouts to split the earth.
The joyful clamor of the crowd is compared to the rumblings of an earthquake. The trumpet was the ram's horn, called a shofar. It was the same trumpet that sounded the call to battle for the armies of Israel (Ex 19:13, 16; Judg 3:27; Josh 6:5; Hos 5:8; Neh 4:12), and it was blown to announce the coronation of kings (2 Sam 15:10; 2 Kng 9:13; 10:12, 14). The jubilant cry of the people was in Hebrew "Hosanna!" It is the same cry of the crowds for Jesus on Palm Sunday in AD 30 and has the meaning of "long live" or "save us." As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday the people shout "Hosanna to the son of David!" (Mt 21:9) and "Hosanna! Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel" (Jn 12:13). It is the same joyous cry of the faithful in the celebration of the Mass just prior to the words of consecration as we prepare welcome Christ the king in the Eucharist.

1 Kings 1:41-48 ~ Adonijah receives news of Solomon's coronation
41 Adonijah and his guests, who had by then finished their meal, all heard the noise. Joab too heard the sound of the trumpet and said, "What is that noise of uproar in the city?" 42 While he was still speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. "Come in," Adonijah said, "you are an honest man, so you must be bringing good news." 43 "The truth is," Jonathan answered, "our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44 With him, the king sent Zadok the priest, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah son of Jehoiada and the Cherethites and Pelethites; they mounted him on the king's mule, 45 and Zadok the priest and the prophet Nathan have anointed him king at Gihon; and they have gone back again with shouts of joy and the city is now in an uproar; that was the noise you heard. 46 What is more, Solomon is seated on the royal throne. 47 And further, the king's officers have been to congratulate our lord King David with the words, 'May your God make the name of Solomon more glorious than yours, and his throne more exalted than your own!' And the king bowed down on his bed, 48 and then said, 'Blessed be Yahweh, God of Israel, for setting one of my own sons on the throne while I am still alive to see it!'"

The coronation is taking place on the same side of the city where Adonijah is holding his banquet. Adonijah's banquet is outside the city but the guests can hear the trumpets and the shouting of the crowd. Joab, being a military leader, immediately recognizes the sound of the shofar that is used to call Israel's soldiers to war: 41b Joab too heard the sound of the trumpet and said, "What is that noise of uproar in the city?"

42 While he was still speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived.
Jonathan son of Abiathar is the same man who brought David the good news concerning the end of Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam 15:27-28, 36; 17:17-21). This time the news he brings is not good: at David's command and the people's approval, Solomon has taken his place on the throne of Israel.

Jonathan adds a detail he must have heard from one of David's courtiers: And the king bowed down on his bed, 48 and then said, 'Blessed be Yahweh, God of Israel, for setting one of my own sons on the throne while I am still alive to see it!' Lying in his bed, David bowed his head in thankfulness to God for the success of the coronation and the peaceful transfer of power to his chosen successor that has taken place while he is still alive.

1 Kings 1:49-53 ~ Adonijah's terror and Solomon's offer of amnesty
49 At this, all Adonijah's guests, taking fright, got up and made off in their several directions. 50 Adonijah, in terror of Solomon, got up and ran off to cling to the horns of the altar, 51 Solomon was told, "You should know that Adonijah is terrified of King Solomon and is now clinging to the horns of the altar, saying, 'Let King Solomon first swear to me that he will not have his servant executed.'" 52 "Should he bear himself honorably," Solomon answered, "not one hair of his shall fall to the ground; but if he proves difficult, he shall die." 53 King Solomon then sent for him to be brought down from the altar; he came and threw himself prostrate before King Solomon; Solomon said to him, "Go to your house."

Hearing of the coronation of Solomon, the members of the banquet quickly made their departure and Adonijah ran to seek sanctuary at Yahweh's altar of sacrifice on Mount Moriah (1 Chr 21:18; 2 Chr 3:1). The altar had four sides and protrusions at each corner called "horns" (Ex 27:1-2; 30:2). Since the atoning blood of the sacrificed animals was sprinkled on the horns of the altar, the horns were considered to be the most sacred part of the altar (Lev 4:7, 25). According to the law, a man accused of manslaughter might seek temporary asylum at the altar until he could be brought to trial (Ex 21:14). In Adonijah's case, he used the altar for political asylum.

Question: What was Solomon's first official act as co-regent?
Answer: Solomon's first official act is an act of mercy in offering amnesty to his half-brother, but Solomon's mercy is granted along with the warning that Adonijah must not do anything to oppose the new king.

Chapter 2: David's Death and Solomon Solidifies his Kingship

David then said, "My son Solomon is young and immature, and the house to be built for Yahweh must be superlatively fine, the most famous and splendid in any country. I shall now make the preparations for it." And so, before he died, David made ample preparations. He then summoned his son Solomon and commanded him to build a house for Yahweh, God of Israel.
1 Chronicles 22:5-6

Prior to David's death, he made preparations for the building of God's holy Temple on the summit of Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Decades earlier, after David's throne was secure and he was ruling from Jerusalem, David offered to build Yahweh a "house" in Jerusalem (2 Sam 7:1-3). However, God declined the offer because David had, out of necessity, been a man of war (1 Chr 22:8-10). But, because God was pleased with David's continuing fidelity, God offered to reward David with a "house" (2 Sam 7:11), meaning a royal dynasty, to rule over the covenant people forever. God promised to appoint David's heir to succeed to his throne and to "build a Temple for my name." The Davidic heir would be a "son" to God and from him God would never withdraw his faithful, covenant love (2 Sam 13-16). The first of these godly sons of David was Solomon, a man of peace. God did not let David build His "house," but He did give David the plans for the construction of the Temple and allowed him to collect the materials needed to complete it (1 Chr 22:2-19).

1 Kings 2:1-4 ~ David Admonishes Solomon to be Faithful to Yahweh
1 As David's life drew to its close, he laid this charge on his son Solomon, 2 "I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong and show yourself a man. 3 Observe the injunctions of Yahweh your God, following his ways and keeping his laws, his commandments, his ordinances and his decrees, as stands written in the Law of Moses, so that you may be successful in everything you do and undertake, 4 and that Yahweh may fulfil the promise which he made me, 'If your sons are careful how they behave, and walk loyally before me with all their heart and soul, you will never want for a man on the throne of Israel.'"

David's last instructions for Solomon are to be obedient to the Law of Moses that is recorded in the Book of the Covenant, the Holiness Code and the Deuteronomic Code that comprise the Torah or Instruction God gave His servant Moses in the first five books of Sacred Scripture. He also refers to the covenant Yahweh established with David and his "house," meaning the Davidic dynasty.
Question: Compare what David tells Solomon in 1 Kings 2:4 and what God told David in 2 Samuel 7:11-16? Why does David somewhat alter the understanding of the terms of the covenant in his warning to Solomon? Also see Dt 17:14-20 and 1 Chr 28:1-6.
Answer: The Davidic Covenant is an unconditional covenant and does not depend on the moral or spiritual rightness of David's linear heirs; the covenant remains eternal. However, God does promise to chastise any Davidic heir who falls into error (2 Sam 7:14) and the success of the rule of the Davidic kings depends on their obedience to the Sinai Covenant and the laws pertaining to the king contained within it. Perhaps David does not want Solomon to focus only on the eternal nature of the covenant but wants him to understand that moral and spiritual failure will impact the success or failure of his reign.

Question: What is the significance of the last part of the covenant promise that David shares with Solomon in verse 4 and the promises made to David in 2 Samuel 4:15-16 and David's prayer of thanks to God in 2 Samuel 4:29 in the context of the New Testament? See Is 7:14; 9:5/6-6/7; Ez 34:23-24; 37:25-28; Mic 4:14; Hag 2:23; etc.; also see Acts 2:30.
Answer: The promises point forward in time to one specific Davidic heir who enjoys God's special favor, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the first in what will become a series of prophecies relating to the future Davidic Messiah.

Solomon began his reign during David's lifetime. The Fathers of the Church point out that the promised heir in the prophecy of the Davidic Covenant was to rule after David's death: And when your days are over and you fall asleep with your ancestors, I shall appoint your heir, your own son to succeed you and I shall make his sovereignty secure. He will build a temple for my name and I shall make his royal throne secure forever (2 Sam 7:12-13). Solomon began his rule prior to David's death and his throne was not secure forever. They saw Solomon's kingdom as a Biblical "type" of the Kingdom of Christ. Referring to the promises of the Davidic Covenant, St. Augustine wrote: "The thing that is beyond question is that he who was promised in such terms to king David was destined to come after his death, the very same who was to build a house for God such as we rejoice to see rising up today, a house not fashioned of timbers and stones but of human beings. It is these people, believers in Christ, whom Saint Paul addresses in these words: Holy is the temple of God, and this temple you are!" (St. Augustine, City of God, 17.8).

1 Kings 2:5-9 ~ Settling the ledger of justice for sinners and saints
5 You know too what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the army of Israel, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether; how he murdered them, shedding the blood of war in time of peace and staining the belt around my waist and the sandals on my feet with the blood of war. 6 You will be wise not to let his grey head go down to Sheol in peace. 7 As regards the sons of Barzillai of Gilead, treat them with faithful love [hesed], let them be among those who eat at your table, for they were as kind to me when I was fleeing from your brother Absalom. 8 You also have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim. He called down a terrible curse on me the day I left for Mahanaim, but he came down to meet me at the Jordan and I swore to him by Yahweh that I would not put him to death. 9 But you, you must not let him go unpunished; you are a wise man and will know how to deal with him, to bring his grey head down to Sheol in blood." [...] = literal translation IBHE vol. II, page 885).

Joab and David had a complicated relationship. Joab was the son of David's elder sister and since David was the youngest in the family of Jesse, he and Joab were probably about the same age. Joab had always faithfully supported David and was one of the first to join David in his exile when he lived the life of an outcast and outlaw. He was a skilled warrior and when David became the king of Judah, Joab became his commanding general. But Joab was also ruthless and bloodthirsty. He was guilty of two acts of murder. At the time the murders occurred, David publically chastised Joab but was either unwilling to charge Joab and bring him to trial because he was the son of David's elder sister Zeruiah, or unable to prosecute Joab, perhaps because Joab held too much power over the army (2 Sam 3:39).
Question: Who were Joab's victims? See 1 Sam 14:50-51; 2 Sam 2:21-23; 3:12, 26-39; 17:25-26; 19:12-15; 20:3-13.

  1. Abner was the army commander of his cousin King Saul. Abner had decided to support David as the king of a united Israel over Saul's son. He would have ended the war between David's tribe of Judah and the other tribes of Israel, and David would have peacefully united all the tribes of Israel with Abner's help. Joab said he killed Abner because he didn't trust him, but it was also because Abner had killed Joab's brother in battle and it may have been that also he feared David would make the elder warrior commander of the army over Joab.
  2. The second man who was murdered was David's nephew and Joab's cousin Amasa. Amasa supported David's son Absalom in the rebellion, and he was Absalom's commanding general. After Absalom's death, David persuaded Amasa to make peace with him, bringing the tribe of Judah to once again recognize David as king in exchange of naming Asama as Israel's commanding general. Like Abner, Joab lured his victim into a trap and killed him.

David's point to Solomon is that Joab is treacherous and cannot be trusted. He supported Adonijah in the past and might try to deprive Solomon of his throne in the future. It was better to seek justice for the innocent men Joab killed and condemn Joab to death, sending him to Sheol, the abode of the dead. David was also probably motivated by the grudge he held against Joab for killing Absalom when David had given strict orders that his son's life was to be spared (2 Sam 18:5, 9-15).

7 As regards the sons of Barzillai of Gilead, treat them with faithful love [hesed], let them be among those who eat at your table, for they were as kind to me when I was fleeing from your brother Absalom.
In between two requests for vengeance, David asks Solomon to continue to show kindness of the family of a man who supported him when he was fleeing from Jerusalem ahead of the rebel army of Absalom (2 Sam 17:27-29; 19:32-33). The word hesed means "faithful, covenant love."

Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite ...
The second act of vengeance David requests is against Shimei, a Benjaminite who cursed David, God's anointed, as he was fleeing from the rebel army of Absalom. When Absalom was killed and David was returning to Jerusalem, Shimei met David accompanied by a force of thousand men from the tribe of Benjamin. Shimei asked David to pardon him for his earlier disrespectful act. David gave Shimei his oath not to kill him. This was probably only because David was not in a position of strength to take on such a large force of Benjaminites who were with Shimei (2 Sam 19:19b/18b-24/25).

9 But you, you must not let him go unpunished; you are a wise man and will know how to deal with him, to bring his grey head down to Sheol in blood."
David was bound by the oath he swore to Shimei but his son is not bound by it, and David urges Solomon to find a way to punish Shimei with death.

1 Kings 2:10-11 ~ David's death
10 So David fell asleep with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. 11 David was king of Israel for a period of forty years: he reigned at Hebron for seven years, and in Jerusalem for thirty-three.

To sleep with one's ancestors is a phrase that means "to die peacefully" and does not refer to the burial. For kings who died violently, usually only their interment is recorded (cf., 2 Kng 21:26; 23:30; an exception is Ahab in 1 Kng 22:40). The length of David's reign is repeated from 2 Samuel 5:4-5. To reign for forty years was the ideal number of years; in Scripture forty is a number signifying both testing and consecration and is considered to be the ideal length of time for a king or judge to rule (i.e., Judg 3:11; 5:31; 1 Kng 11:42). The dead were not to be buried within the limits of a city but, according to Jewish tradition an exception was made in the case of King David and the prophetess Huldah (2 Kng 22:14; 2 Chr 34:22). Christian tradition locates the tomb of King David below the Upper Room of the Last Supper in Jerusalem. In St. Peter's homily on Pentecost Sunday, standing outside the house of the Upper Room, he speaks of David's tomb and one can image him gesturing to the lower story of the house (Acts 2:29-35). It is a site venerated by both Jews and Christians today.

Solomon Deals with the Threats to His Sovereignty

1 Kings 2:12-18 ~ Adonijah's Request
12 Solomon then sat on the throne of David, and his sovereignty was securely established. 13 Adonijah son of Haggith went to Bathsheba mother of Solomon, "Do you bring peace?" she asked. He replied, "Yes, peace." 14 Then he said, "I have something to say to you." "Say on," she replied. "You know," he said, "that the kingdom should have come to me, and that all Israel expected me to be king; but the crown eluded me and fell to my brother, since it came to him from Yahweh. 16 Now I have one request to make you; do not refuse me." "Go on," she said, 17 He went on, "Please ask King Solomon, for he will not refuse you, to give me Abishag of Shunem in marriage." 18 "Very well," Bathsheba replied, "I shall speak to the king about you."

There is no indication how many years have passed, but enough time has passed that Solomon's "sovereignty was securely established." This phrase brackets the entire section of 2:12-46 in which the narrative records what actions Solomon took to secure his kingdom.

13 Adonijah son of Haggith went to Bathsheba mother of Solomon
Adonijah has come to Bathsheba in her role as the Gebirah, the Queen-mother of the Davidic king to whom the people brought their petitions. An Israelite king could have many wives, but he only had one mother and she was therefore the most important woman in the kingdom. See Biblical references to the office of the Gebirah (Queen Mother) in 1 Kng 11:19 (referring to the Egyptian Queen Mother by the Hebrew title); 15:13; 2 Kng 10:13; 24:15; 2 Chr 15:16; Jer 13:18; 29:2) and the document discussing the Virgin Mary's role as the Gebirah of the New Davidic Kingdom. The Virgin Mary petitioned her son at the wedding at Cana on behalf of the groom whose wedding banquet had run out of wine. She was fulfilling her role as the Gebirah of the new Davidic Kingdom as she continues to do for the Church from heaven.

The narrative in 2:13-24 begins with an exchange between Adonijah and Bathsheba and ends with an exchange between Solomon and Bathsheba that will climax in Adonijah's death in verse 25.
Question: What is Adonijah's petition?
Answer: He wants to marry Abishag, the young woman who was David's nurse.

Bathsheba is surprisingly naïve in immediately agreeing to grant Adonijah's request to take his petition to her son. Perhaps he has gained her sympathy in mentioning that he has been deprived of the throne, but she should realize that his request could put her son in a very dangerous position. Adonijah already has a strong claim to the throne of David since he is the eldest son, but to marry a woman who has a strong link to the throne as the concubine of the dead king will strengthen his claim. In the Ancient Near East, possession of a dead king's harem strengthened a claim to the throne (2 Sam 3:6-7; 12:8; 16:20-22). The reader knows that David did not have relations with the woman, but the rest of the people do not know she was a concubine in name only.

Question: How did Absalom try to strengthen his claim to David's throne in 2 Samuel 16:20-22? What did the Law say about a man having relations with a wife of his father? See Lev 18:8.
Answer: When Absalom took Jerusalem in his rebellion against David, he tried to strengthen his claim to David's throne by taking possession of David's harem and publically having intimate relations with David's women. This was a practice that was forbidden by the Law that clearly stated a man could not have relations with the wife of his father.

It was, however, widely practiced in the kingdoms of the ancient Near East by a new king who was not a legitimate heir and wanted to solidify his claim to the throne of his predecessor. In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great immediately married the daughters of Darius of Persia to solidify his political claim to the Persian throne that he had taken by conquest.

1 Kings 2:19-25 ~ Adonijah's Death
19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonijah; the king got up to meet her and bowed before her; he then sat down on his throne; a seat was brought for the king's mother, and she sat down on his right. 20 She said, "I have one small request to make you; do not refuse me." "Mother," the king replied, "make your request, for I shall not refuse you." 21 "Let Abishag of Shunem," she said, "be given in marriage to your brother Adonijah." 22 King Solomon replied to his mother, "And why do you request Abishag of Shunem for Adonijah? You might as well request the kingdom for him, since he is my elder brother and Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah are on his side." 23 And King Solomon swore by Yahweh: "May God bring unnamable ills on me, and worse ills, too," he said, "if Adonijah does not pay for these words of his with his life! 24 As Yahweh lives who has set me securely on the throne of my father David, and who, as he promised, has given him a dynasty, Adonijah shall be put to death this very day." 25 And King Solomon commissioned Benaiah son of Jehoiada to strike him down and that was how he died.

Bathsheba may have been naïve about the motives behind Adonijah's request, but Solomon fully understood the implications of the request. His incensed response to his mother's "small request" shows that he believes Adonijah is about to make another bid for the throne of Israel and takes appropriate action. He declares his intention by swearing a formal oath in the name of Yahweh by using to words "as Yahweh lives ..." Adonijah has failed to heed the warning Solomon gave him in 1:52 and so he sends Benaiah to execute his elder brother. Under the Law, there should have been a trial in which Adonijah could have been condemned for treason against the king, but Adonijah is executed by order of the king who has acted as Adonijah's judge.

1 Kings 2:26-27 ~ The Fate of the Chief Priest Abiathar
26 As for Abiathar the priest, the king said to him, "Go to Anathoth to your estate. You deserve to die, but I am not going to put you to death now, since you carried the Ark of Yahweh in the presence of my father David and shared all my father's hardships." 27 Solomon deprived Abiathar of the priesthood of Yahweh, thus fulfilling the prophecy which Yahweh had uttered against the House of Eli at Shiloh.

Solomon must have had some evidence that Adonijah's former conspirators were part of a new plot to put Adonijah on the throne of David. He does not issue a bill of execution against the priest Abiathar because he had been loyal to his father David and helped to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. Anathoth is a Levitical city within the territory of the tribe of Benjamin near Jerusalem (Josh 21:18).(2)
Question: What is Solomon's judgment against Abiathar the priest? How is the judgment against Abiathar a fulfillment of what God's prophet said in 1 Samuel 2:30-36?
Answer: Abiathar is deposed from the priesthood of Aaron and sent to live out his life on his at estate at Anathoth. Abiathar was the last of the priestly line of Eli. Abiathar and his descendants will no longer be priests and are to live in reduced circumstances without the revenue from the priesthood.

1 Kings 2:28-35 ~ The Fate of Joab
28 When news reached Joab, for Joab had lent his support to Adonijah, though he had not supported Absalom, he fled to the Tent of Yahweh and clung to the horns of the altar. 29 King Solomon was told, "Joab has fled to the Tent of Yahweh; he is there beside the altar." On this, Solomon sent word to Joab, "What reason did you have for fleeing to the altar?" Joab replied, "I was afraid of you and fled to Yahweh." Solomon then sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada. "Go," he said, "and strike him down." 30 Accordingly Benaiah went to the Tent of Yahweh. "By order of the king," he said, "come out!" "No," he said, "I will die here." So Benaiah brought word back to the king, "This is what Joab said, and the answer he gave me." 31 "Do as he says," the king replied. "Strike him down and bury him, and so rid me and my family today of the innocent blood which Joab has shed. 32 Yahweh will bring his blood down on his own head, because he struck down two more upright and better men than he, and, without my father David's knowledge, put the sword to Abner son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah. 33 May their blood come down on the head of Joab and his descendants forever, but may David, his descendants, his dynasty, his throne, have peace forever from Yahweh." 34 Whereupon Benaiah son of Jehoiada went out, struck Joab down and put him to death; he was buried at his home in the desert. 35 In his place as head of the army the king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada and, in place of Abiathar, the priest Zadok.

Solomon judges Joab's action to seek asylum at the altar as an admission of guilt and issues the command for his execution. Benaiah, however, is hesitant to violate the sanctuary of the altar and returns to Solomon for a final decision.
Question: What did the Law of the Sinai Covenant say concerning seeking sanctuary at the altar of Yahweh? See Ex 21:12-14.
Answer: Someone like Joab who has committed premeditated murder cannot claim sanctuary at the altar of Yahweh.

Solomon judges that Joab is not eligible for sanctuary and orders his death. With Joab's death, the blood-guilt that was attached to David's family for failing to secure justice for the deaths of Aber and David's nephew Amasa has been satisfied. Benaiah replaces Joab as commander of the army of Israel.

in place of Abiathar, the priest Zadok.
With Abiathar deposed the office of high priest remains with Zadok. The last part of the prophecy in 1 Samuel 2:35-36 literally refers to Zadok whose priestly line continued to serve the Davidic kings. The last Zadok descendant to serve as high priest was murdered in the second century BC, but the prophecy also symbolically refers to St. Peter and his successors who serve God's anointed, Jesus Christ, in His "house" the universal Church.

1 King 2:36-38 ~ Shimei is placed under "house arrest" in Jerusalem
The king had Shimei summoned to him. "Build yourself a house in Jerusalem," he told him. "You are to live there; do not leave it to go anywhere at all. The day you go out and cross the ravine of the Kidron, be sure you will certainly die. Your blood will be on your own head." "That is a fine demand," Shimei replied to the king, "your servant will do as my lord the king orders." And for a long time Shimei lived in Jerusalem.

Shimei is the Benjaminite who cursed David when he was fleeing Jerusalem during Absalom's revolt (2 Sam 16:5-8). Later, David was pressured into giving him amnesty and in swearing not to bring retribution against him (2 Sam 19:17-24). David kept his oath but he did not forgive Shimei and asked Solomon to see that Shimei paid for his past actions.
Question: How does Solomon solve the problem of Shimei?
Answer: He orders Shimei, on pain of death, to take up permanent residence in Jerusalem. He binds him with an oath that stipulates he will forfeit his life if he leaves the city.

The Kidron Valley is Jerusalem's eastern border and to get to his estate in Bahurim he would have to cross it. The point is that Shimei is confined to the city.

1 Kings 2:39-46 ~ Shimei defies Solomon's travel restriction
39 But when three years had gone by, it happened that two of Shimei's slaves ran away to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath; Shimei was told, "Your slaves are in Gath." 40 On this, Shimei got up and saddled his donkey and went to Akish at Gath to find his slaves. He went off and brought his slaves back from Gath. 41 Solomon was informed that Shimei had left Jerusalem for Gath and come back again. 42 The king had Shimei summoned to him. "Did I not make you swear by Yahweh," he said, "and did I not warn you, 'The day you leave to go anywhere at all, be sure you will certainly die'? To which you replied, That is a fair demand.' 43 Why did you not keep the oath to Yahweh and the order which I imposed on you?" 44 The king then said to Shimei, "You know well all the evil you did to my father David, Yahweh is about to bring your wickedness down on your own head. 45 But may King Solomon be blessed, and may the throne of David be kept secure before Yahweh forever!" 46 The king gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he went out and struck Shimei down; and that was how he died. And now the kingdom was securely in Solomon's hands.

"Akish" was apparently a hereditary name of the rulers of Philistine cities like Gath (see 1 Sam 21:11; 27:2-3). This Akish [Achish] is probably the grandson of David's patron.(3) Many city states or nations in the Ancient Near East had extradition treaties for escaped slaves.
Question: Either Shimei had forgotten his oath and the penalty for breaking it, or his reckless behavior demonstrates his contempt of the king. In either event, what was the result of his failure to remain in Jerusalem? What reason does Solomon give for his execution?
Answer: Having broken his oath, Shimei is justly condemned and executed. Solomon gives the real reason for his execution as the curse he once pronounced against God's anointed, his father David.

After speaking of the curse against David that has led to Shimei's death sentence, notice that Solomon immediately adds a blessing for himself and the dynasty of David in verse 45. Shimei's curse should lose its effect with Shimei's death, but to ensure that Shimei's curse will not recoil back on him or his family, Solomon invokes Yahweh's blessing. Solomon's kingdom is secure. His promise to David to deal with Joab and Shimei has been fulfilled and he has dealt with the threats from Adonijah and the chief priest Abiathar.

Jesus used the story of the rejection of Abiathar and his loss of station as a leader of the religious hierarchy as a subtle warning to the chief priests in Mark 2:26. Abiathar supported the father but refused to support the son just as the chief priests supported God the Father but refuse to support God the Son. Fathers of the Church like St. Ephrem saw a parallel between the punishment of Abiathar and the killings of Adonijah, Joab and Shimei. Abiathar and Joab served the father but refused to serve the son just as the religious authority and the temple guards served God the Father but refused to acknowledge God the Son. Shimei's crime was that he cursed God's anointed, David, like the people of Jerusalem cursed God's anointed, Jesus, as He hung on the Cross. They saw the story of the destruction of the Davadic heir's enemies as prefiguring the end of the old religious hierarchy of the Sinai Covenant and the ruin of Jerusalem for not recognizing the power and authority of Jesus Christ, the Davidic heir and Son of God (Ephrem, On the First Book of Kings 2:39).

Question for reflection or group discussion:
Of Adonijah it is written: 6 Never once in his life had his father crossed him by saying, "Why are you behaving like that?" He was very handsome too; his mother had given birth to him after Absalom.
The inspired writer wants the reader to be aware of David's failure in disciplining his sons. He was an overly indulgent and permissive parent.

Question: What does Scripture say about God disciplining His children and about the responsibility of human fathers to discipline their children? Is God a permissive divine Father who overlooks the moral failures of His children? See Dt 8:2-5; 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 94:12; Prov 3:11-12; 19:18-20; Wis 11:9-10; 1 Cor 11:32; Rev 3:19. How can you apply these verses as a guide to right parenting?

1. Mules and hinnies have 63 chromosomes that are a mixture of the horse's 64 and the donkey's 62 chromosomes. The different structure and number usually prevents the chromosomes from pairing up properly and creating successful embryos, rendering most mules infertile. There are no recorded cases of fertile mule stallions. A very few mare mules been recorded as having produced offspring when mated with a purebred horse or donkey.

2. That Abiathar had land in Anathoth does not contradict the restriction on the Levites concerning land ownership in the Promised Land (see Num 18:23). In place of tracks of farmland, the Levites received pasture land for their flocks outside the Levitical cities (Num 35:1-8).

3. The name "Akish/Achish" was discovered on a seventh century BC inscription discovered at Ekron (another Philistine city) commemorating the erection of a temple by Akish [Akhayus] son of Padi, ruler of Ekron.

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2014 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

Catechism references for this lesson:
1 Kng 1:39 (CCC 436)
2 Sam 7:14 (CCC 238, 441)