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1 Kings 2

David dies

1 The day when David should die was near. Then this is what he told his son Solomon. 2 David said, ‘Soon I will die like everyone else on the earth. So, be strong. And show people that you have grown into a man. 3 Do what the LORD your God asks you to do. Live in his ways. Continue to obey his rules and his laws. Do what he has decided. Do everything that he wants you to do. Moses wrote it all in his law books. If you do that, you will do well everywhere and in everything.

4 And the LORD will keep his promise to me. This is what he promised to me.

“Someone from your family will always rule Israel. But they must:

Live properly.

Believe in me.

Try as much as they can to obey me about everything.”

5 Also, you know what Joab, the son of Zeruiah, did to me. He killed the two leaders of Israel's armies. He killed Abner, the son of Ner and Amasa, the son of Jether. He did it like there was a war. But there was no war! Their blood is on the belt round his body and on the shoes on his feet. 6 So do the right thing as you thought. Do not let him die in peace as an old man. 7 But be kind to the sons of Barzillai, who lived in Gilead. Let them eat at your table. Do this because they were kind to me when I was running away from your brother Absalom. 8 And remember, Shimei, the son of Gera, is with you. He came from Bahurim, in Benjamin. He prayed that really bad things would happen to me. He did that when I went to Mahanaim. But he did come down to meet me at the River Jordan. So I promised him, with the LORD's name, that I would not kill him with the sword. 9 But do not think that he has done nothing wrong. You are a wise man. And so you will do what is right. You know what you must do to him. He is an old man. But you must kill him!’

10 Then David died and they buried him in the City of David. 11 David had ruled Israel for 40 years. He was 7 years in Hebron, then 33 years in Jerusalem.

Solomon makes himself safe

12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David. He became a strong king.

13 Adonijah was the son of Haggith. He went to Bathsheba, who was the mother of Solomon. And she said, ‘Do you come in peace?’ He answered, ‘I do come in peace.’ 14 Then he said, ‘I want to say something to you.’ ‘Say it’, she replied. 15 And he said, ‘You know that I should be king. All Israel thought that I should be their king. But things changed, and now my brother is the king. The LORD has made him king. 16 Now I have one thing to ask you. Do not refuse me.’ ‘Tell me’, she replied. 17 So he said, ‘Ask King Solomon to give me Abishag, the girl from Shunem, as my wife. He will not refuse you.’ 18 And Bathsheba said, ‘I will speak to the king on your behalf.’

19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak on behalf of Adonijah. The king stood up to meet her. He was polite to her. Then he sat down on his throne. And he ordered his servants to bring another throne for his mother. So she sat down at his right side. 20 ‘I have one small thing to ask you’, she said. ‘Do not refuse me.’ And the king answered her, ‘Ask me, mother! I will not refuse you!’ 21 So she said, ‘Let your brother Adonijah marry Abishag, the girl from Shunem.’ 22 And King Solomon said to his mother, ‘You are asking that Adonijah can marry Abishag. You are almost asking me that my older brother should become king! That is what Abiathar the priest and Joab the son of Zeruiah want!’ 23 Then King Solomon promised this to the LORD. ‘I want God to hurt me very much if Adonijah does not die because of this. And that is what I pray!

24 Now, as surely as the LORD is alive, Adonijah will die today. The LORD has done all these things, which he promised to me:

He has made me safe.

He has caused me to sit on the throne of my father David.

My children will be kings after me.’

25 So King Solomon ordered Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, to kill Adonijah. And so he attacked him and he died.

26 The king said to Abiathar the priest, ‘Go back to your fields in Anathoth. Really, you should die. But I will not kill you now. That is because you carried the ark of the LORD God in front of my father David. Also, the trouble that happened to my father happened to you.’ 27 So Solomon stopped Abiathar from being a priest of the LORD. The things that the LORD said at Shiloh about Eli's family had now happened.

28 Then the news about this came to Joab. Now Joab had talked with Adonijah, but not with Absalom. So Joab hurried to the holy place of the LORD. He held the points on the corners of the altar there. 29 And they told Solomon that Joab had hurried to the holy place of the LORD. They said that he was next to the altar there. Then Solomon said to Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, ‘Go there! Knock him down!’ 30 So Benaiah went into the holy place of the LORD. He said to Joab, ‘The king says, “Come out!” ’ But Joab answered, ‘No! I will die here!’ So Benaiah sent a report to the king. He said, ‘This is what Joab said to me.’ 31 Then the king said to Benaiah, ‘Do as he says. Knock him down and bury him. So you will remove from me and from my father's family the blood that Joab poured out. It was the blood of people that he should not have killed.

32 The LORD will punish him because of the blood that he poured out. He attacked two men and he killed them with his sword. My father David did not know about this. Both men were better and more honest than Joab was. These were the two men:

Abner, the son of Ner. He was the leader of Israel's army.

Amasa, the son of Jether. He was the leader of Judah's army.

33 So Joab and his children and their children will always have troubles because they killed those men. But David's children, their children and his throne will always be in peace with the LORD.’ 34 So Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, went and he knocked down Joab. He killed him. Joab was buried in his own land in the country. 35 And the king chose Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, to be the leader of the army instead of Joab. Also, the king chose Zadok the priest instead of Abiathar.

36 Then the king asked for Shimei to come to him. He said to Shimei, ‘Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live in it. Do not go out from it to anywhere else. 37 On the day that you leave it to cross the Kidron Valley, you will die. You will die because of what you yourself have done.’ 38 And Shimei said to the king, ‘Your words are good. Your servant will do as my master the king has said.’ So Shimei lived in Jerusalem for many days. 39 But after three years, two of Shimei's slaves ran away. They went to Achish, who was the son of Maacah, the king of Gath. Someone told Shimei, ‘Your slaves are in Gath.’ 40 So Shimei went out and he prepared his donkey. He went to Achish in Gath to look for his slaves. He went out and he brought back his slaves from Gath. 41 Someone reported to Solomon that Shimei had travelled from Jerusalem to Gath. Then he had returned. 42 So the king asked for Shimei to come to him. He said to Shimei, ‘You spoke a very serious promise to the LORD. I ordered you not to leave Jerusalem. If you did, you would die. And you said to me at that time, “Your words are good. I will obey you.” 43 But you have not kept your promise to the LORD. You did not do what I ordered you to do.’ 44 The king also said to Shimei, ‘You know in your mind all the bad things that you did to my father David. Now the LORD will punish you because of the wrong things that you did. 45 But good things will happen to King Solomon. The LORD will make David's throne to be safe for always.’ 46 Then the king told Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, the thing to do. So he went out and he knocked Shimei down. And he killed him. So Solomon now ruled the country. Nobody could say that he was not the proper king.

Notes about chapter 2

2:46The first 12 verses of this chapter tell us about the last days of David. In them, David told Solomon that some people were dangerous. They included Adonijah, Abiathar, Joab and Shimei.
2:46Verses 13-46 tell us what Solomon did about this. He killed three of them so that they could not be a danger to him.
2:46In verses 13-25, Adonijah thought that he should be king. That was because he was older than Solomon. If he could marry Abishag, he would take David's place. Then he thought that the people would make him king! But Solomon sent Benaiah to kill Adonijah.
2:46In verses 26-27, Solomon sent the priest Abiathar away. He did not let Abiathar be an important priest again. So what God had spoken about in 1 Samuel 2:31-36 happened. Now Zadok was the only important priest, verse 35.
2:46In verses 28-35, Solomon sent Benaiah to kill Joab. Joab thought that he was safe in the LORD's holy place. But he was wrong. Joab had killed innocent people. He had ‘poured out their blood’. ‘Innocent’ means that they had not done very bad things. Joab had no reason to kill them. This is what ‘remove the blood from me’ means. It seemed like the king had killed those innocent people! But when the king killed Joab, he removed that thought from people's minds. David's family could now enjoy the promise in Deuteronomy 19:13.
2:46In verses 36-46, Solomon removed the last of David's enemies.
2:46There are many names in this chapter. Some are in the notes on Chapter 1. Other names include these:
2:46Abner was the son of Ner. He was the cousin of King Saul. Joab killed him, 2 Samuel 3:27. David wrote a sad song about Abner, 2 Samuel 3:33-39.
2:46Ner was the brother of Kish, 1 Chronicles 9:36. Kish was the father of King Saul.
2:46Amasa was a son of David's sister Abigail (2 Samuel 17:25). 2 Samuel 20:10 says that Joab killed him.
2:46Jether was the husband of Abigail. 2 Samuel 17:25 spells it Ithra. Perhaps Ishmael was his ancestor.
2:46Barzillai. The story starts at 2 Samuel 19:31. Perhaps Psalm 23 was also about what Barzillai did on behalf of David.
2:46Shimei met David, when David returned from Barzillai to Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 19:20.