1 Kings 2
1 David knew that he would soon die. So this is what he said to his son Solomon:
2 ‘Soon I will die, as everyone must die one day. So, be strong and brave, as a man should be. 3 Do what the Lord your God tells you to do. Live in a way that pleases him. Obey his rules, commands and laws that Moses has written down in his books of God's Law. Then everything that you do will go well, wherever you go. 4 The Lord will also do what he has promised me that he will do. He promised this to me:
“Your descendants must be careful in how they live. They must serve me faithfully with all their mind and strength. If they do that, one of your descendants will always rule Israel as king.”
5 Do not forget what Zeruiah's son Joab did to me. He killed the two leaders of Israel's armies, Ner's son Abner and Jether's son Amasa. Joab killed them as if they were his enemies in a war. But there was no war. So he is guilty of their deaths when they had done nothing wrong. Their blood is on his belt and on his shoes. 6 So you should punish him in a way that you think is right. Do not let him die in peace as an old man.
7 Be kind to the sons of Barzillai, who lived in Gilead. Let them eat meals at your table. Help them, because they helped me when I was running away from your brother Absalom.
8 Remember that Shimei is still there to give you trouble. He is the son of Gera who came from Bahurim, and he belonged to Benjamin's tribe. When I went to Mahanaim, he prayed that terrible things would happen to me. But when he came to meet me at the Jordan river, I made a promise to him. I promised him in the Lord's name that I would not punish him with death. 9 But remember that he is guilty! You are a wise man, so you will know what to do to him. Even if he is an old man, make sure that he has a violent death.’
10 Then David died. They buried him in the City of David. 11 David had ruled Israel as king for 40 years. He ruled for seven years in Hebron. Then he ruled for 33 years in Jerusalem.
Solomon makes his kingdom strong
12 So Solomon ruled as king on the throne of his father David. His kingdom became strong.
13 Haggith's son Adonijah visited Bathsheba, Solomon's mother. She asked him, ‘Do you come in peace?’ He answered, ‘Yes, I come in peace.’ 14 Then he said, ‘I want to say something to you.’ She replied, ‘Tell me.’
15 Adonijah said, ‘You know that the kingdom should belong to me. All the Israelite people thought that I should be their king. But everything changed, and now my brother is the king instead of me. The Lord decided that he should be king. 16 Now I have one thing to ask you. Please do not refuse me.’ Bathsheba replied, ‘Tell me.’
17 So Adonijah said, ‘Please ask King Solomon to give me Abishag, the girl from Shunem, to be my wife. He will do it if you ask him.’ 18 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 bent his head down to respect her. Then he sat on his throne. He commanded his servants to bring another throne for his mother. So she sat down at his right side. 20 She said, ‘I have one small thing to ask you. Please do not refuse to do it for me.’ The king said to her, ‘Ask me, mother! I will not refuse you!’ 21 So she said, ‘Please let your brother Adonijah marry Abishag, the girl from Shunem.’ 22 But King Solomon said to his mother, ‘You are asking me to give Abishag to Adonijah as his wife! You should also ask me to give my kingdom to him, my older brother! That would be the same thing. Then he would rule together with Abiathar the priest and Zeruiah's son Joab!’
2:22Adonijah thought that he should be king, because he was older than Solomon. If he could marry Abishag, that would show that he had taken David's place as king.
23 Then King Solomon made this strong promise in the Lord's name. He said, ‘Because Adonijah has asked to have Abishag as his wife, I will certainly punish him with death. If I do not do that, I pray that God will punish me instead! 24 As surely as the Lord lives, Adonijah must die today. The Lord has done everything that he promised to me. He has made me strong so that now I rule on the throne of my father David. And my descendants will continue to rule as kings after me.’
25 So King Solomon commanded Jehoiada's son Benaiah to kill Adonijah. So Adonijah died.
26 Then the king said to Abiathar the priest, ‘Go back to your fields in Anathoth. You also deserve to die. But I will not kill you now because you served my father David. You carried the Covenant Box of the Lord God when David was king. Also, the trouble that happened to my father happened to you too.’
27 Solomon sent Abiathar away so that he was no longer a priest who served the Lord. That was the punishment that the Lord had said would happen to Eli's family. So what the Lord had promised at Shiloh now happened.
2:27See 1 Samuel 2:31-36. Now Zadok was the only important priest. See verse 35.
28 When Adonijah had tried to become king, Joab had joined with him. (But he had not joined with Absalom.) Joab heard the news about what had happened to Adonijah and Abiathar. So he hurried to the Lord's holy tent. He took hold of the horns of the altar there. 29 King Solomon heard that Joab had gone to the altar in the Lord's holy tent. He commanded Jehoiada's son Benaiah, ‘Go there! Knock Joab down to kill him!’ 30 So Benaiah went to the Lord's holy tent. When he arrived there, he said to Joab, ‘The king says, “Come out!” ’ But Joab answered, ‘No! I will die here!’
So Benaiah sent a message to tell the king what Joab had said.
31 The king replied, ‘Do as Joab said. Kill him there and bury him. He has killed people who did not deserve to die. Punish Joab with death. Then I and my father's family will no longer be guilty for the cruel murders that he has done. 32 The Lord will now punish him because of the murders that he did. He used his sword to attack and kill two men, but he did not tell my father David about it. He murdered Ner's son Abner, the leader of Israel's army. He also murdered Jether's son Amasa, the leader of Judah's army. Both those men were better and more honest than Joab was. 33 Joab and his descendants will always receive the punishment for those murders. But the Lord will cause David's descendants, his family and his kingdom to enjoy peace always.’
34 So Jehoiada's son Benaiah went to the holy tent and he punished Joab with death. They buried Joab at his home in the wilderness.
35 Then the king chose Benaiah to be the leader of the army instead of Joab. The king also chose Zadok to be the priest instead of Abiathar.
36 Then the king told Shimei to come to him. He said to Shimei, ‘Build a house for yourself here in Jerusalem. Live in it all the time. Never leave to go anywhere else. 37 If you ever leave the city and you cross the Kidron stream, you will certainly die. That will be a death that you choose for yourself.’ 38 Shimei said to the king, ‘My lord the king, your words are good. I will do as you have decided.’
So Shimei lived in Jerusalem for a long time. 39 But after three years, two of his slaves ran away. They went to Achish, who was the son of Maakah, the king of Gath. Someone told Shimei, ‘Your slaves are in Gath.’ 40 So Shimei prepared his donkey and he left home. He went to Achish in Gath to look for his slaves. He found them and he brought them back from Gath. 41 Someone told Solomon that Shimei had travelled from Jerusalem to Gath and now he had returned. 42 So the king told Shimei to come to him. He said to Shimei, ‘You made a strong promise to me in the Lord's name. I am sure that you remember that! I warned you never to leave Jerusalem. I said that if you went anywhere else, you would certainly die. You said to me at that time, “I agree with what you have said.” 43 But you have not done what you promised to do in the Lord's name. You should have obeyed my command.’
44 The king also said to Shimei, ‘I know that you remember how you insulted my father David. Now the Lord will punish you because of the evil things that you did. 45 But the Lord will bless me, King Solomon. David's descendants will continue to serve the Lord as kings for ever.’
46 Then the king commanded Jehoiada's son Benaiah to punish Shimei with death. So Benaiah went and he killed Shimei.
So Solomon now ruled the kingdom with complete authority.