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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 2

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1As the time of David's death drew near, he gave this charge to his son Solomon: 2‘I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong and show yourself a man. 3Fulfil your duty to the LORD your God; conform to his ways, observe his statutes and his commandments, his judgements and his solemn precepts, as they are written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in whatever you do and whichever way you turn, 4and that the LORD may fulfil this promise that he made about me: “If your descendants are careful to walk faithfully in my sight with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall never lack a successor on the throne of Israel.”

5‘You know how Joab son of Zeruiah treated me and what he did to two commanders-in-chief in Israel, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He killed them both, breaking the peace by bloody acts of war; and with that blood he stained the belt about his waist and the sandals on his feet. 6Act as your wisdom prompts you, and do not let his grey hairs go down to the grave a 2:6,9 the grave: lit. Sheol (the underworld). in peace. 7Show constant friendship to the family of Barzillai of Gilead; let them have their place at your table; they rallied to me when I was a fugitive from your brother Absalom. 8Do not forget Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who cursed me bitterly the day I went to Mahanaim. True, he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I swore by the LORD that I would not put him to death. 9But you do not need to let him go unpunished now; you are a wise man and will know how to deal with him; bring down his grey hairs in blood to the grave.’

10So David rested with his forefathers and was buried in the city of David, 11having reigned over Israel for forty years, seven in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem; 12and Solomon succeeded his father David as king and was firmly established on the throne.

13 THEN Adonijah son of Haggith came to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother. ‘Do you come as a friend?’ she asked. ‘As a friend,’ he answered; 14‘I have something to discuss with you.’ ‘Tell me,’ she said. 15‘You know’, he went on, ‘that the throne was mine and that all Israel was looking to me to be king; but I was passed over and the throne has gone to my brother; it was his by the will of the LORD. 16Now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me.’ ‘What is it?’ she said. 17He answered, ‘Will you ask King Solomon (he will never refuse you) to give me Abishag the Shunammite in marriage?’ 18‘Very well,’ said Bathsheba, ‘I shall speak to the king on your behalf.’

19When Bathsheba went in to King Solomon to speak for Adonijah, the king rose to meet her and do obeisance to her. Then he seated himself on his throne, and a throne was set for the king's mother at his right hand. 20She said, ‘I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.’ ‘What is it, mother?’ he replied. ‘I will not refuse you.’ 21‘It is this,’ she said, ‘that Abishag the Shunammite be given in marriage to your brother Adonijah.’ 22At that King Solomon answered, ‘Why do you ask that Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah? You might as well ask the kingdom for him; he is my elder brother and has both Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah on his side.’ 23Then he swore by the LORD: ‘So help me God, Adonijah must pay for this with his life. 24As the LORD lives, who has established me and set me on the throne of David my father and has founded a house for me as he promised, this very day Adonijah must be put to death!’ 25King Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada with orders to strike him down; so Adonijah died.

26Abiathar the priest was told by the king to go to Anathoth to his estate. ‘You deserve to die,’ he said, ‘but in spite of this day's work I shall not put you to death, for you carried the Ark of the Lord GOD before my father David, and you shared in all the hardships he endured.’ 27Solomon deposed Abiathar from his office as priest of the LORD, so fulfilling the sentence pronounced by the LORD against the house of Eli in Shiloh.

28When news of all this reached Joab, he fled to the Tent of the LORD and laid hold of the horns of the altar; for he had sided with Adonijah, though not with Absalom. 29When King Solomon was told that Joab had fled to the Tent of the LORD and was beside the altar, he sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada with orders to strike him down. 30Benaiah came to the Tent of the LORD and ordered Joab in the king's name to come away. But he said, ‘No, I will die here.’ Benaiah reported Joab's answer to the king, 31and the king said, ‘Let him have his way; strike him down and bury him, and so rid me and my father's house of the guilt for the blood that he wantonly shed. 32The LORD will hold him responsible for his own death, because he struck down two innocent men who were better men than he, Abner son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah, and ran them through with the sword, without my father David's knowledge. 33Let the guilt of their blood recoil on Joab and his descendants for all time; but may David and his descendants, his house and his throne, enjoy perpetual prosperity from the LORD.’ 34Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up to the altar and struck Joab down and killed him, and he was buried at his house out in the country. 35The king appointed Benaiah to command the army in place of Joab, and installed Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.

36Next the king sent for Shimei and said to him, ‘Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and stay there; you are not to leave the city for any other place. 37If ever you leave and cross the wadi Kidron, know for certain that you will die. Your blood will be on your own head.’ 38Shimei replied, ‘I accept your sentence; I shall do as your majesty commands.’

For a long time Shimei remained in Jerusalem. 39But when three years later two of his slaves ran away to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath, and this was reported to Shimei, 40he at once saddled his donkey and went to Achish in search of his slaves; he reached Gath and brought them back. 41When King Solomon was informed that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and back, 42he sent for him and said, ‘Did I not require you to swear by the LORD? Did I not give you this solemn warning: “If ever you leave this city for any other place, know for certain that you will die”? You said, “I accept your sentence; I shall obey.” 43Why then have you not kept the oath which you swore by the LORD, and the order which I gave you? 44Shimei, you know in your heart what mischief you did to my father David; the LORD is now making that mischief recoil on your own head. 45But King Solomon is blessed, and the throne of David will be secure before the LORD for all time.’ 46The king then gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, who went out and struck Shimei down, and he died. Thus Solomon's royal power was securely established.


a 2:6,9 the grave: lit. Sheol (the underworld).

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