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David’s Last Instructions

Now when the time of David drew near to die, he charged his son Solomon, saying: “I—I am going the way of all the earth. So be strong[a] and be a man. Keep the charge of Adonai your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His decrees, according to what is written in the Torah of Moses, so that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn so that Adonai may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying: ‘If your children watch their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’

“Moreover, you also know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me—what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether, whom he killed, shedding the blood of war in peacetime, and putting the blood of war on his waistband and on his sandals on his feet. So act according to your wisdom, and let his gray hair not go down to Sheol in shalom. But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table—for they befriended me when I fled from your brother Absalom. Also behold, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day I went to Mahanaim. But when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by Adonai saying: ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Now don’t let him go unpunished. For you are a wise man, and you will know how to deal with him, and bring his gray hair down to Sheol with blood.”

10 Then David slept with his fathers[b] and was buried in the city of David. 11 The days that David reigned over Israel were forty years—seven years he reigned in Hebron and 33 years he reigned in Jerusalem. 12 Then Solomon sat upon the throne of his father David, and his kingdom was established firmly.

Solomon’s Throne Secured

13 Later Adonijah son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba, Solomon’s mother. “Is your coming in shalom?” she asked.

“It is in shalom,” he said. 14 Then he said, “I have something to say to you.”

“Speak!” she said.

15 Then he said, “You know that the kingdom was mine and that all Israel looked to me to be the king. However, the kingship has turned about and become my brother’s—for it was his from Adonai. 16 So now one petition I ask of you; do not deny me.”

“Speak!” she said to him.

17 Then he said, “Please, speak to King Solomon—for he won’t turn you down—to give me Abishag the Shunammite as wife.”

18 “Very well,” said Bath-sheba, “I will speak to the king for you.”

19 So Bath-sheba went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonijah. The king rose up to greet her and bowed down to her. Then he sat down on his throne and had a throne set up for the king’s mother, and she sat at his right hand. 20 Then she said: “I ask one small petition of you; do not deny.”

“Ask, my mother,” the king said to her, “for I will not turn you down.”

21 So she said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as wife.”

22 King Solomon answered and said to his mother: “So why are you asking Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom as well—for he is my older brother—for him and for Abiathar the kohen, and for Joab son of Zeruiah!” 23 Then King Solomon swore by Adonai saying: “May God do so to me and even more, if Adonijah does not pay with his own life for this request! 24 Now therefore, as Adonai lives who has established me and set me on the throne of my father David, and who has made me a house as He promised, surely Adonijah shall be put to death this day.”

25 Then King Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada. He struck him down and he died.

26 Also to Abiathar the kohen the king said, “Go to Anathoth, to your own fields, for you deserve death, but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of Adonai Elohim before my father David, and because you were afflicted in everything with which my father was afflicted.” 27 So Solomon dismissed Abiathar from being kohen to Adonai—so fulfilling the word of Adonai that He spoke at Shiloh about the house of Eli.

28 When the news came to Joab, he fled to the Tent of Adonai and grasped the horns of the altar—for Joab had defected to Adonijah, though he had not defected to Absalom. 29 It was reported to King Solomon that Joab had fled to the Tent of Adonai, and behold, he was by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada, saying: “Go, strike him down!”

30 So Benaiah came to the Tent of Adonai and said to him: “Thus says the king: Come out!”

But he replied: “No, for I will die here.”

Benaiah reported back to the king saying: “Thus said Joab and thus he answered me.”

31 Then the king commanded him: “Do as he has said—strike him down. Then bury him. So you will remove the blood that Joab shed without cause, from me and from my father’s house. 32 Thus Adonai will return his blood on his own head, because he struck down two men more righteous and better than he—Abner son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah—and killed them with the sword, without my father David’s knowledge. 33 May the guilt of their blood return upon the head of Joab and upon the head of his offspring forever, but to David and his seed and his house, and his throne, may there be shalom forever from Adonai.”

34 Then Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up, struck him down and killed him, and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. 35 Then the king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada in his place over the army, and Zadok the kohen the king appointed in Abiathar’s place.

36 Then the king sent and summoned Shimei, and commanded him: “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, and depart not from there anywhere else. 37 For on the day you go out and cross over the Kidron valley, know for certain that you shall surely die—your blood shall be on your own head.”

38 “The saying is good. As my lord the king has said, so will your servant do.” So Shimei lived in Jerusalem many days. 39 But it came about at the end of three years that two of Shimei’s servants ran away to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath. So they told Shimei, saying: “Behold, your servants are in Gath.” 40 So Shimei arose, saddled his donkey and went to Gath to Achish, to look for his servants; then Shimei went and brought his servants back from Gath. 41 But it was reported to Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and back. 42 So the king sent someone and summoned Shimei. He said to him: “Didn’t I make you swear by Adonai and forewarned you, saying: ‘Know for certain that on the day you depart and go anywhere else, you shall surely die’? You even said to me: ‘The saying is good; I have heard it.’ 43 Why then haven’t you kept the oath of Adonai and the commandment that I charged you with?” 44 The king added to Shimei: “You know all the evil, which your heart should acknowledge, that you did to my father David. Therefore Adonai will return your evil on your own head. 45 But King Solomon shall be blessed and the throne of David established before Adonai forever.” 46 So the king commanded Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck him down, so that he died. Thus the kingdom was secured in the hand of Solomon.


  1. 1 Kings 2:2 Heb. chazak.
  2. 1 Kings 2:10 cf. Acts 2:29.