1 Kings 2 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
David’s Dying Instructions to Solomon
2 As the time approached for David to die, he instructed his son Solomon, 2 “As for me, I am going the way of all of the earth. Be strong and be courageous like a man, 3 and keep your obligation to the Lord your God to walk in His ways and to keep His statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees. This is written in the law of Moses, so that you will have success in everything you do and wherever you turn, 4 and so that the Lord will carry out His promise that He made to me: ‘If your sons are careful to walk faithfully before Me with their whole mind and heart, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’
5 “You also know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me and what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s army, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He murdered them in a time of peace to avenge blood shed in war. He spilled that blood on his own waistband and on the sandals of his feet.[a] 6 Act according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray head descend to Sheol in peace.
7 “Show loyalty to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite and let them be among those who eat at your table because they supported me when I fled from your brother Absalom.
8 “Keep an eye on Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim who is with you. He uttered malicious curses against me the day I went to Mahanaim. But he came down to meet me at the Jordan River, and I swore to him by the Lord: ‘I will never kill you with the sword.’ 9 So don’t let him go unpunished, for you are a wise man. You know how to deal with him to bring his gray head down to Sheol with blood.”
10 Then David rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David. 11 The length of time David reigned over Israel was 40 years: he reigned seven years in Hebron and 33 years in Jerusalem. 12 Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his kingship was firmly established.
Adonijah’s Foolish Request
13 Now Adonijah son of Haggith came to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. She asked, “Do you come peacefully?”
“Peacefully,” he replied, 14 and then asked, “May I talk with you?”[b]
“Go ahead,” she answered.
15 “You know the kingship was mine,” he said. “All Israel expected me to be king, but then the kingship was turned over to my brother, for the Lord gave it to him. 16 So now I have just one request of you; don’t turn me down.”[c]
She said to him, “Go on.”
17 He replied, “Please speak to King Solomon since he won’t turn you down. Let him give me Abishag the Shunammite as a wife.”
18 “Very well,” Bathsheba replied. “I will speak to the king for you.”
19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonijah. The king stood up to greet her, bowed to her, sat down on his throne, and had a throne placed for the king’s mother. So she sat down at his right hand.
20 Then she said, “I have just one small request of you. Don’t turn me down.”
“Go ahead and ask, mother,” the king replied, “for I won’t turn you down.”
21 So she said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to your brother Adonijah as a wife.”
22 King Solomon answered his mother, “Why are you requesting Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Since he is my elder brother, you might as well ask the kingship for him, for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab son of Zeruiah.”[d] 23 Then Solomon took an oath by the Lord: “May God punish me and do so severely if Adonijah has not made this request at the cost of his life. 24 And now, as the Lord lives, the One who established me, seated me on the throne of my father David, and made me a dynasty as He promised—I swear Adonijah will be put to death today!” 25 Then King Solomon gave the order to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, who struck down Adonijah, and he died.
26 The king said to Abiathar the priest, “Go to your fields in Anathoth. Even though you deserve to die, I will not put you to death today, since you carried the ark of the Lord God in the presence of my father David and you suffered through all that my father suffered.” 27 So Solomon banished Abiathar from being the Lord’s priest, and it fulfilled the Lord’s prophecy He had spoken at Shiloh against Eli’s family.
28 The news reached Joab. Since he had supported Adonijah but not Absalom, Joab fled to the Lord’s tabernacle and took hold of the horns of the altar.
29 It was reported to King Solomon: “Joab has fled to the Lord’s tabernacle and is now beside the altar.” Then Solomon sent[e] Benaiah son of Jehoiada and told him, “Go and strike him down!”
30 So Benaiah went to the tabernacle and said to Joab, “This is what the king says: ‘Come out!’”
But Joab said, “No, for I will die here.”
So Benaiah took a message back to the king, “This is what Joab said, and this is how he answered me.”
31 The king said to him, “Do just as he says. Strike him down and bury him in order to remove from me and from my father’s house the blood that Joab shed without just cause. 32 The Lord will bring back his own blood on his head because he struck down two men more righteous and better than he, without my father David’s knowledge. With his sword, Joab murdered Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel’s army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah’s army. 33 Their blood will come back on Joab’s head and on the head of his descendants forever, but for David, his descendants, his dynasty, and his throne, there will be peace from the Lord forever.”
34 Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up, struck down Joab, and put him to death. He was buried at his house in the wilderness. 35 Then the king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada in Joab’s place over the army, and he appointed Zadok the priest in Abiathar’s place.
Shimei’s Banishment and Execution
36 Then the king summoned Shimei and said to him, “Build a house for yourself in Jerusalem and live there, but don’t leave there and go anywhere else. 37 On the day you do leave and cross the Kidron Valley, know for sure that you will certainly die. Your blood will be on your own head.”
38 Shimei said to the king, “The sentence is fair; your servant will do as my lord the king has spoken.” And Shimei lived in Jerusalem for a long time.
39 But then, at the end of three years, two of Shimei’s slaves ran away to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath. Shimei was informed, “Look, your slaves are in Gath.” 40 So Shimei saddled his donkey and set out to Achish at Gath to search for his slaves. He went and brought them back from Gath.
41 It was reported to Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had returned. 42 So the king summoned Shimei and said to him, “Didn’t I make you swear by the Lord and warn you, saying, ‘On the day you leave and go anywhere else, know for sure that you will certainly die’? And you said to me, ‘The sentence is fair; I will obey.’ 43 So why have you not kept the Lord’s oath and the command that I gave you?” 44 The king also said, “You yourself know all the evil that you did to my father David. Therefore, the Lord has brought back your evil on your head, 45 but King Solomon will be blessed, and David’s throne will remain established before the Lord forever.”
46 Then the king commanded Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck Shimei down, and he died. So the kingdom was established in Solomon’s hand.
1 Kings 2 New Living Translation (NLT)
David’s Final Instructions to Solomon
2 As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon:
2 “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. 3 Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. 4 If you do this, then the Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’
5 “And there is something else. You know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me when he murdered my two army commanders, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He pretended that it was an act of war, but it was done in a time of peace,[a] staining his belt and sandals with innocent blood.[b] 6 Do with him what you think best, but don’t let him grow old and go to his grave in peace.[c]
7 “Be kind to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead. Make them permanent guests at your table, for they took care of me when I fled from your brother Absalom.
8 “And remember Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin. He cursed me with a terrible curse as I was fleeing to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan River, I swore by the Lord that I would not kill him. 9 But that oath does not make him innocent. You are a wise man, and you will know how to arrange a bloody death for him.[d]”
10 Then David died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. 11 David had reigned over Israel for forty years, seven of them in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 12 Solomon became king and sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.
Solomon Establishes His Rule
13 One day Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, came to see Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. “Have you come with peaceful intentions?” she asked him.
“Yes,” he said, “I come in peace. 14 In fact, I have a favor to ask of you.”
“What is it?” she asked.
15 He replied, “As you know, the kingdom was rightfully mine; all Israel wanted me to be the next king. But the tables were turned, and the kingdom went to my brother instead; for that is the way the Lord wanted it. 16 So now I have just one favor to ask of you. Please don’t turn me down.”
“What is it?” she asked.
17 He replied, “Speak to King Solomon on my behalf, for I know he will do anything you request. Ask him to let me marry Abishag, the girl from Shunem.”
18 “All right,” Bathsheba replied. “I will speak to the king for you.”
19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak on Adonijah’s behalf. The king rose from his throne to meet her, and he bowed down before her. When he sat down on his throne again, the king ordered that a throne be brought for his mother, and she sat at his right hand.
20 “I have one small request to make of you,” she said. “I hope you won’t turn me down.”
“What is it, my mother?” he asked. “You know I won’t refuse you.”
21 “Then let your brother Adonijah marry Abishag, the girl from Shunem,” she replied.
22 “How can you possibly ask me to give Abishag to Adonijah?” King Solomon demanded. “You might as well ask me to give him the kingdom! You know that he is my older brother, and that he has Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah on his side.”
23 Then King Solomon made a vow before the Lord: “May God strike me and even kill me if Adonijah has not sealed his fate with this request. 24 The Lord has confirmed me and placed me on the throne of my father, David; he has established my dynasty as he promised. So as surely as the Lord lives, Adonijah will die this very day!” 25 So King Solomon ordered Benaiah son of Jehoiada to execute him, and Adonijah was put to death.
26 Then the king said to Abiathar the priest, “Go back to your home in Anathoth. You deserve to die, but I will not kill you now, because you carried the Ark of the Sovereign Lord for David my father and you shared all his hardships.” 27 So Solomon deposed Abiathar from his position as priest of the Lord, thereby fulfilling the prophecy the Lord had given at Shiloh concerning the descendants of Eli.
28 Joab had not joined Absalom’s earlier rebellion, but he had joined Adonijah’s rebellion. So when Joab heard about Adonijah’s death, he ran to the sacred tent of the Lord and grabbed on to the horns of the altar. 29 When this was reported to King Solomon, he sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada to execute him.
30 Benaiah went to the sacred tent of the Lord and said to Joab, “The king orders you to come out!”
But Joab answered, “No, I will die here.”
So Benaiah returned to the king and told him what Joab had said.
31 “Do as he said,” the king replied. “Kill him there beside the altar and bury him. This will remove the guilt of Joab’s senseless murders from me and from my father’s family. 32 The Lord will repay him[e] for the murders of two men who were more righteous and better than he. For my father knew nothing about the deaths of Abner son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and of Amasa son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah. 33 May their blood be on Joab and his descendants forever, and may the Lord grant peace forever to David, his descendants, his dynasty, and his throne.”
34 So Benaiah son of Jehoiada returned to the sacred tent and killed Joab, and he was buried at his home in the wilderness. 35 Then the king appointed Benaiah to command the army in place of Joab, and he installed Zadok the priest to take the place of Abiathar.
36 The king then sent for Shimei and told him, “Build a house here in Jerusalem and live there. But don’t step outside the city to go anywhere else. 37 On the day you so much as cross the Kidron Valley, you will surely die; and your blood will be on your own head.”
38 Shimei replied, “Your sentence is fair; I will do whatever my lord the king commands.” So Shimei lived in Jerusalem for a long time.
39 But three years later two of Shimei’s slaves ran away to King Achish son of Maacah of Gath. When Shimei learned where they were, 40 he saddled his donkey and went to Gath to search for them. When he found them, he brought them back to Jerusalem.
41 Solomon heard that Shimei had left Jerusalem and had gone to Gath and returned. 42 So the king sent for Shimei and demanded, “Didn’t I make you swear by the Lord and warn you not to go anywhere else or you would surely die? And you replied, ‘The sentence is fair; I will do as you say.’ 43 Then why haven’t you kept your oath to the Lord and obeyed my command?”
44 The king also said to Shimei, “You certainly remember all the wicked things you did to my father, David. May the Lord now bring that evil on your own head. 45 But may I, King Solomon, receive the Lord’s blessings, and may one of David’s descendants always sit on this throne in the presence of the Lord.” 46 Then, at the king’s command, Benaiah son of Jehoiada took Shimei outside and killed him.
So the kingdom was now firmly in Solomon’s grip.