1 Kings 2-3 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
David’s charge to Solomon
2 When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.
2 ‘I am about to go the way of all the earth,’ he said. ‘So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: “If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.”
5 ‘Now you yourself know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me – what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He killed them, shedding their blood in peacetime as if in battle, and with that blood he stained the belt round his waist and the sandals on his feet. 6 Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his grey head go down to the grave in peace.
7 ‘But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table. They stood by me when I fled from your brother Absalom.
8 “And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord: “I will not put you to death by the sword.” 9 But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his grey head down to the grave in blood.’
10 Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. 11 He had reigned for forty years over Israel – seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established.
Solomon’s throne established
13 Now Adonijah, the son of Haggith, went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. Bathsheba asked him, ‘Do you come peacefully?’
He answered, ‘Yes, peacefully.’ 14 Then he added, ‘I have something to say to you.’
‘You may say it,’ she replied.
15 ‘As you know,’ he said, ‘the kingdom was mine. All Israel looked to me as their king. But things changed, and the kingdom has gone to my brother; for it has come to him from the Lord. 16 Now I have one request to make of you. Do not refuse me.’
‘You may make it,’ she said.
17 So he continued, ‘Please ask King Solomon – he will not refuse you – to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.’
18 ‘Very well,’ Bathsheba replied, ‘I will speak to the king for you.’
19 When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat down at his right hand.
20 ‘I have one small request to make of you,’ she said. ‘Do not refuse me.’
The king replied, ‘Make it, my mother; I will not refuse you.’
21 So she said, ‘Let Abishag the Shunammite be given in marriage to your brother Adonijah.’
22 King Solomon answered his mother, ‘Why do you request Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? You might as well request the kingdom for him – after all, he is my older brother – yes, for him and for Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah!’
23 Then King Solomon swore by the Lord: ‘May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if Adonijah does not pay with his life for this request! 24 And now, as surely as the Lord lives – he who has established me securely on the throne of my father David and has founded a dynasty for me as he promised – Adonijah shall be put to death today!’ 25 So King Solomon gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he struck down Adonijah and he died.
26 To Abiathar the priest the king said, ‘Go back to your fields in Anathoth. You deserve to die, but I will not put you to death now, because you carried the ark of the Sovereign Lord before my father David and shared all my father’s hardships.’ 27 So Solomon removed Abiathar from the priesthood of the Lord, fulfilling the word the Lord had spoken at Shiloh about the house of Eli.
28 When the news reached Joab, who had conspired with Adonijah though not with Absalom, he fled to the tent of the Lord and took hold of the horns of the altar. 29 King Solomon was told that Joab had fled to the tent of the Lord and was beside the altar. Then Solomon ordered Benaiah son of Jehoiada, ‘Go, strike him down!’
30 So Benaiah entered the tent of the Lord and said to Joab, ‘The king says, “Come out!”’
But he answered, ‘No, I will die here.’
Benaiah reported to the king, ‘This is how Joab answered me.’
31 Then the king commanded Benaiah, ‘Do as he says. Strike him down and bury him, and so clear me and my whole family of the guilt of the innocent blood that Joab shed. 32 The Lord will repay him for the blood he shed, because without my father David knowing it he attacked two men and killed them with the sword. Both of them – Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel’s army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah’s army – were better men and more upright than he. 33 May the guilt of their blood rest on the head of Joab and his descendants for ever. But on David and his descendants, his house and his throne, may there be the Lord’s peace for ever.’
34 So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up and struck down Joab and killed him, and he was buried at his home out in the country. 35 The king put Benaiah son of Jehoiada over the army in Joab’s position and replaced Abiathar with Zadok the priest.
36 Then the king sent for Shimei and said to him, ‘Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, but do not go anywhere else. 37 The day you leave and cross the Kidron Valley, you can be sure you will die; your blood will be on your own head.’
38 Shimei answered the king, ‘What you say is good. Your servant will do as my lord the king has said.’ And Shimei stayed in Jerusalem for a long time.
39 But three years later, two of Shimei’s slaves ran off to Achish son of Maakah, king of Gath, and Shimei was told, ‘Your slaves are in Gath.’ 40 At this, he saddled his donkey and went to Achish at Gath in search of his slaves. So Shimei went away and brought the slaves back from Gath.
41 When Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had returned, 42 the king summoned Shimei and said to him, ‘Did I not make you swear by the Lord and warn you, “On the day you leave to go anywhere else, you can be sure you will die”? At that time you said to me, “What you say is good. I will obey.” 43 Why then did you not keep your oath to the Lord and obey the command I gave you?’
44 The king also said to Shimei, ‘You know in your heart all the wrong you did to my father David. Now the Lord will repay you for your wrongdoing. 45 But King Solomon will be blessed, and David’s throne will remain secure before the Lord for ever.’
46 Then the king gave the order to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck Shimei down and he died.
The kingdom was now established in Solomon’s hands.
Solomon asks for wisdom
3 Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord. 3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.
4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’
6 Solomon answered, ‘You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
7 ‘Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?’
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, ‘Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for – both wealth and honour – so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.’ 15 Then Solomon awoke – and he realised it had been a dream.
He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.
A wise ruling
16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, ‘Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.
19 ‘During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son – and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.’
22 The other woman said, ‘No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.’
But the first one insisted, ‘No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.’ And so they argued before the king.
23 The king said, ‘This one says, “My son is alive and your son is dead,” while that one says, “No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.”’
24 Then the king said, ‘Bring me a sword.’ So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: ‘Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.’
26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, ‘Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!’
But the other said, ‘Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!’
27 Then the king gave his ruling: ‘Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.’
28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the NIV Study Bible and the NKJV MacArthur Study Bible - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.