1 Kings 2:4-24
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
4 (A)and that the Lord may fulfill the word he spoke concerning me: If your sons so conduct themselves that they walk before me in faithfulness with their whole heart and soul, there shall never be wanting someone of your line on the throne of Israel.
5 [a](B)“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 and brought the blood of war into a time of peace, and put the blood of war on the belt about his waist and the sandal on his foot. 6 Act with all the wisdom you possess; do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace. 7 (C)But be true to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and have them among those who eat at your table. For they were loyal to me when I was fleeing from your brother Absalom. 8 (D)You also have with you Shimei, son of Gera, the Benjaminite of Bahurim, who cursed me bitterly the day I was going to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord: ‘I will not kill you by the sword.’ 9 But you must not let him go unpunished. You are wise; you will know what to do to send his gray head down to Sheol in blood.”
The Kingdom Made Secure.[b] 12 Then Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingship was established.
13 Adonijah, son of Haggith, came to Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon. “Do you come in peace?” she asked. “In peace,” he answered, 14 and he added, “I have something to say to you.” She replied, “Speak.” 15 So he said: “You know that the kingship was mine, and all Israel expected me to be king. But the kingship passed me by and went to my brother; by the Lord’s will it went to him. 16 But now there is one favor I would ask of you. Do not refuse me.” And she said, “Speak on.” 17 [c]He said, “Please ask King Solomon, who will not refuse you, to give me Abishag the Shunamite to be my wife.” 18 Bathsheba replied, “Very well, I will speak to the king for you.”
19 Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, and the king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king’s mother, who sat at his right. 20 She said, “There is one small favor I would ask of you. Do not refuse me.” The king said to her, “Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you.” 21 So she said, “Let Abishag the Shunamite be given to your brother Adonijah to be his wife.” 22 King Solomon answered his mother, “And why do you ask that Abishag the Shunamite be given to Adonijah? Ask the kingship for him as well, for he is my older brother! Ask for him, for Abiathar the priest, for Joab, son of Zeruiah!” 23 And King Solomon swore by the Lord: “May God do thus to me and more, if Adonijah has not spoken this word at the cost of his life. 24 (G)And now, as the Lord lives, who has established me and set me on the throne of David my father and made for me a house as he promised, this day shall Adonijah be put to death.”Read full chapter
- 2:5–9 David urges Solomon to purge Joab and Shimei and supplies him with justification for doing so. Joab had killed Abner (2 Sm 3:22–30) and Amasa (2 Sm 20:4–12), thereby bringing blood guilt upon himself and perhaps upon his master David. Shimei had cursed David (2 Sm 16:5–8), though David pledged that Shimei would not be killed for it (2 Sm 19:16–24). David’s motives, however, may have been more personal. Joab also killed David’s son Absalom and chided David for his untimely public display of grief (2 Sm 18:9–19:8), and David may have felt himself free of the promise he made to Shimei because that promise was coerced by the presence of Shimei’s thousand partisans backing him at the time.
- 2:12–46 The second major unit of the Solomon story shows how Solomon eliminated people he considered threats to the security of his throne. It is marked by a device called “inclusion,” where the text repeats a word, phrase, or idea at the beginning and end of a literary unit (see vv. 12b, 46b). Compare 11:14–25, where Solomon is unable to eliminate other threats to his security.
- 2:17–25 Abishag had belonged to David’s harem (1:3–4), which Solomon inherited. Adonijah’s request could imply a challenge to Solomon’s accession and so exposes Adonijah to the suspicion of insurrection that will cost him his life; cf. 2 Sm 3:6–11; 16:21–22.