1 Kings 1:21
Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Shall sleep with his fathers.—Here this phrase, so constantly used in the record of the death of the kings, occurs in these books for the first time. (It is also found in the message of promise by Nathan. 2Samuel 7:12, relating to the succession of the son who should build the Temple.) We find corresponding expressions in Genesis 15:15; Deuteronomy 31:16. Without connecting with the use of this phrase anything like the fulness of meaning which in the New Testament attaches to “the sleep” of the departed servants of God (as known to be a “sleep in Jesus”), it seems not unreasonable to recognise in it, at least, a rudimentary belief in death as rest and not extinction. The addition, “with his fathers,” has probably a reference to “the tombs of the kings;” especially as we find that it is not adopted in the cases of Jehoram (2Chronicles 21:20) and Joash. (2Chronicles 24:25), who were not buried therein.

1:11-31 Observe Nathan's address to Bathsheba. Let me give thee counsel how to save thy own life, and the life of thy son. Such as this is the counsel Christ's ministers give us in his name, to give all diligence, not only that no man take our crown, Re 3:11, but that we save our lives, even the lives of our souls. David made a solemn declaration of his firm cleaving to his former resolution, that Solomon should be his successor. Even the recollection of the distresses from which the Lord redeemed him, increased his comfort, inspired his hopes, and animated him to his duty, under the decays of nature and the approach of death.Shall sleep - This euphemism for death, rare in the early Scriptures - being found only once in the Pentateuch (margin reference.), and once also in the historical books before Kings 2 Samuel 7:12 - becomes in Kings and Chronicles the ordinary mode of speech (see 1 Kings 2:10; 1 Kings 11:43, etc.; 2 Chronicles 9:31; 2 Chronicles 12:16, etc.). David uses the metaphor in one psalm Psa 13:3. In the later Scriptures it is, of course, common. (Jeremiah 51:39; Daniel 12:2; Matthew 9:24; John 11:11; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 1 Corinthians 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 4:14, etc.) 21. I and my son … shall be counted offenders—that is, slain, according to the barbarous usage of the East towards all who are rivals to the throne. Shall sleep with his fathers, i.e. die as his fathers did. See Genesis 47:30.

I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders; we shall be punished with death as malefactors, as guilty of practicing against the right heir of the crown, and transferring the kingdom to Solomon, and covering our ambitious designs with a pretence of religion.

Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers,.... That is, shall die, and be buried in the sepulchre of his ancestors, where he shall lie till he awakes in the morning of the resurrection:

that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders; or "sinners" (g); not as if she would be reckoned an adulteress, and her son as illegitimate, as some think, and so be branded and treated as such; but as being traitors, making pretensions to the throne, she on the behalf of her son, and he for himself, when he had no right to it, being the younger son, and not declared successor by his father.

(g) "peccatores", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be {k} counted offenders.

(k) And so put to death as wicked transgressors.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. counted offenders] The Heb. word is literally ‘sinners.’ Bath-sheba does not go so far as Nathan, and say that the lives of herself and her son are in peril, but leaves the king to think what the lot of those offenders would be whom Adonijah knew to have aspired to the throne.

Verse 21. - Otherwise [there is no corresponding word in the Hebrews] it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep [strictly, "lie down:" see on 1 Kings 2:10] with his fathers [this phrase, so common in the books of Kings and Chronicles, only occurs "once in the Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 31:16) and once in the historical books before Kings" (Rawlinson). It was evidently the product of an age when the nation was settled, and men had their family sepulchres] that I and my son Solomon shall be counted [Hebrews be] offenders [Hebrews as marg., sinners. The primary meaning of חָטָא is "to miss the mark." Like ἁμαρτάνειν, it came to be used of all erring and transgression. Bathsheba and Solomon would be obnoxious to Adonijah, as representing a rival cause; possibly also as guilty of high treason (Clericus, Bahr, al.) 1 Kings 1:21Bathsheba followed this advice, and went to the king into the inner chamber (החדרה), since the very aged king, who was waited upon by Abishag, could not leave his room (משׁרת for משׁרתת; cf. Ewald, 188, b., p. 490), and, bowing low before him, communicated to him what Adonijah had taken in hand in opposition to his will and without his knowledge. The second ועתּה is not to be altered into ואתּה, inasmuch as it is supported by the oldest codices and the Masora,

(Note: Kimchi says: "Plures scribae errant in hoc verbo, scribentes ואתה cum Aleph, quia sensui hoc conformius est; sed constat nobis ex correctis MSS et masora, scribendum esse ועתה cum Ain." Hence both Norzi and Bruns have taken ועתה under their protection.Compare de Rossi, variae lectt. ad h. l.)

although about two hundred codd. contain the latter reading. The repetition of ועתּה ("And now, behold, Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord king, thou knowest it not") may be explained from the energy with which Bathsheba speaks. "And Solomon thy servant he hath not invited" (1 Kings 1:19). Bathsheba added this, not because she felt herself injured, but as a sign of Adonijah's feelings towards Solomon, which showed that he had reason to fear the worst if Adonijah should succeed in his usurpation of the throne. In 1 Kings 1:20, again, many codd. have ועתּה in the place of ואתּה; and Thenius, after his usual fashion, pronounces the former the "only correct" reading, because it is apparently a better one. But here also the appearance is deceptive. The antithesis to what Adonijah has already done is brought out quite suitably by ואתּה: Adonijah has made himself king, etc.; but thou my lord king must decide in the matter. "The eyes of all Israel are turned towards thee, to tell them who (whether Adonijah or Solomon) is to sit upon the throne after thee." "The decision of this question is in thy hand, for the people have not yet attached themselves to Adonijah, but are looking to thee, to see what thou wilt do; and they will follow thy judgment, if thou only hastenest to make Solomon king." - Seb. Schmidt. To secure this decision, Bathsheba refers again, in 1 Kings 1:21, to the fate which would await both herself and her son Solomon after the death of the king. They would be הטּאים, i.e., guilty of a capital crime. "We should be punished as though guilty of high treason" (Clericus).

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