1 Kings 2:2
I go the way of all the earth: be you strong therefore, and show yourself a man;
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(2) I go the way of all the earth.—Comp. Joshua 23:14.

2:1-4 David's charge to Solomon is, to keep the charge of the Lord. The authority of a dying father is much, but nothing to that of a living God. God promised David that the Messiah should come from his descendants, and that promise was absolute; but the promise, that there should not fail of them a man on the throne of Israel, was conditional; if he walks before God in sincerity, with zeal and resolution: in order hereunto, he must take heed to his way.David appears to have in his thoughts the divine address to Joshua. Without following it servilely, he reproduces several of its leading expressions and sentiments (compare the margin reference). Solomon's youth clearly constituted one of the chief difficulties of his position. If he was about nineteen or twenty, and known to be of a pacific disposition 1 Chronicles 22:9, then to have to rule over the warlike and turbulent Hebrew nation, with a strong party opposed to him, and brothers of full age ready to lead it, was evidently a most difficult task. Hence, he is exhorted, though in years a boy, to show himself in Spirit "a man." 2. I go the way of all the earth—a beautiful and impressive periphrasis for death.

be thou strong, … show thyself a man—This counsel is similar to the apostolic direction (1Co 16:13) and refers to the fortitude or strength of mind that was required to discharge the onerous functions of king.

Of all the earth, i.e. of all men upon the earth. Compare Joshua 23:14 Hebrews 9:27.

Be thou strong; for to govern his people according to the law of God, as it here follows, requires great fortitude or strength of mind; to arm himself against the subtle devices and evasions of some; against the flatteries and importunities of others; against terrors and dangers from revengeful men, and especially against himself and his own weakness, partiality, through fear or favour; and against all those evil thoughts and passions to which the temptations of their great wealth, and glory, and uncontrollable power naturally expose them. See Proverbs 16:32.

Show thyself a man, in manly wisdom, and courage, and constancy, though thou art but young in years, 1 Chronicles 22:5. I go the way of all the earth,.... A path which is the path of death (o), which all pass in, kings and peasants, high and low, rich and poor, great and small, good and bad; none are exempted, all must die, and do; it is the appointment of God, a decree which can never be reversed; all experience confirms it: this same phrase is used by Joshua, from whom David seems to have borrowed it, and shows that that book was written in his days, Joshua 23:14;

be thou strong therefore; not discouraged at my death, being a common thing, and to be expected; nor at being left alone, the Lord can give thee wisdom and counsel, assistance and strength, protection, and defence; take heart therefore, and be of good courage:

and show thyself a man; in wisdom and understanding, and in fortitude of mind, though so young a man; which were necessary for the government of so great a people, and to guard against the secret intrigues of some, and the open flatteries of others, and the fear of attempts against his person and government, and the temptations he might be liable to, to do wrong things; and especially they were necessary to enable him to keep the commands of God, as follows; which required great strength of mind and of grace, considering the corruptions of nature, the temptations of Satan, and the snares of men; see Joshua 1:7.

(o) "------ omnes una manet nox, Et calcanda semel via lethi". Horat. Carmin. l. 1. ode 28. ver. 15, 16.

I go the {a} way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;

(a) I am ready to die as all men must.

2. I go the way of all the earth] i.e. Of all who live on the earth, viz. to the grave. The same expression is used by Joshua (Joshua 24:14), and, though the Hebrew noun is not the same, we may compare Job 16:22 ‘I shall go the way whence I shall not return.’

be thou strong therefore] Compare the oft-repeated injunction to Joshua, Deuteronomy 31:7; Deuteronomy 31:23; Joshua 1:6-7 &c. The circumstances are not very dissimilar. Moses, soon to be taken away, was giving his charge to his successor (Deuteronomy 31:23), as David to Solomon, and the language is identical. Cf. also 1 Chronicles 22:13.

shew thyself a man] The age of Solomon at the death of his father cannot be exactly known. He must have been considerably younger than Adonijah, who was the fourth of those six sons born to David before the conquest of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 3:4). And he may have been so young that his father’s words mean, ‘though a youth in years, yet prove yourself a man in prudence and wisdom.’ This is somewhat supported by Solomon’s language about himself (1 Kings 3:7), ‘I am but a little child.’ But it may also be understood as a general exhortation to exhibit the courage which would be necessary, since a party had been formed in the kingdom for the support of another claimant to the throne.The news spread terror. All the guests of Adonijah fled, every man his way. Adonijah himself sought refuge from Solomon at the horns of the altar. The altar was regarded from time immemorial and among all nations as a place of refuge for criminals deserving of death; but, according to Exodus 21:14, in Israel it was only allowed to afford protection in cases of unintentional slaying, and for these special cities of refuge were afterwards provided (Numbers 35). In the horns of the altar, as symbols of power and strength, there was concentrated the true significance of the altar as a divine place, from which there emanated both life and health (see at Exodus 27:19). By grasping the horns of the altar the culprit placed himself under the protection of the saving and helping grace of God, which wipes away sin, and thereby abolishes punishment (see Bhr, Symbolik des Mos. Cult. i. p. 474). The question to what altar Adonijah fled, whether to the altar at the ark of the covenant in Zion, or to the one at the tabernacle at Gibeon, or to the one built by David on the threshing-floor of Araunah, cannot be determined with certainty. It was probably to the first of these, however, as nothing is said about a flight to Gibeon, and with regard to the altar of Araunah it is not certain that it was provided with horns like the altars of the two sanctuaries.
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