And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell on him that he died.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Sent by the hand of Benaiah.—The chief of the body-guard is the chief of “the executioners” (see 1Kings 1:38), apparently, in the case of great criminals, carrying out the sentence of condemnation with his own hand. (Comp. Judges 8:20-21.)1 Kings 2:25. Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah, &c. — For the execution of justice was not then committed to obscure persons, as it is now, but to persons of great honour and authority. Notwithstanding what has been observed in the two or three preceding notes, probably the reader will be inclined to think, as certainly many are, that it is far from being clear Solomon acted right in putting Adonijah to death, or that the latter had any ill design in asking Abishag. And yet, what certainly is of great weight, we nowhere find Solomon censured in the Scriptures for this action.
if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life—Whether there was a treasonable design to conceal under this request or not, the act, according to Eastern notions, was criminal, and of dangerous consequence to the state. There is no ground of censure upon Solomon for cruelty or precipitation in this instance. He had pardoned Adonijah's former conspiracy; but this new attempt was rebellion against the viceroy appointed by the divine King and called for condign punishment. The office of executioner was among the Hebrews, as in other ancient countries of the East, performed unceremoniously and privately—often without any previous warning—by the captain of the guard, or one of his officers (Mt 14:10).Judges 8:21 1 Samuel 22:18 2 Samuel 1:15 4:12. He fell upon him with a sword, or other instrument of death; as below, 1 Kings 2:32,34,46.
and he fell upon him, that he died; Benaiah rushed in upon him with his men, and thrust his sword into him, and killed him; executions used to be done in those times and countries by great personages, as the instances of Gideon, Doeg, and others, show, and not by common executioners.And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)25. by the hand of Benaiah] To Benaiah was committed not the oversight, but the execution of the sentence. In like manner he puts to death Joab (1 Kings 2:34) and Shimei (1 Kings 2:46). Solomon was absolute as a monarch, and the command was executed as promptly as it was given. The LXX fills out the sentence thus, καὶ ἀπέθανεν Ἀδωνίας ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ.Verse 25. - And King Solomon sent by the hand [i.e., the instrumentality; not necessarily eigenhandig, as Thenius. Cf. Exodus 4:13; 1 Samuel 16:20, Hebrews; 1 Kings 12:15; 1 Kings 14:18; Jeremiah 37:2 ("which he spake by the hand of Jeremiah"), etc. The same expression is found in ver. 46 of this chapter] of Benaiah [in the East the captain of the king's bodyguard has always been the "chief of the executioners," the title given to Potiphar, Genesis 37:36, Hebrews; in 2 Kings 25:8 to Nebuzar-Adan; and in Daniel 2:14 to Arioch "the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men, etc.] and he fell upon him so that he died. [Solomon has been accused of "a coldblooded vengeance" and of "that jealous cruelty so common in Oriental despots," in ordering the execution of his brother. But unjustly. It is to be remembered that on the occasion of Adonijah's first rebellion the young monarch had displayed the greatest magnanimity towards him. He might then have justly decreed against him the death which no doubt the conspirators had designed against him (1 Kings 1:12.) Adonijah, by fleeing to the altar, showed that he had good grounds for fearing the avenging sword. He was clearly conscious that he had merited the death of the traitor. But Solomon spared him, during good behaviour. He warned him that "if wickedness were found in him" he should die (1 Kings 1:52.) His first treason, consequently, was not to be lost sight of, in case he were guilty of a fresh offence. And now that he is found conspiring again; now that he abuses the royal clemency, and seeks by chicanery and intrigue to snatch his brother's crown, the sentence of death takes effect. This renewed attempt, after failure and forgiveness, must have convinced the king that Adonijah's pretensions would be a standing menace to the peace and prosperity of his empire, and therefore he owed it to himself, to his subjects, and above all to God, who had entrusted him with the crown, to put this restless and dangerous plotter out of the way. To pass over a second offence would be a virtual encouragement of sedition, for it would show that the king was weak and might be trifled with. Adonijah therefore must die, not only in expiation of his treason, but as an example to the subjects of Solomon, that the disaffected, including all Adonijah's partizans, might be awed into obedience.
CHAPTER 2:26-35. THE DEPOSITION OF ABIATHAR AND THE DEATH OF JOAB. Psalm 110:1), also with the ancient Arabian kings (cf. Eichhorn, Monumenta Antiq. Hist. Arab. p. 220), as well as among the Greeks and Romans.
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