1 Kings 2:3
And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Keep the charge.—The main charge to Solomon is noble enough. He is to “show himself a man,” in spite of his youth; he is to take heed in all things to follow the Law of the Lord; he is to trust both in the general promise of God to obedience, and in the special promise made to the house of David (2Samuel 7:12-16). It is remarkably in harmony with the beautiful Psalm, “the last words of David,” preserved in 2Samuel 23:3-5, telling how “he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God,” and, in spite of consciousness of shortcomings from this high ideal, trusting in the “everlasting covenant of God” with him, “ordered in all things, and sure.” Nor does it accord less with the equally beautiful prayer of 1Chronicles 29:18-19, for Solomon and for the people. In all this David speaks in the spirit of a true servant and saint of God. But in the special charges that follow we see the worldly prudence of the old statesman, and in one case some trace of long-remembered grudge, singularly true to imperfect human nature, although utterly unworthy of an ideal picture of a hero-king.

1 Kings 2:3-4. And keep the charge of the Lord thy God — Here we find David inculcating, in his last moments, the great ruling principle; the foundation-stone of the Hebrew state, and which in some measure distinguishes it from all other governments that have ever subsisted. For the whole strength and stability of that state was built, not upon the riches or forces of the kingdom, but upon a strict observance of the statutes and commandments of the Lord. As it is written in the law of Moses — Which the prince was enjoined to transcribe and read, (Deuteronomy 17:11,) that he might govern his own and his people’s actions by it. That thou mayest prosper — Or, behave thyself prudently. Hereby he intimates that religion is the truest reason of state, and that all true wisdom and good success depend upon piety. That the Lord may confirm his word — Fulfil his promise, the condition upon which it was suspended being performed. Thus, to engage him to keep the charge of the Lord, he represents unto him the gracious promise which God had made him, to perpetuate the kingdom in his family without interruption, provided his children sincerely and heartily cleaved to God in faithful and conscientious obedience to his commandments.

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.The "statutes" have been explained to be the positive ordinances of the Law; the "commandments" the moral precepts, not to steal, etc.; the "judgments" the laws belonging to civil government; and the "testimonies" the laws directing the commemoration of certain events. Compare Psalm 19:7-8. 3. keep the charge of the Lord thy God—that is, the divine law in all its ceremonial as well as moral requirements. But particular reference was intended to its political institutions, as it was only by strictly maintaining the conduct that became the Hebrew monarch (De 17:10-20), that he would secure the blessing of peace and prosperity to his reign (see on [288]De 4:5; [289]De 29:10). The charge of the Lord thy God, i.e. what God hath charged or commanded thee to do; the act being put for the object; as is usual.

In the law of Moses; which the prince was enjoined to transcribe and read, Deu 17:18, that he might govern his own and his people’s actions by it.

That thou mayest prosper; or, behave thyself prudently; for the word signifies both. Hereby he intimates that religion is the truest reason of state, and that all true wisdom and good success depends upon piety.

And keep the charge of the Lord thy God,.... Which may in general respect his whole walk and conversation, and his obedience to the law and will of God; and in particular his just government of Israel committed to his charge:

to walk in his ways; directed to in his word:

to keep his statutes and his judgments; his laws, ceremonial, moral, and judicial:

and his testimonies; as the above laws, which testify of his mind, and declare what he would have done and observed:

as it is written in the law of Moses; which a king of Israel was obliged to write a copy of, keep by him, and read it, and rule according to it, Deuteronomy 17:18,

that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself; to reign in righteousness, and according to the law of God, is the only way to have a prosperous and happy reign: or "that thou mayest act wisely" (p); the law of God furnishing out the best rules of government and maxims of policy; see Deuteronomy 4:6.

(p) "ut prudenter agas", Montanus, Tigurine version; "ut intelligas universa", V. L.

And keep the {b} charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:

(b) He shows how hard it is to govern and that no one can do it well except he obey God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. keep the charge of the Lord] The word rendered ‘charge’ here has no connexion with the verb used in 1 Kings 2:1, but is the customary expression in the Book of Numbers for the care and oversight of the Tabernacle and other things committed to the Levites. (See Numbers 1:53; Numbers 3:7-8 &c.) It is used also of other sacred offices and the duties attached thereto. Thus is imported into the word a solemn signification, though in etymology it is connected with the word which precedes it, rendered ‘keep’.

to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgements] These words appear to refer to the three portions of the divine law, the ceremonial, the moral, and the judicial ordinances revealed by God in the Mosaic code; while testimonies may be interpreted of those evidences of God’s will towards man which are made clear by His dealings with bygone generations. Thus God in His word bears witness to Himself.

as it is written in the law of Moses] The allusion is to Deuteronomy 17:18-20, where the king, in time to come, is bidden to keep a copy of the Law, and to study it, that so his days may be prolonged.

Verse 3. - And keep the charge [lit., "watch the watch" (custodies custodiam Jehovae), or, "serve the service." Bahr paraphrases, "be a true watcher in the service of Jehovah." The words are constantly employed to denote a strict performance of the service of the tabernacle or of the duties of the priests and Levites (Leviticus 8:35; Leviticus 18:30; Numbers 1:53; Numbers 3:7, 8, 25, 28, 32, 38; Numbers 31:30; 1 Chronicles 23:32, etc.; also Genesis 26:5). "The reference," says Rawlinson, "is to the charge given to all the kings in Deuteronomy 17:18-20." But there is no necessity for restricting it to that one injunction. What the charge is is explained presently] of the Lord thy God to walk in His ways, to keep [same word] His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies [it is impossible to draw any clear and sharp distinction between these four words, as the older expositors do. "The phrase is derived from the Pentateuch" (Wordsworth). The force of the accumulation of practically synonymous terms is to represent the law in its entirety ("Die Totalitat des Gesetzes," Keil); cf. Deuteronomy 5:31; Deuteronomy 8:11, and especially Psalm 119.], that thou mayest prosper. [The marginal rendering, "do wisely," is preferred by some (Keil, e.g.); but the translation of the text has the authority of Gesenius and others on its side, and gives a better meaning. "The context evidently requires 'prosper' here, as in Joshua 1:7" (Rawlinson). "That thou mayest... do wisely" is a very lame and impotent conclusion to ver. 3. We have here an evident reminiscence of Joshua 1:7; possibly also of Deuteronomy 29:9. David was unquestionably well versed in the Scriptures of that age, of which every king was commanded to make a copy. 1 Kings 2:3David's Last Instructions and Death. - 1 Kings 2:1-4. When David saw that his life was drawing to a close, he first of all admonished his son Solomon to be valiant in the observance of the commandments of God. "I go the way of all the world" (as in Joshua 23:14), i.e., the way of death; "be strong and be a man," - not "bear my departure bravely," as Thenius supposes, but prove thyself brave (cf. 1 Samuel 4:9) to keep the commandments of the Lord. Just as in 1 Samuel 4:9 the object in which the bravery is to show itself is appended simply by the copula Vv; so is it here also with וגו ושׁמרתּ. The phrase יי את־משׁמרת שׁמר, to keep the keeping of Jehovah, which so frequently occurs in the Thorah, i.e., to observe or obey whatever is to be observed in relation to Jehovah (cf. Genesis 26:5; Leviticus 8:35; Leviticus 18:30, etc.), always receives its more precise definition from the context, and is used here, as in Genesis 26:5, to denote obedience to the law of God in all its extent, or, according to the first definition, to walk in the ways of Jehovah. This is afterwards more fully expanded in the expression וגו חקּתין לשׁמר, to keep the ordinances, commandments, rights, and testimonies of Jehovah. These four words were applied to the different precepts of the law, the first three of which are connected together in Genesis 26:5; Deuteronomy 5:28; Deuteronomy 8:11, and served to individualize the rich and manifold substance of the demands of the Lord to His people as laid down in the Thorah. תּשׂכּיל למען, that thou mayest act wisely and execute well, as in Deuteronomy 29:8; Joshua 1:7.
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