1 Kings 2:3
And keep the charge of the LORD your 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 you may prosper in all that you do, and wherever you turn yourself:
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(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.

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. 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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