And the LORD shall return his blood on his own head, who fell on two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Kings 2:32-34. The Lord shall return his blood — The guilt of the blood which he hath shed. Upon his own head — Shall make him alone bear the punishment of his iniquity. Who fell upon two men more righteous than he — Of more ingenuous and generous tempers, abhorring such treacherous practices; and both of them devoted to, and employed in my father’s service. Prejudice, however, and anger seem here too much to have dictated Solomon’s expressions; for, it is certain, Joab had always been a firm friend to David, and had done him considerable service at a time when both Abner and Amasa had acted against him. Upon the head of his seed for ever — Either as long as he shall have a posterity, or for a long time, as that phrase is frequently used. So that Solomon here pronounces that Joab’s own death should not expiate his guilt; but that his posterity should suffer for it in future generations, according to what David had said, 2 Samuel 3:28-29. If Solomon spoke by inspiration of God when he uttered these words, no doubt the prediction was fulfilled, and God visited the sins of the father upon the children, as he often does, when the children tread in their progenitors’ sinful steps. But whether, or how far, this was the case, the Scriptures give us no information. But upon David and upon his seed — shall there be peace — In and by this execution of justice upon Joab and such malefactors, my throne shall be established, and God will bless me and mine with peace and prosperity, He was buried in his own house — That is, in some ground belonging and adjoining to his house, and accounted a part of the mansion. In the wilderness — So they called those parts of the country which were but thinly inhabited.
28. Then tidings came to Joab—The execution of these sentences respectively on Adonijah and Abiathar prepared Joab for his fate. Death, due to his great crimes (Nu 35:33), would long ago have been inflicted, had not his power and popularity with the army been too formidable for the old king. He now fled to the altar, which, though a recognized asylum, afforded no sanctuary to the rebel and murderer (Ex 21:14). And, as he refused to leave it, he seems to have cherished some faint hope that a religious scruple would have been felt at the thought of violating the sanctity of the place by bloodshed. Benaiah, not liking to assume any responsibility, referred the matter to Solomon, who determined that the law should take its course (De 19:13).His blood, i.e. the guilt of the blood which he shed.
More righteous and better than he; of more ingenuous and generous tempers, abhorring from all such treacherous practices; and both of them then devoted to and employed in my service.
who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he; later named; for though they had been in open rebellion against David, yet had submitted, and were reconciled and received into favour; and even their open crimes were not so bad, Solomon judged, as his secret treacherous murders of innocent persons in cool blood; they were men of more honour and integrity than he was, not so cruel and barbarous, though guilty in other respects:
and slew them with the sword, my father not knowing thereof; this is observed to remove all suspicion, and which doubtless had been entertained by some, that David had an hand in their death; and that Joab did what he did with his knowledge and consent, and by his advice and order; they having been both concerned in rebellion against him, the one under Ishbosheth, and the other under Absalom:
to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah: the reason of the two hosts, of which they were captains or generals, being thus distinguished, is, because the tribes of Israel were on the side of Ishbosheth, whose general Abner was, in opposition to Judah, who made David their king; and, on the other hand, they were the men of Judah that were first and chiefly in the rebellion of Absalom, whose general Amasa was; of the murder of these two men by Joab, see 2 Samuel 3:27.And the LORD shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)32. his blood] i.e. The blood which he hath shed.
my father David not knowing thereof] The verb is a finite tense and not a participle, and the clause may therefore be rendered ‘and my father D. knew it not.’
Abner] See notes on 1 Kings 2:5 above. In that verse both Abner and Amasa are called captains of the host of Israel, while here the latter is distinguished as captain of the host of Judah. That the division in the people was well marked long before the revolt of the ten tribes against Rehoboam may be seen from the strife which took place about David’s return after the death of Absalom (2 Samuel 19:41-43). Also when Joab numbered the people (2 Samuel 24:9) the census of the two hosts was given in separately.Verse 32. - And the Lord shall return [LXX. ἐπέστρεψε, returns, or returned] his blood [LXX. τὸ αῖμα τῆς ἀδικίας αὐτοῦ, i.e., the blood he had shed. Cf. vers. 33, 44] upon his own head, who fell upon [same word as in vers. 29, 31. So that it was strictly a retaliation. The lex talionis was carried out to the letter] two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing. [Heb. "and my father David knew not," i.e., was not privy thereto. Solomon thinks of the unjust suspicions which these crimes cast upon his father.] Joshua 18:24), to his own fields, i.e., to his property there, telling him, "Thou art indeed a man of death," i.e., thou hast deserved to die, "but I will not put thee to death to-day, because thou hast borne the ark of Jehovah," namely, both on the occasion of its solemn conveyance to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:11.) and also on David's flight from Absalom (2 Samuel 15:24, 2 Samuel 15:29), that is to say, because of his high-priestly dignity, and because thou didst endure all that my father endured, i.e., thou didst share all his afflictions and sufferings, both in the period of Saul's persecution (1 Samuel 22:20., 1 Samuel 23:8.), and during the rebellion of Absalom (2 Samuel 15:24.). ההוּא בּיּום (to-day) puts a limit upon the pardon, because Solomon could not foresee whether Abiathar would always keep quiet, and not forfeit his life again by fresh crimes.
(Note: There is no meaning in the objection of Thenius, that Abiathar did not carry the ark himself, since this was not the duty of the high priest. For, in the first place, it is questionable whether Abiathar did not lend a helping hand at the removal of the ark during Absalom's conspiracy. And, secondly, the duty binding upon the high priest, to superintend and conduct the removal of the ark, might very well be called carrying the ark. The conjecture, that for ארון we should read אפוד, founders on the preterite נשׂאת; for Abiathar had not only worn the ephod once before, but he wore it till the very hour in which Solomon deposed him from his office.)
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