1 Kings 2:4
That the LORD may continue his word which he spoke concerning me, saying, If your children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
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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.That the Lord may continue his word - The original promise given to David indirectly, through Nathan 2 Samuel 7:11-17, and apparently unconditional, afterward was made conditional upon continued obedience. (See the margin reference "f.") David reminds Solomon of this, in order to impress upon him a powerful motive to continue faithful and obedient. 4. there shall not fail thee … a man on the throne of Israel—a reference to the promise made to David of the sovereignty being vested perpetually in his lineage (2Sa 7:11-16), which was confirmed to Solomon afterwards (see 1Ki 9:5), and repeated with reference to its spiritual meaning long after (Jer 33:17). Confirm his word, i.e. fulfil his promise, the condition upon which it was suspended being performed.

Take heed to their ways, i.e. diligently observe all their actions, to order them according to God’s word.

To walk before me; to live as those that have God before their eyes, and endeavour to approve themselves to him.

In truth; not only in pretence and show, but truly and sincerely. With all their heart, and with all their soul, i.e. universally, freely, and fervently.

There shall not fail thee a man on the throne of Israel; the succession shall be continued in thy line without any interruption. That the Lord may continue his word which he spake concerning me,.... his word of promise concerning the kingdom of David, and the succession of it, and confirm and establish it:

saying, if thy children take heed to their way; they are directed to walk in, even the way of the Lord, and not turn to the right hand or the left:

to walk before me in truth: in the sincerity and integrity of their hearts, according to the word of truth, and under the influence of the spirit of truth:

with all their heart, and with all their soul; in the most cordial manner, with the strongest affection and zeal; with all eagerness and earnestness; with their whole hearts engaged in every duty performed by them: then the Lord said,

there shall not fail thee a man on the throne of Israel; one to succeed him in the throne; this, with respect to his throne, literally considered, was conditional; but, spiritually considered, was absolute, and had its fulfilment in the Messiah, whose throne is for ever; see Luke 1:32.

That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in {c} truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.

(c) Without hypocrisy.

4. that the Lord may continue his word] The verb is most commonly rendered ‘establish’ and may be so translated here. Cf. 1 Samuel 1:23 where the same phrase occurs. The sense is of confirming and ratifying what has previously been promised. David is here looking forward to the generations that shall come after him, which fact the A. V. has endeavoured to make clear by the rendering ‘continue’. The word, or promise, alluded to is found 2 Samuel 7:25-29.

saying, If thy children take heed to their way] In the passage just mentioned where the promise is recorded there are none of these conditions specified; but we are sure that God’s promise was not an unconditional one, and in his Psalms (Psalm 132:12) David has expressly made mention of the condition in words very similar to this verse.

there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel] The Heb. is literally ‘there shall not be cut off unto thee a man from upon the throne of Israel’; and the same phrase occurs afterwards ch. 1 Kings 8:25, 1 Kings 9:5, and in other parts of the Bible. The sense is ‘there never shall be wanting some one of thy race to sit on the throne.’ The promise was made to David’s line, and was fulfilled; for as long as the kingdom of Judah existed the family of David were kings.

There is no word in the Hebrew for the parenthetic ‘said he,’ but the clause is preceded by the word usually rendered ‘saying,’ which seems to have been introduced by some scribe from the earlier part of the verse. The LXX. translates the Hebrew literally (i.e. repeating λέγων); the Vulgate notices neither the ‘saying’ nor ‘said he’.Verse 4. - That the Lord may continue [rather, "establish" (ut confirmet), as it is rendered in 2 Samuel 7:25, where this same word of promise is spoken cf. Cf. 1 Kings 8:26] His word which He spake concerning me [by the mouth of Nathan, 2 Samuel 7:12-17 (cf. Psalm 89:4); or David may refer to some subsequent promise made to him directly. In the promise of 2 Samuel 7. there is no mention of any stipulations, "If thy children," etc. But both here and in Psalm 122:12, and in 1 Kings 8:25, special prominence is given to the condition (dum se bene gesserint), which no doubt was understood, if not expressed, when the promise was first made], saying, If thy children take heed to [lit., "keep," same word as in vers. 2, 3] their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul there shall not fail thee [lit., "be cut off to thee," as marg. (cf. 1 Samuel 2:29; Joshua 9:23). This word does not occur in the original promise made through Nathan. But it does occur in subsequent versions of the promise, 1 Kings 8:25; 1 Kings 9:5, as well as here - a strong presumption that the promise must have been repeated to David in another shape], said he, a man on the throne of Israel. But this thought - that the permanence of his dynasty depended on the faithful observance of the law as it is written in the book of Moses (i.e., in all its details), seems to have reminded the dying man that he himself had not always kept the statutes he was urging his successor to keep. It had been his duty as king, as the power ordained of God, to visit all violations of the law of God with their appropriate penalties; and this duty, in some instances at least, had been neglected. For the law of Moses, reaffirming the primaeval law which formed part of the so called "precepts of Noah" (Genesis 6) - that ix. blood must be expiated by blood - enjoined, with singular emphasis and distinctness, the death of the murderer (Numbers 35:16, 17, 18, 19, 30-33; Exodus 21:14). It declared that so long as murder remained unpunished, the whole land was defiled and under a curse (Numbers 35:33). And it gave the king no power to pardon, no discretion in the matter. Until the red stain of blood was washed out "by the blood of him that shed it" the Divine Justice was not satisfied, and a famine or pestilence or sword might smite the land. Now, David knew all this: he could not fail to know it, for he had seen his country, a few years before, visited by a famine because of the unavenged blood of the Gibeonites (2 Samuel 21:1). And yet, one notorious and infamous murderer had not been put to death. The assassin of Abner and of Amasa still polluted the earth, still occupied a distinguished position, and defied punishment. But if the law of Moses was to be kept, then, whatever it might cost, and however painful it might be (Deuteronomy 19:13), he must die; and David, for the welfare of his kingdom, the stability of his throne, and above all, the honour of God, must require his death. No doubt it had often burdened his mind, especially during these last days of feebleness, the thought that punishment had been so long delayed; and therefore, as he sees the end approaching, he feels that he must enjoin upon his successor the fulfilment of that duty which he had been too "weak" to discharge (2 Samuel 3:39). Hence he proceeds, When this was reported to Solomon, together with the prayer of Adonijah that the king would swear to him that he would not put him to death with the sword (אם before ימית, a particle used in an oath), he promised him conditional impunity: "If he shall be brave (בּן־חיל, vir probus), none of his hair shall fall to the earth," equivalent to not a hair of his head shall be injured (cf. 1 Samuel 14:45); "but if evil be found in him," i.e., if he render himself guilty of a fresh crime, "he shall die."
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