Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,3. David’s Charge to Solomon and David’s End
1. David’s charge (1Kings 2:1-9)
2. David’s end (1Kings 2:10-11)
We call attention again to 1 Chronicles 28 and 29 where we find the record of the great assembly of all the princes of Israel and David’s great address to them. He then made known to all Israel that the LORD had chosen Solomon to occupy the throne. He speaks there of the covenant promise, that his son should build the house of the LORD and His courts. He exhorted the people to keep the commandments and then spoke in tenderest words to young Solomon. “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind ... take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it” (1Chronicles 28:1-10). Then he gave to his son Solomon the patterns for the temple. These had been made under the guidance of the Spirit of God. The immense treasures are mentioned which David had dedicated for the temple worship. Of all this we find nothing in the record of the first book of the Kings. Here only the general history of God’s government in Israel is given from the prophetic point of view. What Chronicles represents we shall state in our annotations on those books.
The charge of David to Solomon recorded in the opening verses of this chapter was given privately. Its main purpose was to exhort his son to punish Joab and Shimei and to show kindness unto the sons of Barzillai. Critics have attacked David’s character on account of this charge. Renan in his history of the people Israel goes so far as to say that the incident is “a revelation of the black perfidy of his hypocritical soul.” However, the charge to Solomon to execute vengeance upon these two men is not a stain upon King David. The punishment was well deserved. Joab had killed Abner and Amasa. Shimei had in great vileness cursed God’s King. Both were wicked men. David’s own guilt had no doubt compelled him to neglect the solemn duty demanded by justice. He therefore asked Solomon to vindicate divine justice and raise it up from the defeat it had sustained by punishing Joab and Shimei with death, while kindness is to be bestowed upon the righteous. From the prophetic viewpoint we get a glimpse of the coming righteous judgment of the King, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will execute the vengeance of God and punish the evil doers, and reward the righteous in His kingdom. Then David passed away and was buried after his forty-year reign in the city of David. He died in good old age, full of days, riches and honour (1Chronicles 29:28). His memory was always cherished by the nation. Peter on the day of Pentecost spoke of his burial place: “His sepulchre is with us unto this day” (Acts 2:29). In the coming day of the glorious manifestation of the Son of Man, who also bears the title Son of David, when He shall receive the throne of His father David, King David in resurrection glory will have a great share in that Kingdom.
Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.II. SOLOMON’S GLORIOUS REIGN. HIS FAILURE AND END
1. The Righteous judgment of Solomon
1. Solomon upon the throne (1Kings 2:12)
2. Adonijah’s request (1Kings 2:13-18)
3. Bath-sheba before Solomon (1Kings 2:19-21)
4. Solomon’s answer and sentence upon Adonijah (1Kings 2:22-24)
5. Adonijah executed (1Kings 2:25)
6. Abiathar thrust out (1Kings 2:26-27)
7. Joab and Shimei executed (1Kings 2:28-46)
“Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.” Solomon and his glorious reign foreshadows the reign of that greater Son of David, our Lord, in whom the covenant promise made to David will be fully accomplished. The section which begins with the statement of Solomon’s enthronement is deeply interesting and full of the richest typical and prophetic meaning. Solomon’s righteous judgments, his wisdom, his reign in peace, but especially the building of the temple foreshadow Him who will ere long receive the throne and build the temple of the LORD (Zechariah 6:13). Inasmuch as the critics reject the literal fulfilment of the oath-bound Davidic covenant and the prophetic foreshadowing of the recorded events, they also condemn Solomon’s righteous judgment which occupies the foreground of his reign. We quote from one of these critics: “The reign of Solomon began with a threefold deed of blood. An eastern King surrounded by the many princes of a polygamous family, and liable to endless jealousies and plots, is always in a condition of unstable equilibrium; the death of a rival is regarded as his only safe imprisonment” (Canon Farrar). In such statements God’s governmental ways in righteousness and retribution are entirely ignored.
Adonijah the wicked rebel on probation visits Bath-sheba. He acknowledges freely that the Lord had given the Kingdom to his brother. Then he desired that Bath-sheba should ask her son Solomon to give Abishag the Shunammite to him as wife (1:3). Bath-sheba was completely won by the pathetic plea of Adonijah and did not discover the wicked plot which was hidden beneath his request. Beautiful is the reverence which Solomon showed to his mother. He arose from his throne, he bowed himself unto her, (the Septuagint version reads “he kissed her”) and he made her sit on his right hand. How he honored and loved her! It may foreshadow the love of Him for the believing remnant of Israel, His beloved people, who will have a share in His coming Kingdom. When Bath-sheba states Adonijah’s request the keen discernment and wisdom of Solomon are at once apparent. “And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.” Adonijah’s request was a scheme to obtain the kingdom. Most likely it was concocted by Abiathar and Joab. To many a deceased king’s wife or concubine was, according to Oriental customs, paramount with claiming the rights of the king (2Samuel 12:8; 2Samuel 16:21-22). Now Abishag was not the wife of David in the sense of the word, yet she must have been considered as belonging to the departed king. Had Solomon granted the request he would have hopelessly degraded himself in the eyes of the people (2Samuel 2:7). Adonijah aimed by this cunning scheme at the throne of Solomon and attempted to obtain the kingdom. Then Solomon pronounced judgment, which Adonijah fully deserved. He was put to death that day. It has been suggested by certain critics that Solomon had a more selfish, carnal reason for putting his elder brother to death. “If, as seems almost certain,” declares a higher critic, “Abishag is the fair Shulamite of the Song of Songs, there can be little doubt that Solomon himself loved her, and that she was the jewel of his seraglio.” But there is absolutely no evidence that Abishag is identical with Shulamite; nor does Jewish tradition sustain such a theory. It is a mere supposition.
Abiathar is next dealt with. His life is spared but Solomon thrusts him out of the priesthood, thus fulfilling the word of the Lord concerning the house of Eli (1Samuel 2:31-36). Zadok becomes exclusively priest (verse 35). Joab and Shimei are both executed. Though Joab caught hold of the horns of the altar it did not save him; he paid now by a just retribution for the wicked deeds he had done. Shimei was commanded to remain in Jerusalem; disobedience would mean certain death. When he disobeyed, the sentence of death was executed upon him. And here we have another glimpse of the government of the kingdom in the coming age. In the present age grace reigns through righteousness; in the kingdom age, when the Lord rules over all, righteousness reigns. Disobedience will be swiftly met by judgment as it was with Shimei.