Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Flesh, to the tomb. Omnium idem exitus est, sed & idem domicilium. (Petronius) ---In life each follows his own course. (Calmet)
Charge, what he orders. --- Understand. Hebrew, "act prudently," (Menochius) or "with success," Greek interpreters (Calmet) and Chaldean. (Menochius) --- The observance of God's law, both in private and in public, will ensure to thee the title of a wise prince.
Truth and sincerity. (Calmet) --- This promise was made, 2 Kings vii. 16. (Menochius)
Joab. These instructions given by David to his son, with relation to Joab and Semei, proceeded not from any rancour of heart, or private pique; but from a zeal for justice: that crimes so public and heinous might not pass unpunished. (Challoner) --- David and Solomon esteemed themselves, in a manner, defiled, as long as these continued unpunished, ver. 31. Joab had behaved to David with great insolence, after the death of Absalom. (Haydock) --- He had lately sided with Adonias. (Menochius) --- But what touched the good old king more particularly, were the treacherous murders of two great generals, who had put themselves under his protection, and were endeavouring to promote his welfare. Only the fear of greater commotions had hitherto prevented David from bringing his nephew to public execution, as the people expected. He deemed it requisite to remind his successor of this obligation, when his power should be sufficiently strong, that the impunity of such daring offenders might not destroy the commonwealth. (Haydock) --- Peace. Pretending affection. Joab had treated Abner and Amasa as the worst of enemies, and their blood had stained his garments. (Menochius)
To hell. This word hell doth not signify the place or state of damnation; but the place and state of the dead. (Challoner) --- It would have been a great scandal if this murderer had died quietly in his old age. Joab had rendered great services to his uncle, for which he had been rewarded. He had been at the head of the armies 40 years. His great age rendered him now less formidable; particularly as the nation enjoyed peace.
Table, or of the meat, which had been served upon it; as was the custom at the court of Persia, Daniel i. 5. --- Brother. See 2 Kings xix. 31. (Calmet)
Curse. Saying, Go out, &c., 2 Kings xvi. 5. --- Camp. Hebrew Machanayim. (Haydock) --- Sword. He would revenge his private wrongs, but reserved the punishment of a notorious offender, till a time when passion would have no influence. Solomon was not bound by the personal oath of his father.
Man. Many have thought that Solomon was only 12 years old. (Eusebius, &c.) --- But the best chronologers suppose that he was about 20. God had blessed him with a happy disposition, which he adorned with various graces, chap. iii. 12., and Wisdom viii. 19.
David. Thus died this perfect model of princes, and this great saint, whose only fault, of consequence, was occasioned by Bethsabee: (2 Kings xi. 4.) and this served to display his repentance. (St. Chrysostom, hom lxxvii.) --- He prefigured Jesus Christ in a wonderful manner; in his birth, at the same city; his election, in preference to his brethren; his persecutions, and subsequent glory. Jesus was, in like manner, betrayed by a false friend, and obliged to go out of Jerusalem, laden with his cross. But he acquired fresh splendour by his sufferings, and purchased a more faithful people. The tomb of David remained for many ages, Acts ii. 29. Josephus says that it contained vast riches: but this seems to be fabulous. St. Jerome often went to pray at this tomb. (Ep. ad Marcel.) --- If it be now unknown, the Holy Ghost has left us a more illustrious monument to the honour of this great man, in the Psalms, and Ecclesiasticus xlvii. 2., &c. (Calmet) --- We have now only an abridgment of his history, 1 Paralipomenon xxix. 29.
Seven years. The odd six months are not mentioned, 2 Kings ii. 11. (Haydock)
Sat, exercising the same authority, as he had done in his father's life-time, chap. i. 53. (Calmet) (St. Augustine, de C.[City of God?] xvii. 8.) (Salien, the year before Christ 1033.) --- The public assembly of Israel, convoked by David, had already sworn fidelity to him, 1 Paralipomenon xxviii. 1. (Haydock)
Mine, according to the ordinary course of things. But I was willing to forego my claims, when I perceived that the Lord had made choice of my brother. (Calmet)
Wife. Some think that Joab had instigated Adonias to make this petition, that his party might be strengthened. (Theodoret, q. 7.) But love might be his prompter. (Calmet) --- Bethsabee consented to further his petition, (Menochius) without suspecting any bad consequences. (Haydock)
To her. Only fools will despise their parents, Proverbs xv. 20., Ecclesiasticus iii. 18., and Tobias iv. 3. The Persians would allow no one to sit in his mother's presence, without her leave; and Alexander would treat Sysigambis with the like respect. (Q. Curtius v.) --- Right hand. In the most honourable place, next to his own, Genesis xlviii. 13. The Turks and Persians give the preference to the left. (Xenophon, Cyrop. viii.)
Thy face, with confusion. He engages to grant her request, if it could be done with any propriety, (Calmet) as a son ought to do. (Worthington)
The kingdom. It was a maxim in most of the oriental courts, that the things which had belonged to the king, should not be enjoyed by any but his successor. (Grotius) --- Hence Adonias might be suspected of ambitious projects, as his party was still formidable. (Calmet) --- The marriage seems also to be unlawful. (Menochius) See chap. i. 4. --- Yet, if the aforesaid custom subsisted at that time; or, if the marriage had been evidently prohibited, both Adonias and Bethsabee must have acted in a very inconsistent manner, so that we must hesitate before we pronounce sentence. (Haydock) --- Many condemn Solomon of precipitation and cruelty in his judgment; (Cajetan) while others approve of his conduct, (Theodoret, q. 7.) and think any delay might have proved dangerous. Ubi facto magis quam consulto opus. (Tacitus) (Calmet)
House. This generally denotes children, and Roboam was born this year. Some have considered his birth as miraculous, supposing that Solomon was not above 12 years old, ver. 9. (St. Jerome, Ep. ad Vital.)
Banaias. The chief officers became executioners, on such occasions, Daniel ii. 24. The Romans employed soldiers; which makes Tertullian (Coron. xi.) dissuade Christians from entering the service.
Priest. Sadoc had been anointed in his stead, probably by Nathan, in the general assembly, while David was present: they anointed....Sadoc to be high priest, 1 Paralipomenon xxix. 22. (Salien) --- But not, Solomon orders Abiathar to retire to his estate, in punishment of his conspiracy. (Calmet) --- He might have justly put him to death, if he had committed a crime worthy of it; as his dignity did not give him a right to disturb the peace of the state with impunity. (Haydock) --- Solomon acted as a prophet. (Worthington) --- God had long before denounced that the family of Eleazar should regain the dignity, which Heli had obtained by some means or other, 1 Kings ii. 31. (Haydock) --- Solomon only put the divine decree in execution. (Pineda vi. 15.) --- Sadoc had perhaps also passed sentence, as the Levitical tribe had a great sway in the courts of judicature. (Menochius) --- Abiathar was still honoured with his former title, chap. iv. 4. But he was not permitted to officiate, (Calmet) nor to remain in the royal city, as he seemed now to be a dangerous man. (Haydock) --- Anathoth was a sacerdotal town in Benjamin. (Menochius) --- A portion of the suburbs had been assigned to Abiathar, unless he had obtained a field by inheritance, or by marrying an heiress, See Jeremias xxxii. 7. (Calmet)
Joab. The Latin manuscripts, except one, and almost all the ancient editions of Sixtus, &c., read Solomon. "And a messenger came to Solomon that Joab," &c. --- Solomon. Hebrew, "Absalom." Septuagint vary. The difference is of little consequence. (Calmet)
Die, if my life must not be spared. (Haydock) --- He knew that the like precaution would not have been able to protect Adonias. It was not just that he, who had despised all that was sacred, should find an asylum at the altar itself.
Slew him, holding the altar; though some think that he was removed by force, like Athalia, 4 Kings xi. 15. Both actions were contrary to the reverence due to so holy a place, and perhaps inexcusable; (Calmet) unless the law had ordered it otherwise, Exodus xxi. 14. (Haydock)
Abiathar. See ver. 26. Secular princes sometimes nominate, but they must obey, the pastor. (Worthington)
Cedron, which led towards Bahurim. He was equally forbidden to go out by any other road; and was put to death for going to Geth. --- Head. Thou canst blame only thyself. Solomon might have put this man to death before: but he chose to pay so much deference to the oath of his father, as not to bring him to execution without a fresh offence.
Servants. Two in number; (Hebrew; Septuagint) perhaps originally from Geth; (Menochius) to the king of which place David had fled, 44 years before. (Abulensis, q. 44.)