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David Gives Orders to Solomon
1The time came near for David to die. So he gave orders to his son Solomon. He said,
2"I'm about to die, just as everyone else on earth does. So be strong. Show how brave you are. 3Do everything the Lord your God requires. Live the way he wants you to. Obey his orders and commands. Keep his laws and rules. Do everything that is written in the Law of Moses. Then you will have success in everything you do. You will succeed everywhere you go.
4"The Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He said, 'Your sons must be careful about how they live. They must be faithful to me with all their heart and soul. Then you will always have a man sitting on the throne of Israel.'
5"You yourself know what Joab, the son of Zeruiah, did to me. You know that he killed Abner, the son of Ner, and Amasa, the son of Jether. They were the two commanders of Israel's armies. He killed them in a time of peace. It wasn't a time of war. Joab spilled the blood of Abner and Amasa. It stained the belt that was around his waist. It also stained the sandals on his feet. 6You are wise. So I leave him in your hands. Just don't let him live to become an old man. Don't let him die peacefully.
7"But be kind to the sons of Barzillai from Gilead. Provide what they need. They were faithful to me when I had to run away from your brother Absalom.
8"Don't forget Shimei, the son of Gera. He's still around. He's from Bahurim in the territory of Benjamin. He called down bitter curses on me. He did it on the day I went to Mahanaim. Later, he came down to welcome me at the Jordan River. At that time I took an oath in the name of the Lord. I promised Shimei, 'I won't put you to death with my sword.' 9But now I want you to think of him as guilty. You are wise. You will know what to do to him. Don't let him live to become an old man. Put him to death."
10David joined the members of his family who had already died. His body was buried in the City of David. 11He had ruled over Israel for 40 years. He ruled for seven years in Hebron. Then he ruled for 33 years in Jerusalem.
12So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David. His position as king was made secure.
Solomon's Kingdom Is Made Secure
13Adonijah was the son of David's wife Haggith. He went to Bathsheba. She was Solomon's mother. She asked Adonijah, "Have you come in peace?"
He answered, "Yes. I've come in peace." 14He continued, "I want to ask you something."
"Go ahead," she replied.
15He said, "As you know, the kingdom belonged to me. The whole nation of Israel thought of me as their king. But now things have changed. The kingdom belongs to my brother. The Lord has given it to him. 16But I have a favor to ask of you. Don't say no to me."
"Go ahead," she said.
17So he continued, "Please ask King Solomon for a favor. He won't say no to you. Ask him to give me Abishag from Shunem to be my wife."
18"All right," Bathsheba replied. "I'll speak to the king for you."
19So Bathsheba went to King Solomon. She went to him to speak for Adonijah. The king stood up to greet her. He bowed down to her. Then he sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for his mother. She sat down at his right side.
20"I have one small favor to ask of you," she said. "Don't say no to me."
The king replied, "Mother, go ahead and ask. I won't say no to you."
21She said, "Let your brother Adonijah get married to Abishag, the Shunammite."
22King Solomon answered his mother, "Why are you asking for Abishag, the Shunammite, for Adonijah? You might as well ask me to give him the whole kingdom! After all, he's my older brother. And he doesn't want the kingdom only for himself. He also wants it for the priest Abiathar and for Joab, the son of Zeruiah."
23Then King Solomon took an oath and made a promise in the name of the Lord. He said, "Adonijah will pay with his life because of what he has asked for. If he doesn't, may God punish me greatly. 24The Lord has made my position as king secure. I'm sitting on the throne of my father David. The Lord has built a royal house for me, just as he promised. You can be sure that the Lord lives. And you can be just as sure that Adonijah will be put to death today."
25So King Solomon gave the order to Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada. Benaiah struck Adonijah down. And Adonijah died.
26The king spoke to the priest Abiathar. He said, "Go back to your fields in Anathoth. You should really be put to death. But I won't have it done now. That's because you carried the ark of the Lord and King. You did it for my father David. You shared all of his hard times."
27So Solomon wouldn't let Abiathar serve as a priest of the Lord anymore. That's how the message the Lord had spoken at Shiloh came true. He had spoken it about the family of Eli.
28News of what Solomon had done reached Joab. Joab had never made evil plans along with Absalom. But he had joined Adonijah. So he ran to the tent of the Lord. He took hold of the horns that stuck out from the upper corners of the altar for burnt offerings.
29King Solomon was told that Joab had run to the tent. He was also told that Joab was by the altar.
Then Solomon gave the order to Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada. He told him, "Go! Strike him down!"
30So Benaiah entered the tent of the Lord. He said to Joab, "The king says, 'Come on out!' "
But Joab answered, "No. I'd rather die here."
Benaiah told the king what Joab had said to him.
31Then the king commanded Benaiah, "Do what he says. Strike him down. Bury his body. Then I and my family won't be held accountable for the blood Joab spilled. He killed people who weren't guilty of doing anything wrong. 32The Lord will pay him back for the blood he spilled. Joab attacked two men. He killed them with his sword. And my father David didn't even know anything about it.
"Joab killed Abner, the son of Ner. Abner was the commander of Israel's army. Joab also killed Amasa, the son of Jether. Amasa was the commander of Judah's army. Abner and Amasa were better men than Joab is. They were more honest than he is. 33May Joab and his children after him be held forever accountable for spilling the blood of Abner and Amasa.
"But may David and his children after him enjoy the Lord's peace and rest forever. May the Lord also give his peace to David's royal house and kingdom forever."
34So Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, went up to the Lord's tent. There he struck Joab down. And he killed him. Joab's body was buried on his own land in the desert.
35The king put Benaiah in charge of the army. Benaiah took Joab's place. The king also put the priest Zadok in Abiathar's place.
36Then the king sent for Shimei. He said to him, "Build yourself a house in Jerusalem. Live there. Don't go anywhere else. 37You must not leave the city and go across the Kidron Valley. If you do, you can be sure you will die. And it will be your own fault."
38Shimei replied to the king, "You are my king and master. What you say is good. I'll do it." Shimei stayed in Jerusalem for a long time.
39Three years after Solomon had talked with Shimei, two of Shimei's slaves ran off. They went to Achish, the king of Gath. He was the son of Maacah. Shimei was told, "Your slaves are in Gath." 40When Shimei heard that, he put a saddle on his donkey. Then he went to Achish at Gath to look for his slaves. Shimei found them and brought them back from Gath.
41Solomon was told that Shimei had left Jerusalem. He was told he had gone to Gath and had returned.
42So the king sent for Shimei. He said to him, "Didn't I make you take an oath in the name of the Lord? Didn't I warn you? I said, 'You must not leave the city and go somewhere else. If you do, you can be sure you will die.' At that time you said to me, 'What you say is good. I'll obey your command.' 43So why didn't you keep your oath to the Lord? Why didn't you obey the command I gave you?"
44The king continued, "You know all of the wrong things you did to my father David. In your heart you know them. Now the Lord will pay you back for what you did. 45But I will be blessed. The Lord will make David's kingdom secure forever."
46Then the king gave the order to Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada. Benaiah left the palace and struck Shimei down. And he killed him.
So the kingdom was now made secure in Solomon's hands.
2
1-4When David’s time to die approached, he charged his son Solomon, saying, “I’m about to go the way of all the earth, but you—be strong; show what you’re made of! Do what God tells you. Walk in the paths he shows you: Follow the life-map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, his course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you’ll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go. Then God will confirm what he promised me when he said, ‘If your sons watch their step, staying true to me heart and soul, you’ll always have a successor on Israel’s throne.’
5-6“And don’t forget what Joab son of Zeruiah did to the two commanders of Israel’s army, to Abner son of Ner and to Amasa son of Jether. He murdered them in cold blood, acting in peacetime as if he were at war, and has been stained with that blood ever since. Do what you think best with him, but by no means let him get off scot-free—make him pay.
7“But be generous to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite—extend every hospitality to them; that’s the way they treated me when I was running for my life from Absalom your brother.
8-9“You also will have to deal with Shimei son of Gera the Benjaminite from Bahurim, the one who cursed me so viciously when I was on my way to Mahanaim. Later, when he welcomed me back at the Jordan, I promised him under God, ‘I won’t put you to death.’ But neither should you treat him as if nothing ever happened. You’re wise, you know how to handle these things. You’ll know what to do to make him pay before he dies.”
10-12Then David joined his ancestors. He was buried in the City of David. David ruled Israel for forty years—seven years in Hebron and another thirty-three in Jerusalem. Solomon took over on the throne of his father David; he had a firm grip on the kingdom.
Solomon
13-14Adonijah son of Haggith came to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. She said, “Do you come in peace?”
He said, “In peace.” And then, “May I say something to you?”
“Go ahead,” she said, “speak.”
15-16“You know that I had the kingdom right in my hands and everyone expected me to be king, and then the whole thing backfired and the kingdom landed in my brother’s lap—God’s doing. So now I have one request to ask of you; please don’t refuse me.”
“Go ahead, ask,” she said.
17“Ask King Solomon—he won’t turn you down—to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.”
18“Certainly,” said Bathsheba. “I’ll speak to the king for you.”
19Bathsheba went to King Solomon to present Adonijah’s request. The king got up and welcomed her, bowing respectfully, and returned to his throne. Then he had a throne put in place for his mother, and she sat at his right hand.
20She said, “I have a small favor to ask of you. Don’t refuse me.”
The king replied, “Go ahead, Mother; of course I won’t refuse you.”
21She said, “Give Abishag the Shunammite to your brother Adonijah as his wife.”
22King Solomon answered his mother, “What kind of favor is this, asking that Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah? Why don’t you just ask me to hand over the whole kingdom to him on a platter since he is my older brother and has Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah on his side!”
23-24Then King Solomon swore under God, “May God do his worst to me if Adonijah doesn’t pay for this with his life! As surely as God lives, the God who has set me firmly on the throne of my father David and has put me in charge of the kingdom just as he promised, Adonijah will die for this—today!”
25King Solomon dispatched Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he struck Adonijah and he died.
26The king then told Abiathar the priest, “You’re exiled to your place in Anathoth. You deserve death but I’m not going to kill you—for now anyway—because you were in charge of the Chest of our ruling God in the company of David my father, and because you shared all the hard times with my father.”
27Solomon stripped Abiathar of his priesthood, fulfilling God’s word at Shiloh regarding the family of Eli.
28-29When this news reached Joab, this Joab who had conspired with Adonijah (although he had remained loyal in the Absalom affair), he took refuge in the sanctuary of God, seizing the horns of the Altar and holding on for dear life. King Solomon was told that Joab had escaped to the sanctuary of God and was clinging to the Altar; he immediately sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada with orders, “Kill him.”
30Benaiah went to the sanctuary of God and said, “King’s orders: Come out.”
He said, “No—I’ll die right here.”
Benaiah went back to the king and reported, “This was Joab’s answer.”
31-33The king said, “Go ahead then, do what he says: Kill him and bury him. Absolve me and my father’s family of the guilt from Joab’s senseless murders. God is avenging those bloody murders on Joab’s head. Two men he murdered, men better by far than he ever was: Behind my father’s back he brutally murdered Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel’s army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah’s army. Responsibility for their murders is forever fixed on Joab and his descendants; but for David and his descendants, his family and kingdom, the final verdict is God’s peace.”
34-35So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went back, struck Joab, and killed him. He was buried in his family plot out in the desert. The king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada over the army in place of Joab, and replaced Abiathar with Zadok the priest.
36-37The king next called in Shimei and told him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, but you are not to leave the area. If you so much as cross the Brook Kidron, you’re as good as dead—you will have decreed your own death sentence.”
38Shimei answered the king, “Oh, thank you! Your servant will do exactly as my master the king says.” Shimei lived in Jerusalem a long time.
39-40But it so happened that three years later, two of Shimei’s slaves ran away to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath. Shimei was told, “Your slaves are in Gath.” Shimei sprang into action, saddled his donkey, and went to Achish in Gath looking for his slaves. And then he came back, bringing his slaves.
41Solomon was told, “Shimei left Jerusalem for Gath, and now he’s back.”
42-43Solomon then called for Shimei and said, “Didn’t I make you promise me under God, and give you a good warning besides, that you would not leave this area? That if you left you would have decreed your own death sentence? And didn’t you say, ‘Oh, thank you—I’ll do exactly as you say’? So why didn’t you keep your sacred promise and do what I ordered?”
44-45Then the king told Shimei, “Deep in your heart you know all the evil that you did to my father David; God will now avenge that evil on you. But King Solomon will be blessed and the rule of David will be a sure thing under God forever.”
46The king then gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he went out and struck Shimei dead.
The kingdom was now securely in Solomon’s grasp.