In the first chapter of 1 Kings we learned there was a bit of dispute as to who was king. That seems to have been cleared up, but let’s see how this develops in the second chapter.
“When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. ‘I am about to go the way of all the earth,’ he said. ‘So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’’” – 1 Kings 2:1-4
In other words, if God tells you to murder or rape, you’d better or he will destroy you and your people!
“And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord: ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’ But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.” – 1 Kings 2:8-9
So much for forgiveness. The bloodshed has been ordered to continue.
“Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. He had reigned forty years over Israel—seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem.” – 1 Kings 2:10-11
The reign of David comes to an end after forty years.
“So he (Adonijah) contnued, ‘Please ask King Solomon—he will not refuse you—to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.’” – 1 Kings 2:17
Forcing a woman to be a wife? Surely Solomon will refuse, right?
“King Solomon answered his mother, ‘Why do you request Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? You might as well request the kingdom for him—after all, he is my older brother—yes, for him and for Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah!’ Then King Solomon swore by the Lord: ‘May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if Adonijah does not pay with his life for this request! And now, as surely as the Lord lives—he who has established me securely on the throne of my father David and has founded a dynasty for me as he promised—Adonijah shall be put to death today!’ So King Solomon gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he struck down Adonijah and he died.” – 1 Kings 2:22-25
Okay, this is fucked up. Solomon does not grant the request to deliver Abishag to be Adonijah’s wife. But not because it’s a forced marriage. Solomon is more upset that the request will undermine his authority as king. Then Solomon has Adonijah killed. The request is an awful request, don’t get me wrong, but worthy of death? Only in the world of this evil god.
“May the guilt of their blood rest on the head of Joab and his descendants forever.” – 1 Kings 2:33
And what exactly have Joab’s unborn descendants done? Nothing. Another unjustified punishment.
“Then the king sent for Shimei and said to him, ‘Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, but do not go anywhere else. The day you leave and cross the Kidron Valley, you can be sure you will die; your blood will be on your own head.’ Shimei answered the king, ‘What you say is good. Your servant will do as my lord the king has said.’ And Shimei stayed in Jerusalem for a long time. But three years later, two of Shimei’s slaves ran off to Achish son of Maakah, king of Gath, and Shimei was told, ‘Your slaves are in Gath.’ At this, he saddled his donkey and went to Achish at Gath in search of his slaves. So Shimei went away and brought the slaves back from Gath. When Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had returned, the king summoned Shimei and said to him, ‘Did I not make you swear by the Lord and warn you, ‘On the day you leave to go anywhere else, you can be sure you will die’? At that time you said to me, ‘What you say is good. I will obey.’ Why then did you not keep your oath to the Lord and obey the command I gave you?’ The king also said to Shimei, ‘You know in your heart all the wrong you did to my father David. Now the Lord will repay you for your wrongdoing. But King Solomon will be blessed, and David’s throne will remain secure before the Lord forever.’ Then the king gave the order to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck Shimei down and he died. The kingdom was now established in Solomon’s hands.” – 1 Kings 2:36-46
That’s a fucked up ending to this chapter. I understand putting Shimei under what is essentially house arrest. He went to get his slaves. Why again are there still slaves? Isn’t the Bible a book of morals? Sigh. But back to Shimei leaving. He didn’t leave to do anything devious. He came right back. Yet Solomon has Shimei killed because of it. Another unjustified punishment. But that’s the story of the Bible. Unjustified punishments.
Well, we learned in this chapter that the bloodshed we saw under the reign of David will definitely continue under the reign of Solomon. Solomon has set out to kill anyone against David and the punishments are death, most often unjustified. In particular, the punishment of Joab’s unborn descendants is the very definition of unjustified.
Coming Soon: Psalm – Chapter 37: Of David.