3 Kings ii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 2. Flesh, to the tomb. Omnium idem exitus est, sed & idem domicilium. (Petronius) —In life each follows his own course. (Calmet)

Ver. 3. 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.

Ver. 4. Truth and sincerity. (Calmet) — This promise was made, 2 Kings vii. 16. (Menochius)

Ver. 5. 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)

Ver. 6. 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.

Ver. 7. 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)

Ver. 8. 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.

Ver. 9. 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.

Ver. 10. 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.

Ver. 11. Seven years. The odd six months are not mentioned, 2 Kings ii. 11. (Haydock)

Ver. 12. 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)

Ver. 15. 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)

Ver. 17. 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)

Ver. 19. 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. Curt. 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.)

Ver. 20. 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)

Ver. 22. 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)

Ver. 24. 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.)

Ver. 25. 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.

Ver. 26. 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 now, 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)

Ver. 28. 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)

Ver. 30. 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.

Ver. 34. 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)

Ver. 35. Abiathar. See ver. 26. Secular princes sometimes nominate, but they must obey, the pastor. (Worthington)

Ver. 37. 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.

Ver. 39. 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.)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

David, after giving his last charge to Solomon, dieth. Adonias is put to death; Abiathar banished; Joab and Semei are slain.

1 And *the days of David drew nigh that he should die, and he charged his son Solomon, saying:

2 I am going the way of all flesh: take thou courage and shew thyself a man.

3 And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and observe his ceremonies, and his precepts, and judgments, and testimonies, *as it is written in the law of Moses: that thou mayst understand all thou dost, and whithersoever thou shalt turn thyself:

4 That the Lord may confirm his words, which he hath spoken of me, saying: If thy children shall take heed to their ways, and shall walk before me in truth, with all their heart, and with all their soul, there shall not be taken away from thee a man on the throne of Israel.

5 Thou knowest also what Joab, the son of Sarvia, hath done to me, what he did to the two captains of the army of Israel, *to Abner, the son of Ner, and to Amasa, the son of Jether: whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war on his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet.

6 Do, therefore, according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoary head go down to hell in peace.

7 But shew kindness to the sons of Berzellai, the Galaadite, and let them eat at thy table: *for they met me when I fled from the face of Absalom, thy brother.

8 *Thou hast also with thee Semei, the son of Gera, the son of Jemini, of Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse, when I went to the camp: but because he came down to meet me when I passed over the Jordan, and I swore to him by the Lord, saying: I will not kill thee with the sword:

9 Do not thou hold him guiltless. But thou art a wise man, and knowest what to do with him, and thou shalt bring down his grey hairs with blood to the grave.

10 *So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.

11 *And the days that David reigned in Israel, were forty gears: in Hebron he reigned seven years, in Jerusalem thirty-three.

12 And Solomon sat upon the throne of his father, David, and his kingdom was strengthened exceedingly.

13 And Adonias, the son of Haggith, came to Bethsabee the mother of Solomon. And she said to him: Is thy coming peaceable? He answered: It is peaceable.

14 And he added: I have a word to speak with thee. She said to him: Speak. And he said:

15 Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had preferred me to be their king: but the kingdom is transferred, and is become my brother’s: for it was appointed him by the Lord.

16 Now therefore, I ask one petition of thee; turn not away my face. And she said to him: Say on.

17 And he said: I pray thee speak to king Solomon (for he cannot deny thee any thing) to give me Abisag, the Sunamitess, to wife.

18 And Bethsabee said: Well, I will speak for thee to the king.

19 Then Bethsabee came to king Solomon, to speak to him for Adonias: and the king arose to meet her, and bowed to her, and sat down upon his throne: and a throne was set for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right hand.

20 And she said to him: I desire one small petition of thee; do not put me to confusion. And the king said to her: My mother ask, for I must not turn away thy face.

21 And she said: Let Abisag, the Sunamitess, be given to Adonias, thy brother, to wife.

22 And king Solomon answered, and said to his mother: Why dost thou ask Abisag, the Sunamitess, for Adonias? ask for him also the kingdom; for he is my elder brother, and hath Abiathar, the priest, and Joab, the son of Sarvia.

23 Then king Solomon swore by the Lord, saying: So and so may God do to me, and add more, if Adonias hath not spoken this word against his own life.

24 And now, as the Lord liveth, who hath established me, and placed me upon the throne of David, my father, and who hath made me a house, as he promised, Adonias shall be put to death this day.

25 And king Solomon sent by the hand of Banaias, the son of Joiada, who slew him, and he died.

26 And the king said also to Abiathar, the priest: Go to Anathoth, to thy lands, for indeed thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou didst carry the ark of the Lord God before David, my father, and hast endured trouble in all the troubles my father endured.

27 So Solomon cast out Abiathar, from being the priest of the Lord, *that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he spoke concerning the house of Heli in Silo.

28 And the news came to Joab, because Joab had turned after Adonias, and had not turned after Solomon: and Joab fled into the tabernacle of the Lord, and took hold on the horn of the altar.

29 And it was told king Solomon, that Joab was fled into the tabernacle of the Lord, and was by the altar: and Solomon sent Banaias, the son of Joiada, saying: Go, kill him.

30 And Banaias came to the tabernacle of the Lord, and said to him: Thus saith the king: Come forth. And he said: I will not come forth, but here I will die. Banaias brought word back to the king, saying: Thus saith Joab, and thus he answered me.

31 And the king said to him: Do as he hath said; and kill him, and bury him, and thou shalt remove the innocent blood which hath been shed by Joab, from me, and from the house of my father:

32 And the Lord shall return his blood upon his own head; because he murdered two men, just and better than himself: and slew them with the sword, my father, David, not knowing it; *Abner, the son of Ner, general of the army of Israel, and Amasa, the son of Jether, general of the army of Juda;

33 And their blood shall return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever. But to David and his seed, and his house, and to his throne, be peace for ever from the Lord.

34 So Banaias, the son of Joiada, went up, and setting upon him slew him, and he was buried in his house in the desert.

35 And the king appointed Banaias, the son of Joiada in his room over the army; and Sadoc, the priest, he put in the place of Abiathar.

36 The king also sent, and called for Semei, and said to him: Build thee a house in Jerusalem, and dwell there: and go not out from thence any where.

37 For on what day soever thou shalt go out, and shalt pass over the brook Cedron, know that thou shalt be put to death: thy blood shall be upon thy own head.

38 And Semei said to the king: The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Semei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.

39 And it came to pass after three years, that the servants of Semei ran away to Achis, the son of Maacha, the king of Geth: and it was told Semei that his servants were gone to Geth.

40 And Semei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Achis, to Geth, to seek his servants, and he brought them out of Geth.

41 And it was told Solomon, that Semei had gone from Jerusalem to Geth, and was come back.

42 And sending he called for him, and said to him: Did I not protest to thee by the Lord, and tell thee before: On what day soever thou shalt go out and walk abroad any where, know that thou shalt die? And thou answeredst me: The word that I have heard is good.

43 Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the Lord, and the commandment that I laid upon thee?

44 And the king said to Semei: Thou knowest all the evil, of which thy heart is conscious, which thou didst to David, my father: the Lord hath returned thy wickedness upon thy own head.

45 And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord for ever.

46 So the king commanded Banaias, the son of Joiada: and he went out and struck him; and he died.



1: Year of the World 2990, Year before Christ 1014.

3: Deuteronomy xvii. 19.

5: 2 Kings iii. 27.

7: 2 Kings xix. 31.

8: 2 Kings xix. 23. and xvi. 5. and xix. 19.

10: Acts ii. 29.

11: 1 Paralipomenon xxix. 27.

27: 1 Kings ii. 31.

32: 2 Kings iii. 27.