Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:1
The events related in 1 Chr. 28-29 had occurred in the interval which separates the last and this present chapter.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:2
David appears to have in his thoughts the divine address to Joshua. Without following it servilely, he reproduces several of its leading expressions and sentiments (compare the margin reference). Solomon's youth clearly constituted one of the chief difficulties of his position. If he was about nineteen or twenty, and known to be of a pacific disposition Ch1 22:9, then to have to rule over the warlike and turbulent Hebrew nation, with a strong party opposed to him, and brothers of full age ready to lead it, was evidently a most difficult task. Hence, he is exhorted, though in years a boy, to show himself in Spirit "a man."
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:3
The "statutes" have been explained to be the positive ordinances of the Law; the "commandments" the moral precepts, not to steal, etc.; the "judgments" the laws belonging to civil government; and the "testimonies" the laws directing the commemoration of certain events. Compare Psa 19:7-8.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:4
That the Lord may continue his word - The original promise given to David indirectly, through Nathan Sa2 7:11-17, and apparently unconditional, afterward was made conditional upon continued obedience. (See the margin reference "f.") David reminds Solomon of this, in order to impress upon him a powerful motive to continue faithful and obedient.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:5
In his directions with respect to certain important persons, David, anxious for the security of his young successor's kingdom, allows old animosities to revive, and is willing to avenge himself indirectly and by deputy, though he had been withheld by certain scruples from taking vengeance in his own person. We must not expect Gospel morality from the saints of the Old Testament. They were only the best men of their several ages and nations. The maxim of "them of old time," whether Jews or Gentiles, was "Love your friends and hate your enemies" (see Mat 5:43); and David perhaps was not in this respect in advance of his age. Joab's chief offence against David, besides his two murders, was no doubt his killing Absalom Sa2 18:14. Another serious crime was his support of the treasonable attempt of Adonijah Kg1 1:7. But besides these flagrant misdemeanours, he seems to have offended David by a number of little acts. He was a constant thorn in his side. He treated him with scant respect, taking important steps without his orders Sa2 3:26, remonstrating with him roughly and rudely Sa2 2:24-25, almost betraying his secrets Sa2 11:19-21, and, where he disliked the orders given him, disobeying them Ch1 21:6. David allowed his ascendancy, but he chafed against it, finding this "son of Zeruiah," in particular "too hard" for him (margin reference).
Put the blood of war upon his girdle ... - Meaning "The blood of Amasa spirited all over the girdle to which the sword of Joab was attached; and the sandals on his feet were reddened with the stains left by the falling corpse."
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:6
His hoar head - Joab, though the nephew of David, was probably not very greatly his junior, David being the youngest of the family, and Zeruiah, as is most likely, one of the eldest.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:7
One of the sons of Barzillai here intended was probably Chimham (see the margin reference). Who the others were is not known. The family continued down to the return from the captivity, and still held property in Israel (compare Ezr 2:61 and Neh 7:63).
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:9
Hold him not guiltless - i. e. "Do not treat him as an innocent man. Punish him as in thy wisdom thou deemest best. Not capitally at once; but so that he may be likely to give thee in course of time a just occasion to slay him." So, at least, Solomon seems to have understood the charge. (See Kg1 2:36-46.)
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:11
Forty years - In all forty years and six months. See Sa2 5:5, and Ch1 3:4. The Jewish writers almost universally omit the fractions of a year.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:12
The "establishment" of the kingdom here intended is probably its universal acceptance both by the tribe of Judah and the other Israelites.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:16
Deny me not - literally, as in the margin, i. e. "make me not to hide my face through shame at being refused."
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:19
A seat - Or, "a throne." We have here a proof of the high dignity of the Queen-mother. Compare also Kg1 15:13; Kg2 11:1-3. In the Persian court the Queen-mother had often the chief power.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:22
Ask for him the kingdom also - Bath-sheba had not seen anything dangerous or suspicious in Adonijah's request. Solomon, on the contrary, takes alarm at once. To ask for Abishag was to ask for the kingdom. To the Oriental mind a monarch was so sacred, that whatever was brought near to him was thenceforth separate from common use. This sacred and separate character attached especially to the Royal harem. The inmates either remained widows for the rest of their lives, or became the wives of the deceased king's successor. When a monarch was murdered, or dethroned, or succeeded by one whose title was doubtful, the latter alternative was almost always adopted (compare Sa2 12:8; Sa2 16:22). Public opinion so closely connected the title to the crown and the possession of the deceased monarch's wives, that to have granted Adonijah's request would have been the strongest encouragement to his pretensions. Solomon, seeing this, assumes that Adonijah cherishes a guilty purpose, that there has been a fresh plot, that Abiathar and Joab - Adonijah's counselors in the former conspiracy Kg1 1:7 - are privy to it, and that the severest measures are necessary to crush the new treason.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:23
Against his own life - Adonijah had forfeited his life by his former conduct, and his pardon had been merely conditional Kg1 1:52.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:24
The phrase "making a house" means "continuing the posterity" of a person, and, in the case of a royal person, "maintaining his descendants upon the throne."
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:26
For Anathoth and the allusions in this verse, see the margin reference.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:27
That he might fulfil the word of the L RD - We need not understand this as stating that the fulfillment of the old prophecy was Solomon's motive, or even one of his motives. The reference is to the overruling providence of God, which thus brought about the fulfillment of the prophecy. (Compare Mat 1:22; Mat 2:15; Mat 27:35, etc.) The deposition of Abiathar involved the rejection of the house of Ithamar Ch1 24:3, to which Eli belonged, and the reestablishment of the high priesthood in the line of Eleazar.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:28
Joab followed the example of Adonijab (margin reference). The tabernacle was now at Gibeon Kg1 3:4; Ch1 16:39.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:31
It was only a murderer to whom the tabernacle was to be no protection (margin reference). Hence, the reference to the "innocent blood."
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:32
Shalt return his blood - i. e. "his shedding of blood."
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:33
Upon the head of his seed - Compare the margin reference. Nothing further is heard of Joab's descendants in the history.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:34
Retribution overtook Joab on the very scene (Gibeon) of the most treacherous of his murders. It was at the "great stone which is in Gibeon" that Joab killed Amasa Sa2 20:8-10.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:35
The high priesthood had been for some time in a certain sense divided between Zadok and Abiathar. (See the Kg1 1:8 note). Henceforth, Zadok became sole high priest.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:36
The object, apparently, was to keep Shimei under the immediate eye of the government. Shimei's old home, Bahurim, lay east of Jerusalem, on the road to Jericho, Sa2 17:18, and could only be reached by crossing the Kedron valley. Solomon assumes, that, if he quits the city, it will probably be in this direction Kg1 2:37.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:39
Achish - Possibly the Achish of the marginal reference, but more probably the grandson of the former Achish.
3 Kings (1 Kings) 2:42
Did I not make thee to swear - The Septuagint add to Kg1 2:37 a clause stating that Solomon "made Shimei swear" on the day when he commanded him to reside at Jerusalem.