1 Kings

1 Kings - Lesson 2A

Chapter 2:1-12

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  • Last time we witnessed the failed attempt of Adonijah’s plot to take the throne of David for himself.

    • Adonijah had recruited a whole host of men who at one point showed somewhat partial loyalty to David during his reign.

      • Adonijah’s banquet of celebration ended up quickly turning into a banquet of mourning as he and his coconspirators fled for their lives.

    • David is informed of this matter by Nathan and Bathsheba and quickly responds as to get ahead of the situation.

      • We then saw that that resulted in Solomon being crowned as King and is then seated on his father’s throne.

    • We discussed last time that these matters of injustice of Joab and others would be dealt with, which we will see in this chapter.

      • However, today we will closely examine the first 12 verses of 1 Kings and conclude the chapter next week.

    • Our reason for breaking up the chapter this way is because this will be the concluding end of David’s physical life on earth.

      • So, it is important for us to glean from the wisdom that David is going to share with Solomon before he dies.

    • If I were to outline our time tonight, we would see the following:

      • 1. David’s Charge to Solomon (vv.1-9)

      • 2. David’s Death (vv.10-12)

    • And if I were to put a tag on our text tonight, it would simply be: David’s Final Words of Counsel.

      • With that being said, I invite you to meet me in 1 Kings 2:1-4 for the reading of the word.

1 Kings 2:1 As David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying,
1 Kings 2:2 “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man.
1 Kings 2:3 “Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn,
1 Kings 2:4 so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
  • At this point in the narrative, we aren’t given the amount of time that has passed from Adonijah’s coup to the further decline of David’s health.

    • But whatever time has passed, it becomes clear that David is approaching the end of his life.

      • He has ruled well for forty years, he has seen many victories in which the Lord has provided for him.

      • One can imagine this point of drawing closer to death allows one to be quite reflective on the life which was lived.

      • Furthermore, this would provide many lessons learned to share with those who will remain, and this is exactly what David does.

    • David tells Solomon that, he is going the way of all the earth, which is a way of saying, “I am getting ready to die.”

      • There almost seems to be this idea of great confidence and hope in David’s instruction, not fear.

    • And David continues by telling his son Solomon to “Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man.”

      • In other words, it is time to step up to the plate and receive the responsibility in which has been entrusted and appointed to you.

    • What’s interesting here is David’s use of the phrase, “Show yourself a man”.

      • The literal translation is “Become a man.”

      • The question becomes, how?

    • Solomon, at this point in history is somewhere in his late adolescent years. He’s still a bit wet behind the ears on some things.

      • So, how does Solomon move from late adolescence to becoming a man who will take on the weight and responsibility of an entire nation?

      • It’s not like there is a book written on how to go from being a boy to being a man.

    • However, we find from David’s response that the way in which Solomon would transition from late adolescence to becoming a man was found in scripture.

      • It’s in verses 3-4 that David says that the way to mature in this way begins with one’s obedience to the Lord.

    • Manhood and even womanhood, for that matter, is not defined by what the world tries to thrust upon you.

      • Understanding our identity and position in Christ is rooted in who God has created us to be.

      • And when we submit our ways and thoughts to His, we begin to see the intent of our design and how we are to flourish in the Lord.

    • The Lord provided similar instruction to Joshua regarding the “passing of the baton of leadership from Moses to Joshua”.

      • Check out what Yahweh tells Joshua in Joshua 1:6-7 after Moses had died:

Joshua 1:6 “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.
Joshua 1:7 “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.
  • God tells Joshua twice in both verses to be strong and courageous, and the reason this can be told to Joshua is because the Lord promises He will be with him.

    • The same goes for Israel’s chosen King – you obey, you will prosper.

    • And you prosper not because you “worked for something” but because I am with you and you responded positively to my word!

    • For Israel’s Kings, according to the Torah, the way by which the King and Nation flourished were contingent upon the Kings’ obedience to the scriptures.

      • Remember, it was in Deuteronomy 17:18-20, that the King was responsible for not only making a copy of the Law but for reciting it too.

Deuteronomy 17:18 “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.
Deuteronomy 17:19 “It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes,
Deuteronomy 17:20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.
  • So, David’s final words and encouragement for his son is to stick with the Lord, know His ways, and follow Him.

    • For when Solomon did these things, the Kingdom would be blessed and Solomon would see the Davidic Covenant worked out!

    • We can also see some indications of the Jewish Shema within David’s words – again all centered on God being Solomon’s focus.

    • After David, provides what is of utmost importance, the primacy of God and His word, he then moves towards insightful matters regarding the administration.

      • It’s in verses 5-9 that David will mention the names of Joab and Shimei who Solomon is to exercise great wisdom in how he deals with them.

    • What becomes interesting about this section of the text is that David did not address the issues of these men sooner.

      • David demonstrated great mercy towards these two men, yet as time progressed, David knew justice was to be served.

      • Therefore, the justice that was postponed for a time would now be released in this changing administration.

    • This becomes a key piece to this narrative because it alludes to David’s timeliness and wisdom as well.

      • So he will provide this information as to prepare his son for the establishment of his Solomonic administration.

      • In other words, make sure you clean house because there are a few loose cannons that serve as potential saboteurs.

      • Check out the text.

1 Kings 2:5 “Now you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner, and to Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed; he also shed the blood of war in peace. And he put the blood of war on his belt about his waist, and on his sandals on his feet.
1 Kings 2:6 “So act according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to Sheol in peace.
1 Kings 2:7 “But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table; for they assisted me when I fled from Absalom your brother.
1 Kings 2:8 “Behold, there is with you Shimei the son of Gera the Benjamite, of Bahurim; now it was he who cursed me with a violent curse on the day I went to Mahanaim. But when he came down to me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’
1 Kings 2:9 “Now therefore, do not let him go unpunished, for you are a wise man; and you will know what you ought to do to him, and you will bring his gray hair down to Sheol with blood.”
  • So, David instructs Solomon to have both Joab and Shimei killed due to their respective disobedience and flagrant disregard for the King and ultimately the way of the Lord.

    • But instead of just killing these men outright, David instructs Solomon to, “act according to your wisdom”.

      • In other words, as King Solomon was to execute the justice required to deal righteously with these atrocious acts and potential acts.

      • And the way in which justice was to be served was according to the Law’s requirements on how to deal with violations of the Law.

    • In Joab’s case, he had ruthlessly killed two of David’s commanders as recorded in 2 Samuel.

      • Those men were Abner and Amasa.

      • Additionally, Joab had disobeyed David’s direct order in preserving his son, Absalom’s life.

      • Unfortunately, due to Joab’s need to serve the king loyally yet without accountability, Joab killed Absalom.

    • So being that Joab is still alive, it expresses the King having shown mercy upon mercy yet Joab not quite understanding the mercy he was shown.

      • And as a means of biblical principle, we often overlook God’s mercy as if it is something that is to be expected because we think we are “doing good”.

      • Yet, in the end, when repentance is not demonstrated or a change of mind has not commenced, justice will be served.

    • Next, we have Shimei. Shimei had cursed the King in 2 Samuel 16 which was a direct violation against the Law. (Exodus 22:28)

Exodus 22:28 “You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.
  • And again, David demonstrated great mercy towards Shimei in that day.

    • But now he makes Solomon aware of the fact that these past behaviors are now to be accounted for.

    • And in this case, the propensity for Shemei to return to his ways, once David is dead, seemed highly likely.

    • So, David tells Solomon, in few short words, to be discerning and operate in wisdom as to how to deal with Joab and Shimei.

    • Now you may notice that in verse 9, David mentions that both Joab and Shimei’s actions must not go unpunished.

      • That both are to be brought down in their old age “…to Sheol with blood.”

      • It is worth examining that phrase “Sheol” for a moment because the tendency is to think that Sheol here means hell.

    • And most certainly, Sheol means an underworld or wasteland, or the location where the dead reside.

      • And in this case, David’s use of the phrase does not mean the lake of fire or the like, it simply refers to death – bringing someone to their end.

      • So, David makes clear that both Joab and Shimei must be brought to death for their unjust actions.

    • However, there is a group of men in whom David tells Solomon are to be shown mercy as they had shown David mercy.

      • These men would be the sons of a man named, Barzillai.

    • Barzillai was an eighty-year-old man who escorted David over the Jordan in 2 Samuel 19, after Absalom was killed.

      • And because of how Barzillai took care of David during his stay in Mahanaim, David remembered and tells Solomon to show Barzillai’s sons hesed – loving-kindness.

    • What shows as a powerful principle in this narrative is how David informs his son on these matters that his administration starts on the right foot.

      • Operating wisely in leadership is key to the flourishing of those in who are being led.

      • And with David coming to the end of His life, he sees the need in pouring into his son as to prepare him for the things that are to come.

      • And with that comes the necessity to apply what Solomon is being taught!

    • Because at the end of the day wisdom is simply applied knowledge.

      • Check out verses 10-12.

1 Kings 2:10 Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David.
1 Kings 2:11 The days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years he reigned in Hebron and thirty-three years he reigned in Jerusalem.
1 Kings 2:12 And Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.
  • It’s after David has disseminated wisdom to Solomon regarding the current administration that the text mentions that, “David slept with the fathers”.

    • The phrase, “slept with the fathers”, is an idiom for describing David’s physical death.

      • The same goes for the phrase we find in verse 2 where David says, “I am going the way of all the earth.”

    • With both phrases used here, an interesting detail comes to a head and that is the theme of death.

      • Where do we see death introduced within scripture?

  • Death is introduced to the narrative of scripture first in Genesis 2:17 where the Lord instructs Adam about not eating from the Tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    • It’s there that the Lord tells Adam that on the day that he eats of it he would surely die.

      • However, as we know, in the Genesis narrative, Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of good and evil which resulted in their physical separation from God.

      • But along with that came a curse which was placed upon Adam and all of his descendants which was physical death.

    • So being that physical death was a consequence of man’s sin means that death was never to be a “normal” thing for humanity. We were meant to live forever!

      • So, because of Adam’s disobedience to the Lord God, death becomes a part of humanity.

      • Paul tells us this regarding death and its spread to all of humanity in Romans 5:12.

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—
  • This reality of the curse due to sin which brings death is not just splattered throughout the Old Testament, but the New Testament as well.

    • And the primary cause of death is the disobedience of man which began in the garden and continues to this day.

    • This is something that Yahweh reminds Moses of in Deuteronomy 30 as Israel is getting prepared to go into the land in the second giving of the Law.

    • Pay attention to the language God uses regarding man’s choice of obedience versus disobedience.

Deuteronomy 30:15 “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity;
Deuteronomy 30:16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.
Deuteronomy 30:17 “But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them,
Deuteronomy 30:18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.
Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,
Deuteronomy 30:20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
  • Notice that Moses’ instruction to this believing generation going into the land of Canaan was about right fellowship with the Lord, not justification.

    • It was in Moses’ earlier writing in Genesis 15:6 that Moses discussed the reality that Abraham was justified by faith – not works.

      • In other words, Abraham was not blessed because of what he did, but rather he was blessed for what he believed and in whom he believed.

    • That because Abraham believed God for what He said regarding the promise of a seed, the Lord provided blessing for Abraham.

      • So, when Moses is giving the Second giving of the Law, he is speaking about how the Israelites are to walk in right fellowship with God in the land.

    • And herein lies a biblical principal that translates to New Testament theology in that those who are in Christ are justified by faith.

      • And walking in right fellowship with the Lord allows the believer to grow in the second tense of salvation which is sanctification.

    • We do not obey the Lord as a pre-requisite to being saved. We are saved by His free grace alone!

      • And when we believed the Lord, according to His word, we then walk in obedience to grow in relationship with the Lord.

      • And we obey because we love the Lord and recognize what He has done for us through the death of Christ.

    • To show you how this connects to the New Testament writers regarding sanctification, check out Jesus’ words in John 14:15-21.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 14:16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
John 14:17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:19 “After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.
John 14:20 “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
  • So God tells Moses in Deuteronomy 30 that the Israelites are given a choice and that choice is to be made out of love;

    • Either choose life and prosperity, which is choosing what is good.

    • Or, choose death which is a result of doing evil.

    • Verse 16 of Deuteronomy 30 is captivating because it echos the very focus of Deuteronomy 6 of the Jewish Shema.

      • The commands of the Lord were to always remain on the minds and hearts of the Jewish people. (Love the Lord your God…) Loyal Love/affection

      • For from their constant abiding and dwelling with the Lord came about the ability to do good and to serve the Lord well.

    • But when the hearts of the people were turned away and they did not obey the instruction of the Lord, Yahweh states that they would surely perish by death or be removed from the land in captivity.

      • The Hebrew word for “perish” means to be destroyed or cease to exist.

    • So, Moses outlines for the believing generation that one’s great pleasure and enjoyment of life resides in their obedience to the word of God.

      • This statement of blessing in obedience also begs a question that may be in the back of your minds: When will this curse be lifted and through whom?

    • Knowing that the promises in which the Lord has provided covenantally would suggest that those who were not able to see the full promise would one day.

      • In other words, death is not the end, but is simply a doorway into either life with God or life apart from Him.

      • The reality is, although death is introduced in Genesis 3, death is not the end of the story.

      • A part of God’s redemptive work is also restoring creation back into proper order!

    • We find in Acts 13, Paul, after the reading of the Law and the Prophets (Hebrew Bible) in synagogue, he stands up and preaches a message on the history of Israel.

      • And Paul traces this history to a culminating point and person in whom the narrative of scripture and promises of God is fulfilled and about – Jesus Christ.

    • And in Paul doing so, he comes to an interesting point where he mentions this connecting thread from a past promise to David to Jesus.

      • Check out Acts 13:34-39.

Acts 13:32 “And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers,
Acts 13:33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today i have begotten You.’
Acts 13:34 “As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’
Acts 13:35 “Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.’
Acts 13:36 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay;
Acts 13:37 but He whom God raised did not undergo decay.
Acts 13:38 “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,
Acts 13:39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.
  • So, by way of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead leads to His exultation (being seated at the right hand of the Father) and from there eschatologically speaking, Jesus being crowned King in the Millennial Kingdom.

    • The reality is (spoiler alert) Solomon, as wise as he was, eventually gave way to his eyes and failed to obey the instructions of the Lord.

      • Therefore Israel, from then to now, is awaiting their Messiah-King who will rule with power and wisdom.

    • So that where David is currently “asleep” or in the presence of the Lord, Jesus Christ is alive and seated at the right hand of God.

      • Furthermore, there is an eternal and eschatological ramification for all who are in Christ and that is that death and decay is not our end.

      • Instead, there will be an eternity with the Lord from either our coming physical death or meeting Jesus in the clouds via the Rapture.

      • Paul says it this way in Romans 6:23:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Jesus says these words in John 11:25-26.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,
John 11:26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
  • So, the New Testament writers are able to understand that this curse of death is not the end.

    • Furthermore, the Person who lifts that curse is none other than God, through Christ.

      • Romans 7:24-25 tells us this:

Romans 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!.... So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
  • So back in 1 Kings 2, the phrase “David slept with his fathers”, expresses David’s physical death, yet speaks to the reality of a temporary resting and coming restoration.

    • As 2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

      • In other words, although our spirit will be separated from this physical body in death, it will be reunited with our resurrected bodies in the end.

      • So, David, too has this confidence in knowing that he too will see His Lord according to the word of His promise.

  • Lastly, we see that David is buried in the city of David which simply means he was buried in Jerusalem.

    • It’s in verses 11-12 that the author begins to round out the life of David in whom we have had the pleasure of studying in the Samuel narrative.

      • This section of the text really becomes this moment of great reflection of a man after God’s own heart.

    • A man that pursued the Lord well, served the Lord well, and worshipped the Lord with every opportunity given.

      • At the same time, we recognize that David wasn’t a perfect man.

      • He had certain character flaws, made plenty of mistakes, but David was never defined by those things.

    • Rather, David is known and remembered as the Lord’s King in which through David’s descendants would come God’s Son in whom would be the Messiah.

      • The author of the Kings mentions in verse 11 the years in which David reigned over Israel both in her weakest moments, and moments of great power.

    • David was a righteous king because the Lord God made Him righteous.

      • David was a just King because God made him just.

    • Furthermore, the death of David leads to the continuation of God’s covenantal promise regarding the Davidic Covenant.

      • And as a wise father, David has coached his son to listen to, follow, and obey the covenant keeping God of Israel.

      • For through Solomon’s obedience would come a firmly established Kingdom.

    • And so it would be that in verse 12, the writer notes that Solomon sat on the throne of his father, David and his kingdom was firmly established.

      • As we will see in the coming chapters, the use of the word “firmly” holds true because Solomon’s reign will begin with great power and wisdom.

    • Next week, we will complete Chapter 2 and see that David’s last words to Solomon will become Solomon’s first line of business.

      • Let’s Pray.