New English Translation
David's Final Words to Solomon
1 When David was close to death, he told Solomon his son: 2 "I am about to die. Be strong and become a man! 3 Do the job the LORD your God has assigned you by following his instructions and obeying his rules, commandments, regulations, and laws as written in the law of Moses. Then you will succeed in all you do and seek to accomplish, 4 and the LORD will fulfill his promise to me, 'If your descendants watch their step and live faithfully in my presence with all their heart and being, then,' he promised, 'you will not fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.'
5 "You know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me - how he murdered two commanders of the Israelite armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. During peacetime he struck them down like he would in battle; when he shed their blood as if in battle, he stained his own belt and the sandals on his feet. 6 Do to him what you think is appropriate, but don't let him live long and die a peaceful death.
7 "Treat fairly the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and provide for their needs, because they helped me when I had to flee from your brother Absalom.
8 "Note well, you still have to contend with Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who tried to call down upon me a horrible judgment when I went to Mahanaim. He came down and met me at the Jordan, and I solemnly promised him by the LORD, 'I will not strike you down with the sword.' 9 But now don't treat him as if he were innocent. You are a wise man and you know how to handle him; make sure he has a bloody death."
10 Then David passed away and was buried in the city of David. 11 David reigned over Israel forty years; he reigned in Hebron seven years, and in Jerusalem thirty-three years.
Solomon Secures the Throne
12 Solomon sat on his father David's throne, and his royal authority was firmly solidified.
13 Haggith's son Adonijah visited Bathsheba, Solomon's mother. She asked, "Do you come in peace?" He answered, "Yes." 14 He added, "I have something to say to you." She replied, "Speak." 15 He said, "You know that the kingdom was mine and all Israel considered me king. But then the kingdom was given to my brother, for the LORD decided it should be his. 16 Now I'd like to ask you for just one thing. Please don't refuse me." She said, "Go ahead and ask." 17 He said, "Please ask King Solomon if he would give me Abishag the Shunammite as a wife, for he won't refuse you." 18 Bathsheba replied, "That's fine, I'll speak to the king on your behalf."
19 So Bathsheba visited King Solomon to speak to him on Adonijah's behalf. The king got up to greet her, bowed to her, and then sat on his throne. He ordered a throne to be brought for the king's mother, and she sat at his right hand. 20 She said, "I would like to ask you for just one small favor. Please don't refuse me." He said, "Go ahead and ask, my mother, for I would not refuse you." 21 She said, "Allow Abishag the Shunammite to be given to your brother Adonijah as a wife." 22 King Solomon answered his mother, "Why just request Abishag the Shunammite for him? Since he is my older brother, you should also request the kingdom for him, for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab son of Zeruiah!"
23 King Solomon then swore an oath by the LORD, "May God judge me severely, if Adonijah does not pay for this request with his life! 24 Now, as certainly as the LORD lives (he who made me secure, allowed me to sit on my father David's throne, and established a dynasty for me as he promised), Adonijah will be executed today!" 25 King Solomon then sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he killed Adonijah.
26 The king then told Abiathar the priest, "Go back to your property in Anathoth. You deserve to die, but today I will not kill you because you did carry the ark of the sovereign LORD before my father David and you suffered with my father through all his difficult times." 27 Solomon dismissed Abiathar from his position as priest of the LORD, fulfilling the decree of judgment the LORD made in Shiloh against the family of Eli.
28 When the news reached Joab (for Joab had supported Adonijah, although he had not supported Absalom), he ran to the tent of the LORD and grabbed hold of the horns of the altar. 29 When King Solomon heard that Joab had run to the tent of the LORD and was right there beside the altar, he ordered Benaiah son of Jehoiada, "Go, strike him down." 30 When Benaiah arrived at the tent of the LORD, he said to him, "The king says, 'Come out!'" But he replied, "No, I will die here!" So Benaiah sent word to the king and reported Joab's reply. 31 The king told him, "Do as he said! Strike him down and bury him. Take away from me and from my father's family the guilt of Joab's murderous, bloody deeds. 32 May the LORD punish him for the blood he shed; behind my father David's back he struck down and murdered with the sword two men who were more innocent and morally upright than he - Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel's army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah's army. 33 May Joab and his descendants be perpetually guilty of their shed blood, but may the LORD give perpetual peace to David, his descendants, his family, and his dynasty." 34 So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up and executed Joab; he was buried at his home in the wilderness. 35 The king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada to take his place at the head of the army, and the king appointed Zadok the priest to take Abiathar's place.
36 Next the king summoned Shimei and told him, "Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there - but you may not leave there to go anywhere! 37 If you ever do leave and cross the Kidron Valley, know for sure that you will certainly die! You will be responsible for your own death." 38 Shimei said to the king, "My master the king's proposal is acceptable. Your servant will do as you say." So Shimei lived in Jerusalem for a long time.
39 Three years later two of Shimei's servants ran away to King Achish son of Maacah of Gath. Shimei was told, "Look, your servants are in Gath." 40 So Shimei got up, saddled his donkey, and went to Achish at Gath to find his servants; Shimei went and brought back his servants from Gath. 41 When Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had then returned, 42 the king summoned Shimei and said to him, "You will recall that I made you take an oath by the LORD, and I solemnly warned you, 'If you ever leave and go anywhere, know for sure that you will certainly die.' You said to me, 'The proposal is acceptable; I agree to it.' 43 Why then have you broken the oath you made before the LORD and disobeyed the order I gave you?" 44 Then the king said to Shimei, "You are well aware of the way you mistreated my father David. The LORD will punish you for what you did. 45 But King Solomon will be empowered and David's dynasty will endure permanently before the LORD." 46 The king then gave the order to Benaiah son of Jehoiada who went and executed Shimei. So Solomon took firm control of the kingdom.
King James Version
1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,
2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
3 And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
4 That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
5 Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon 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 hoar head go down to the grave in peace.
7 But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother.
8 And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword.
9 Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.
10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
11 And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.
12 ¶ Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.
13 ¶ And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.
14 He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.
15 And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's: for it was his from the LORD.
16 And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.
17 And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.
18 And Bath-sheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.
19 ¶ Bath-sheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand.
20 Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay.
21 And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.
22 And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.
23 Then king Solomon sware by the LORD, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life.
24 Now therefore, as the LORD liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.
25 And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.
26 ¶ And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted.
27 So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the LORD; that he might fulfil the word of the LORD, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.
28 ¶ Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.
29 And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him.
30 And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the LORD, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.
31 And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father.
32 And the LORD shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah.
33 Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the LORD.
34 So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.
35 And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his room over the host: and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar.
36 ¶ And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither.
37 For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head.
38 And Shimei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.
39 And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, Behold, thy servants be in Gath.
40 And Shimei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath.
41 And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again.
42 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the LORD, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst unto 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 have charged thee with?
44 The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the LORD shall return thy wickedness upon thine 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 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.