1 Kings Chapter 2 to 3 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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King David Dies

2 The time came when David was about to die. So David talked to Solomon and told him, 2“I am about to die, like all men must. But you are growing stronger and becoming a man. 3Now, carefully obey all the commands of the Lord your God. Carefully obey all his laws and commands and decisions and agreements. Obey everything that is written in the Law of Moses. If you do this, then you will be successful in everything you do and every place you go. 4And if you obey the Lord, then the Lord will keep his promise about me. The Lord said, ‘If your sons carefully live the way I tell them, sincerely, with all their heart, then the king of Israel will always be a man from your family.’” 5David also said, “You remember what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me. He killed two of the commanders of Israel’s army. He killed Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. Remember, he killed them during a time of peace! The blood from these men splashed on the sword belt and army boots he was wearing. I should have punished him. 6But you are the king now. So you should punish him in the way you think is the most wise. {But you must be sure that he is killed.} Don’t let him die peacefully of old age! 7“Be kind to the children of Barzillai of Gilead. Let them be your friends and eat at your table. They helped me when I ran away from your brother Absalom. 8“And remember, Shimei son of Gera, is still around here. He is from the family group of Benjamin in Bahurim. Remember that he said very bad things against me on the day that I ran away to Mahanaim. Then he came down to meet me at the Jordan River. I made a promise to him. I promised before the Lord that I would not kill Shimei. 9Now, don’t leave him unpunished. You are a wise man. You will know what you must do to him. But don’t let him die peacefully of old age.” 10Then David died. He was buried in the City of David. 11David ruled Israel 40 years. He ruled seven years in Hebron and 33 years in Jerusalem.

Solomon Takes Control of His Kingdom

12Now Solomon was king. He sat on the throne of his father David and was in complete control of his kingdom. 13Then Adonijah son of Haggith went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. Bathsheba asked him, “Do you come in peace?” Adonijah answered, “Yes. This is a peaceful visit. 14I have something to say to you.” Bathsheba said, “Then speak.” 15Adonijah said, “You remember that at one time the kingdom was mine. All the people of Israel thought I was their king. But things changed. Now my brother is the king. The Lord chose him to be king. 16So now I have one thing to ask you. Please do not refuse me.” Bathsheba answered, “What do you want?” 17Adonijah said, “I know that King Solomon will do anything you ask him. So please ask him to let me marry Abishag, the woman from Shunem.” 18Then Bathsheba said, “Fine. I will speak to the king for you.” 19So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to talk with him. King Solomon saw her and he stood to meet her. Then he bowed down to her and sat on the throne. He told some servants to bring another throne for his mother. Then she sat down at his right side. 20Bathsheba said to him, “I have one small thing to ask you. Please do not refuse me.” The king answered, “You can ask anything you want, mother. I will not refuse you.” 21So Bathsheba said, “Let your brother Adonijah marry Abishag, the woman from Shunem.” 22King Solomon answered his mother, “Why are you asking me to give Abishag to Adonijah? Why don’t you just ask me to let him be king too! After all, he is my older brother. Abiathar the priest and Joab will support him!” 23Then Solomon made a promise with the Lord. He said, “I swear (promise) that I will make Adonijah pay for this. And it will cost him his life! 24The Lord made me the king of Israel. He has given me the throne that belonged to my father David. The Lord kept his promise and gave the kingdom to me and my family. Now, as sure as the Lord is alive, I swear (promise) that Adonijah will die today!” 25King Solomon gave the command to Benaiah. And Benaiah went out and killed Adonijah. 26Then King Solomon said to Abiathar the priest, “I should kill you, but I will let you go back to your home in Anathoth. I will not kill you now because you helped to carry the Holy Box* of the Lord while marching with my father David. And I know that you shared in the hard times, just like my father.” 27Solomon told Abiathar that he could not continue to serve as a priest of the Lord. This happened the way the Lord said it would. God said this about Eli the priest and his family at Shiloh. {And Abiathar was from Eli’s family.} 28Joab heard about this and became afraid. He had supported Adonijah, but not Absalom. Joab ran to the tent of the Lord and held the horns of the altar.* 29Someone told King Solomon that Joab was at the altar in the Lord’s Tent. So Solomon ordered Benaiah to go and kill him. 30Benaiah went into the Lord’s Tent and said to Joab, “The king says, ‘Come out!’” But Joab answered, “No, I will die here.” So Benaiah went back to the king and told him what Joab had said. 31Then the king commanded Benaiah, “Do as he says! Kill him there. Then bury him. Then my family and I will be free of the guilt of Joab. This guilt was caused because Joab killed innocent people. 32Joab killed two men who were much better than himself. They were Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. Abner was the commander of Israel’s army and Amasa was the commander of Judah’s army. My father David did not know at that time that Joab had killed them. So the Lord will punish Joab for those men he killed. 33He will be guilty for their deaths. And his family will also be guilty forever. But God will bring peace for David, his descendants,* his family of kings, and his kingdom forever.” 34So Benaiah son of Jehoiada killed Joab. Joab was buried near his home in the desert. 35Solomon then made Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, commander of the army in Joab’s place. Solomon also made Zadok the new high priest in Abiathar’s place. 36Next, the king sent to get Shimei. The king said to him, “Build a house for yourself here in Jerusalem. Live in that house and don’t leave the city. 37If you leave the city and go any further than Kidron Brook, then you will be killed. And it will be your own fault.” 38So Shimei answered, “That is fine, my king. I will obey you.” So Shimei lived in Jerusalem for a long time. 39But three years later, two of Shimei’s slaves ran away. They went to Achish son of Maacah, the king of Gath. Shimei heard that his slaves were in Gath. 40So Shimei put his saddle on his donkey and went to King Achish at Gath. He went to find his slaves. He found them there and brought them back home. 41But someone told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and returned. 42So Solomon sent for him. Solomon said, “I used the Lord’s name and swore (promised) that you would die if you left Jerusalem. I warned you that if you went anywhere, your death would be your own fault. And you agreed to what I said. You said that you would obey me. 43Why did you break your promise? Why did you not obey my command? 44You know the many wrong things you did against my father David. Now the Lord will punish you for those wrong things. 45But the Lord will bless me. He will make David’s kingdom safe forever.” 46Then the king ordered Benaiah to kill Shimei, and he did. Now Solomon had full control of his kingdom.

Holy Box The Box of the Agreement. Also called “The Ark of the Covenant,” the box containing the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them and the other things that proved God was with the people of Israel during their time in the Sinai Desert. held the horns of the altar This showed he was asking for mercy. The law said that if a person ran into the holy place and held onto the corners of the altar he should not be punished.  descendants A person’s children and all of their future families.

Solomon Asks for Wisdom

3 Solomon made an agreement with Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, by marrying his daughter. Solomon brought her to the City of David.* At this time, Solomon was still building his palace and the temple of the Lord. Solomon was also building a wall around Jerusalem. 2The temple had not yet been finished. So people were still making animal sacrifices* on altars at the high places.* 3Solomon showed that he loved the Lord. He did this by obeying all the things his father David had told him to do. {But Solomon did something David did not tell him to do.} Solomon still used the high places to offer sacrifices and to burn incense.* 4King Solomon went to Gibeon to offer a sacrifice. He went there because that was the most important high place.* Solomon offered 1,000 offerings on that altar. 5While Solomon was at Gibeon, the Lord came to him during the night in a dream. God said, “Ask for anything you want. I will give it to you.” 6Solomon answered, “You were very kind to your servant, my father David. He followed you. He was good and lived right. And you showed the greatest kindness to him when you allowed his son to rule on his throne {after him}. 7Lord my God, you have allowed me to be the king in my father’s place. But I am like a little child. I do not have the wisdom I need to do the things I must do. 8I, your servant, am here among your chosen people. There are many, many people. There are too many to count. {So a ruler must make many decisions among them.} 9So I ask that you give me wisdom so that I can rule and judge the people in the right way. This will allow me to know the difference between right and wrong. Without this great wisdom, it is impossible to rule these great people.” 10The Lord was happy that Solomon asked him for this. 11So God said to him, “You did not ask for long life for yourself. And you did not ask for riches for yourself. You did not ask for the death of your enemies. You asked for the wisdom to listen and make the right decisions. 12So, I will give you the thing you asked. I will make you wise and intelligent. I will make your wisdom so great, that there has never in the past been anyone like you. And in the future, there will never be anyone like you. 13Also, to reward you, I will give you those things that you did not ask for. All your life, you will have riches and honor. There will be no other king in the world as great as you. 14I ask you to follow me and obey my laws and commands. Do this the way your father David did. If you do this, then I will also give you a long life.” 15Solomon woke up. He knew that God had talked to him in the dream. Then Solomon went to Jerusalem and stood before the Box of the Lord’s Agreement.* Solomon offered a burnt offering for the Lord. And he made fellowship offerings to the Lord. After that, he gave a party for all of the leaders and officials that helped him rule. 16One day two women that were prostitutes* came to Solomon. They stood before the king. 17One of the women said, “Sir, this woman and I live in the same house. We were both pregnant and almost ready to give birth to our babies. I gave birth to my baby while she was there with me. 18Three days later, this woman also gave birth to her baby. There was no other person in the house with us. There were only the two of us. 19One night, while this woman was asleep with her baby, the baby died. 20So, during the night, she took my son from my bed while I was asleep. She carried him to her bed. Then she put the dead baby in my bed. 21The next morning, I woke up and was ready to feed my baby. But I saw that the baby was dead. Then I looked at it more closely. I saw that it was not my baby.” 22But the other woman said, “No! The living baby is mine. The dead baby is yours!” But the first woman said, “No! You are wrong! The dead baby is yours and the living baby is mine!” So the two women argued in front of the king. 23Then King Solomon said, “Each of you says that the living baby is your own. And each of you says that the dead baby belongs to the other woman.” 24Then King Solomon sent his servant to get a sword. 25And King Solomon said, “This is what we will do. Cut the living baby in two pieces. Give each woman half of the baby.” 26The second woman said, “That is fine. Cut the baby into two pieces. Then neither of us will have him.” But the first woman, the real mother, was full of love for her son. She said to the king, “Please, Sir, don’t kill the baby! Give it to her.” 27Then King Solomon said, “Don’t kill the baby! Give it to the first woman. She is the real mother.” 28The people of Israel heard about King Solomon’s decision. They respected and honored him very much because he was wise. They saw that he had the wisdom of God* in making the right decisions.

City of David The southeast and oldest part of the city of Jerusalem. sacrifice(s) A gift to God. Usually it was a special animal that was killed and burned on an altar. high place(s) Places for worshiping God or false gods. These places were often on the hills and mountains. incense Special dried tree sap. Burned to make a sweetsmelling smoke, it was offered as a gift to God. Box of the Lord’s Agreement Also called “The Ark of the Covenant,” the box containing the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them and the other things that proved God was with the people of Israel during their time in the Sinai Desert. prostitute(s) A woman paid by men for sexual sin. Sometimes this also means a person that is not faithful to God and stops following him.  the wisdom of God Or, “very great wisdom.”

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