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his brother Adonijah.* He also called for Abiathar, the priest, and said to him, "I will not put thee to death, because of those hardships which thou hast endured with my father, and because of the ark wbich thou hast borne along with him; but I inflict the following punishment upon thee, because thou wast among Adonijala's followers, and wast of his party. Do not thon continue here, vor come any more into my sight: but go to thine own town, and live on thine own fields, and there abide all thy life; for thou hast offended so greatly, that it is not just thou shouldest retain thy dignity any longer.” For the aforementioned cause therefore it was, that the house of Ithamar was deprived of the sacerdotal dignity, as God had foretold to Eli, the grandfather of Abiatbar. So it was transferred to the family of Phineas, to Zadok. Now those that were of the family of Phineas, but lived privately during the time that the highpriesthood was transferred to the house of Ithamar, (of which family Eli was the first that received it) were these that follow: Bukki, the son of Abishua, the high-priest; his son was Joatham;t Joatham's son was Meraioth; Meraioth's son was Aropheus ;# Aropheus's son was Ahitub; and Ahitub's son was Zadok; who was first made high-priest in the reign of David.

Now when Joab, the captain of his host, had heard of the slaughter of Adonijah, he was greatly afraid, for he was a greater friend to him than to Solomon; and suspecting, not without reason, that he was in danger on account of his favour to Adonijah, he fled to the altar, and supposed he might procure safety thereby to himself; because of the king's piety towards God. But when some told the king what Joab's supposal was, be sent Benaiah, and commanded bim to raise him up froin the altar, and bring him to the judgment seat, in order to make his defence. However Joab said he would not leave the altar, but would die there, rather than in another place. And wben Benaiah had reported his answer to the king, Solomon commanded him to cut|| off his head there, and let him take that as a pun

* 1 Kings ii. 25. Zerahiah, 1 Chron. vi. 6. # Amariah, 1 Chron. vi. 7.

|| This execution upon Joab, as a murderer, by slaying him, even when he had taken sanctuary at God's altar, is perfectly agreeable to the laws of Moses, which enjoins, that “If a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour to slay him with guile, thou shalt take bim from mine altar, that he may die.” Exod. xxi. 14.

§ It was formerly very customary among princes, to employ their officers, or VOL. II.


ishmentforthose two captains of his host whom he had wickedly slain, and to bury his body; that his sins might never leave his family; but that himself and his father, by Joab's death might be guiltless. And when Benaiah had done what he was commanded to do he was himself appointed to be captain of the whole army. The king also made Zadok high-priest, in the room of Abiatbar, whom he had removed.

But as to Shimei, Solomon commanded that he should build him a house, and stay at Jerusalem, and attend upon him; and should not have authority to go over the brook Cedron; and that if he disobeyed that command, death should be his punishment. He also threatened him so terribly, that he compelled him to take an oath, that he would obey. Accordingly, Shimei said, that he had reason to thank Solomon for giving him such an injunction, and added an oath that he would do as he bade him: and, leaving his own country, he made his abode in Jerusalem.t · But three years afterwards,# when he heard tbat two of his servants were run away from him, and were in Gatb, he went for his servants in haste; and when he was come back with them, the king perceived it, and was much displeased that he had contemned his commands, and what was more, had no regard to the oaths he had sworn to God. So he called him, and said, “ Didst not thou swear never to leave, nor to go out of this city to another ? Thou shalt not therefore escape punishment for thy perjury, but I will punish thee, thou wicked wretch! both for this crime, and for those wherewith thou didst abuse my father, when he was in his flight; that thou mayest know that wicked men gain nothing at last; although they be not punished immediately upon their unjust practices; but that in all the time wherein they think themselves secure, because they have yet suffered nothing, their punishment increases, and is heavier upon them; and that to a greater degree than if they had been punished immediately upon the commission of their crimes.” So Benaiah, on the king's command, slew Shimei.

greatest confidants, in such like executions. Among the Romans, the soldiers were always the persons who carried to prison, to torture, or to execution, such as were found guilty of any offence; and this Tertullian makes an argument to dissuade Christians from engaging in their wars, lest thereby they should be obliged to imprison, punish, or execute malefactors. Io Dan. ii. 24, we read, that Nebuchadnezzar sent Arioch, who was chief commander of his troops, to destroy the wise men of Babylon, because they could not interpret bis dream ; and therefore we need less wonder, that we find Solomon employing Benaiah, the captain of his guard, on the like office. But whether he did not first drag Joab from the al. far before he slew him, for fear of polluting the holy place with blood, or whether Solomon did not rather think fit to have him killed even at the altar, and let all men see, that no place, though never so sacred, should secure any man from the hand of justice, commentators have not agreed. Calmet's and Patrick's Comnen

tary. B.

* 1 Kings ii. 35.

# Shimei, as we read, was a very powerful man. When he came to meet king David, and to beg pardon for his offence, he had a thousand of his own tribe to accompany him, 2 Sam. xix. 17, and therefore Solomon might think proper to confine him to the city of Jerusalem, that, being removed from the place where his family and interest lay, to one where he was but a stranger, and sufficiently odious for his former ill treatment of the late king, he might be incapable of rais. ing any tumults or seditions ; and that, being in this public theatre, all his words and actions might be narrowly observed, which, considering his busy and wicked temper, might give Solomon a fair advantage against him, and, as the manner of some is, the very prohibition itself might probably inflame his desire to transgress it. Pool's Annotations. B.

About an. 1052.





SOLOMON having settled himself firmly ip his kingdom, and having brought his enemies to punishment; married the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. * He also built the walls of Jerusalemt much larger and stronger than those which had been before; and thenceforward he managed public affairs very peaceably. Nor was his youth any hindrance in the exercise of justice, the observance of the law, or the remembrance of what charges his father had given him at his death: but he discharged every duty with greater accuracy than might have been expected from such as are aged, and of the greatest prudence. He now resolved to go to Hebron,* and sacrifice to God upon the brazen altar that was built by Moses. Accordingly he offered there a thousand burnt-offerings. And when he had done this, he thought he had payed great honour to God. For as he was asleep that very night, God appeared to him, and commanded him to ask of him some gifts which he was ready to bestow on bim, as a reward for his piety. So Solomon asked of God what was most excellent, and of the greatest worth in itself: what God would bestow with the greatest joy; and what it was most profitable for man to receive. For he did not desire either gold, silver, or any other riches, as a young man might naturally have done; for these are the things that generally are esteemed by most men, as alone of the greatest worth, and of the best gifts of God. “But,” said he, "Give me, O Lord, a sound mind, and a good understanding; whereby I may speak and judge the people according to truth and righteousness.” With these petitions God was well pleased, and promised to give him all those things that he had not mentioned in bis option, riches, glory, victory over his energies; and in the first place, understanding and wisdom; and this in such a degree, as no other mortal man, neither kings nor ordinary persons ever had. He also promised to preserve the kingdom to his posterity for a very long time; if he continued righteous and obedient to him, and imitated his father in those things wherein be excelled. When Solomon heard this from God, he leaped out of bis bed; and when he bad worshipped him he returned to Jerusalem; and after he had offered great sacrifices before the tabernacle, he feasted all his own family.t

* i Ki iii. 1.

+ This building the walls of Jerusalem soon after David's death, illustrates the conclusion of the fifty-first Psalm, where David prays: Build thou the walls of Jerusalem ; they being, it seems, unfinished or imperfect at that time. See VIII. 6, and 1 Kings ix. 15.

* Although both the Hebrew and the Septuagint say 1 Kings iii. 4, 5, and 2 Chron. i. 3, that the place whither Solomon now went, to the tabernacle or great brazen altar, was Gibeon, and not Hebron, as Josephus's copy had it; yet is Josephus's copy, confirmed by the vow of Absalom, which was according to our common copies, to be performed not at Gibeon, but at Hebron. 2 Sam. xv.7, 12. And since Gibeah or Gibeon denotes a hill or an elevation, as Josephus elsewhere truly observes, VI. the original text perhaps meant an elevated place at Hebron. See the very same difference between Gibeon in our copies, Jeremiah xli. 12, and Hebron, in Josepbus's, X. 9, which probably requires the very same reconciliation also.

* 1 Kings jii. 15.

In those days a cause came before him in judgment, which it was very difficult to find any end of. And I think it necessary to explain the fact about which the contest was, that such as peruse my writings may know what difficult cause Solomon was to determine; and those that are concerned in such matters may take this sagacity of the king's for a pattern, that they may the more easily give sentence about such questions. There were two women,* who were harlots in the course of their lives, that came to him; of whom she that seemed to be injured began to speak first, and said, “O king! I and this other woman dwell together in one room. Now it came to pass, that we both bore a son at the same hour of the same day, and on the third day this woman overlaid her son, and killed it; and then took my son out of my bosom, and removed him to herself; and as I was asleep, she laid her dead son in my arms. Now when, in the morning, I was desirous to give the breast to the child, I did not find my own; but saw this woman's dead child lying by me; for I examined it attentively, and found it so to be. Hence it was that I demanded my son; and when I could not obtain him, I have recourse, my lord, to thy assistance. For since we were alone, and there was nobody there that could convict her, or affright her, she cares for nothing; but perseveres in an obstinate denial of the fact.

When this woman had spoken, the king asked the other, what she had to say in contradiction to that story? And when she had denied that she had done what was charged upon her, and said that it was her child that was living, and that it was her antagonist's child that was dead; and when no one could

* These two women are said in the text to be barlots ; but the Hebrew word, as we took notice in the case of Rabab, may equally signify a hostess, or one who kept a house of public entertainment; and that it is so to be taken here we have these reasons to presume : that as all public prostitution was severely forbidden by the law, Deut. xxiii. 17, women of this infamous character durst not have presented themselves just and so wise a king : that women of this lewd behaviour seldom do become mothers of children, and when they chance to have any, are not so solicitous for their preservation, but rather rejoice when they have got rid of them. There is no reason to suppose then, that these women were common barlots; and yet it is generally thought, that they were both unnarried persons, and guilty of fornication, because no mention is made of their husbands, whose office it was, if they had any, to contest the matter for their wives. Pool's An. nuolations, and Calmet's Commentary. B.

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