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Deeper Commentary


1Ki 2:1 Now the days of David drew near that he should die; and he commanded Solomon his son saying-
According to Josephus (Antiquities 7.14,7) the events of 1 Chronicles 28, 29 happened in the interval between the first anointing of Solomon and the death of David.

1Ki 2:2 I am going the way of all the earth-
This is quoting the words of Joshua, as do the second part of the verse. David has Joshua in mind because he considers that Solomon is going to now inherit the Kingdom.

Be strong therefore, and show yourself a man-
As noted above, this is the language of Joshua (Dt. 31:7,23; Josh. 1:6,7). See on :3. "Show yourself a man" may refer to the fact Solomon was very young (1 Kings 3:7) and needed to quickly act as an adult.  

David seems to have theoretically recognized that the building of the temple was conditional on Solomon's spirituality, but he overlooked this in his enthusiasm for Solomon to be the Messiah, who may be the reference of "a man". He tells Solomon to show himself a man, and goes on in :4 to speak of how “a man” would eternally reign on his Messianic throne. He was encouraging Solomon to be and act like Messiah. Ps. 127 is "For Solomon" (Ps. 127:2 "beloved" = Heb. Jedidah), and warns him that his labour for the temple will be in vain unless God builds it. The Psalm basically says that God will build Solomon a house in the sense of a family centred in the beloved seed who would die [“sleep”] to enable it; and therefore Solomon should not be so sweating himself day and night to build God a house / temple. This is the very message which God had given David earlier. David and Solomon evidently shelved their knowledge of the fact that Heaven is God's dwelling place. It would seem that Solomon particularly was guilty of a false humility; there is a gross contradiction within his words of 2 Chron. 6:2,18: "I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever... But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built?". This is one of several hints that Solomon felt that the full fulfilment of the Davidic promises was to be found in him (cp. 2 Chron. 6:10). He failed to look forward to the spirit of Christ, instead becoming obsessed with the achievement of his own works. He was largely encouraged in this by David, who seems to have felt that Solomon was the Messiah figure the promises spoke about. Thus Ps.72 is dedicated to Solomon, and yet it speaks clearly of the messianic Kingdom. In the same way as David came to misquote and misapply the promises God made to him, Solomon did likewise. God told David that He did not want a physical house, because He had never commanded this to be done at any time in the past. Solomon misquotes this in 2 Chron. 6:5,6 to mean that God had never asked for a physical house in the past, but now he had asked David's son to build such a house in Jerusalem.

1Ki 2:3 and keep the instruction of Yahweh 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 prosper in all that you do, and wherever you turn yourself-
In Prov. 29:14 “The king that faithfully judges the poor, his throne shall be established for ever”, Solomon is clearly referring to the promises to David, which he assumed were about him. He thought that because he had judged the poor harlots wisely, therefore he would be the promised Messiah. And this was just what David his father had hoped and expected of him. David had even asked Solomon to “do wisely” i.e. to show wisdom, in order that the promises to him about Messiah would be fulfilled (1 Kings 2:3 RVmg.). So this was surely one of Solomon’s motives in giving them justice and being ‘wise’; he sought to live out his father’s expectations and to fulfil the requirements of the Messiah figure.

"That you may prosper" is s.w. "to make one wise" (Gen. 3:6). David's desire was that Solomon would be "wise" just as David had been "wise / prospered" (1 Sam. 18:5,14,15), and so Solomon asked God for wisdom and wanted to be wise. But his subsequent life showed this was because he wanted to live out parental expectation rather than be personally wise. And so he later turned away from that wisdom in his personal life. The language of prospering continues the Joshua allusions (see on :2; Josh. 1:7,8).

1Ki 2:4 This is so that Yahweh may establish His word which He spoke concerning me saying, ‘If your 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 you’, He said, ‘a man on the throne of Israel’-
David wanted Solomon to be that "man" (:2). Solomon's prophetic sonship of David was conditional upon him preserving or observing Yahweh's ways (1 Kings 2:4; 1 Chron. 22:13; 2 Chron. 7:17); but he didn't preserve or observe them (1 Kings 11:10,11); despite David praying that Solomon would be given a heart to observe them (1 Chron. 29:19). We can pray for God to work upon the hearts of others, but He will not force people against their own deepest will and heart position. Solomon stresses overmuch how God would keep or preserve the righteous (Prov. 2:8; 3:26), without recognizing the conditional aspect of this. Why did Solomon go wrong? His Proverbs are true enough, but he stresses that obedience to his wisdom and teaching would preserve his hearers (Prov. 4:4; 6:22; 7:1; 8:32; 15:5), preservation was through following the example of the wise (Prov. 2:20); rather than stressing obedience to God's ways, and replacing David his father's simple love of God with a love of academic wisdom: "Yahweh preserves all those who love Him" (Ps. 145:20).

Another example of Solomon misquoting God is in 2 Chron. 6:6. Solomon claims that God said: “I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there”. God had chosen no resting place, although it would have been politically convenient for Solomon if the city of Jerusalem as a city was where God had chosen to dwell. And so he kept thinking that way until he persuaded himself that in fact this was what God had said. David had charged Solomon with the words which God had spoken to him about Solomon: “If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul” (1 Kings 2:4). But Solomon subtly changes this when he reminds God of how He had supposedly told David: “There shall not fail thee a man to sit on the throne of Israel; so that they children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me” (1 Kings 8:25). Two things become apparent here:

- The conditionality of the promise to David about Solomon is totally overlooked.  “If thy children…” becomes “so that…”, with the implication that David would always have descendants on the throne who would walk obediently before God. The possibility of personal failure had been removed by Solomon from his own perception of God.

- God’s desire that Solomon should “walk before me in truth” was changed to “walk before me as thou [David] hast walked before me”. This defined walking before God personally as having the relationship with God which your father had. And so often we have made the same mistake. The call to personally follow the Lord has become displaced by a following Him through others.

Notice how Solomon says these words to God Himself. Solomon had persuaded himself that this truly was what God had asked of David and himself, and so he comes out with these words to God.

There was no sense in Solomon that he might have the possibility of failure, of rejection by God. The promises to David were conditional- David pointed this out to Solomon in 1 Kings 2:4: "If thy children take heed to their way...". But Solomon misquotes this in 1 Kings 8:25: "Now therefore, O LORD, the God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way to walk before me as thou hast walked before me". Some translations offer paraphrases of the difficult "so that" phrase. But there's no getting around it. Solomon is saying 'Give me what you promised me, without conditions, so that I will fulfil those conditions... it's not possible for anyone to fulfil those conditions unless you first give them what you conditionally promised'. The logic is all upside down, and is very demanding upon God, implying that any failure to "take heed to the way" would be because God hadn't given what He promised. It's a telling insight into Solomon's mind. It was all about him, rather than all about God and glorifying Him.

Note that all this happened at the very start of Solomon's reign; it seems to me that he was always on the wrong track, rather than as it were 'going wrong' later on.

1Ki 2:5 Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me and what he did to the two captains of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner, and to Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war on his sash that was about his waist, and in his shoes that were on his feet-
The only person in David's life whose belt is noted is Joab (2 Sam. 20:8; 1 Kings 2:5). But Ps. 109:8,19 wish curses upon the man who was well known for his belt. See notes there for the extent of David's anger with Joab and his desire for the man's condemnation because of it- even though David was not himself perfect. Solomon's comment that Joab shed the blood of war in peace, perhaps meaning 'in the name of peace', may allude to how Joab killed Amasa whilst asking him whether "Is all well with you?", using the word shalom, "peace".

1Ki 2:6 Do therefore according to your wisdom, and don’t let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace-
Solomon alludes to this in Prov. 19:5,9: "A false witness shall not be unpunished; he who utters lies shall perish". See on :5. Solomon is alluding to his father David's parting commandments to him to destroy all the opposition to him (1 Kings 2:6,9). So whilst what Solomon writes is true, he is harnessing Divine truth to his own agenda of self justification. And we who claim to hold His truths must take warning.

Joab was David's cousin, who had shown David a lifetime of loyalty. But we sense a personality conflict between the two of them, and indeed it seems that originally Joab had supported Absalom's idea of seizing power, but then fell out with him; and he supported Adonijah's. David held Joab as too hard a man, not understanding grace; whereas Joab held David to be far too soft, and increasingly lacking strong leadership skills in his old age. The support for Adonijah was perhaps more because of disillusion with David than because Adonijah personally had much to offer. Yet to order his death seems to me absolutely lacking in grace.


1Ki 2:7 But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those who eat at your table; for so they came to me when I fled from Absalom your brother-
On balance, over a lifetime, Joab had shown David far more kindness than Barzillai. So it is so sad that David, who had experienced so much grace, at the end of his life was so lacking in it and so short termist in his view. After Solomon's ascension, there was judgment and reward; in the form of being able to eat at his table (1 Kings 2:7 cp. 2 Sam. 9: 7,10; 19:28).  After Christ's return, the reward is to break bread with Him (Lk. 14:15; 22:30). Breaking bread with Him now is a sign of joyful fellowship with Him in anticipation of that; it shouldn’t therefore be a scary, worrying experience.

1Ki 2:8 Behold, there is with you Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjamite of Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim; but he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I vowed to him by Yahweh saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword’-
David earlier forgave Shimei for cursing him. But he tells Solomon to bring down that old man’s white hairs to the grave with blood on them- a crude image for the murder of an old man (:9). And he uses the same awful turn of phrase to ask Solomon to do this also to his lifelong friend Joab (1 Kings 2:6,9). Surely grace would’ve found another way? He was therefore barred from building the temple because of the amount of blood he had shed (1 Chron. 22:8).

David graciously overlooked Shimei's cursing, promising him that he would not die because of it (2 Sam. 16:10,11; 19:23). But he didn't keep up that level of grace to the end: he later asked Solomon to ensure that Shimei  was killed for that incident (1 Kings 2:8,9). And one wonders whether it was Shimei’s words which so broke David’s heart that he later wrote: “Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man…as he loved cursing, so let it come unto him; as he delighted not in blessing, so may it be far from him. He clothed himself also with cursing as with a garment…” (Ps. 109:16-18).

1Ki 2:9 Now therefore don’t hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man-
It is significant that Solomon's  spiritual life  has  more appearance of spirituality the closer we get back to David's death. David had asked for wisdom (Ps. 119:34), and even Solomon’s request for wisdom can be seen as rooted in a desire to live out parental expectation more than purely from his own volition. For David had told him: “You are a wise man” (1 Kings 2:9), and Solomon wanted to live up to that expectation. In  other words, David's influence was extremely strong, but  it  decreased over the years. Yet even at the end, Solomon’s wisdom stayed with him in that some aspects of his upbringing stayed with him- he could never escape from it. When he says that he has never found a truly wise woman, but he did know one wise man (Ecc. 7:28) he may well have had David in mind.

And you will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down to Sheol with blood-
Solomon alludes to this in Prov. 21:11: "When the mocker is punished, the simple gains wisdom. When the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge". This seems to be justifying David's command for Solomon to punish the mocker Shimei, who had cursed him at the time of Absalom's rebellion. At the time, David had forgiven Shimei and forbidden his men to kill him. But at the end of his life, David didn't maintain that level of grace, and commanded Solomon to ensure that he brought Shimei's grey hairs down to the grave with blood. And Solomon justified this collapse of forgiveness and grace by saying that it would give wisdom to others and instruct the wise.

Shimei was a wicked man who hated God's servant David. God told him to curse David (2 Sam. 16:10). Afterwards, Shimei repents and acknowledges that by doing so he sinned (2 Sam. 19:20). And although David recognized that God had told Shimei to curse him (2 Sam. 16:10), David tells Solomon not to hold Shimei "guiltless" for how he had cursed him (1 Kings 2:9). As with the evil spirit from Yahweh working upon Saul, a man is encouraged by God to do the sinful act in which he has set his heart.

Psalm 7:16 had been David's commentary about Shimei: "The trouble he causes shall return upon his own head, his violence shall come down on the crown of his own head". In the context of Shimei, whose cursing was the initial context of this Psalm (see on Ps. 7:1), David sought himself to bring this about. He told Solomon to ensure that Shimei's head and grey hairs should be brought down with blood to the grave by him (1 Kings 2:8,9). This unspiritual attitude of David was rooted in the way that at the earlier point, here in Ps. 7:16, David rejoiced in the thought that Shimei would be condemned by God; and sets about to bring that condemnation about himself. This surely was a case of taking Divine judgment into his own hand in a way he should not have done, and quite overlooking the Divine desire for repentance (Ez. 33:11).

1Ki 2:10 David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David-
This idiom is clear evidence that the distinction in reward between good and evil people is not made at the point of death. Death is unconsciousness, and the eternal outcome of our lives will be at the resurrection and day of judgment.

1Ki 2:11 The days that David reigned over Israel were forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and he reigned thirty-three years in Jerusalem-
Seven and a half years (2 Sam. 2:11) becomes "seven years" (1 Kings 2:11); three months and ten days (2 Chron. 36:9) becomes "three months" (2 Kings 24:8). Sometimes the Biblical record is vague, other times exact. This reflects how God is not seeking to cover His back against critics. He is of an altogether higher nature than that. There are times when the Spirit uses very approximate numbers rather than exact ("about the space of four hundred and fifty years", Acts 13:20 cp. 1 Kings 6:1). The reference to "seventy" in Judges 9:56 also doesn't seem exact.  And 1 Kings 7:23 gives the circumference of the laver as “thirty cubits”, although it was ten cubits broad. Taking ‘pi’ to be 3.14, it is apparent that the circumference would have been 31.4 cubits; but the Spirit says, summing up, “thirty”.

1Ki 2:12 Solomon sat on the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was firmly established-
The language continues to allude to that of the promises to David in 2 Sam. 7. But the fulfilment of those promises was conditional; so we are being given here the impression which was externally given, and how Solomon himself perceived things. For Solomon and his kingdom were not the ultimate fulfilment of those promises. But God did establish his kingdom, and potentially enabled him to be that Messiah figure. And so his kingdom appears to be a type of that of the Lord Jesus. But in reality I would rather express it as saying that he was given the potential to have the Messianic kingdom, but only achieved a dim image of it.


1Ki 2:13 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. She said, Do you come peaceably? He said, Peaceably-
She feared for her life, using the same term as in 1 Sam. 16:4.

1Ki 2:14 He said moreover, I have something to tell you. She said, Say on-
He had come not only to ask for the hand of Abishag in marriage, but also to tell her something (:15). We can understand that Solomon therefore interpreted Adonijah's actions as a desire to usurp him.

1Ki 2:15 He said, You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign. However the kingdom is turned around, and has become my brother’s; for it was his from Yahweh-
This is a typical mixture of truth and untruth. Indeed the kingdom was Solomon's "from Yahweh" in that David had made that decision and sworn by Yahweh. It is however not so true that "all Israel" wanted him to be king, for when Solomon was pronounced king, there was ecstatic rejoicing amongst the people. And "the kingdom was mine" only in that he was the eldest surviving son of David; but being the eldest son didn't at all mean that the throne was passed on to him, because kings typically chose one of their sons to reign rather than the throne passing automatically to the eldest son. And he quite overlooks the promises to David, which make being the true son of David conditional upon obedience to Yahweh.

1Ki 2:16 Now I ask one petition of you. Don’t deny me. She said to him, Say on-
This again is manipulative. Perhaps "Say on" was too close to agreeing to grant a petition she had not yet heard; for perhaps from pride she asks Solomon to grant the petition, even though it was highly dubious. 

1Ki 2:17 He said, Please speak to Solomon the king (for he will not tell you ‘no’), that he give me Abishag the Shunammite as wife-
Again Adonijah is playing with words and logic, arguing that Solomon cannot say no to his mother, and she cannot say no to him, Adonijah.

1Ki 2:18 Bathsheba said, Alright. I will speak for you to the king-
Either she was naive, or she felt bound to ask because of her unwise response to him in :16.

1Ki 2:19 Bathsheba therefore went to king Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. The king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself to her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a throne to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand-
We sense here and in 1 Kings 1 the deep sense of respect for David and Bathsheba. Solomon speaks so highly of his mother in Proverbs, apparently modelling the "virtuous woman" of Prov. 31 upon her. To sit on the right hand means to be second in command of power, so we can assume Bathsheba was a powerful political individual as David's favourite surviving wife and mother of the son he had chosen as king.

1Ki 2:20 Then she said, I ask one small petition of you; don’t deny me. The king said to her, Ask on, my mother; for I will not deny you-
He repeats the same error she had made in :16, agreeing to a petition before knowing what it was. This seems a theme the Bible likes to raise, for we think of king Darius with Daniel, and Herod and the daughter of Herodias. She considers it a "small petition", but it was a very large petition because of its major political ramifications, which Solomon immediately perceived. We wonder therefore whether she was being simply naive rather than feeling railroaded because of her response in :16.  

1Ki 2:21 She said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as wife-
Perhaps she thought that Adonijah's only motive was his desire to marry a beauty queen. But as suggested on 1 Kings 1:1, Abishag was more than a carer for a man in a geriatric ward. She had had intimate sexual contact with David, although he had not succeeded in achieving intercourse with her. He was therefore to be considered as at least one of his concubines, and whoever married her was thereby strengthening their connection with David's throne.

1Ki 2:22 King Solomon answered his mother, Why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also; for he is my elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah-
Solomon may well have been correct. But there is also the possibility that he wildly extrapolated from the fact Adonijah wanted to marry thus beautiful woman, and refused to give him credit for accepting that Solomon rather than himself was Yahweh's choice for the throne (:15). And from that, Solomon creates a conspiracy theory about Joab and Abiathar. He had threatened Adonijah that he had as it were a suspended death sentence which would be triggered if he committed any more "wickedness" (1 Kings 1:52). Adonijah's motives are left intentionally unclear in the record, to provoke our reflection. Whatever, it seems to me that Solomon was eager to perceive Adonijah as having broken the conditions of 1 Kings 1:52 so that he could kill him.

1Ki 2:23 Then king Solomon vowed by Yahweh saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life-
If Adonijah realized how Solomon would react, he surely wouldn't have gone ahead as he did in trying to marry Abishag. And as noted on :14-17, his reasoning was less than honest and deceitful, but again, we could put this down to his simple desire to marry the beautiful Abishag. It seems a rather strict interpretation of 1 Kings 1:52 to claim that the request for Abishag was "wickedness".

1Ki 2:24 Now therefore as Yahweh lives, who has established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a house, as He promised, surely Adonijah shall be put to death this day-
David's belief that Ps. 72 applied totally to Solomon would have encouraged him Solomon to feel that the fact that he was the great Son of David and had had the promises made to him justified all his actions. This is an example. For as discussed on :22,23, his desire to murder Adonijah was not on any very Biblical basis from the law of Moses.

"Established" is the word used in the promises of the eternal establishment of David's throne (2 Sam. 7:12,13,16 etc.), and Solomon wrongly assumed that the conditional nature of the promises concerning the seed were just irrelevant to him as he had wisdom. Therefore he uses the word of how his kingdom has been "established" (1 Kings 2:24 s.w.). Solomon's contenders for the throne were all stopped by God, they tried to prepare or establish themselves but it never worked out (2 Sam. 15:1; 1 Kings 1:5); and so surely Solomon has the idea in mind that he has been established as the promised Messianic seed of David with an eternally "established" throne and kingdom. This leads him to the conclusion that the outcome of wisdom and folly is in this life, and he has no perspective of a final day of judgment and eternal establishment of God's Kingdom on earth. This is why the simplistic dichotomies he presents in Proverbs between the blessed and wise, and the cursed and foolish, are not always true to observed experiences in this life. For it is the future Kingdom which puts them in ultimate perspective.

He felt that God “has made me an house, as he promised” to David. He felt that he was the fulfillment of the promises, and therefore the Kingdom had come; he failed to be awed by the greatness of the Christ to come, and abstracted and reduced His coming Kingdom into an effective nothingness. By doing so, he totally overlooked the highly conditional nature of the promises, and forgot his own proneness to failure, and the weakness of his nature. He failed to meditate upon the promises beyond what they seemed to offer him in the here and now; and the result was that he felt they were totally fulfilled in him (1 Kings 8:20,24).

1Ki 2:25 King Solomon sent by Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell on him, so that he died-
Benaiah must now have been an old man, so perhaps he arranged the murder through a proxy.

1Ki 2:26 To Abiathar the priest the king said, Go to Anathoth, to your own fields; for you are worthy of death. But I will not at this time put you to death, because you carried the ark of the Lord Yahweh before David my father, and because you were afflicted in all in which my father was afflicted-
As discussed on :22,23, there was no specific evidence that Abiathar had done anything worthy of death, nor that he was actually involved in any plot to establish Adonijah as king again. Perhaps it was as simple as Adonijah being in love with a beautiful woman and wanting to marry her. And Adonijah is being dogmatically condemned on the basis of conspiracy theory alone. We note that Abiathar carried the ark at the time of Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam. 15:24); but it is hard to prove that he was from the line of Levites who were allowed to do this. David had been taught through the death of Uzzah that the ark must be carried only according to the specific Mosaic legislation. But he apparently was so close to the spirit of the law that he realized even after that, that the letter of that law could be broken. 

1Ki 2:27 So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest to Yahweh, that he might fulfil the word of Yahweh, which He spoke concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh-
But we get the impression God didn't want that prophecy to have to come true. All Abiathar's family had been slain by Saul and Doeg for their loyalty to David. But Abiathar had been preserved, presumably because God hoped that somehow He would not have to fulfil that prophecy of destruction. For He hopes against hope, in the gap between the statement of condemnation and fulfilling it, for human repentance and persuasion of Him to change His mind. But Solomon knew none of that, and just wanted Abiathar destroyed because he was potentially disloyal to him. We may well enquire what right Solomon had to thrust out Abiathar from the priesthood; surely only God could ultimately do that. Perhaps Solomon quoted God's words about the house of Eli. But his murder of Abiathar was inappropriate; for on that logic, David should have murdered Abiathar long ago just for who he was, a descendant of Eli. Solomon's spirituality was highly flawed and biased towards his own self justification, right from the beginning of his reign.

1Ki 2:28 The news came to Joab; for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he didn’t turn after Absalom. Joab fled to the tabernacle of Yahweh, and caught hold on the horns of the altar-
This was a sad end for Joab, who was by now elderly. It seems David had a personality clash with Joab, frustrated at his refusal to understand grace and complaining that Joab was "too hard" for him. But it ended up with David's son Solomon ordering Joab to be slain, despite all his loyalty, and I would consider this as the supreme example of intolerance of intolerance, showing a lack of grace to someone because they had not understood grace. David in the later part of his life had always refused to carry out legitimate death sentences, e.g. as demanded by the behaviour of Amnon and Absalom. But Solomon lacked that grace, because he failed to perceive his own sins and need for grace himself.

1Ki 2:29 It was told king Solomon, Joab has fled to the tabernacle of Yahweh, and behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada saying, Go, fall on him-
It seems that Solomon didn’t really reflect on who his father really was. He had an ideal image of him, choosing to overlook his failures with women. David committed the sin of presumption with Bathsheba, and yet Solomon judges Joab for committing presumptuous sin without mercy (1 Kings 2:29 cp. Ex. 21:14).  

1Ki 2:30 Benaiah came to the tabernacle of Yahweh and said to him, Thus says the king, ‘Come forth!’. He said, No; but I will die here. Benaiah brought the king word again saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me-
Perhaps Joab said this to still try to avoid death, reasoning that surely Solomon would have more respect for the tabernacle than to order him to be slain on the altar. Or perhaps Joab's spiritual side was eager to die as a sacrifice upon God's altar. Or maybe he wanted to make Solomon unpopular with the people by ordering him slain on the altar. The narrative is purposefully open ended to provoke our reflections.

1Ki 2:31 The king said to him, Do as he has said, and fall on him, and bury him; that you may take away the blood which Joab shed without cause, from me and from my father’s house-
Solomon's reasoning was wrong in so many ways. To murder someone on the horns of the altar showed a lack of respect for Yahweh's holiness. Joab could easily have been removed and executed elsewhere. The blood shed by Joab "without cause" was no reason for his death at this stage; David himself had shed much blood without good cause. And Joab's guilt did not pass to David and Solomon. And murdering Joab did not somehow cleanse Solomon from some imagined guilt by association with Joab. Solomon wanted Joab dead because his father had told him to eliminate him. And so he was using any quasi spiritual reasoning which came into his head to justify it.

1Ki 2:32 Yahweh will return his blood on his own head, because he fell on two men more righteous and better than he, and killed them with the sword, and my father David didn’t know it: Abner the son of Ner, captain of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the army of Judah-
This may have been true on one level. But David had slain men like Uriah who were more righteous and better than himself. And been forgiven by grace. The reasons given by Solomon are in fact a condemnation of his father rather than a justification of him. We note already an effective distinction between Israel and Judah; the division which was to come was only bringing into the open what had historically been developing for generations. God confirms men in the divisions they themselves wish to happen, and binds together those who wish to unify.

1Ki 2:33 So shall their blood return on the head of Joab, and on the head of his seed forever. But to David, and to his seed, and to his house, and to his throne, there shall be peace forever from Yahweh-
Solomon here states dogmatically that he is the eternally blessed seed of David, and his house and throne are to blessed with eternal peace with God. But those promises were conditional upon his obedience, and he ignored those conditions. He was led into this by the assumptions and parental obsessions of his father, but all the same, it was this which led him to make shipwreck of his faith. This assumption that the Davidic promises were fulfilled in him led him to a lack of self examination and no humility arising from a sense of the eternal future he might miss if he turned away. See on :45.

Solomon may be alluding to how "it will go well with you" if the shedder of innocent blood is condemned to death (Dt. 19:13). But he fails to realize that David was in exactly that situation, and had been saved by Divine grace alone. And he ought to have reflected that grace, even if David didn't. 

1Ki 2:34 Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and fell on him, and killed him; and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness-
The 'going up' would have been by the steps which led up to the altar; unless the reference is to 'going up' to the mount Zion where the temple was.

1Ki 2:35 The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his place over the army; and the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar-
Benaiah surely did the wrong thing by slaying Joab, without evidence for his wrongdoing, by the altar. Yet he is rewarded for his conscienceless behaviour by political promotion. All this doesn't sound the stuff of God's Kingdom. 

1Ki 2:36 The king sent and called for Shimei and said to him, Build yourself a house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and don’t go out anywhere from there-
The intention of making him move to Jerusalem from Bahurim (1 Kings 2:8) was surely in order to set him up to be murdered. Solomon reveals a very calculating and callous side, typical of a man who (unlike David) had never been personally spiritually desperate, and had not known grace.

1Ki 2:37 For on the day you go out, and pass over the brook Kidron, know for certain that you shall surely die: your blood shall be on your own head-
Solomon may well have been present that terrible night when David and his family passed over the brook Kidron, and then encountered Shimei's cursing. And he therefore built this memory in to his punishment of Shimei. The Kidron was the river he would have had to cross were he to return to his home town of Bahurim, from whence he had been summoned to live in Jerusalem (1 Kings 2:8). See on :40. We sense Solomon's playing of God by the manner in which he alludes to the curse in Eden, that "in the day" the brook was crossed, "you shall surely die"; see on :44.

1Ki 2:38 Shimei said to the king, The saying is good. As my lord the king has said, so will your servant do. Shimei lived in Jerusalem many days-
The description of the length of time periods in the Bible is relative; "many days" is three years (:39).

1Ki 2:39 It happened at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away to Achish, son of Maacah, king of Gath. They told Shimei saying, Behold, your servants are in Gath-
These slaves may have been Philistines who ran back home. David had twice fled to Achish king of Gath (1 Sam. 21:10; 27:2). But Solomon is unmoved by these associations with his father's days of desperation and a life preserved by Divine grace.

1Ki 2:40 Shimei arose, saddled his donkey, and went to Gath to Achish, to seek his servants; and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath-
The road to Gath would not have involved crossing the Kidron; it was in the opposite direction. For Solomon to insist that Shimei had broken the spirit of his commandment about not crossing the Kidron was therefore very legalistic, and not a very solid basis upon which to murder a man whom David had assured of forgiveness.

1Ki 2:41 It was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and had come again-
Shimei surely did this assuming that he was not liable for the death penalty because he had not crossed the Kidron (:37), as Gath was in the opposite direction; and he had kept the spirit of the agreement in that he had returned. Solomon comes over as very much lacking in integrity in now killing him.

1Ki 2:42 The king sent and called for Shimei, and said to him, Didn’t I adjure you by Yahweh and warn you, saying, ‘Know for certain, that on the day you go out, and walk abroad any where, you shall surely die?’. You said to me, ‘The saying that I have heard is good’-
There is no reference in the narrative to any such oath by Yahweh. This is not to say no such reference to Yahweh was made, but it also rather supports the impression we have of Solomon's lack of integrity and willingness to tell untruths; see on :40.

1Ki 2:43 Why then have you not kept the oath of Yahweh, and the commandment that I have instructed you with?-
Solomon is condemned for not keeping the covenant / oath of Yahweh and His commands (s.w. 1 Kings 11:10,11, which implies he was guilty of not doing so from his youth). His hypocrisy and lack of grace is so marked.

1Ki 2:44 The king said moreover to Shimei, You know all the wickedness which your heart knows full well, what you did to David my father. Therefore Yahweh shall return your wickedness on your own head-
Again, Solomon is playing God, as we saw him doing on :37. It was not Yahweh who was returning his wickedness upon him, but Solomon doing so. Shimei had apologized for his words of cursing, and David had forgiven him and given him assurances. Solomon's attitude is very wrong, and there was no Mosaic legal justification for the death penalty for cursing a man. And Shimei's stoning of David and calling him a "man of blood" had been justified, in that indeed David was worthy of death by stoning and was indeed a man of blood. To slate this as "wickedness" worthy of the death penalty is very severe judgment. And Solomon is choosing to respect his father's senile words spoken from his deathbed, rather than his father's earlier gracious forgiveness of Shimei.

1Ki 2:45 But king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before Yahweh forever-
Solomon saw himself as the Messianic Son of David, therefore he felt his kingdom was the Messianic Kingdom; and he here states dogmatically that he is the eternally blessed seed of David. But those promises were conditional upon his obedience, and he ignored those conditions. And in all this, of course, we see our warning. This may explain why he built his own house as a replica of God's house - he felt that in fulfillment of the Davidic covenant his house was God's house. Solomon's attitude to the Kingdom was that it was all here and now, and it was not so much the Kingdom of God as the Kingdom of Solomon.  In this Solomon may seem far removed from our experience.  But with eyes half closed, discerning only the general outline, Solomon is surely in a mind-set analogous to many of us.  Solomon was so sure that because of his father’s righteousness, therefore God would establish him. “Mercy and truth preserve the king, and he upholdeth his throne by mercy” (Prov. 20:28 RVmg.) says as much- the promises (“mercy and truth” usually refer to God’s promises) had been given to David and just because of that, Solomon was sure that his throne and kingdom would thereby be upheld.

1Ki 2:46 So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he went out, and fell on him, so that he died. The kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon
Clearly the kingdom was established in a secular sense, by Solomon's brutal murder of potential contenders for the throne. But this was not the same as the promised eternal establishment of David's kingdom in the hands of his Messianic seed.