Chapter 2: Dovids will for Shlomo, and taking vengeance against Adoniyahu, Yoav, and Shimi

Chapter 2: Dovids will for Shlomo, and taking vengeance against Adoniyahu, Yoav, and Shimi

1.      The parting words and instructions of Dovid to his son Shlomo:

  • The days of Dovid’s death were nearing, and he instructed his son Shlomo the following words.
  • A warning to guard the Mitzvos: I am going to pass on soon, as is the way of the world, and you shall be strong and become a man. You shall guard all of the warnings of Hashem your God and go in His ways, to guard his commands and his statutes as is written in the book of Moshe, in order so you be wise in all that you do. By doing so, you will merit for God’s word to be fulfilled which He spoke to me saying, “If your descendants follow my ways and go in front of me with truth, with all their heart and soul, then your monarchy will never be cut off.”
  • An instruction to assassinate Yoav: Dovid continued with an instruction to assassinate Yoav: “You are aware of what Yoav the son of Tzeruyah did to me and to the two generals of Israel, Avner Ben Ner and Amasa the son of Yeser, whom he killed as an act of war during times of peace. You shall do with your wisdom and not let him go down in old age you shall use your wisdom to make sure that he does not die of old age and in peace [which will lead him to go to[1]] purgatory [and rather you shall find a way to put him to death].”
  • An instruction to do good to the children of Barzilaiy Hagiladi: To the children of Barzilaiy Hagiladi you should do kindness and he should be amongst those who eat from your table as he came to my aid when I was fleeing from your brother Avshalom.
  • An instruction to assassinate Shimi Ben Geira: Shimi Ben Geira the son of the Benjamite from the city of Bachurim is still living amongst you and he had cursed me a vigorous curse on the day that I traveled to Machanayim, however, he came towards me by the Jordan [to make amends and ask forgiveness] and I swore to him by the name of God saying that I will not put him to death by the sword. However, you shall not let him off free as you are a wise man, and you shall figure out what to do with him [and put him to death under other pretenses[2]], and you shall bring blood to his old age and descend him into purgatory.

2.      Dovid passes away:

  • Dovid lied with his forefathers and passed away there, and he was buried in the city of Dovid.
  • The number of days of his reign: The number of days that Dovid reigned over the Jewish people was for 40 years. He ruled in Chevron for seven years and in Jerusalem he ruled for 33 years.

3.      The monarchy of Shlomo:

  • Shlomo sat on the throne of Dovid his father, and his monarchy became very well established.

4.      Adoniyahu asks to be given Avishag Hashunamis as a wife, and is killed by Shlomo:

  • Adoniyahu approaches Batsheva regarding his request: Adoniyahu the son of Chagis approached Batsheva the mother of Shlomo and she said to him, “Have you arrived in peace?” And he replied to her that he is doing well and is in peace. He then said to her that he wants to speak to her about something and she said to him that he may speak. He then said to her as follows, “You know that originally the monarchy was in my hands and to me all the Jewish people were looking up as king and as the heir of the monarchy, however the monarchy swerved from me and went to my brother, as well as the will of God for it to be. Now, I have one question that I ask from you, and please do not rebuff me on this request.” So, she said to him that he may speak, and so he said: “Please tell Shlomo the king that he should not rebuff your request and that he should give me Avishag the Shunamis as a wife.” Batsheva replied that she accepts the request that she will speak regarding him to the king.
  • Batsheva approaches her son Shlomo regarding the request: Batsheva arrived to King Shlomo to speak to him regarding Adoniyahu. The king got up to greet her and he bowed to her and then sat on his throne. A chair was placed to the right of Shlomo for the mother of the king to sit on. She then said to him as follows, “I have one small request from you and please do not deny it.” The king said to her, “Ask my mother, as I will not reject your request.” So Batsheva asked her son, “Please give Avishag the Shunamis to your brother Adoniyahu as a wife.”
  • Shlomo responds by having him killed: King Shlomo answered his mother by saying, “Why do you ask for Avishag the Shunamis to be given to Adoniyahu, just ask for the kingship to be given to him, as after all he is my older brother, and he has by his side Avyasar the priest and Yoav the son of Tzeruyah?” King Shlomo then swore by the name of God saying, “So shall God do to me, and so should he add to me, if I do not consider this request from Adoniyahu as a rebellion for which he is liable for death. Now, by the life of God who has established my monarchy on the throne of my father Dovid and has made me a palace as He has spoken, I swear that I will put Adoniyahu today to death.”
  • Adoniyahu is killed: King Shlomo sent his emissary Beniyahu Ben Yehoyada on the mission to kill Adoniyahu, and so it was that he met him and smote him and he died.

5.      Avyasar the Kohen is exiled by Shlomo:

  • Avyasar the Kohen was informed by the king that he should flee to his fields in Anasos, as he is liable for death [for having rebelled against the king by joining the crowning of Adoniyahu]. “However, I will not put you to death today, being that you carried the Aron of G-d before Dovid my father, and you fasted whenever Dovid my father fasted.”
  • Avyasar was banished by the king from being a high priest for God in order to fulfill the promise that God made to the house of Eily in Shilo [to banish them from the priesthood].

6.      Yoav flees from Shlomo and is caught and put to death:

  • Yoav flees to the altar: Yoav heard that Shlomo had been instructed by Dovid to have him killed [and he feared for his life being that he knew that Shlomo hated him]. Yoav was instructed to be put to death because he had followed after Adoniyahu even though he did not follow after Avshalom when he made his rebellion. Yoav fled to the tent of God and held onto the corners of the altar.
  • Yoav tries to negotiate his death: King Shlomo heard that Yoav had fled to the tent of God and is by the altar, and he instructed Beniyahu Ben Yehoyada to put him to death. Beniyahu arrived to the tent of God and said to Yoav that the king had instructed him to leave the area. Yoav refused to comply, saying that he wishes to die here [and that he does not agree to both receive the curses of Dovid and to be put to death[3]]. Beniyahu went back to the king and told him the reply of Yoav. The king answered Beniyahu saying that “I will do as Yoav requested [i.e. accept the curses of Dovid upon his own household[4]] and put him to death and bury him, “thus removing the liability of the innocent blood that Yoav had spilled, from me and from my father’s household. God will return his blood on his own head in vengeance for the fact that he killed two righteous men who were much greater than him with use of the sword, while my father Dovid was unaware. He had killed Avner the son of Neer who was the general of the Army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Yeser, who was the general of the Judean Army. Their blood will be placed on the head of Yoav and on the head of his descendants forever. As a result of doing so, to Dovid and his descendants and his household and his throne there will be peace forever from God.”
  • Yoav is killed: Beniyahu Ben Yehoyada went up to meet Yoav, and he met him and killed him and buried him in his home in the desert.

7.      The king’s appointees:

  • The king appointed Beniyahu Ben Yehoyada in place of Yoav as the new general, and he pointed Tzadok the Kohen as the new high priest instead of Avyasar.

8.      The king instructs Shimi ben Geira to not leave the city:

  • The king sent messengers to bring to him Shimi, and the king said to him, “build for yourself a home in Jerusalem and dwell there and do not leave from there at all to one direction or another. The day that you leave and pass the Kidron River, be aware that you will be liable for death and your blood will be on your own head.” Shimi responded to the king, “I accept the condition that my master the king has spoken to me and so your servant shall do.”
  • Shimi dwelled in Jerusalem for many days.
  • Shimi leaves the city to retrieve two slaves who ran away: After three years, two slaves of Shimi ran away to Akish the son of Macha, the king of Gath. Shimi was then informed that his slaves have run away to Gath. So, Shimi got up and saddled his donkey and traveled towards Gath to Akish to retrieve his slaves, and indeed he was successful in doing so and he brought back his slaves from Gath.
  • King Shlomo confronts Shimi: Shlomo was informed that Shimi had left Jerusalem to Gath and had returned. The king sent emissaries to call Shimi to come to him and said to him as follows, “Have I not sworn to you by the name of God and testified before you and the day that you leave the city to one direction or another that you should know that you will be put to death, and you responded to me that you accept the conditions. Now, why did you not guard the swear that you accepted towards God and the command that I commanded you? The king then said to Shimi, “In your heart, you are fully aware of the evil that you did to my father Dovid, and now God has pursued retribution from your head for the evil that you did.” King Shlomo is blessed and throne of Dovid is established before God forever.
  • Shimi is put to death: The king instructed Beniyahu Ben Yehoyada and he went up to meet Shimi, and he met him and killed him.
  • The kingdom was established in the hands of Shlomo [and he was not punished for any of the above actions being that it was justified[5]].

[1] Rashi 2:6

[2] Rashi 2:9

[3] Rashi 2:30

[4] Rashi 2:31

[5] Rashi 2:46

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