1 Kings 2 is one of the most brutal chapters in the Bible – and we are going to read the whole of it this week. Stand by to be shocked by the behaviour of both David and Solomon!
v 6. Do with him what you think best, but don’t let him grow old and go to his grave in peace.
David was working to ensure that this powerful man, Joab, would not be a threat to Solomon as he started his reign in Jerusalem. The story comes to a gruesome end later in the chapter, verse 34, which we read on Wednesday.
Joab was the son of Zeruiah, a sister of king David, who made him captain of his army (2 Samuel 8:16;). He had two brothers, Abishai and Asahel. Asahel was killed by Abner in combat, for which Joab took revenge by murdering Abner in an ambush, against David’s wishes.
After leading the assault on the fortress of Mount Zion, Joab was promoted to the rank of General (1 Chronicles 11:4-6; 27:34). He led the army against Aram, Ammon, Moab and Edom. He also colluded with David in the death of Uriah (2 Samuel 11:14-25).
Joab played a pivotal role as the commander of David’s forces during Absalom‘s rebellion. Absalom, one of David’s sons, rallied much of Israel in rebellion against David, who was forced to flee with only his most trusted men. However, David could not bring himself to harm his son, and ordered that none of his men should kill Absalom during the ensuing battle. However, when a man reported that Absalom had been found, alive, caught in a tree, Joab and his men killed him (2 Samuel 18:1-33). Hearing of David’s grief over the reported death of Absalom, Joab confronted and admonished David. David followed Joab’s advice, making a public appearance to encourage his troops (2 Samuel 19:1-8). David replaced him as commander of the army with his nephew, Amasa (2 Samuel 19:13). Joab later killed Amasa (1 Kings 2:5).
As David neared the end of his reign, Joab offered his allegiance to David’s eldest son, Adonijah rather than to the promised king, Solomon (1 Kings 1:1-27). On the brink of death, David told Solomon to have Joab killed, citing Joab’s past betrayals and the blood that he was guilty of, and for this Solomon ordered his death by the hand of Benaiah (1 Kings 2:29-34). Hearing this, Joab fled to the Tent of the Tabernacle and told Benaiah that he would die there. Benaiah, as ordered by King Solomon, killed Joab and replaced him as commander of the army.