1 Kings 2:26-46
Abiathar, the priest, and Joab, the army commander, had sided with Adonijah when he tried to take over. Because of this, Solomon felt they could not be trusted. Since Abiathar had been a priest and served the Lord, Solomon only removed him from the priesthood and exiled him. Solomon placed Zadok, who had remained loyal, in place of Abiathar. Joab, on the other hand, had not only been disloyal by going with Adonijah, he had also killed 2 men that did not deserve to die, Abner and Jether. Because of his past actions, Solomon had Joab executed. Even though Joab had often been a loyal friend to David, he had also gone off on his own and committed grave sins. Solomon decide he needed to be punished for these actions.
In addition to Abiathar and Joab, Solomon decided Shimei’s actions should be addressed as well. You may remember that he was mean to David but then repented and was forgiven. Solomon questioned how sincere Shimei’s repentance was, so he told him to build a house in Jerusalem and not leave the area. Solomon warned that the day he left he would die. Shimei stayed put for 3 years, but then he went out to bring back runaway servants. On the surface that may seem like a reasonable reason to leave. But if we think about it, leaving when he had been told not to leave was an act of disrespecting King Solomon. When we knowingly do something that someone in authority told us not to do we are showing disrespect. Solomon immediately had Shimei executed.
Solomon’s actions may seem cruel, however he was showing everyone around him that he would not tolerate disloyalty or disrespect. Solomon wanted everyone to understand that there are consequences of our actions. Solomon wanted to be a good king and that meant disciplining when necessary.
In Solomon’s day execution was the punishment for disloyalty to the king. Make a list of things a kid might do wrong and then what you think the punishment should be (not cleaning room, not doing homework, not doing chores, etc.). Discuss your list with your parents to see if they agree or not and why.