Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 2

Joab tries to claim the protection of a holy place

1 Kings 2:30

Solomon ordered Benaiah, the leader of his guards, to kill Joab. This was the punishment for Joab because of the murders that he had carried out. As the king of Israel, Solomon was Israel’s chief judge.

Joab, however, was trying to claim the protection of a holy place. He realised that Solomon had ordered his death. However, he did not believe that Solomon would dare to order that to happen in a holy place.

So, when Benaiah ordered Joab to come out, Joab refused. Benaiah explained that the king himself had given that order. Still Joab refused. If he left that holy place, Benaiah would kill him as a criminal. So Joab told Benaiah that he would never leave that place. He preferred to die there than to lose that protection.

Benaiah returned to Solomon to ask what he should do. It seems that Solomon was aware of God’s law in Exodus 21:14. In God’s law, there was no protection in a holy place for a man who was guilty of murder. Joab had cruelly murdered two men: Abner and Amasa (2:5). The punishment in God’s law for murder was death (Numbers 35:31). So, if Joab would not leave that holy place, he must die there.

In effect, Joab had declared his own punishment. He said that he would die in that holy place – and that is what happened.

Next part: Solomon declares the judgment against Joab (1 Kings 2:31-33)


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