Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 2

Shimei chooses to leave Jerusalem

1 Kings 2:39-46

For three years, Shimei remained in Jerusalem, as he had promised. We do not know whether he tried to cause trouble for Solomon during that time. However, if he did, Solomon did not act against him. He remembered the promise that David had made to Shimei (2 Samuel 19:23). So, Shimei lived safely there – and he could have remained there for the rest of his life.

However, after three years, Shimei went out of Jerusalem. He did not merely go outside the city’s walls. He went to Gath, which was probably about 40 miles (60 kilometres) away. Gath was in a foreign country, Philistia. Shimei went there to claim back two of his slaves. They had escaped from him.

When Shimei had taken back his slaves, he simply returned to Jerusalem. Perhaps he thought that his promise to Solomon no longer mattered. He wanted to be free now to go anywhere that he desired.

Solomon demanded that Shimei must come to him. Then Solomon spoke to Shimei in a severe manner. Solomon had given Shimei a choice: to live, or to die. Shimei had the opportunity to live peacefully in Jerusalem, but, instead, he had chosen to die. He had neither obeyed his king’s command, nor his own promise to God.

That was the legal reason why Solomon ordered Shimei’s death. However, Solomon reminded Shimei that God’s judgment was also against him. God knew all the wrong things that Shimei did against David. Now God was punishing this wicked man, even as God was carrying out his promises to David’s family (2 Samuel 7:5-16).

Next part: Solomon marries Pharaoh's daughter (1 Kings 3:1)


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