Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 2

Shimei promises to remain in Jerusalem

1 Kings 2:36-38

Shimei came from the same tribe (family group) as King Saul. After David became king, Shimei remained angry about his tribe’s loss of power. When David escaped from Absalom, Shimei publicly expressed his hate for David (2 Samuel 16:5-14).

When David was returning to Jerusalem, Shimei asked David to forgive him (2 Samuel 19:16-23). David wanted to please everyone on that day, so he promised not to punish him with death. Afterwards, David believed that he was wrong to promise that (2:8-9). It seemed clear to him that Shimei had not changed his attitudes. Shimei still wanted to cause as much trouble as he could for David’s family.

Solomon did not want to do anything that was against his father’s promise to Shimei. Instead, he decided to prove that Shimei did not care about his own promises.

So, Solomon decided to test Shimei. He told Shimei that he must now live in Jerusalem. Shimei would not be a prisoner there. He was free to leave his home; he could meet people and he could carry on his business. However, he must never leave the city. He could not even cross the stream called the Kidron, which runs in a valley on the east side of the city. If he did, Solomon would be strict with him: he would die as his punishment.

However, if Shimei obeyed that rule, he would live safely in Jerusalem. Solomon would respect the promise that his father made to Shimei: Shimei would not die.

Shimei agreed to obey that rule. He approved of it. He even made a serious promise in front of God to obey it (2:43).

Next part: Shimei chooses to leave Jerusalem (1 Kings 2:39-46)


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