Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 2

Solomon’s judgement against Abiathar, the chief priest

1 Kings 2:26

After Adonijah’s death, Solomon dealt with those leaders who had wrongly supported Adonijah. The first of these was Abiathar, one of Israel’s two chief priests during David’s rule.

In Leviticus 10:1-2, two of the priests, Nadab and Abihu, offered unholy fire to God. They were carrying out sacred ceremonies in front of God, in a manner that God had not directed. By this unholy act, they had chosen death instead of life. At once, fire came out from God’s holy place and killed them.

Abiathar too had carried out sacred ceremonies that God had not directed. It was a sacred ceremony to appoint Israel’s king. God had chosen Solomon to be Israel’s king (2 Samuel 12:24-25; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10). However, Abiathar had carried out those ceremonies to appoint Adonijah, whom God had not chosen (1:7-9).

Solomon told Abiathar that he (Abiathar) too had chosen death instead of life. However, Solomon would not order the death of this priest who for so many years had loyally supported David, Solomon’s father. Abiathar had shared David’s troubles before David became king (1 Samuel 22:20-23). During David’s rule, he served God in front of the ark, Israel’s most sacred object. He even loyally brought the ark to David, when David had to escape from Absalom (2 Samuel 15:24-29).

So Solomon decided that he would order Abiathar not to serve as priest again. Abiathar owned land at Anathoth, about 3 miles (5 kilometres) from Jerusalem. For the rest of his life, Abiathar would work as a simple farmer. His family had been Israel’s chief priests for almost 500 years (6:1). In the future, Israel’s chief priests would be from a different family, the family of Zadok.

Next part: Solomon carries out an ancient prophecy (1 Kings 2:27)


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