On verses 28-35: For many years Joab was the ruthless commander of King David’s army. Joab’s ruthlessness was never more manifest than when he unsuspectingly murdered two high ranking Israelite officials, Abner (in 2 Samuel 3) and Amasa (in 2 Samuel 20:9-10), possibly for fear that they would one day replace him. Joab also killed Absalom, David’s son, specifically against David’s orders. Yet for some reason David always spared Joab’s life. David literally let Joab get away with murder. (Why? Some scholars believe it’s because Joab was one of the few who knew the secret that David had ordered the murder of one of his own brave soldiers, Uriah the Hittite, and that David was scared that Joab would expose him.)
With David now dead, Joab fears that Solomon will execute him, since Joab supported Adonijah’s bid for king instead of Solomon. So Joab goes to the house of God and hangs onto the altar, much like Adonijah did earlier (see 1 Kings 1:50-53), hoping that Solomon would spare his life. But Solomon does not flinch. Pursuant to David’s deathbed wishes, Solomon has Joab executed and appoints Benaiah to replace Joab as military commander.
On verses 36-46: Previously Shimei had publicly called down curses on David, which was an act equivalent to treason (2 Samuel 16:5-8; 19:18-21). Initially Solomon shows grace to Shimei, saying that he will not be harmed as long as he stays within Jerusalem (v36-37). Shimei agrees. However, one day Shimei leaves Jerusalem for the foreign country of Philistia in search of two runaway slaves (v39-40). Shimei probably thought, “I’m leaving Jerusalem for a good cause. Solomon shouldn’t mind.” However, upon hearing that Shimei had left Jerusalem, Solomon keeps his word and fulfills his father’s wishes by having Shimei executed (v41-46).
What can we learn from all this? Joab lived much of his life thinking he could get away with anything, including murder. Shimei too thought that he could break his word and get away with it. Both received a significant amount of grace from King David and later King Solomon. Yet because they both persisted in rebellion one too many times, they ultimately lost their lives as a result.
Like Joab and Shimei, all of us have rebelled against our King in countless ways. Like Joab and Shimei, all of us have been shown incredible grace by this King who chose to spare our lives. But don’t be like Joab and Shimei and be hardhearted toward the grace you have received, thinking “God will let me get away with anything”. For if we intentionally and hardheartedly persist in sin and rebellion against the King, like Joab and Shimei we will pay dearly for it in the end.
So cherish the grace of God, repent of sin, and live in humble reverence and loving obedience before Him. That’s the secret to living a joyful and successful life.
Heavenly Father, may I never take your grace for granted. May I never think to myself, “God will let me get away with anything.” Instead, may I cherish Your grace every day and live in humble reverence and loving obedience before You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!