Joab’s Execution


The removal of four men was imperative if Solomon’s throne was to remain secure. Already Adonijah has been lain. Now the second conspirator, Abiathar, has to be dealt with. He was the priest who though faithful to David, had supported Adonijah as his successor. He could have been justly executed because of his conspiracy but because he was a priest who had carried the Ark during David’s lifetime Solomon showed mercy toward him. He was removed from the priestly office and restricted to his home town of Anathoh, about three miles northeast of Jerusalem. Evidently, he was the sole survivor of Eli’s family and Solomon’s action carried out God’s promise of punishment upon the house of Eli (I Sam. 2:31-36).

Next in line was Joab who had been head of the army under David (II Sam. 8:16). Recalling Joab’s murder of both Anes and Amasa, David had commanded Solomon to make sure that he received his just punishment. In addition to this, the king knew that Joab had supported Adonijah in his unsuccessful coup. Hearing about Adonijah’s death and Abiathar’s exile, Joab fled to the protection of the horns of the brazen altar. This was a place of refuge for those whose lives were in danger.  However, this was only a place of safety for those whose crime was accidental.

Benaiah, the new army general, under orders of the King went to the altar and killed Joab. For murder he was executed without mercy but he was allowed an honorable burial on his own land because of his long service to David.


The author of Kings clearly demonstrates the faithfulness of God to His word through all of this. I can be sure that He will also be faithful to His word as He deals with me.

I Kings 2:26-35 (English Standard Version)

And to Abiathar the priest the king said, "Go to Anathoth, to your estate, for you deserve death. But I will not at this time put you to death, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father, and because you shared in all my father's affliction." So Solomon expelled Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, thus fulfilling the word of the LORD that he had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh. When the news came to Joab--for Joab had supported Adonijah although he had not supported Absalom--Joab fled to the tent of the LORD and caught hold of the horns of the altar. And when it was told King Solomon, "Joab has fled to the tent of the LORD, and behold, he is beside the altar," Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, "Go, strike him down." So Benaiah came to the tent of the LORD and said to him, "The king commands, 'Come out.'" But he said, "No, I will die here." Then Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, "Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me." The king replied to him, "Do as he has said, strike him down and bury him, and thus take away from me and from my father's house the guilt for the blood that Joab shed without cause. The LORD will bring back his bloody deeds on his own head, because, without the knowledge of my father David, he attacked and killed with the sword two men more righteous and better than himself, Abner the son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah. So shall their blood come back on the head of Joab and on the head of his descendants forever. But for David and for his descendants and for his house and for his throne there shall be peace from the LORD forevermore." Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and struck him down and put him to death. And he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada over the army in place of Joab, and the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.

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