Shimei first appeared in Scripture throwing rocks and cursing as David’s army was fleeing from Absalom. David’s men wanted to kill him on the spot (II Sam. 16:5-13) but his execution was delayed, probably because of all that David was facing at the moment in view of Absalom’s rebellion.
In this passage we find Shimei being summoned before the King. David had commanded Solomon to bring him to judgment because he was a threat to the kingdom. Now Solomon passes judgment on him by employing a penalty similar to that imposed on Abiathar. Shimei was restricted to living in Jerusalem and specifically told not to cross the Kidron Valley. This meant that he was cut off from his hometown, Bahurim (II Sam. 16:5) and his tribe of Benjamin.
Solomon told Shimei that he would be executed if he disobeyed his orders. Shimei understood his sentence and agreed to abide by it; and did for three years (v. 39). At that time two of Shimei’s slaves ran off to Gath, about 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem. Knowing this arrangement, they may have thought they had immunity from either pursuit or penalty by Shimei.
However, Shimei was not to be deprived of his property so he pursued his runaway servants to Gath. When Solomon found out he called him in and reviewed the terms of his sentence (vv. 42-43). As David had commanded (vv. 8-9), Solomon had Shimei put to death. Solomon’s prior mercy in dealing with Shimei (vv. 36-37) absolved him from any charge of being vindictive or unfair.
Solomon was very patient in dealing with Shimei. God is very patient in dealing with me. However, there does come a time when disobedience to His commands can no longer go unpunished.
Then the king sent and summoned Shimei and said to him, "Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there to any place whatever. For on the day you go out and cross the brook Kidron, know for certain that you shall die. Your blood shall be on your own head." And Shimei said to the king, "What you say is good; as my lord the king has said, so will your servant do." So Shimei lived in Jerusalem many days. But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shimei's servants ran away to Achish, son of Maacah, king of Gath. And when it was told Shimei, "Behold, your servants are in Gath," Shimei arose and saddled a donkey and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants. Shimei went and brought his servants from Gath. And when Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and returned, the king sent and summoned Shimei and said to him, "Did I not make you swear by the LORD and solemnly warn you, saying, 'Know for certain that on the day you go out and go to any place whatever, you shall die'? And you said to me, 'What you say is good; I will obey.' Why then have you not kept your oath to the LORD and the commandment with which I commanded you?" The king also said to Shimei, "You know in your own heart all the harm that you did to David my father. So the LORD will bring back your harm on your own head. But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever." Then the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck him down, and he died. So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.
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I Kings 1:1-10Adonijah Attempts to Become King
I Kings 1:11-27Nathan And Bathsheba Counsel With David
I Kings 1:28-40Solomon is Confirmed King
I Kings 2:1-12David’s Instructions to Solomon
I Kings 2:13-25Solomon Executes Adonijah
I Kings 2:26-35Joab’s Execution
I Kings 2:36-46Shimei Executed
I Kings 3:1-15Solomon Requests Wisdom
I Kings 3:16-28Solomon’s Wise Judgment
I Kings 4:1-19Solomon’s Political Organization
I Kings 4:20-34Prosperity And Wisdom of Solomon’s Reign
I Kings 5:1-18Solomon Prepares to Build The Temple