This Week's Focus Passage

1 Kings 2:27 ‘That he might fulfil the word of Jehovah.’

The pericope under our purview for this week’s commentary is that which is related in context with king Solomon’s following his father David’s instructive warnings and advice which he gave to his son shortly before he died. He warned Solomon about Joab and Shimei, giving suggestive counsel recommending how he should behave toward each of them. This may be applied, by implication, to Abiathar the priest for he indeed implicated himself into the subtle plot of Adonijah’s attempt to usurp the throne. Solomon linked Abiathar with Adonijah and Joab in his response to his mother, Bath-sheba, recorded in 1 Kings 2:22,

And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.

Solomon followed this with a pronouncement of judgment upon Adonijah; he sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada to execute Adonijah. He then spoke to Abiathar and made his determination of judgment toward him in these words:

And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord Jehovah before David my father, and because thou wast afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted. So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto Jehovah, that he might fulfil the word of Jehovah, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

This brings us to inquire into the statement; that is, just what was the word which God spoke concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh? And this history is recorded for us in 1st Samuel. It may be recalled from the first chapters of that book of Samuel, how that Eli’s sons, that were priests in the house of God along with their father Eli, were wicked men that ‘despised the offerings of Jehovah,’ vss. 2:12-17, and how that ‘they lay with the women that did service at the door of the tent of meeting,’ vs. 2:22-25. The word of Jehovah to Eli follows in vss. 27-31 when ‘there came a man of God unto Eli’ with God’s complaint against him. This culminated in vs. 31 with this prophetic judgment for these sins:

Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thy house.

This somewhat enigmatic, or figurative, language is clarified for us in a subsequent word given Samuel in a vision. This is recorded in 3:12 where Samuel relates, at Eli’s vehement insistence, the word of God spoken to him in this vision; God spoke:

In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from the beginning even unto the end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever, for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons did bring a curse upon themselves, and he restrained them not.

Thus we witness the cause and effect of the prophetical judgment upon the house of Eli the priest. The beginning began, we might freely state, when his wicked sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain in battle with the Philistines.—1 Samuel 4:1ff. It is most instructive to see how God’s Providence comes into play even in the carrying out of His decrees; it most commonly does so, but here we have one of those instances where it is particularly demonstrable. God’s purposes are candidly expressed in 2:25. After a remonstrance from their father, Eli, we are informed, Notwithstanding, they [Hophni and Phinehas] hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because Jehovah was minded to slay them. Their deaths followed almost immediately by that of Eli when he fell off his seat, upon hearing that the ark of God had been taken by the enemy, his neck was broken and he died. Subsequently, the wife of Phinehas, who was with child, gave birth, and as she lay dying, she named the child, Ichabod, saying, the glory is departed from Israel. These multiplied cases of providence continued as the decimation of the house of Eli was carried out over a span of time. God’s purposes and decrees never fail, though they may tarry. God keeps His Word; He keeps His promises; He keeps His warnings.

It was no accident that Israel was being beaten before the Philistines. It was no accident when it was spoken by the smitten people, Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of Jehovah out of Shiloh unto us. This was indeed the Providence that brought Hophni and Phinehas into the place of battle because Jehovah was minded to slay them. And how was it that Eli died at the very moment of the horrific news of the ark of Jehovah being taken? We are told that he fell backward off his seat. The ‘secondary causes’ are suggested, along with the fact of his falling, by the inspired writer. His neck brake, and he died: for [because] he was an old man, and heavy. Could he have been younger? Yes. Could he have not been so heavy? Yes. But his death, at this time, providentially in this way, had been decreed by Him who brings all things to pass through the counsel of His own will.

But just how are these things connected with our Abiathar of 1 Kings 2, and the fulfilling of the word of Jehovah? We may follow the Word as it connects this priest with Ichabod who was named in connection with Phinehas. We may follow this priestly line from 14:3 where Ahitub is spoken of as Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, and then in 22:11 of Ahimelech the  priest, the son of Ahitub, and in 22:20 of one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. Through the wickedness of king Saul, the line of Eli was destroyed, excepting Abiathar. And in our 1 Kings passage, Solomon puts Abiathar out of the priesthood that he might fulfil the word of Jehovah.

       God brings to pass what He ordains and, ‘Whate’er my God ordains is right.’

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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