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1 Kings 2

46Then the king gave the order to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck Shimei down and he died.

The kingdom was now established in Solomon’s hands.

Is Shimei a threat to Solomon's kingdom? Why should killing Shimei be important to secure his throne?

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Shimei's story begins in 2 Samuel 16 with his cursing of David as David was in mourning and in distress over the death of his son Absalom.

And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust. (2 Samuel 16:13, KJV)

David did not choose at that time to punish Shimei, even though he had both cursed and thrown stones at David and his men. Three chapters later, one of his men made inquiry of David regarding this.

But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD's anointed? (2 Samuel 19:21, KJV)

To which David had responded:

And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel? (2 Samuel 19:22, KJV)

But, as with Joab, David gave some instructions to his son Solomon that Shimei not be allowed to die in peace.

And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood. (1 Kings 2:8-9, KJV)

Solomon was but carrying out his father's last wishes. He was performing a duty that had been commanded of his father.

Conclusion

Shimei's death was a deserved, albeit delayed, punishment that was given by David's orders after his death. It was not because he posed any threat to Solomon's kingdom, nor because of any particular wrong done to Solomon himself.

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  • The phrase thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do seems to argue for the contrary; i.e., you're not stupid, and know full well what threat he poses, if left to continue unhindered. Likewise, I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death seems to suggest that the only reason for which David abstained from doing what he himself knew all along that needed to be done, was because of a (premature or conjectural) oath.
    – Lucian
    Oct 8, 2021 at 12:54
  • @Lucian The questions you bring up are tangential to the question asked in the OP, which is the question I answered. Certainly there are side issues that could occupy one's time and attention with this story. One might ask, for example, if David had promised not to put him to death with the sword, why couldn't he have used some other means, e.g. hanging? The fact is, David on that occasion was in a compromising position in which Israel was divided and David was faced with the challenge of regaining the trust and loyalty of all. He could not afford, politically, to kill Shimei that day.
    – Polyhat
    Oct 8, 2021 at 13:30
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Let's see the context. The chapter opens with 1 Kings 2:

1 When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.

There were 3 items in David's will:

6b but do not let his [Joab] gray head go down to the grave in peace.

7“But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table. They stood by me when I fled from your brother Absalom.

9b Bring his [Shimei] gray head down to the grave in blood.”

First, Joab was dealt with in verse 34:

So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up and struck down Joab and killed him

Second, the sons of Barzillai continued to eat at Solomon's table.

Third, Shimei was killed in verse 46:

Then the king gave the order to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck Shimei down and he died.

Is Shimei a threat to Solomon's kingdom?

No, not at all. He was easy for Solomon to deal with. No army was involved.

The chapter closes with 45b:

The kingdom was now established in Solomon’s hands.

Why should killing Shimei be important to secure his throne?

It was important only in the sense of timing as David's last item of his dying wish.

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