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by Wayne Blank
"Benaiah the son of Jehoiada"
When King David began to reign over all of Israel (i.e. Israel and Judah; see Israelite Monarchy - The Civil War and Israelite Monarchy - The United Kingdom), Benaiah was appointed as one of David's primary government officials.
"So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and equity to all his people. And Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; and Zadok the son of Ahitub and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar were priests; and Seraiah was secretary; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were priests." (2 Samuel 8:15-18 RSV)
Benaiah's leadership wasn't merely a matter of politics; Benaiah was a truly courageous warrior and leader.
"And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds; he smote two ariels of Moab. He also went down and slew a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen. And he slew an Egyptian, a handsome man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but Benaiah went down to him with a staff, and snatched the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear.
When Adonijah attempted to usurp the throne of Israel for himself, Benaiah remained loyal to David and to David's known successor, Solomon.
"Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king"; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, "Why have you done thus and so?" He was also a very handsome man; and he was born next after Absalom. He conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest; and they followed Adonijah and helped him. But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan The Prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and David's mighty men were not with Adonijah.
When David learned of the plot, he sent his most trusted men, including Benaiah, to not only protect Solomon from assassination, but to coronate Solomon while David himself yet lived.
"King David said, "Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." So they came before the king. And the king said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon; and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there anoint him king over Israel; then blow the trumpet, and say, 'Long live King Solomon!'" (1 Kings 1:32-34 RSV)
King Solomon then went about removing the threats to him, including his own brother Adonijah (who would surely had done the same to Solomon if he came to power). Solomon sent Benaiah to kill treasonous Adonijah.
"Then King Solomon swore by The Lord, saying, "God do so to me and more also if this word does not cost Adonijah his life! Now therefore as The Lord lives, who has established me, and placed me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.
Solomon then made Benaiah commander of the army of Israel, in place of Joab.
"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." (1 Kings 2:25 RSV)
Fact Finder: What happened to the kingdom of Israel after the death of Solomon? Why was Solomon himself responsible for the division of the united kingdom?