A PASSIVE KING
1 Kings 1
A Passive Father
Time stops for no man even if he is a king. David has aged, and he can no longer keep warm. David's servants suggest that a search should be conducted to find a young woman who might serve the king and the implication is that she would also be his concubine. A concubine was a woman conjugally united to a man but relationally inferior to a wife. David must have given his consent because the search was initiated until Abishag the Shunammite was found. She was young and beautiful, and she served David, but he did not "know" her which is a euphemism for marital relations. Adonijah, David's oldest living son, believed that he was entitled to David's throne and he seems more concerned with assuming power than the health of his father. God gave Solomon a special name, and he was to be David's successor. David had made no official announcement, but the people who served in the palace must have been aware that Solomon was to be the next king. Adonijah made no effort to hide his conspiracy and taking a page from Absalom's playbook; he prepared a chariot, horses, and fifty men to run before him and herald his coming. Adonijah's deplorable behavior was contributed to through David's lack of discipline, his appearance, his position in the family, and the encouragement of Joab and Abiathar. David had been passive as a father, and it cost him dearly. David may have suffered from fading health and been inactive, but other leaders would not accept this treason. Zadok the priest, Benaiah the general, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men would not follow this spoiled son. Adonijah planned to host his own coronation at a feast. He invited the royal officials of Judah and all of David's sons except Solomon.
Nathan acted quickly to thwart Adonijah's attempt to seize the throne. He went to Bathsheba to stress the urgency of the situation and offered some advice about countermeasures. The plan was to have Bathsheba approach David and present the clear and present danger that she and Solomon were facing. Nathan would follow closely behind her, and he would confirm her words. Bathsheba went to David right away and met with him in his private chamber while he was being attended by Abishag. Bathsheba reminded David of the oath he swore to her concerning Solomon, and she informs David that Adonijah has some glaring omissions from his guest list. She emphasized that the Kingdom was looking to David for clarity regarding his successor and warned that if David did not install Solomon, they would be considered to be offenders. Bathsheba is finishing her emotional appeal when Nathan's presence is announced. Nathan pays his respects and speaks as if David authorized Adonijah's feast. He points out that David's closest friends and Solomon were not invited to the feast. Nathan speaks as though David changed his plans for Solomon to succeed him but did not consult with his closest advisers.
Passive No More
Nathan's words seem to awaken the lethargic king he takes action. He called Bathsheba and vowed that by the Lord who redeemed him from every adversity, he would honor his oath and Solomon would be the king that very day. David orders Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah to take Solomon to the Gihon spring and anoint him as king immediately. They were to blow the trumpet and proclaim, "Long live King Solomon." When they returned to the city, Solomon was to sit onDavid's throne. Benaiah is encouraged by his king and offers a hearty amen accompanied by a prayer of blessing over the future reign of Solomon. Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah organized a coronation ceremony quickly and marched to the spring with a horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon as king. The trumpet sound and the crowds roared,"Long live King Solomon. The procession made its way to the palace where Solomon ascended to the throne. The celebration was so loud that the earth split because of the noise.
More Than Sibling Rivalry
The noise of the crowd was heard by Adonijah and his guests. They lingered until a messenger arrived with the news that David made Solomon king. Jonathan shared the details of what had taken place, and the conspirators fled the scene. Adonijah ran to the altar and refused to leave that sacred place until Solomon promised not to execute him. Solomon responds by proclaiming that Adonijah would be safe as long as he was a loyal subject. However, he guaranteed that any action against the crown would result in his death. Adonijah was brought to King Solomon where he paid homage and was sent to his house.
Things To Consider:
- What can be learned about parenting from David?
- When does ambition cross the line?
- What happens when we manipulate situations for selfish gain?
- Why is power and authority so appealing?
- What makes Nathan and Bathsheba's plan different from Adonijah's plan?
- Why do you think David's response is so strong?
- What can be learned from the prophet, priest, and king all being involved in Solomon's coronation?
- What do you think of Benaiah's response and prayer?
- Why do you think Solomon spares Adonijah?
- How does sin bring separation?