INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE NEW KING
1 Kings 2
David knew that he had reached his end, so he summons Solomon to offer some final advice for the new king. Solomon draws near to his father to embrace what time he can before his dad leaves this life and steps into the next. David instructs his son to be strong and to show that he was a man capable of leading the people of God. Solomon was to keep the charge of the Lord and by walking in obedience according to the law of Mosses. Obedience would be the way for Solomon to prosper. Solomon should walk before the Lord with all his heart and soul for this was the basis for never lacking a man on the throne. Solomon must have been encouraged by these words and eager to walk well in the counsel his father had offered the new king. David continues, and the subject matter shifts to political advice. David had failed to keep certain obligations, and so he must give some instructions that will be difficult for the new king. Solomon must deal with Joab who had gotten away with murder during the reign of David and had sided with Adonijah's attempt to seize the throne. David does not mince words with his son and instructs him to kill Joab. Solomon must act wisely in the matter lest he give cause for a rebellion within the army. David explains that Solomon should be kind to the sons of Barzillai because of the support he received from them during the insurrection of Absalom. Shimei had cursed David during the rebellion, but David had vowed not to kill him with the sword. Things were different now, and Solomon was not bound by that oath, and David counseled Solomon to execute him. Solomon's time with his father, while he lay on his deathbed, was necessary and it gave David the chance to give his son some advice. David died and was buried in the city if David after reigning for forty years. Solomon assumed his rightful place on the throne, and the kingdom was firmly established.
Greed Is Never Satisfied
Adonijah's attempt to take the throne had failed, and he managed to survive his treachery with his life, but it was not long before he began preparations for another coup attempt. Adonijah was subtle and cunning when he approached Bathsheba. She is suspicious at first, but eventually, he wins her over. Adonijah tries to make himself a sympathetic figure using manipulation. He begins with an exaggeration about Israel's expectations for him to be king. He then reminds Bathsheba that things had reversed and the kingdom was given to Solomon because it was his from the Lord. Finally, Adonijah pleads with Bathsheba to help him with one last thing which will require her mediation with Solomon. He asserts that Solomon will listen to her, so he asks her to approach him about Abishag being given to him as his wife. Bathsheba agrees to speak to Solomon on Adonijah's behalf.
Change Is Challenging
Bathsheba went to see her son, and after the appropriate royal courtesies, Solomon sat on his throne and had a seat for his mother brought in and placed to his right. She tells Solomon that she has one small request and Solomon assures her that he is willing to fulfill any request that she might make. After all, she is his mother, and he could not imagine that she would ask anything of her son that he would not grant. Bathsheba made her request on behalf of Adonijah and Solomon quickly responds in anger. He was surprised that his mother did not realize the implications of this appeal. She should have just asked Solomon to hand over the kingdom to his older brother because taking possession of a wife or the harem of a dead king was a claim to the throne. Solomon had given his brother mercy before, but he would not turn a blind eye to the imminent threat he posed to Solomon's rule, and he swore an oath that Adonijah would be executed that very day. King Solomon sent Benaiah to execute his half-brother, and the order was immediately carried out. Solomon was intent on dismantling this group of conspirators, so he summoned Abiathar to the palace and ordered him to retire from his priestly office and return to his hometown. Abiathar deserved death but Solomon spared him because of his service for his father, and he was banished. When Joab heard what Solomon had done, he fled to the tent of the Lord and held onto the horns of the altar. Joab's actions confirm Solomon's suspicions, and he sends Benaiah to execute the old general. Joab refuses to come out, and Benaiah asks Solomon what he would have him do to Joab. Solomon tells Benaiah to strike him in the sanctuary and bury him because this was the only way to remove blood guilt from the house of David. Joab murdered innocent men, and now justice would be served. After receiving royal authorization returned to the altar and struck Joab down and he was buried in his house. Solomon filled the vacant positions of general and high priest with Benaiah and Zadok. Finally, Solomon summoned Shimei and ordered him to build a new house in Jerusalem and never leave the capital. Solomon warned Shimei that if he left the city for any reason, he would die. Shimei submits and agrees to the terms, but after three years, two of his slaves ran away to Gath. Shimei went to Gath and brought them back. Solomon was told what Shimei had done, and he summoned him to the palace. Solomon charged Shimei with profaning the name of the Lord, violating the terms of his probation, and cursing his father, David. Solomon commanded Benaiah to execute Shimei, and he struck him down. The kingdom was established, and Solomon had not forgotten his father's advice.
Things To Consider:
- Why do you think David had this conversation with Solomon?
- How do you think David decided on the things he discussed with his son?
- Do you think Solomon was overwhelmed? Why?
- Why do you think David was so particular in his political advice?
- What does this teach you about sin?
- What makes power so desirable?
- Why do you think Bathsheba was sympathetic to Adonijah?
- How does Solomon show respect to his mother?
- What does this have to do with the law of Moses?
- Why does Solomon respond differently this time?
- How do patterns help us understand motives?
- Do you think Solomon acted wisely? Why?
- Why is change difficult?
- How has Jesus dealt decisively with his enemies and established his kingdom?