1 KINGS 1:32-2:4 (5-46A) 46B
1:32King David said, “Summon to me the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came before the king, 33the king said to them, “Take with you the servants of your lord, and have my son Solomon ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon. 34There let the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan anoint him king over Israel; then blow the trumpet, and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35You shall go up following him. Let him enter and sit on my throne; he shall be king in my place; for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.” 36Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! May the LORD, the God of my lord the king, so ordain. 37As the LORD has been with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”
38So the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and led him to Gihon. 39There the priest Zadok took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” 40And all the people went up following him, playing on pipes and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth quaked at their noise.
41Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished feasting. When Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, “Why is the city in an uproar?” 42While he was still speaking, Jonathan son of the priest Abiathar arrived. Adonijah said, “Come in, for you are a worthy man and surely you bring good news.”43Jonathan answered Adonijah, “No, for our lord King David has made Solomon king; 44the king has sent with him the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and they had him ride on the king’s mule; 45the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan have anointed him king at Gihon; and they have gone up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise that you heard. 46Solomon now sits on the royal throne. 47Moreover the king’s servants came to congratulate our lord King David, saying, ‘May God make the name of Solomon more famous than yours, and make his throne greater than your throne.’ The king bowed in worship on the bed 48and went on to pray thus, ‘Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who today has granted one of my offspring to sit on my throne and permitted me to witness it.’”
49Then all the guests of Adonijah got up trembling and went their own ways. 50Adonijah, fearing Solomon, got up and went to grasp the horns of the altar. 51Solomon was informed, “Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; see, he has laid hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me first that he will not kill his servant with the sword.’” 52So Solomon responded, “If he proves to be a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.” 53Then King Solomon sent to have him brought down from the altar. He came to do obeisance to King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, “Go home.”
2:1When David’s time to die drew near, he charged his son Solomon, saying: 2“I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, 3and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. 4Then the LORD will establish his word that he spoke concerning me: ‘If your heirs take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.’
5“Moreover you know also what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, Abner son of Ner, and Amasa son of Jether, whom he murdered, retaliating in time of peace for blood that had been shed in war, and putting the blood of war on the belt around his waist, and on the sandals on his feet. 6Act therefore according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace. 7Deal loyally, however, with the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table; for with such loyalty they met me when I fled from your brother Absalom. 8There is also with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a terrible curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim; but when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ 9Therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man; you will know what you ought to do to him, and you must bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.”
10Then David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. 11The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.
13Then Adonijah son of Haggith came to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. She asked, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably.” 14Then he said, “May I have a word with you?” She said, “Go on.” 15He said, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel expected me to reign; however, the kingdom has turned about and become my brother’s, for it was his from the LORD. 16And now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me.” She said to him, “Go on.” 17He said, “Please ask King Solomon — he will not refuse you — to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.” 18Bathsheba said, “Very well; I will speak to the king on your behalf.”
19So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. The king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right. 20Then she said, “I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.” 21She said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to your brother Adonijah as his wife.” 22King Solomon answered his mother, “And why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom as well! For he is my elder brother; ask not only for him but also for the priest Abiathar and for Joab son of Zeruiah!” 23Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, “So may God do to me, and more also, for Adonijah has devised this scheme at the risk of his life! 24Now therefore as the LORD lives, who has established me and placed me on the throne of my father David, and who has made me a house as he promised, today Adonijah shall be put to death.” 25So King Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he struck him down, and he died.
26The king said to the priest Abiathar, “Go to Anathoth, to your estate; for you deserve death. But I will not at this time put you to death, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before my father David, and because you shared in all the hardships my father endured.” 27So Solomon banished Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, thus fulfilling the word of the LORD that he had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.
28When the news came to Joab — for Joab had supported Adonijah though he had not supported Absalom — Joab fled to the tent of the LORD and grasped the horns of the altar. 29When it was told King Solomon, “Joab has fled to the tent of the LORD and now is beside the altar,” Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, strike him down.” 30So Benaiah came to the tent of the LORD and said to him, “The king commands, ‘Come out.’” But he said, “No, I will die here.” Then Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, “Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.” 31The king replied to him, “Do as he has said, strike him down and bury him; and thus take away from me and from my father’s house the guilt for the blood that Joab shed without cause.32The LORD will bring back his bloody deeds on his own head, because, without the knowledge of my father David, he attacked and killed with the sword two men more righteous and better than himself, Abner son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah. 33So shall their blood come back on the head of Joab and on the head of his descendants forever; but to David, and to his descendants, and to his house, and to his throne, there shall be peace from the LORD forevermore.” 34Then Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up and struck him down and killed him; and he was buried at his own house near the wilderness. 35The king put Benaiah son of Jehoiada over the army in his place, and the king put the priest Zadok in the place of Abiathar.
36Then the king sent and summoned Shimei, and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem, and live there, and do not go out from there to any place whatever. 37For on the day you go out, and cross the Wadi Kidron, know for certain that you shall die; your blood shall be on your own head.” 38And Shimei said to the king, “The sentence is fair; as my lord the king has said, so will your servant do.” So Shimei lived in Jerusalem many days.
39But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shimei’s slaves ran away to King Achish son of Maacah of Gath. When it was told Shimei, “Your slaves are in Gath,” 40Shimei arose and saddled a donkey, and went to Achish in Gath, to search for his slaves; Shimei went and brought his slaves from Gath. 41When Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and returned, 42the king sent and summoned Shimei, and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the LORD, and solemnly adjure you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go out and go to any place whatever, you shall die’? And you said to me, ‘The sentence is fair; I accept.’ 43Why then have you not kept your oath to the LORD and the commandment with which I charged you?” 44The king also said to Shimei, “You know in your own heart all the evil that you did to my father David; so the LORD will bring back your evil on your own head. 45But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.” 46Then the king commanded Benaiah son of Jehoiada; and he went out and struck him down, and he died.
So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.
We will bid David adieu after today's devotional. Although we did not stay with all the narrative details of David's life in these devotionals, we still managed to get a sense of who David was. It's strange and sad to read the above passage about David, in his last days before death. We usually picture David in our minds as a young man -- killing Goliath or as the young ascendant king. Rarely do we picture him as an old man. (Interestingly, we tend to picture David's son, Solomon, not as a young man, but as an elderly, wise king.) (FYI, I usually picture Elvis as a young man and not as the heavy-set, sad, drug addled Elvis, post-1972. But that's neither here nor there.)
When a person is dying, as was the case with David, and that person has some last words to impart before his last breath, it's almost always filled with platitudes. Like forgettable commencement speeches, the last words of a dying person is full of "be this, be that, do this, do that, don't do this, don't do that." And just as predictable for those who hear these last words, the words are not heeded. David says all these things. But, in time, Solomon and those who follow will not do those things.
David should have saved his breath and not said anything. Might as well died in quietness and in whatever peace he could found surrounded as he was by those who remembered the many bloody conflicts that marked David's days on earth.
Kind of depressing. No, not "kind of." Depressing. Period.
Is depressing the last word here?
Before we throw in the towel, there is a tiny glimmer of hope. Do you see it in the text?
The hope is found in the bold numbers -- forty, seven, thirty-three. Forty days he fasted and prayed in the desert; thirty-three, the age when he died. (Seven is the most well-known of the "holy" numbers in the Bible.) The glimmer of hope is found in a future king, in the line of King David. We know him as King Jesus.
The failure of David, of Solomon, and of subsequent rulers of Israel should not shock us. It's hard to live righteously in an unrighteous world, especially when one's own heart is not righteous. The hope of victory only comes through the One who is Righteous. And the hope for us only comes through the power of the Righteous One.
Platitudes aside, we need real power to overcome and real power to live righteously. That Power for Living comes from the Spirit who imparts the Power of the Righteous One, Jesus the Risen Lord.
Let's pray: Father God, like David we know what we should be and what we should do. Knowledge is not the problem. But desire, will, and ability. Help us to desire righteousness, which means desiring you and your will. Strengthen our wills so that our wills become conformed to your will. And release greater power of the Spirit within us so that we are more than able to follow through on what we desire -- the things of God. In Jesus' name, amen.