Thursday, 1 May 2014

(122) May 2: 1 Kings 1-2 & Luke 22:54-71

Ask God to open your mind, heart and will to understand, delight in and obey what you read.

To discover:­­
How is the kingdom prepared for Solomon.

To ponder:
David is old and a young and beautiful virgin is brought - just to keep him warm (1v4!). It seems Adonijah is the next in-line for the throne (Daniel may have died, 1 Chr 3v2), and he acts like Absalom in putting himself forward as king (1v5-10, see 2 Sam 15v1, 10-12). There’s a lesson for Dads in his behaviour (1v6).
            Those most loyal to David are excluded from these proceedings, and Nathan tells Bathsheba what has happened, advising her to protect herself and Solomon by telling David and reminding him that he had promised the throne to Solomon (something we only learn here). At the very time she did this, perhaps by arrangement, Nathan himself arrived, asking if David had made Adonijah king. The repeated stress on having David say who is to succeed him suggests the narrative wants to clarify the genuineness of Solomon’s claim. Only God’s true king should be given allegiance.
            David promises Bathsheba he will do as he said, and commands Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, to anoint and declare Solomon king, having him sit on David’s throne in Jerusalem. Benaiah’s prayer looks to the coming greatness of Solomon’s reign (1v37, 47), and David’s command is fulfilled. Adonijah and guests hear the rejoicing. When told, the guests disperse in “alarm,” and Adonijah clings to the altar as a sign of seeking mercy and protection from God. He asks Solomon to spare him. Solomon promises to if he is “worthy,” but to put him to death if he does “evil.” Adonijah therefore gives him allegiance and leaves.
            With Solomon now enthroned and David about to die, David charges his son with words reminiscent of those given Joshua (Jos 1) and God’s requirements for kings (Deut 17v18-20). Solomon is to be strong and observe God’s law so that he might prosper and God’s promise to David (2 Sam 7) progress. This is critical in 1 and 2 Kings as we see David’s descendents fail to live up to this call, hindering the reign of David’s house over Israel, whilst raising appreciation of the perfect righteousness of Christ.
            David then ensures certain debts are paid: Solomon should deal with Joab and Shimei according to his “wisdom” but ensure they are put to death for their deeds. However, Barzillai is to be rewarded with special favour at Solomon’s table for standing by David. David then “rested with his fathers” after a 40 year reign.
            Before David’s instructions are carried out, Adonijah is dealt with. Whilst acknowledging Solomon had the kingdom “from the LORD” he requests through Bathsheba that he marry Abishag, the virgin who comforted David. This is actually a play for the throne in aligning himself with one of David’s women. Solomon realises this (2v22), so kills Adonijah as he said he would (1v52). He spares Adonijah’s ally, Abiathar, because he “carried the ark” but removes him from the priesthood, ending Eli’s priestly line as God predicted (1 Sam 2v30-33). However, Joab is not spared, despite clinging to the altar. His guilt and David’s innocence in the killings of Abner and Amasa is stressed, meaning guilt for Joab’s descendents and peace for David’s house.
            David’s command that Shimei be killed seems unjust considering his previous promise to spare him. It may be for this reason that Solomon promised that Shimei could live as long as remaining in the Jerusalem area. This would leave Shimei’s fate to God’s providence. If he left, Solomon could conclude it right to kill him. Despite agreeing to this however, three years later Shimei did leave, and so was put to death too.
            The point thoughout is that “the kingdom” was “firmly established in Solomon’s hands” (2v46), with those who might cause trouble dealt with. It reminds us off the utter peace that will forever reign when all who do evil are finally judged and shut out of the kingdom to come.

Praying it home:
Thank God for the perfect peace and security we look forward to in his kingdom. Pray that Dads (and Mums) you know would not fail to discipline their children when necessary as David did.

Thinking further:
To read the NIV Study Bible introduction to 1 Kings, click here.

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