Wednesday, February 27, 2013

CXX - I Kings - David Selects Solomon as His Successor

David was neaaring the end of his life and the close of his reign as king.  Due to his deteriorating condition, he almost lost control of the events which would effect the entire future of his beloved Israel.

I Kings 1:1-4  -  By the standards of David's day, David was an old man.  He was suffering so much from his declining health, that it was visibly effecting his ability to reign, which concerned his royal cabinet and those close to David.  Apparently his body temperature was too low in spite of several attempts to warm him up.  When all else failed they selected a beautiful woman named Abishag to become a member of David's harem.  Her primary task was to lie with him to impart her body
warmth to him.  Also she was a test to David's manhood and a determination as to whether or not David would get well from his current affliction.  In those days, the king's ability to rule was directly related to his physical virility.  This type of "test" was common practice.  Even with Abishag lieing with him, David showed no signs of sexual interest or improvement of spirit.  But Abishag continued with David as a nurse and handmaid.

Verses 5-->  The focus suddenly moves to Adonijah.  Adonijah was the oldest living son of David.  {David's first-born son was Amnon who was killed by the third-born son Absalom.  Absalom was killed by Joab's men after Absalom tried to overthrow king David his father.  Although the Scripture does not say, the second son Kileab must have died prior to the events we're studying now.  Kileab's mother was Abigail, one of David's first loves.  She was a widow when David married her.} Adonijah is described as ambitious, handsome, pampered, and assuming.  Long before David's death Adonijah had assigned to himself over fifty bodyguards and attendants.  {Perhaps David might have seen this coming.}  Adonijah declared himself to be the next king.  He also was cunning as he had already recruited most of David's officers and advisors to start serving him instead of David.  Adonijah knew that some of the leaders in David's inner circle leaned toward Solomon.  {I cannot find anywhere in the Scripture, but based upon this and other events in this chapter, Solomon had been designated as the heir to the throne, either secretly or kept in the confines of family and the inner circle of the king.  Certainly there was a proclaimation made sometime because Solomon was the tenth son born to David.  Solomon's mother was Bathsheba, David's true love.}  Being very smart and cunning, Adonijah first recruited Joab, the military commander, and Abiathar, one of David's chief religious advisors.  Many people followed Adonijah just because he already had these two prominent officers of the king's court.  So Adonijah openly declared himself king.  He was going to have an official coronation, and chose Kidron Valley as the place, as this section of Jerusalem was large enough to accomodate quite a crowd.  And of course, a crowd gathered to witness the coronation of a king.  It was perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  These people were the
townspeople, led to believe that Adonijah was indeed their king now.  If the commoner was told by these official looking men that Adonijah was the new king, they would have had no reason to question it.  Therefore it is not safe to assume that everybody in attendance were disloyal to David.  So everybody who was anybody was in Kidron Valley, feasting and celebrating the crowning of a new king.  But there were a few who were conspicuously absent.  All of the king's court were there except Nathan, Zadok, and Benaiah.  All of David's wives and concubines were there except Bathsheba.  All of David's sons were there except Solomon.  In those days, when someone of a high level was intentionally excluded from such an event, it meant more than a few hurt feelings.  If those who were not invited were members of the old regime, it meant they were marked for death.

Vss 11-->  Now the focus shifts back to Nathan.  Nathan first appeared in the Scriptures after the Ark of the Covenant was brought back to Jerusalem.  Nathan was a prophet, like Samuel.  He was David's close spiritual advisor and confidant.  Nathan had a special place in his heart for Solomon.  When Solomon was born, Nathan named him Jedidiah, which meant "beloved of the Lord".  {Through the years Bathsheba had become David's favorite wife, a position which, in part, had led David to take a special interest in Solomon.}  Nathan had of course heard about what was happening in Kidron Valley, and he shuttered at the thought of its significance.  He knew he must act quickly.  He approached Bathsheba, who always had access to the king.  She was to make David aware of what Adonijah was doing and remind him of his pledge earlier to make Solomon his successor on the throne (vs. 17)  {There are factions even today who think Nathan and Bathsheba fabricated the story of David making that commitment.  But theologeans through the centuries have dismissed that thought.  I agree with the theologeans.  Nathan had severed in a Godly manner all his life.  Surely he would not have relied on the possibility of David having senility that severe.  Also, Solomon had become favored in David's eyes, howbeit in large part because of his affections for Bathsheba.  Further, I must discount the senility possibility because of the account of decisive actions taken by
David from this point in the day until day's end.  Severe senility would not have allowed such resolve.}   While Bathsheba was still speaking, Nathan (as planned) would enter to back up and emphasize Bathsheba's concerns.  Nathan painted for David a vivid picture of what was happening at that very moment.

Vss 28-->  Then David springs into action.  He begins directing everyone present with the kingly authority as he has so many times in the past.  David's resolve was to determine the events to take place rather than to let them just fall in place as they may.  He knew he must immediately decree Solomon as king.  He must set up a proper coronation.  And he chose the location, which was Gihon Spring, which was as good if not better that Kidron Valley where Adonijah was partying at that
very moment.  David knew that there were four steps he must take in order that Solomon would be the undisputed king:
1)  The coronation must be supported by and accompanied by the royal guard, led by Benaiah.  {The royal guard were the elite soldiers specially assigned to guarding the king and his palace.  Joab commanded the army, but Benaiah commanded the royal gaurd.  The presence of these soldiers would also serve to squash any attempts to disrupt the procedings.
2)  Solomon was to be placed on David's royal mule.  {Horses back then were used to pull chariots;  they were never used for riding.  Most people either walked or rode a donkey.  I'm sure the royal mule was dressed out in much regalia.  It would have been an impressive sight for Solomon to be riding on the royal mule, surrounded by the royal gaurd marching with him and some leading the way on donkeys dressed in their military dressings.}
3)  David decreed that his religeous leaders were to anoint Solomon as king over the united nation, all twelve tribes.  {By all accounts, Adonijah had invited predominantly men of Judah, disregarding the importance of practicing unity and impartiality.  David had spent his entire life trying to unify Israel, not divide them.}  To anoint someone meant that oil was taken and poured on the person's head.  The event signified two things:  He was divinely chosen and the Lord would endow him with everything necessary to fulfill his task successfully.  Zadok the priest used a horn of oil from the tabernacle, emphasize that the anointing was holy and had God's blessing.
4)  An official proclamation was to be made.  Often important announcements were preceded by a trumpet blast.  The trumpet was a ram's horn called a "shophar" that was sounded for religeous and military occasions.  Those accompanying Solomon were to blow the trumpets and loudly proclaim "God save king Solomon".  David, with great gratitude, expressed thanksgiving for the honor of witnessing the coronation of his son as king of Israel.  {This is a very rare occurance.  Throughout the centuries, kings were never crowned until after the death of the current king.}
Vss 49 -->  The trumpet blasts and the shouts for Solomon could be heard clearly by all those in Kidron Valley.  News of details spread to Kidron quickly.  Solomon has been crowned king of Israel.  The crowd immediately dispersed.  When Adonijah realized what had happened, he knew his life was in danger.  He fled to the tabernacle, grabbed the horns of the altar and pleaded for his life.  {If you remember, holding the horns of the alter in the tabernacle protected you against punishment until
an investigation of your crime was complete}  Solomon extended Adonijah a conditional pardon:  He would spare Adonijah's life as long as he did nothing to undermine Solomon's reign as king.

Next Post:  David's last words

No comments:

Post a Comment