Sunday, March 3, 2013

CXXII - I Kings Chapter 2 - Solomon Solidifies His Kingship

Allow me to take a moment to make a correction.  Two posts ago as I was introducing the Book of I Kings, I indicated that both Books of Kings took us to the calender end of the Old Testament.  I made that statement in error.  Kings takes us to about 550 BC, which is about the time that Judah was taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  Israel was taken captive by King Shalmaneser of Assyria many years earlier.  The Old Testament records about 150 years beyond that point,
which we will cover later on.

Also, when I wrote the last post about Adonijah, I neglected to expound on the assumption that Adonijah had the right to be king because he was the oldest living son of David.  "Primogentiture" was a term used for the concept that the oldest son had the right to succeed his father.  This was a popular concept among all the Canaanite nations, as well as Israel.  And, the Mosaic Law heavily favors the oldest sons.  However, In God's chosen nation, this priciple was frequently by-passed.  A few examples of were:

God chose Isaac over his older brother Ishmael
God chose Jacob over Esau
God selected Judah to carry the royal blood line.  (Rueben, Simeon, and Levi were all older than Judah)
David had seven older brothers
And here, Solomon was the tenth son of David

So, although God does not disrespect the concept of primogentiture, He will not honor it if His purpose is better served otherwise.

I Kings chapter 2  -  In quick review, Adonijah's attempt to assume the throne has failed and Solomon has been crowned as the new king of Israel.  David, although extremely ill, directed the entire procedure to make sure Solomon would be the undisputed king.  Adonijah has placed himself at the mercy of Solomon and was conditionally pardoned of his crimes.

We do not know how much time elapsed between Solomon's coronation and David's death.  However, when David sensed his death was at hand, he formally charged Soloman with the responsibility of being king.  Verse 1 - This verse says that David's death was near and he knew it, therefore he "charged" Solomon.  The word is use like it would mean  to "charge" someone with a certain responsibility.  David was transfering kingly authority and responsibility to Solomon.  In that order.  {Have any of you ever been given a responsibility prior to being given authority.  I have.  That is being placed in an unfair situation in most circumstances.  Authority must be given first.}  Vs 2 - David tells him to be strong and act like a man.  Interesting.  Be firm.  Be resolute.  Be mature.  In verse 3 David states the "charge", which entails quite a bit.  Observe what the Lord your God requires (know His requirements and observe them always); walk in obedience to Him; keep His  commandments as written in the Law of Moses.  Then David makes a promise in behalf of God:  Do this and you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.

 Although my research came to a dead end on verse 4, I find it so significant.  Allow me to paraphrase verse 4:  If the people of Israel walk faithfully in the sight of God you (Solomon) will always have a descendant on the throne of Israel.  {As we continue our study we will find out just how prophetic that statement becomes.}  I find verses 5-9 very interesting, as I've never really looked at them closely before.  David is still talking to Solomon about being king.  This is still David's last official words to his successor.  Notice in verse 5.  David had made a few pardons as king.  But he officially releases Solomon of keeping them.  In fact, he urges Solomon NOT to honor them.  Example:  Joab killed Abner and Amasa.  He killed them outside the confines of war.  David never punished Joab.  David tells Solomon to deal with Joab according to your own wisdom, but punish him.  In verse 7 David pleads with Solomon to treat Barzillai extra good.  Verse 8 - Remember Shimei?  He was the man who shouted curses and threw rocks at David when David was fleeing from Jerusalem.  But David forgave and pardoned him for his crime.  But even in David's old age approaching death, he remembers Shimei and tells Solomon in so many words to have him killed violently.  (You need to read these verses to understand the flavor of David's words.)  Then in verse 10, David dies.  {I always hurt when these great men die.  Can't help it.  It grieves my soul.}

Solomon's throne has been established without serious contest.  But Solomon knew he must secure his throne by taking care of some unpleasant details.  The first one was made easy by Adonijah himself.  Solomon pardoned him on the condition that he do nothing to threaten or weaken Solomon's reign.  Adonijah must have been either terribly foolish or thought that Solomon was stupid.  Adonijah asked Bathsheba to talk to Solomon and ask him to give him Abishag (David's concubine) as his wife.  {To have a king's concubine was an open claim to the throne.  How could he have make such a
foolish mistake?}  Solomon immediately recognized this as a ploy to gain power in Isreal.  Solomon had Adonijah killed for breaking his conditional pardon agreement.  Vss 28-->  Solomon wanted to honor David's requests.  After he had Adonijah killed, he proceeded to have Beneieh kill Joab, as David requested.  Solomon was careful to make it known that the Joab's crime was the shedding of innocent blood.  Lastly, Solomon wanted to deal with Shimei, the man who threw rocks at David and cursed him publicly.  Vss 36-->  Solomon summoned Shimei.  Soloman told him to build him a house in Jerusalem and live there, but don't go outside the city or he would be put to death.  For three years Shimei stayed mindful and obedient to Solomon's directive.  Then one day two of Shimei's slaves had escaped and Shimei went after them which took him far out of Jerusalem.  It was reported to Solomon, who then had Shimei executed.  This was the last of the special requests made to Solomon from his father David.  The final verse in this chapter says "The kingdom was now established in Solomon's hands.

Next post  -  Solomon asks for wisdom.

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