DAVID AND SOLOMON: V
The Hebrew historians had no doubt that everything David did was by divine determination. The installation of Solomon, as king, was Yahweh’s design. Solomon’s initial time as king appears to have pleased Yahweh and the people. However, the cost of Solomon’s programs and his appetite for pleasure did not please God or man.
David Had Solomon Succeed him
Then King David answered, “Call Bathsheba to me.” So she came into the king’s presence, and stood before the king. And the king swore, saying, “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead’; even so will I do this day.” Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground, and did obeisance to the king, and said, “May my lord King David live for ever!”
King David said, “Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.” So they came before the king. And the king said to them, “Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon; and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there anoint him king over Israel; then blow the trumpet, and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ You shall then come up after him, and he shall come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead; and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.” And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! May the LORD, the God of my lord the king, say so. As the LORD has been with my lord the king, even so may he be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”
So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites and the Pelethites, went down and caused Solomon to ride on King David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon. There Zadok the priest 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!” And all the people went up after him, playing on pipes, and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth was split by their noise.
Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished feasting. And When Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, “What does this uproar in the city mean?” While he was still speaking, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came; and Adonijah said, “Come in, for you are a worthy man and bring good news.” Jonathan answered Adonijah, “No, for our lord King David has made Solomon king; and the king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and they have caused him to ride on the king’s mule, and Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon; and the have gone up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise that you have heard. Solomon sits upon the royal throne. Moreover the king’s servants came to congratulate our lord King David, saying, ‘Your God make the name of Solomon more famous than yours, and make his throne greater than your throne.’ And the king bowed himself upon the bed. And the king also said, ‘Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who has granted one of my offspring to sit on my throne this day, my own eyes seeing it.’”
Then all the guests of Adonijah trembled, and rose, and each went his own way. And Adonijah feared Solomon, and he arose, and went, and caught hold of the horns of the altar. And it was told Solomon, ‘Behold, Adonijah fears King Solomon; for, lo, he has laid hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me first that he will not slay his servant with the sword.’” And Solomon said, “If he prove to be a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness in found in him, he shall die.” So King Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and did obeisance to King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, “Go to your house” (I Kings 1:28-53).
David’s Instructions to Solomon
When David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, he commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the LORD may establish his word which he spoke concerning me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a man on the throne of Israel.’
“Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, Abner the son of Ner, and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he murdered, avenging in time of peace blood which had been shed in war, and putting innocent blood upon the girdle about my loins and upon the sandals on my feet. Act therefore according to your wisdom, but do not let his head go down to Sheol in peace. But deal loyally 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 Absalom your brother. And there is also with you Shime-i the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous 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, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Now therefore hold him not guiltless, for you are a wise man; you will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his head down with blood to the grave.”
Then David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And the time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was firmly established.
Then Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Say on.” Then she said, “I have something to say to you. “You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel fully expected me to reign; however the kingdom has turned about and become my brother’s, for it was his from the LORD. And now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me.” She said to him, “Say on.” And he said, “Pray ask King Solomon—he will not refuse you—to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.” Bathsheba said, “Very well; I will speak for you to the king.”
So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right. Then 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.” She said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as his wife.” King Solomon answered his mother, “And why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also; for he is my elder brother, and on his side are Abiathar the priest and Joab the son of Zeruiah.” The King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, “God do so to me and more also if this word does not cost Adonijah his life! Now therefore as the LORD lives, who has established me, and placed me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.” So King Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he struck him down, and he died.
And to Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go to Anathoth, to your estate; for you deserve death. But I will not at this time put you to death, because you bore the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father, and because you shared in all the affliction of my father.” So Solomon expelled Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, thus fulfilling the word of the LORD which he had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.
When the news came to Joab—for Joab had supported Adonijah although he had not supported Absalom—Joab fled to the tent of the LORD and caught hold of the horns of the altar. And when it was told King Solomon, “Joab has fled to the tent of the LORD, and behold, he is beside the altar.” Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, strike him down.” So Benaiah came to the ten of the LORD, and said to him, “The king commands, ‘Come forth.’” But he said, “No, I will die here.” Then Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, “Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.” The 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 which Joab shed without cause. The LORD will bring back his bloody deeds upon his own head, because, without the knowledge of my father David, he attacked and slew with the sword two men more righteous and better than himself, Abner to son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah. So shall their blood come back upon the head of Joab and upon the head of his descendants for ever; but to David, and to his descendants, and to his house, and to his throne, there shall be peace from the LORD for evermore.” Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and struck him down and killed him; and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada over the army in place of Joab, and the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.
Then the king sent and summoned Shime-i, and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and do not go forth from there to any place whatever. For on the day you go forth, and cross the brook Kidron, know for certain that you shall die; your blood shall be upon your head.” And Shime-i said to the king, “What you say is good; as my lord the king has said, so will your servant do.” So Shime-i dwelt in Jerusalem many days.
But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shime-’s slaves ran away to Achish, son of Ma-acah, king of Gath. And when it was told Shime-i, “Behold, your slaves are in Gath,” Shime-i arose and saddled an ass, and went to Gath to Achish, to seek his slaves; Shime-i went and brought his slaves from Gath. And when Solomon was told that Shime-i had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and returned, the king sent and summoned Shime-i, and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the LORD, and solemnly admonish you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go forth and to any place whatever, you shall die’? And you said to me “What you say is good; I obey.’ Why then have you not kept your oath to the LORD and the commandment with which I charged you.” The king also said to Shime-i, “You know in your own heart all the evil that you did to David my father; so the LORD will bring back your evil upon your own dead. But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD for ever.” Then the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he went out and struck him down, and he died.
So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon (I Kings 2:1-46).
Solomon prayed for Wisdom, but did as he pleased
Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt; he took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had finished building his own house and the house of the LORD and the wall around Jerusalem. The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the LORD.
Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father; only, he sacrificed and burnt incense at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings upon that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to thy servant David my father, because he walked before thee in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward thee; and thou hast kept for him this great and steadfast love, and hast given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this thy great people?”
It pleased the LORD that Solomon has asked this. And God said to him. “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants (I Kings 3:1-15).
Solomon impressed his people with his decisions
Then two harlots came to the king, and stood before him. The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. Then on the third day after I was delivered, this woman also gave birth; and we were alone; there was no one else with us in the house, only we two were in the house. And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on it. And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while your maidservant slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom. When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, it was dead; but when I looked at it closely in the morning, behold, it was not the child that I had borne.” But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus they spoke before the king.
Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king. And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.” Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means slay it.” But the other said, “It shall be neither mine nor yours, divide it.” Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means slay it; she is its mother.” And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him, to render justice (I Kings 3:16-28).
And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and largeness of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the nations round about. He also uttered three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom (I Kings 4:29-34).