ISRAEL'S HISTORY: ANCIENT

Solomon’s Accession

Solomon’s Accession
By Charles E. McCracken
GROW February 8

 

And the king took an oath and said, “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, just as I swore to you by the LORD God of Israel, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ so I certainly will do this day.” I KINGS 1:29

 

TODAY’S TEXT: 1 KINGS 1:5-49

 

God revealed His choice for Israel’s next king at the time of Solomon’s birth. David communicated God’s choice to the people of Israel shortly after he purchased Araunah’s threshing floor (2 Sam. 12:24-25; 1 Chr. 17:11-13; 22:9). Solomon’s accession to the throne should have been seamless. However, the king’s oldest living son, Adonijah, complicated matters putting David’s faith to the test.

The text portrays Adonijah as handsome, arrogant and undisciplined (1 Ki. 1:6). Like his late older half-brother Absalom, Adonijah resolved to seize the throne by hijacking the loyalty of the people. Taking advantage of his father’s declining health, Adonijah resolutely declared, I will be king, and began a political campaign to secure the support of influential leaders in Jerusalem (I Ki. 1:5).

Remarkably, he first gained the backing of Joab, commander of his father’s army, and then later Abiathar, the high priest (v. 7). With their aid, he hosted a banquet with the dual purpose of solidifying his support base and staging his own coronation (v. 9). The event took place at the stone of Zoheleth, a popular site, near the spring of En Rogel just south of Mount Zion and the City of David.

His was an act of open defiance since Adonijah was fully aware that God had chosen another half-brother, Solomon, to be the next king (1 Ki. 2:15).

When Nathan learned of Adonijah’s rebellion, he went directly to Bathsheba with a plan to enlist David’s intervention thereby averting catastrophic consequences.

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David’s charge to Solomon, as in 1 Kings 2:1-12. c. 1643. By Ferdinand Bol, [{{PD-US}}], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios

Bathsheba spoke with David as instructed:

My lord, you swore by the LORD your God to your maidservant, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.’ So now, look! Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know about it (v. 17-18).

Her words suggested that David was unengaged; and even worse, the king seemed unaware that he must intervene,

And as for you, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, that you should tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him (v. 20).

On cue, Nathan entered to apprise David of the unfolding scenario and implications (v. 23-27). Nathan touched a nerve. In spite of the state of his physical and emotional health, David’s mind was sharp and vigorous. David went into action immediately.

First, he called for Bathsheba; and, in the presence of witnesses, pledged, just as I swore to you by the LORD God of Israel, saying,Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,” so I certainly will do this day (v. 30). These were not frivolous words.

He prefaced his pledge, As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, and linked it to the faithfulness of YHWH (v. 19).

God chose Solomon and David vowed to take the necessary action to assure compliance.

David then communicated his plan to Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah, the chief bodyguard (2 Sam. 23:23). David ordered that they assemble the bodyguards (servants); ready the royal mule for Solomon to ride; go to the Gihon Spring located just below the City of David and anoint Solomon king of Israel.

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Detail: Zadok Anoints Solomon. By Cornelis de Vos (1584 – 1661), [{{PD-US}}], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement courtesy: MKM Portfolios

With people gathering socially at the Gihon Spring, a procession with Solomon riding on King David’s mule would attract attention and draw a crowd. Amid the multitude that followed the royal procession, Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon.

After the ceremony, the procession wound its way back to the City of David terminating at the throne room of the palace where Solomon took his rightful place on the throne.

The people of Jerusalem awaiting David to name his successor were overjoyed and followed the procession back to the palace with such rejoicing that, the earth seemed to split with their sound (v. 20, 39).

Less than a mile south of the Gihon Spring, Adonijah heard the jubilation. When Abiathar’s son, Jonathan, arrived with news that David had installed Solomon as the next king, Adonijah’s guests quickly vanished. The party was over; his scheme to ascend to the throne fizzled (1 Ki. 1:49).

Adonijah believed a cunning PR strategy could subvert God’s will.

David’s decisive action on-the-other-hand, confirmed God’s choice of Solomon as the divinely appointed heir to the Davidic Dynasty. The public installation of Solomon as his successor signaled the continuation of the Davidic Dynasty and royal lineage leading to Messiah.

There is practical lesson demonstrated for us in this passage. Living in accordance with God’s will requires decisive action on our part. When circumstances or other people threaten to contravene God’s purposes in our lives, God blesses as we decisively determine to submit to His authority and follow His plan. Both require faith; as James exhorts Christians, as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (Jas 2:26). Determine to live-out your faith today!

© Charles E. McCracken 2016, text content only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author.