When a king neared the end of his life it was customary to designate who would succeed him. David was now an old man (1 Kings 1:1). He had yet to publicly state who would succeed him as king. His surviving oldest son was Adonijah, who expected to become the next king.
“Now Adonijah, son of David and Haggith, was promoting himself, boasting, ‘I will be king!’ He managed to acquire chariots and horsemen, as well as fifty men to serve as his royal guard. (Now his father had never corrected him by saying, ‘Why do you do such things?’ He was also very handsome and had been born right after Absalom. ) He collaborated with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they supported him” (1 Kings 1:5-7 NET).
With the support of Joab, David’s army commander, and Abiathar, one of the high priests, Adonijah set himself up as king, offering numerous sacrifices with his supporters. Sadly, as Adonijah was setting himself up to succeed his father, David never questioned what he was doing. Once again we see that David, although a man of God, did not take his role as a father as seriously as he should have.
The problem with all of this was that David’s successor was to be Solomon, son of Bathsheba. Although not the oldest son, nor even the oldest of Bathsheba’s sons, Solomon was the one who was best suited to succeed David and build a house for the worship of God.
It appears that Adonijah was fully aware of David’s intention of having Solomon succeed him. When he invited men to come to his inauguration, although he invited all the men of Judah and all of the king’s sons, he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, David’s mighty men, Zadok the high priest, all loyal followers of David – nor did he invite his brother Solomon.
When Nathan the prophet heard what was happening he reported to Bathsheba. He advised her to go to David and confirm the succession to the throne. He would then show up and confirm that Adonijah had set himself up as king.
“King David responded, ‘Summon Bathsheba!’ She came and stood before the king. The king swore an oath: ‘As certainly as the Lord lives (he who has rescued me from every danger), I will keep today the oath I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel: “Surely Solomon your son will be king after me; he will sit in my place on my throne.”’ Bathsheba bowed down to the king with her face to the floor and said, ‘May my master, King David, live forever!’” (1 Kings 1:28-31).
Zadok and Nathan, along with those loyal to David, took Solomon to Gihon and anointed him king, thus ensuring the line of succession.
When Adonijah and his followers heard the celebration of Solomon’s anointing, they panicked and fled in different directions. Adonijah went to the horns of the altar to seek sanctuary so Solomon wouldn’t kill him.
Once again we see the problem of not being the parent and father that David should have been. When he had the chance to correct Adonijah’s behavior, he didn’t. The result initially was further tumult in his family. But this was only the beginning of the problem (as we will see later in 1 Kings).
As parents, let us take the instructions of the Lord seriously as we raise our children. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). This implies the need to spend time with them, correcting what they do wrong, and instructing them in how they need to live as faithful followers of God.
The price we pay for not doing this is so great! May we strive to be the parents God would have us to be.
Readings for next week:
29 October – 1 Chronicles 20; Psalm 38
30 October – 2 Samuel 24
31 October – 1 Chronicles 21; Psalm 43
1 November – 1 Chronicles 22; Psalm 35
2 November – 1 Kings 1