Adonijah and his cohorts are celebrating his self-proclaimed rise to the throne. But one man isn’t about to let this happen.
“Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, and asked her, ‘Haven’t you heard that Haggith’s son, Adonijah, has made himself king, and our lord David doesn’t even know about it?” (I Kings 1:12, NLT).
Every indication is that David was in poor health and pretty much bedridden. A young virgin by the name of Abishag (see First Kings 1:3) had been acquired to care for David, “But the king had no sexual relations with her” (I Kings 1:4b). Nevertheless, she was considered to be one of David’s wives or at least concubines, and by that definition, David’s property. Hang onto that thought because it’ll be important later on.
Meanwhile, though, David was unaware of what was going on in his kingdom. So Nathan had to get word to him. He told Bathsheba: “If you want to save your own life and the life of your son Solomon, follow my advice. Go at once to King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, didn’t you make a vow and say to me, ‘Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne?’ Why then has Adonijah become king?’ And while you are still talking with him, I will come and confirm everything you have said” (I Kings 1:12-14).
Nathan knew that if Adonijah managed to take the throne, Bathsheba, Solomon and any other person who could be considered a threat, including himself, would be eliminated. So Bathsheba heeded Nathan’s advice and “went into the king’s bedroom. (He was very old now, and Abishag was taking care of him.) Bathsheba bowed down before the king” (I Kings 1:15).
“‘What can I do for you?’ he asked her” (I Kings 1:16).
“She replied, ‘My lord, you made a vow before the Lord your God when you said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne.’ But instead, Adonijah has made himself king, and my lord the king does not even know about it. He has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited Abiathar the priest and Joab, the commander of the army. But he did not invite your servant Solomon. And now, my lord the king, all Israel is waiting for you to announce who will become king after you. If you do not act, my son Solomon and I will be treated as criminals as soon as my lord the king has died” (I Kings 1:17-21).
Bathsheba laid it out as plainly as it could be said. She knew the moment David drew his last breath, she and Solomon would be toast. The time for David to act was now.
“While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. The king’s officials told him, ‘Nathan the prophet is here to see you.’ Nathan went in and bowed before the king with his face to the ground” (I Kings 17:22-23).
“Nathan asked, ‘My lord the king, have you decided that Adonijah will be the next king and that he will sit on your throne? Has my lord the king really done this without letting any of his officials know who should be the next king?” (I Kings 1:24, 27).
Nathan knew which son the Lord instructed David to have succeed him as king. But in the most carefully couched manner, he let David know that officially announcing the new king was way overdue. If David had intentions of anyone other than Adonijah filling those shoes, now was the time to make the formal announcement.
The clock is ticking. Will David have time to avert a national crisis?
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates