Adonijah was celebrating his self-appointed kingship when all the attendees heard a loud commotion. Joab, one of the party guests, asked, “What’s going on? Why is the city in such an uproar?” (I Kings 1:41b, NLT).
“And while he was still speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. ‘Come in,’ Adonijah said to him, ‘for you are a good man. You must have good news’” (I Kings 1:42).
Wrong-o, dude! Or, as the NLT puts it: “‘Not at all!’ Jonathan replied. ‘Our lord King David has just declared Solomon king! The king sent him down to Gihon Spring with Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, protected by the king’s bodyguard. They had him ride on the king’s own mule, and Zadok and Nathan have anointed him at Gihon Spring as the new king. They have just returned, and the whole city is celebrating and rejoicing. That’s what all the noise is about” (I Kings 1:43-45).
And if that’s not enough to set Adonijah quaking in his sandals, “What’s more, Solomon is now sitting on the royal throne as king. And all the royal officials have gone to King David and congratulated him, saying, ‘May your God make Solomon’s fame even greater than your own, and may Solomon’s reign be even greater than yours!’ Then the king bowed his head in worship as he lay in his bed, and he said, ‘Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who today has chosen a successor to sit on my throne while I am still alive to see it’” (I Kings 1:46-48).
The reaction to Abiathar’s news was immediate and wild: “Then all of Adonijah’s guests jumped up in panic from the banquet table and quickly scattered” (I Kings 1:49). Funny how all of Adonijah’s “supporters” were so happy to eat his food and drink his wine and hang out with him until trouble came, huh? Fair weather friends aren’t friends at all, and I believe Adonijah quickly found this was the kind of friends his own shallow lifestyle had earned him.
Rightfully so after what he’d just done, “Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar” (I Kings 1:50). Adonijah was pleading for safety, protection, amnesty.
“Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah had seized the horns of the altar in fear, and that he was pleading, ‘Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!’” (I Kings 1:51). Adonijah had already proven himself to be an enemy of Solomon. Still, Adonijah wanted the kind of mercy that he himself had never been known for extending. Would Solomon give it to him?
“Solomon replied, ‘If he proves himself to be loyal, not a hair on his head will be touched. But if he makes trouble, he will die’” (I Kings 1:52). Fair enough, don’t you think?
“So King Solomon summoned Adonijah, and they brought him down from the altar” (I Kings 1:53a). Note Adonijah didn’t come willingly – “they brought him.” People who live deviously tend to judge other people by their own crooked standards. Adonijah wasn’t to be trusted; therefore, he didn’t think Solomon could be, either.
Nevertheless, Adonijah “came and bowed respectfully before King Solomon, who dismissed him, saying, ‘Go on home’” (I Kings 1:53b).
Solomon showed undeserved mercy to the one who tried to usurp his place of leadership. When we allow anything to become more important in our lives – including ourselves – than our love for Jesus Christ, that thing or person has usurped God’s place in our lives. We don’t deserve His mercy, but He gives it. Thank Him today and every day.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates