As we move from Second Samuel to First Kings, David’s life is winding down, but his problems continue:
“David’s son Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, began boasting, ‘I will make myself king.’ So he provided himself with chariots and charioteers and recruited fifty men to run in front of him” (I Kings 1:5b, NLT).
Adonijah was David’s fourth-born son. Amnon, the first-born, and Absalom, the third-born, were older, but were dead. The second-born son, Daniel, also identified as Daluia or Kileab, is believed to have been dead, too, or else in some way incapable of serving as ruler since there is no other mention of him.
Remember what David’s son Amnon did to his own half-sister Tamar? And what David went through with his son Absalom? Here comes more trouble, this time with Adonijah. Where did these young men get off thinking they could behave in any way they chose? The next verse echoes a familiar story: “Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time” (I Kings 1:6a).
David’s own son, Solomon, wrote: “For the Lord corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11) – you’ll find a similar passage in Hebrews 12:6. It appears that Solomon may have learned a little something from watching how his own father had failed to discipline his children.
David’s lack of control over his offspring caused an awful lot of heartbreak. But think about it for a minute: if Adonijah was the next one in line for the throne, what was wrong with going around identifying himself as the new king? First, it wasn’t his place to appoint himself: “I will make myself king;” and second, God had already made it clear that Solomon was to succeed David as king.
When David wanted to build the temple of the Lord, God told him he wouldn’t be allowed to because of all the bloodshed he’d been involved with. Instead, the Lord told him, “You will have a son who will be a man of peace. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign” (I Chronicles 22:9).
But Adonijah, like his brother Absalom before him, was a handsome smooth-talking fellow. He “took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoheleth near the spring of En-rogel, where he sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened calves. He invited all his brothers – the other sons of King David – and all the royal officials of Judah” (I Kings 1:7, 9).
Everybody who was anybody got an invitation except for “Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the king’s bodyguard or his brother Solomon” (I Kings 1:10). We know why Solomon wasn’t on the guest list, but what about these other guys? “Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s personal bodyguard refused to support Adonijah” (I Kings 1:8).
It was time for somebody to get this situation under control. Tomorrow we’ll see who did just that.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates