Having given advice to Solomon concerning obeying the Lord as well as handling Barzillai’s family, Joab and Shemei, “David died” (I Kings 2:10a, NLT). It was time for Solomon to start taking care of business, and Adonijah forced Solomon to put his name at the top of that list.
“One day Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, came to see Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. ‘Have you come with peaceful intentions?’ she asked him” (I Kings 2:13).
“‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I come in peace. In fact, I have a favor to ask of you’” (I Kings 2:14a).
“‘What is it?’ she asked” (I Kings 2:14b).
“He replied, ‘As you know, the kingdom was rightfully mine; all Israel wanted me to be the next king. But the tables were turned, and the kingdom went to my brother instead; for that is the way the Lord wanted it. So now I have just one favor to ask of you. Please don’t turn me down’” (I Kings 2:15-16a).
“‘What is it?’ she asked” (I Kings 2:16b).
“He replied, ‘Speak to King Solomon on my behalf, for I know he will do anything you request. Ask him to let me marry Abishag, the girl from Shunem’” (I Kings 2:17).
Who was Abishag? If you remember from a few days ago, Abishag came into the picture when David was old and in poor health – pretty much bedridden. She was a young virgin (see First Kings 1:3) who was acquired to care for David, “But the king had no sexual relations with her” (I Kings 1:4b). Even so, she was considered to be one of David’s wives or at least concubines, and by that definition, David’s property.
In other words, Adonijah was asking the mother of the new king to go to her son on his behalf and ask for a widow of King David to be given to him as his wife. Adonijah was perfectly aware, as was Bathsheba and Solomon, that it was customary for a new king to take possession of the previous king’s wives and concubines. What Adonijah was doing was foolishly thinking he could pry open another door to taking the throne. By having one of David’s wives/concubines as his own, he would be publicly proclaiming his right to kingship.
Matter of fact, after hanging onto the altar for dear life and pleading for undeserved mercy, it took some kind of arrogance to go before Bathsheba with such lack of humility as to say, “the kingdom was rightfully mine” and “all Israel wanted me to be the next king.” Adonijah had clearly learned nothing from Solomon’s kindness to him.
And what about Bathsheba? She was no dummy, either. She knew precisely what Adonijah was up to, but she also realized it wasn’t her place nor was it safe for her to deal with him. She’d leave him in the very capable hands of her son Solomon.
Sometimes we’re confronted by people and issues we don’t need to be dealing with. When you are, have the good sense to walk away and let the Lord deal with the problem.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates