Adonijah showed up on Bathsheba’s doorstep and had the audacity to ask, “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, NLT).
Bathsheba, a better woman than I would have been, didn’t respond: “Do I look like I have ‘stupid’ written all over my face?” Instead, she simply said, “All right… I will speak to the king for you” (I Kings 2:18).
“So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak on Adonijah’s behalf. The king rose from his throne to meet her, and he bowed down before her. When he sat down on his throne again, the king ordered that a throne be brought for his mother, and she sat at his right hand” (I Kings 2:19).
Here’s a young man who knows how to treat his mother. Showing her proper respect, he not only “bowed down before her,” he also “ordered that a throne be brought for” her and placed “at his right hand.”
“‘I have one small request to make of you,’ she said. ‘I hope you won’t turn me down’” (I Kings 2:20a). If ever an understatement fell from Bathsheba’s lips, this was it. She knew exactly how big a request she was about to make and I think her entire statement was pure sarcasm. Instead of lashing out in fury at the brassy Adonijah, she was smart enough to hold her tongue and take it to the one who had the power to properly deal with the situation. Big lesson for all of us in this, folks.
“‘What is it, my mother?’ he asked. ‘You know I won’t refuse you” (I Kings 2:20b).
And then she drops the bomb: “‘Then let your brother Adonijah marry Abishag, the girl from Shunem,’ she replied” (I Kings 2:21).
“‘How can you possibly ask me to give Abishag to Adonijah?’ King Solomon demanded. ‘You might as well ask me to give him the kingdom! You know that he is my older brother, and that he has Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah on his side’" (I Kings 2:22).
Let’s just stop here for a moment and think about this. Solomon didn’t want his mother telling him what to do – he was a grown man. By casually presenting to him the preposterous request of Adonijah rather than running to Solomon saying, “You’ve got to do something about this!” Bathsheba put the ball squarely in Solomon’s court, literally. She didn’t tell him what to do. She merely informed him of Adonijah’s request, knowing that in doing so, she was warning him of just how big a threat Adonijah remained to Solomon’s kingship.
“Then King Solomon made a vow before the Lord: ‘May God strike me and even kill me if Adonijah has not sealed his fate with this request. The Lord has confirmed me and placed me on the throne of my father, David; He has established my dynasty as He promised. So as surely as the Lord lives, Adonijah will die this very day!’ So King Solomon ordered Benaiah son of Jehoiada to execute him, and Adonijah was put to death” (I Kings 2:23-25).
David hadn’t chosen Solomon to rule; God had – see First Chronicles 28:5-7. David had followed the Lord’s plan in appointing Solomon to succeed him as king and Solomon had fulfilled his promise to Adonijah: “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).
Adonijah tried to usurp the authority of God’s anointed. Big mistake. For him and for anyone else foolish enough to try it.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates