Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Sons of David Adonijah – And the Uninvited


1 Kings 1
1 ¶  Now King David was old, advanced in years; and they put covers on him, but he could not get warm.
·        David is 69 or 70 years old at this time
·        The difficulties and hardships of life were more than his years
·        The Psalms allude to continual maladies of his body and mind
·        The rape of a daughter and the tragic loss of 4 sons thus far have no doubt served to wear him down
·        After a decade of running from King Saul and 4 decades of being King of Israel
·        It appears the much loved King is now bedfast or near immobile
2  Therefore his servants said to him, "Let a young woman, a virgin, be sought for our lord the king, and let her stand before the king, and let her care for him; and let her lie in your bosom, that our lord the king may be warm."
3  So they sought for a lovely young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
4  The young woman was very lovely; and she cared for the king, and served him; but the king did not know her.
·        Although the King did not know her and consummate a relationship with her as wife or concubine, she nonetheless became his property and as such would pass from David to the next King in succession.
·        It was at this time in David’s life, when he was most noticeably weakened and without strength to lead the nation in battle …
5 ¶  Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king"; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.
·        Bless his heart … I really feel sorry for Adonijah in some ways
·        Adonijah is the next in line and rightful heir by birthright to his father’s throne
·        The King has a superior right to choose his own successor but left to run its natural course without interdiction the crown would legally pass to the eldest son upon the death of the King … however David was not dead yet and therefore still had the choice.
·        It appears Adonijah was coaxed into prematurely promoting himself by Joab, the captain of the armies of Israel, and by Abiathar the High Priest.
·        Adonijah is the son of Haggith. Nothing more than a name is known about her but her name suggests that she was lovely and feminine. Her name means: Festive and Dancer – perhaps that was her charm.
·        It is noted that Adonijah was a good looking man who presented well
6  (And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, "Why have you done so?" He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.)
·        David had never disapproved of Adonijah’s behavior or choices in life
·        David never even asked for an account of any actions he took
·        Never having been corrected or told he was wrong or asked to give a reason for his actions by his father, Adonijah no doubt developed a false sense of security and believed he could do anything he wanted and the King would not challenge or correct him.
·        This was to David’s discredit as a good father, just like it was with Eli the priest who never corrected or disciplined his sons.
7  Then he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they followed and helped Adonijah.
·        They no doubt hoped to maintain power and control of the Kingdom
·        However, it was not the time and they did not confer with the King
·        Classic examples of self promotion, self provision and self protection
8  But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David were not with Adonijah.
·        It just wasn’t the right time or the right way …
·        Had this been David’s decision, they would have supported it
9  And Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fattened cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En Rogel; he also invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah, the king’s servants.
10  But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, or Solomon his brother.
·        It’s not always about those who are invited to the party
·        Darkness wants no true light to shine on their parade.
·        Perhaps we should take more account of who is not being invited …
·        Like Absalom, Adonijah decided to infer God’s blessings on this and evidently prayer, sacrifice and support won’t change the will of God

The account continues as the focus shifts to Solomon, the son of Bathsheba. When word gets out that Adonijah has promoted himself to become King, those loyal to King David went to confer with him. Note here that Adonijah had not conferred with his father the King nor sought his will, his agreement or his blessing; Joab the second in command of the kingdom had not seen fit to counsel with the King; Abiathar the High Priest decided not to discuss the realignment of his loyalties with the one who had initially appointed him to his position … do you see a pattern here?

Darkness naturally shuns the light – especially in the conspiracy stage. When those making these kinds of decisions choose to make them in a vacuum without fatherly counsel and without the person who gave them their position in the first place and to whom they are suppose to be loyally submitted and committed to, there is a problem. Even though Adonijah had the permission and support and counsel of two others in high positions, one the captain of the whole army and the other the High Priest in charge of the Ark of the Covenant of God … Adonijah did not have the permission or counsel or support of his father – a father who loved him and without whom none of them would have had any position or any claim …

Saddest note of all – if only Adonijah had have gone to the King, or Joab or Abiathar, perhaps the king would have supported Adonijah or could have gained Adonijah’s support for Solomon and guaranteed his position and his life. Sad to know we will never know. But what we do know is that Joab and Abiathar weren’t willing to support David’s choice of Solomon as his successor and neither was Adonijah ready to relinquish his claims!

When Nathan the prophet and Bathsheba the mother of Solomon went to see King David and informed him of their concerns, (v. 18  “So now, look! Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know about it.”), and asked him for his counsel and support, things changed! David proclaimed Solomon as his successor and confirmed the coronation.

Immediately upon hearing the news and the crowd’s jubilant response, Adonijah became afraid and ran to the tabernacle and laid hold of the horns of the altar hoping for mercy from Solomon that he might not be killed.

1 Kings 1
51  And it was told Solomon, saying, "Indeed Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ’Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’"
52  Then Solomon said, "If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die."
53  So King Solomon sent them to bring him down from the altar. And he came and fell down before King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, "Go to your house."

What a great story … and, although we hope not and pray not nonetheless we know what’s going to happen next … Adonijah and Joab and Abiathar just won’t be content to live and prosper in the place God has placed them and where David and Solomon have shown them mercy. Nope – they won’t let it go. They are delusional and foolishly imagine they can outsmart David and Solomon without concern for God’s will. Some men imagine their will to be God’s will. Greed, pride, selfish ambition … these have such a hold on those bent on serving their own interests and not God’s interests.

1 Kings 2
12 ¶  Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.
13  Now Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. So she said, "Do you come peaceably?" And he said, "Peaceably."
14  Moreover he said, "I have something to say to you." And she said, "Say it."
15  Then he said, "You know that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set their expectations on me, that I should reign. However, the kingdom has been turned over, and has become my brother’s; for it was his from the LORD.
16  "Now I ask one petition of you; do not deny me." And she said to him, "Say it."
17  Then he said, "Please speak to King Solomon, for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Abishag the Shunammite as wife."
18  So Bathsheba said, "Very well, I will speak for you to the king."
19  Bathsheba therefore went to King Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king’s mother; so she sat at his right hand.
20  Then she said, "I desire one small petition of you; do not refuse me." And the king said to her, "Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you."
21  So she said, "Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as wife."
22  And King Solomon answered and said to his mother, "Now why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also — for he is my older brother — for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah."
23  Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, "May God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life!
24  "Now therefore, as the LORD lives, who has confirmed me and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has established a house for me, as He promised, Adonijah shall be put to death today!"
25  So King Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he struck him down, and he died.

And afterwards Solomon also executed Joab and exiled Abiathar – then had the kingdom rest and peace and so ended the claim of others to the crown which God had given Solomon in David’s place.