Solomon’s ascent to the throne of Israel should have been seamless. His oldest brother Adonijah, however, complicated matters putting their father’s resolve to the test.
“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 (1 Ki. 1:5).
The text portrays Adonijah as very handsome, arrogant and undisciplined (v. 6). Like his brother Absalom, Adonijah determined to seize the throne by hijacking the loyalty of the people. Taking advantage of his father’s advanced age, Adonijah declared, I will be king and began a political campaign to secure the support of influential leaders in Jerusalem (v. 5).
God revealed His choice for Israel’s next king at the time of Solomon’s birth. David communicated God’s choice to the people of Israel shortly after he purchased Araunah’s threshing floor (1 Chr. 22).
Remarkably, Adonijah first gained the backing of Joab, the old commander of his father’s army, and then later Abiathar, the high priest (v. 7). With their aid, Adonijah hosted a banquet with the dual purpose of solidifying his support base while staging his coronation (1 Ki.1:9).
“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” (1 Ki. 1:9).
The event took place at the stone of Zoheleth, a popular site near the spring of Ein Rogel just south of Mount Zion and the City of David. Significantly, the meaning of the word “Zoheleth” conveys the connotation of withdrawing or the movement of a crawling snake and is often called the Serpent Stone.
Adonijah was fully aware that God had chosen Solomon to be the next king. Like Absalom, he openly defied his father.
“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 (1 Ki. 2:15).
When the prophet Nathan learned of Adonijah’s insurrection, he went directly to Bathsheba with a plan to enlist David’s intervention. Bathsheba spoke with David as instructed.
“My lord, you swore by the Lord your God to your maidservant, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.’ So now, look! Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know about it” (1:17-18).
Bathsheba’s words imply that David was uninformed and therefore unaware of Adonijah’s activities.
“And as for you, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, that you should tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him” (v. 20).
On cue, Nathan entered to apprise David of the unfolding scenario and implications (v. 23-27). Nathan touched a nerve. Whatever he lacked in physical strength, David’s mind was sharp.
The king acted decisively. He summoned Bathsheba and in the presence of witnesses pledged,
“. . . As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, just as I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ so I certainly will do this day.” (vv. 29-30).
These were not idle words. God chose Solomon and David vowed to take the necessary action to assure compliance. David prefaced his pledge with an affirmation recounting the faithfulness of Jehovah.
David then communicated his plan to Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah, the chief bodyguard (2 Sam. 23:23). David ordered that:
- they assemble bodyguards
- ready the royal mule for Solomon to ride
- meet at Gihon Spring located just below the City of David, and
- anoint Solomon king of Israel
With people gathering socially at the Gihon Spring, the procession with Solomon riding on King David’s mule would attract attention and draw a crowd. Amid the multitude that followed the royal procession, Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon.
After the ceremony, the procession advanced to the royal palace in the City of David where Solomon took his rightful place on the throne. The text describes the response of the people of Jerusalem awaiting David’s announcement as earth-shattering (v. 40).
Less than a mile south of the Gihon Spring, Adonijah heard the jubilation. When Abiathar’s son, Jonathan, arrived with news that David had installed Solomon as the next king, Adonijah’s guests quickly vanished.
The party was over. Adonijah believed a cunning PR strategy could subvert God’s will. His scheme to ascend to the throne fizzled (v. 49).
David’s decisive action, on-the-other-hand, confirmed God’s choice of Solomon as the divinely appointed heir to the Davidic Dynasty. Solomon’s accession to the throne was confirmed during the public coronation and ensured the progression of the Davidic Dynasty and royal lineage leading to Messiah. David had to act to see God’s promises fulfilled.
What’s the take away for Christians living in the 21st century?
We must determine to submit to God’s will and follow His leading when people threaten to contravene His purposes in our lives. Both require faith and the determination to act.
Living in accordance with God’s will requires that we do our part. Our choices count. Making the decision to do the right thing in the moment had millennia-long implications for David, Solomon and the Davidic Dynasty.
Choose to live your faith despite people’s attempts to manipulate circumstances to their advantage. We will experience interpersonal conflict throughout our lives. Many of those clashes are unavoidable. You can, however, avert any intended harm by choosing to follow God’s will regardless of the interference.
Like David, God’s plan for your life is affirmed through your right choices that have the power to impact future generations. Never underestimate the power of your choices.
1) Gihon Spring. (Photo credit: Courtesy, Todd Bolen/[BiblePlaces.com]/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
2) Well of En-Rogel, (Nehemiah’s Well). (Photo credit: SMU Central University Libraries [No restrictions]/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
3) All details: Zadok Anoints Solomon. (By Cornelis de Vos/[Public domain]/Wikimedia/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
4) Never Underestimate the Power of Your Choices. (Photo credit: Pixabay/ Digital composition, MKM Portfolios)
Copyright © 2016 Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.