At the end of 1 Kings 1, we found Adonijah receive a penalty flag for partying too early over his kingship. Instead of the eldest son receiving the kingship, David honored his promise to Bathsheba to name her son, Solomon, king of Israel. Before passing away, David offers his young son some advice about being king. In 1 Kings 2:3-4, the David tells Solomon to keep God’s laws, commandments, judgments, and testimonies as recorded by Moses. By obeying the Word of God, Solomon would find the Lord would prosper him, and keep a king on the throne of Israel.
This picture quickly changes though. David then give Solomon a list of people to hold guilty and blameless. Since David had swore oaths not to kill these people; however, he asked Solomon to do what is right. After making his requests, David goes to sleep (I will explain sleep in context of death in a future post) with him forefathers. Again our scene changes.
Now we see Adonijah going to Bathsheba to seek help in usurping the throne. However, Bathsheba may not have seen the plot as clearly as Solomon. During David’s reign, Absalom had tried to usurp the throne by taking control of the King’s harem (2 Samuel 16:20-23). When Bathsheba came to present Adonijah’s request to Solomon, he makes an oath to God, and says that Adonijah will be put to death that day (1 Kings 2:22-25). Sure enough, it happens because Solomon sends out his confidant, Benaiah, to take care of it.
Then there is a moment of mercy with Abiathar, God’s priest, being exiled, replaced him with Zadok the priest. Now Joab’s day of reckoning has come. He flees into the the temple of God, grabs hold of the horns of the altar, and says they will have kill him where he is. Benaiah tells this to Solomon, and Solomon says to do as Joab has said (1 Kings 2:26-35). Wow, two deaths and an exile in a matter of days, but it’s not done yet. Next up is Shimei who cursed David.
Solomon orders Shimei to live in Jerusalem and not cross the Brook Kidron. If he does cross the Brook Kidron, he will be put to death. Shimei swears an oath to Solomon saying he will comply. Three years after this though, two of his slaves leave Jerusalem to find shelter in Gath with Achish, King of Gath. Instead of sending his son or other servants to retrieve the two slaves, Shimei goes out after them himself. (Who knows why.) In retrieving the slaves, he crosses over the Brook Kidron. That’s right, he has now broken a solemn vow to the king. Not good. Solomon catches wind of this betrayal, rebukes Shimei, and has Benaiah kill him (1 Kings 2:36-46). All told, there are three deaths, one exile, and a new king with new officers.
The next scene we have in 1 Kings 3, is quite different. We see how Solomon came to be one of the most respected rulers in the Ancient World.