King Solomon – 1 Kings 2:1 – 3:28
Adonijah shall be put to death today!
Quite frankly, most of us would probably prefer to skip over 1 Kings chapter 2, and head right to chapter 3. After all, that chapter contains the familiar stories of Solomon asking for wisdom, and displaying that wisdom as he determined the true mother of the living baby that had been brought before him. Instead, chapter 2 is full of violence against people whose names we might not recognize (especially since we jumped from yesterday’s reading to today’s reading!)
But let’s not skip over chapter 2 just yet… let’s take a closer look at what’s going on. Put simply, Solomon is cleaning house. There’s a new sheriff in town, and Solomon has a task to do – to establish the dynasty of his father David. And so David’s parting instructions are for Solomon to dismiss the malcontents and traitors–even if they were part of David’s own family.
Upon first read, you might not be sure what is so wrong about Adonijah’s request for Abishag to be given to him as a wife. And you might not understand why this engenders such a violent response from Solomon. But if you were to go backward in the story, you would discover that Abishag was one of the last surviving members of King David’s harem. Adonijah was one of the older sons of David, who was favored (by some in the kingdom) to inherit the throne. By asking for Abishag to be given to him as wife, he’s attempting to make a claim to the throne, either for himself or for some future descendent. Solomon will have none of this, and not only denies the request, but has him executed.
Perhaps the lesson for us to consider is how we ought to behave when we don’t get our own way. For whenever our will doesn’t match up with God’s will, we have a choice to make–to conform our will to his… or to continue to attempt to bring about our own plan. Adonijah chooses the latter, manipulating and posturing in hopes of accomplishing his will in his own way.
What do you do when you don’t get your own way?
Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter; I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
– Adelaide A. Pollard