23 Aug. 1 Kings 2:13-46

23 Aug.  Solomon consolidates his hold on the kingdom

“At this time Adonijah son of Haggith went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. ‘Do you come in peace?’ Bathsheba asked. ‘Yes. This is a peaceful visit,’ Adonijah answered. ‘I have something to say to you.’ ‘You may speak,’ she said.”

“You remember that at one time the kingdom was mine,’ Adonijah said. ‘All the people of Israel recognised me as their king, but things have changed. Now my brother is the king, because the LORD chose him. Now I have one thing to ask you: please do not refuse me.’”

“Bathsheba answered, ‘What do you want?’ ‘I know King Solomon will do anything you ask him,’ Adonijah continued. ‘Please ask him to give me Abishag the Shunammite to be my wife.’ ‘Very well,’ she answered, ‘I will speak to the king for you.’ So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah…”

“King Solomon answered his mother, ‘Why do you ask me to give him Abishag? Why don’t you also ask for him to become the king since he is my older brother? Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah would support him!’”

“Then King Solomon swore by the name of the LORD, saying, ‘May God punish me terribly if this doesn’t cost Adonijah his life!’ … Then King Solomon gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went and killed Adonijah.”

“King Solomon said to Abiathar the priest, ‘I should kill you too, but I will allow you to go back to your fields in Anathoth. I will not kill you at this time, because you helped carry the Ark of the Lord GOD while marching with my father David. And I know you shared in all the hard times with him.’ Then Solomon removed Abiathar from being the LORD’s priest…”

“When Joab heard about what had happened, he was afraid. He had supported Adonijah but not Absalom. So Joab ran to the Tent of the LORD and took hold of the corners of the altar. Someone told King Solomon that Joab had run to the Tent of the LORD and was beside the altar. Then Solomon ordered Benaiah to go and kill him…”

“So Benaiah son of Jehoiada killed Joab, and he was buried near his home in the desert. The king then made Benaiah son of Jehoiada commander of the army in Joab’s place. He also made Zadok the new high priest in Abiathar’s place.”

“Next the king sent for Shimei. Solomon said to him, ‘Build a house for yourself in Jerusalem and live there. Don’t leave the city. The very day you leave and cross the Kidron Valley, someone will kill you, and it will be your own fault.’ So Shimei answered the king, ‘I agree with what you say. I will do what you say, my master and king.’ So Shimei lived in Jerusalem for a long time.”

“But three years later two of Shimei’s slaves ran away to Achish king of Gath, who was the son of Maacah. Shimei heard that his slaves were in Gath, so he put his saddle on his donkey and went to Achish at Gath to find them. Then he brought them back from Gath.”

“Someone told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had returned…  Then the king ordered Benaiah to kill Shimei, and he did. Now Solomon was in full control of his kingdom.”

          (1 Kings 2:13-46)

 

 

In today’s passage Solomon makes his position as king secure by getting rid of his enemies.

Firstly he killed his elder brother Adonijah – his chief rival – who had unwisely requested a sexual union with their father David’s favourite concubine Abishag, the young woman who had been appointed to look after all the king’s needs when he was old and frail (see 1 Kings 1:1-4).

Solomon then dismissed Abiathar the priest – who had supported Adonijah’s attempt to become king (see 1 Kings 1:5-9) – and who was fortunate to escape with his life.

Next, following his father’s advice, Solomon executed Joab (the overbearing commander of the army under King David), and killed Shimei (who had cursed David at Bahurim as the king had escaped from Absalom’s rebellion) (see 2 Samuel 16:5-10).

But only after three years of consolidating his power base and eliminating his chief enemies does the Bible tell us, “Now Solomon was in full control of his kingdom.” (1 Kings 2:46)

The photo (by Mark A. Wilson) shows the City of David and the Lower Kidron Valley.

You can read more about Solomon’s accession to power @ https://thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/31-the-golden-age-of-israel-under-king-solomon/solomon-succeeds-his-father-david/


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