I Kings 1-3
We are in the Nation Stream today and we say goodbye to King David. We are reading from the Modern English Version this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
“Lord we ask for your wisdom too. Thank you for granting what is right to those who ask. Amen.”
Kings is good especially for noting dates and chronology. It is the history that is concurrent (much of it is anyway) with Chronicles. Chronicles is written from the perspective of the south where the Temple and Jerusalem was. Kings is written in the north and mostly of the activity there. We see the phrase, “seek the Lord” in Chronicles about two dozen times where in those same stories found in Kings, that phrase is not in the literature. So Kings [after the split in ch. 12] and the story of the north Kingdom is narrating the lives of these tribes gone deliberately pagan, whereas in Chronicles narrating the life in the south, there are at least periods of reform and an attempt to follow God. Of the 20 kings of the northern Kingdom from 930 – 722 B.C. none were descendants of David. Whereas in the south, 19 of the 20 kings were descendants of David.
1 – Kings opens with David being nearly out of time and it is getting nervy in Jerusalem as Solomon is to be the king in succession, but Adonijah thinks he should be king. Adonijah’s older brothers Absalom, Amnon, and an obscure brother “Chiliab” were all dead so Adonijah assumed it was all his now. Some prominent people sided with Adonijah, but the vital leaders did not. Adonijah became pompous and forceful and started parading and making sacrifices and struck up the party as if he were already the king. In another part of town, Bathsheba; Solomon’s mother, and Nathan met with David to insist that David assert what ought to be done and make the declaration openly about who should follow him as King. So David makes it plain (also in I Chr. 22:6-10). Zadok the priest (“zadok” means ‘righteous’ in Hebrew) was the priest that anointed Solomon. The parade and music for Solomon was thunderous in comparison. Adonijah’s group then heard it and scattered as Adonijah was now fearful for his life. Solomon was gracious here and let Adonijah go free…at least here anyway.
2 – David gives his final charge to Solomon –> to follow the Lord completely. He also warns Solomon of a few men in the country who have rebellious hearts. David then departs this world and Solomon is king outright. Adonijah had survived trying to take the throne, but his request to have his father’s nurse as a wife gets him executed. Abiathar the Priest is exiled and relieved of duty. Joab, also in another intriguing story, is executed at Solomon’s orders for not being wholeheartedly yielded to David and the throne. Looking back, Joab was zealous for the King but his zeal got ahead of his wisdom when he jumped in too quickly with Adonijah and his “FAD” [king For-A-Day.] Shimei also had to die. He had cursed King David during Absalom’s rebellion. Solomon was lenient at the outset but Shimei’s undoing came when he couldn’t adhere to Solomon’s final warning and orders to him. Shimei is executed. Solomon is now king uncontested by rivals or rebels.
3 – Solomon married and brought an Egyptian wife to Jerusalem. It was a political move that was a “headwater issue” that would, in time, turn him astray from his faith (I Ki. 11:1 – Solomon, HOWEVER loved many foreign women…). Here he is just starting out and in his first season as King, this is his first recorded stunt. As one wise preacher has said in his observations of life, “the death of many endeavors is programmed right into the birth of it.” It’s an interesting item of concern for sure. The Temple is not built and it needs to be – as David had urged Solomon (that is mentioned in Chronicles, not Kings). So Solomon is making a sacrifice one evening and the Lord appears in a dream and grants Solomon his request for wisdom to govern. Jesus said “ask and you shall receive” almost 1000 years after this but this same trinity/God is granting requests long before it is articulated by our Savior in the flesh. And Solomon receives!
-his wisdom is put to the test when two unsavory mothers come to him both claiming that the live baby is theirs and the dead one is the other’s. What to do. It’s an unfortunate issue in life that the person who cares least about what is right is often the one in charge. For example, at a troubled school in a distressed area, who is in charge in the classroom? The student who wants to learn and grow, the teacher who can’t get kids to behave anyway, or the deviant student who brought a weapon to school? It’s obvious and it’s sad who’s in charge. In a strained relationship, who is in control of it, the one who wants to preserve it or the one who doesn’t care about it?! It’s also unfortunate that the one who doesn’t care rules the atmosphere via the mental vandalism of it.
Well here the woman who crushed her baby in her sleep wants the other baby to die since she is jealous and a lecherous woman anyway. How does Solomon reveal the truth? His offer brings out her reaction of urging Solomon, “go ahead and cut it in half” is what gave her away. Solomon employs his wisdom and his ruling leaves the whole nation in awe.