Solomon’s accession to the throne was as smooth as crunchy peanut butter. Adonijah, fourth son born to David was tall, handsome and hadn’t ever caused his dad a problem. After Absalom’s failed coup de tat, Adonijah tried a different tactic: the Celebrity approach. He hired chariots and horses and fifty men to run ahead shouting most likely, “Make Way for the Future King!” Using birth order as his defense perhaps, Adonijah then dealt his father a treacherous blow: he convinced General Joab and High Priest Abiathar to support his kingship, a brutal campaign of rebellion which sideswiped David’s leadership and nullified Solomon as heir to the throne. Then Adonijah sent out invitations to the royal court and all his relatives to attend his self-designated Coronation Bash.
Often it is the Not Invited List that speaks loudest.
None of David’s key advisers or Solomon were sent an invite. Nathan, the enduring prophet who had endured much political turmoil as trusted advisor to King David, wasn’t taking this abrogation of justice lightly. With keen insight, he sought out David’s most trusted wife, Bathesheba, the one who had most to lose should Adonijah successfully take the throne.
Nathan sidelined Bathsheba with the grim news of Adonijah’s presumptive coronation and urged her to seek David’s hand to establish Solomon as king by reminding King David of his promises to her. Bathsheba sought audience with the king and pleaded, “Did you not, my lord, O king, swear to your maidservant, saying, “Assuredly your son Solomon shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?” (1 Kings 1:13) Then Nathan arrived and reported that animals had been slain in blood sacrifice at Zoheleth, the serpent stone in Enrogel, as Adonijah sought the throne through treasonous peer endorsement, with even Joab and Abiathar in agreement and David’s entire court in attendance.
Speed was of essence to shift this disaster. Even today, kings and dictators often execute their opponents as insurance for office. If Adonijah succeeded in his pitch for the throne, Nathan, Zadok, Solomon, Bathsheba and even King David were in grave danger of being killed.
At the news, King David responded quickly. He may have been old, but he sure wasn’t powerless:
And King David said, “Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.” So they came before the king. The king also said to them, “Take with you the servants of your lord, and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, “Amen! May the Lord God of my lord the king say so too. As the Lord has been with my lord the king, even so may He be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”
Within minutes of hearing of Adonijah’s treason, David called for the accession of his son Solomon to the throne and his loyal servants complied:
So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and took him to Gihon. Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” And all the people went up after him; and the people played the flutes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound ( 1 Kings 1:32-40)
With immediate compliance, David’s loyal cohort took the king’s donkey down the valley to Gihon, the place of flow, of vitality, the place where the springs burst forth with the grace of life-giving water. Tradition holds that there rested the Ark of the Covenant, the ultimate symbol of God abiding with His people.
Nathan the prophet and Zadok, High Priest over Israel, took oil in a horn from the tabernacle and anointed the new king with complete royal authority. Then the holy shofar was blown, calling the people to shift in celebration of God’s choice for king (1 Chron. 22:19). With exceeding joy, the people responded with great fanfare, shouting “Chayah melek!” or “God quicken, revive, empower and life Solomon” in united agreement with Zadok and Nathan’s holy coronation of their new king. With flutes and human chorus of praises unto God, a sudden eruption of joy in Jerusalem shook the very ground. Even the feasters of Adonijah’s party could hear it a mile away.
Perhaps it was the authority of King David to set his house in order, as he established right alignment by crowning Solomon, God’s own choice for the throne of Israel. Maybe it was seeing Zadok, loyal high priest pouring oil upon Solomon, and Nathan, prophet of God, blowing the shofar with David’s honour guard alongside the nation’s war heroes, those Mighty Men, which caught the people up into sudden unexpected celebration for Israel’s next season before Almighty God. Perhaps it was the angelic forces joining in when the prophetic shofar, the holy trumpet used to announce freedom to all, was blown in honour of the coronation of the new king. Perhaps it was the sheer joy of the residents of Jerusalem as first witnesses of the Royal Shift, like tourists suddenly welcomed through the gates into Buckingham Palace to attend a party with the Queen when just a glimpse of the palace was the sole expectation.
It was not an ordinary day for anyone in Jerusalem, the day that Solomon was crowned king.
Things were not so happy at Adonijah’s party palace. Jonathan, son of Abiathar arrived and announced to the courtiers that David had established Solomon on his throne with Nathan and Zadok’s assistance with the assistant of David’s honour guard and his Mighty Men. The kicker was when Jonathan also added, by the way, King David himself bowed in his bed in prostate submission to King Solomon’s anointed authority.
The jig was up. Adonijah’s party bust open like a watermelon dropped on pavement. Like guilty kids at a bush party suddenly surprised by the cops, “Scram!!!” echoed across the plains, as the nobles dashed to their homes, despising Adonijah even as they ran, as the real fear of being branded as traitors by the rightful king jolted them into action. Clearly, they had chosen their alliance poorly, since now the legitimate King Solomon sat upon the throne, while the counterfeit Adonijah had gambled for office and lost, big.
Adonijah ran to the altar in the tabernacle and clung to the horns like a bleating lamb before sacrifice, a loud and visible sign of repentance before the nation and his brother, the King.
In mercy, Solomon chose not to execute his brother for treason and just sent him home, prophesying, “If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.” ( 1 Kings 1:52). If only Adonijah had considered the weight of this decree.
Some time later, King David died. Just before his death, David pulled Solomon aside with short hit list of enemies to take care of after his death.
With the heavy reality of enforcing his throne, Solomon was in a most difficult place, as he sought to execute his father’s enemies. Stupidly, in this very season of judgement and political alignment, Adonijah campaigned for his father’s concubine, the young virgin who had been installed as a human heating blanket while David was still alive. Adonijah manipulated Solomon’s mother to request lovely Abishag for his own prize, probably playing on Bethsheba’s rejection, and asphyxiated his king’s favour. Solomon was outraged by Adonijah’s bold demands and overreaching sense of entitlement. In disgust, he commanded Benaniah to execute the grasping contender, and Adonijah’s rebellion was silenced. The Scriptures then record, “Thus the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon” (1 King 2:46)
Let’s Pray: Father, You are the gracious provider of our lives. You rule and guide and lead and ordain and today, we celebrate Your choice. We honour the authorities whom You have established in our lives. We cry out for Your flow and Your pace to direct our steps this day. Keep us far from rebellion, from presumption, from vain ambitions and selfishness. By Your Spirit, thrust us into the offices You have ordained, in the exact timing and grace You have ordained. We surrender our lives before You, that Your Kingdom would come and Your will be done on earth, in our lives, in our family, in our city and country, as it is in heaven. We ask this in the holy Name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
This Week’s Reading was: 1 Samuel 23- 1 Kings 5
Next Week’s Reading is: 1 Kings 6 – 1 Kings 16
1. Have you ever lobbied for power? What did it bring you?
2. Have you ever determined someone’s authority was no longer valid? What did you do? What was the outcome?
3. Have you ever been bypassed for a promotion or position? How did you keep your heart from bitterness? Did you see God’s hand in this?
4. Why is authority crucial to Kingdom living?
5. How did Godspeed affect Solomon’s hand? If you are unsure about Godspeed, check out www.slgcoaching.com for an incredible campaign in prayer under the category Speed Prayers.