Bathsheba's innocent mistake

Sixth in the Solomon Series

David warned Solomon to beware of Joab and Shimei. These were men who had committed deep offenses against the Crown. If David could not trust them, neither could King Solomon. However, it may not be the matter we fear that shatters our peace, but the one we little suspect.

The first attempt on the throne came through a half-brother, Adonijah, who wanted a certain gift, and his deceitful proposition was relayed by, of all people, Bathsheba, his own mother!

Adonijah is known in Scripture as David's son by Haggith (2 Sa 3:4), but nothing is stated about her origins. As the fourth son, he was not likely to become king, but after the deaths of Absalom and Amnon, only Chileab, also called Daniel (1 Ch 3:1) preceded him. Easton's Bible Dictionary suggests Chileab died young. If so, Adonijah was thinking logically when he determined to name himself king. He was next in line.

Many went along with him, including Joab, David's military leader, and Abiathar the priest, so he appeared to have a credible claim. His sedition forced King David to name Solomon king — and fast, to honor the prophecy stated in 1 Ch 22:9, Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. Solomon was God's choice for Israel, David's seventh son. (2 Sam 3:4, 5 lists the first six.)

The military leader Benaiah, Zadok the priest, and the prophet Nathan supported Solomon, anointing and proclaiming him King, so Adonijah thought up a new approach: He tried to lay claim to David's "wife" Abishag.

As King David grew older and since there were no electric blankets back then, a young virgin, Abishag, became his comfort in bed, only for warmth, not as a wife. Adonijah came to Bathsheba to ask that she request Abishag as a consolation prize for him, since he understood now he would never be king. His words to her were: Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and [that] all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's: for it was his from the LORD… Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife. And Bathsheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king. 1 Ki 2:15, 17, 18

It was a treasonous request because the harem of a king became the possession of the new one.

Evidently, this custom was unknown to the ladies, since Bathsheba had no problem in passing the request to her son. Or perhaps she wanted to be rid of a lass who had been in bed with her husband. Why should her son also be bothered by her?

Solomon easily saw through the plot and took swift action. Benaiah was sent to deal with Adonijah.

No doubt Bathsheba was in shock. We must be careful not to carry tales... or requests that ought not to be granted.

Unfinished Business

Fifth in the Solomon Series

David's last words as king (2 Sam 23:1) were in tender remembrance of God's mercy to him, but his last words to Solomon were pointed, instructing him to keep God's commandments, and not to show mercy to certain men. (1 Kings 2:1-9)

To carry out David's behests, and to deal with the insurrectionists, a man would be needed. Benaiah was that man.

Benaiah was one of David's mighty men and the son of Jehoiada who was the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel in southern Judah.

There is some confusion when we hear the name, "Jehoiada," which also was the name of a famous priest who lived a number of generations after the time of Solomon. The purpose in distinguishing Benaiah as Jehoiada's son was that there were two Benaiahs among David's mighty men. The other one was Benaiah the Pirathonite. Pirathon was a town in Ephraim.

Benaiah was in charge of the Cherethites and Pelethites. The Cherethites were the guards of King David whose jobs were to carry out capital punishments and to convey the king's orders as fast as possible to those in the king's service. The Pelethites were couriers (Gesenius's Lexicon).

Of Benaiah, we have these verses: And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow: And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear. These [things] did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men. He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the [first] three. And David set him over his guard. 2Sa 23:20-23. (This description is repeated in 1 Ch 11:22-25.)

To sum up, his notable exploits were:

  1. Power to destroy, two against one — a sign of God's help.
  2. Bravery to come against the lion — ability and courage to defeat both men and wild beasts — and that in inclement weather!
  3. Superior reflexes to disarm the enemy — Benaiah was so quick that he killed a man with the man's own weapon, after snatching it from him by a staff.

His abilities showed the favor of God on his life. Why, then, did he not "attain to the first three"? God had unfinished business: He planned to raise him up and set him in a high place, but this would come during Solomon's reign.

Are you in second place or much lower even though your skills are excellent? Wait on the Lord to finish all his business.

A Simple Matter

Fourth in the Solomon Series

Following an attempted insurrection against King David, Solomon had been made king of Israel. Knowing death was near, David's mind sharpened to consider three matters; it would be for Solomon to conclude his unfinished business.

Two of the matters concerned difficult men, Joab and Shimei. We will look at these in future posts.

One matter was simple: David wanted the sons of Barzillai to be honored for their loyalty to him when he was nearly deposed by Absalom. But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother. 1 Ki 2:7

A proverb of Solomon reflects this remembrance: Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not... Pro 27:10a

Leaders must not only strategize to keep hold of the reigns of power, they must be thoughtful and kind, rewarding loyalty and setting an example. This must be done from the heart, not as a routine.

King Ahasuerus, famous as Esther's spouse, had forgotten to thank and reward her uncle Mordecai for preventing a plot to harm him. His remembrance of this deed, written down in a book of records, began the undoing of Haman who was the enemy of God's people. Paul often remembered those who helped him and their fellow believers, based on the Lord's own example.

If a leader will not demonstrate that he has respect for others' feelings and show gratefulness for their assistance, a certain type of culture will pervade his dominion. Back-stabbing and self-serving attitudes will be commonplace when they are considered to be acceptable behavior, but civility will be emulated, and brotherly love will increase under the kind-hearted.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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