Solomon Becomes King
28David said, “Tell Bathsheba to come here.” She came and stood in front of him. 29-30Then he said, “The living Lord God of Israel has kept me safe. And so today, I will keep the promise I made to you in his name: Solomon will be the next king!”
31Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Your Majesty, I pray that you will live a long time!”
32Then David said, “Tell Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah to come here.”
When they arrived, 33he told them:
Take along some of my officials and let Solomon ride my own mule to Gihon Spring. 34When you get there, Zadok and Nathan will pour olive oil over Solomon's head to show that he is the new king of Israel. Then order someone to blow a trumpet and tell everyone to shout, “Long live King Solomon!” 35Bring him back here, and he will take my place as king. He is the one I have chosen to rule Israel and Judah.
36Benaiah answered, “We will do it, Your Majesty. I pray that the Lord your God will let it happen. 37The Lord has always watched over you, and I pray that he will now watch over Solomon. May the Lord help Solomon to be an even greater king than you.”
38Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah left and took along the two groups of David's special bodyguards. Solomon rode on David's mule as they led him to Gihon Spring. 39Zadok the priest brought some olive oil from the sacred tent and poured it on Solomon's head to show that he was now king. A trumpet was blown and everyone shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” 40Then they played flutes and celebrated as they followed Solomon back to Jerusalem. They made so much noise that the ground shook.
41Adonijah and his guests had almost finished eating when they heard the noise. Joab also heard the trumpet and asked, “What's all that noise about in the city?”
42Just then, Jonathan son of Abiathar came running up. “Come in,” Adonijah said. “An important man like you must have some good news.”
No, I don't! David has just announced that Solomon will be king. 44-45Solomon rode David's own mule to Gihon Spring, and Zadok, Nathan, Benaiah, and David's special bodyguards went with him. When they got there, Zadok and Nathan made Solomon king. Then everyone celebrated all the way back to Jerusalem. That's the noise you hear in the city. 46Solomon is now king.
47And listen to this! David's officials told him, “We pray that your God will help Solomon to be an even greater king!”
David was in his bed at the time, but he bowed 48and prayed, “I praise you, Lord God of Israel. You have made my son Solomon king and have let me live to see it.”
49Adonijah's guests shook with fear when they heard this news, and they left as fast as they could. 50Adonijah himself was afraid of what Solomon might do to him, so he ran to the sacred tent and grabbed hold of the corners of the altar for protection.
51Someone told Solomon, “Adonijah is afraid of you and is holding onto the corners of the altar. He wants you to promise that you won't kill him.”
52Solomon answered, “If Adonijah doesn't cause any trouble, I won't hurt him. But if he does, I'll have him killed.” 53Then he sent someone to the altar to get Adonijah.
After Adonijah came and bowed down, Solomon said, “Adonijah, go home.”
The oldest of David’s sons, Adonijah, decided to “exalt” himself (KJV) in light of his father’s frailty and proclaim himself king. He began by enlisting the support of several of the nation’s key leaders. Nathan, the prophet, heard about this and quickly plotted with Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, to preempt the coup d’état. He told her to remind King David of a vow he had made to her that Solomon would be his successor to the throne. There is no biblical record of such a vow, but we can expect there to be gaps in any historical account. Nevertheless, some Bible commentators see Nathan and Bathsheba manipulating an old man here, taking advantage of his failing mental capacity.
Whatever his physical, and mental, incapacity, King David still had a powerful sense of commitment to covenants he had made. Especially when it came to vows to God, he had learned that the Almighty was not to be trifled with. So, when “reminded” of a vow he may or may not have made, his default was to quickly acknowledge and honour it. He immediately arranged for Solomon to be proclaimed king, and Adonijah went into hiding.
We are living at a time when covenants seem to be mere agreements with little, if any, value. Take the covenant of marriage for example. About four in ten marriages end in divorce. “Irreconcilable differences” is often the reason given for the split. Unfortunately the real reason may be irreconcilable selfishness, or protracted adolescent carelessness, sinful behaviour, or unwillingness to grind away at the business of making a home. Sometimes the one factor keeping a marriage sustainable is the fear of God – we made a covenant before him and we fear his displeasure if we back away from our promise. Indeed, that fear, as Solomon later wrote, is “the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7).
O Lord, I often rely on your promises. I pray that you, and others, will be able to rely on mine.