We are studying the life of Solomon in our series, Rise & Fall. As we look at Solomon, we need to consider that Solomon is the son of David who must establish the throne of this kingdom. The Lord told David, “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:12-13 ESV). What is going to needed for the kingdom to be established? This is what 1 Kings 2 spends its time examining.
Keep The Commands (2:2-4)
David’s final recorded words are the charge given to his son. David’s first charge to his son is to be strong, show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God. Be what God has called you to be. Be courageous and take responsibility for ruling over Israel as a godly man and king. Use the power God has given you as king to serve God and serve others. Listen to verse 3. “Keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies.” Keeping the charge of the Lord means taking the paths God has given for you to walk in your life. Keeping the charge of the Lord means keeping God’s decrees, commands, regulations, and laws. In every decision in life, you are not to be guided by what you think you ought to do. You are to be guided by God’s ways and God’s laws. If you put what you think ahead of what God says, you are going to always go the wrong direction and you will make the wrong decisions. This is the key to this book. If you do what God says, you are going to rise in your life. If you do not do what God says, then you are going to fall in your life. Notice that is what David continues to say in verses 3-4.
…that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the LORD may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel. (1 Kings 2:3–4 ESV)
Listen to this important message: obeying God is for your own good. This is what David is telling his son. Obeying God is for your own good. Walk in God’s ways to have God’s blessings. Walk in God’s ways so that God will be with you on this journey we call life. This is also a key to the book. This is the key to the life of Solomon. God makes this same point to Solomon two more times after David said it here (3:14; 9:4). God’s rules are for your good. God’s rules will keep you from pain and trouble. Follow the way he wants you to go in life.
Bring Justice (2:5-9)
David also tells his son that the kingdom needs to bring justice. In verse 5 David notes that justice must be brought on Joab for the innocent blood he spilled. Joab should not die peacefully for what he has done (2:6). Justice also needs to come to Barzillai’s family because of his loyalty when David was escaping from Absalom (2:7). We see that justice also has a positive component. Kindness and reward should come for their loyalty. Finally, Shimei needs to receive justice for what he did (2:8-9). Remember that Shimei maliciously cursed David when David was escaping Absalom. David swore that he would not avenge himself but that does not mean that there should not be justice. Shimei is not innocent and is worthy of death. The kingdom of the Son of David is a kingdom that must bring justice to the wicked and kindness to the loyal.
Kingdom Established (2:10-46)
The final paragraph is going to illustrate the establishment of the son of David’s kingdom. Verse 12 tells us that the rule of Solomon was firmly established. But Adonijah comes back into the scene. Remember in chapter 1 we saw Adonijah prematurely declare himself to be the next king after David. Solomon spared Adonijah’s life under the condition that Adonijah show himself to be a worthy man. In essence, Adonijah needed to bear fruit worthy of his verbal repentance.
Adonijah goes to Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, and asks her to ask Solomon for Abishag to be his wife. Remember that Abishag was the woman that was put into service for David to keep him warm. Adonijah wants her to be his wife. This is not a small request and Solomon understands this (2:22). Remember that the way Absalom symbolically showed that he had seized the kingdom from David was by sleeping with David’s concubines. Adonijah is showing himself to do the same and Solomon sees this. Clearly this was for Adonijah to gain a political advantage. Why else would Adonijah want Abishag of all people?
But I think we see something important shown to us in Adonijah. We see that Adonijah’s words in chapter 1 were a false repentance. He said what he needed to say to stay alive in the moment. But his true character would later be revealed. This is an important truth. You can only hide the true “you” for so long. You can say the right things for the moment but eventually the true you is going to be revealed. Adonijah’s true character has come to light. He has shown that he is not a worthy man but worthless, wicked man. We figured this was Adonijah’s life trajectory when we were told in chapter 1 that David never did anything to displease him. He get what he wants. Adonijah wants the kingdom, even though he knows this is against God’s will. Look back in 2:15 where he admits that the turning of the kingdom to Solomon was from the Lord. He knows this but he is still going to resist God’s will in this matter. His resistance and worthless cannot be hidden any longer and now he has been exposed for who he really is. So judgment comes upon Adonijah and he is killed for his rebellion.
Abiathar the priest had sided with Adonijah. So Abiathar is removed from the priesthood. He is worthy of death for turning against the son of David. But Solomon spares him because of how he supported David through David’s hardships (2:26). An important reminder is given to us in verse 27. This was to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken at Shiloh about Eli’s house. The priest line from Eli would be cut off (1 Samuel 2:31-36). More than 100 years later, God is still fulfilling his promises.
Joab had also conspired with Adonijah. Joab runs to the horns of the altar, symbolic of begging for mercy (like we saw Adonijah do in chapter 1). But Solomon orders for Benaiah to go into the tent and strike down Joab as judgment for his shedding of innocent blood (2:31-33).
Finally, Shimei gets one final chance. Solomon tells him to build a house in Jerusalem and do not leave Jerusalem or you will die (2:36-37). Shimei agrees to the terms and says he will stay in Jerusalem. However, one day one of Shimei’s servants ran away and Shimei went to Gath to go bring him back. So Solomon tells Shimei that he was supposed to obey what the king said and he did not. So now judgment must fall on Shimei as well.
The message is simple but important. We are reading about the son of David establishing his kingdom, bringing justice and judgment with him. Christ’s kingdom is not a passive kingdom where everyone can decide what they want to do without consequence. The true character of Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei were revealed. We must follow the will of the Lord or we rightly receive judgment for our actions.
But the other side of the coin is also true. David told his son to keep the charge of the Lord and you will have success with the Lord. Jesus said the same thing in the Sermon on the Mount.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33–34 ESV)
It will go well for us if we will submit to the Son of David, Jesus, and follow his ways and laws. Seek him and his kingdom and the rest will fall into place. God can establish your life if you will give your life to him and be transformed by him. But do not be false. Like Adonijah, you can fake it but you can only fake it for so long. God knows if we are true or false to him. God knows if we are just saying the words or truly believing what we say. God knows if we are truly striving to be worthy people in his kingdom or if we are truly worthless people worthy of judgment. You can only hide who you are for so long. What will be your choice? We plead with you to give your life to the Lord truly and sincerely so that you can enjoy the blessings of God and avoid the judgment that comes against all who resist him. Trust in the Lord, seek his kingdom, and give him your heart today.