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SOLOMON, KING OF ISRAEL
--JULY 11.--1 KINGS 1:1TO 2:12.--
KING DAVID AGED -- A FRESH REVOLT BREWING -- SOLOMON CALLED TO THE THRONE OF ISRAEL -- HIS ANOINTING AS THE LORD'S CHOICE -- THE APPROVAL OF THE MULTITUDE -- THE MEANING OF HIS NAME -- HIS NATURAL ADVANTAGES AND PREPARATION FOR HIS HONORS.
"Know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind." -- 1 Chronicles 28:9.
KING DAVID was seventy years of age; Absalom,
his eldest son, had died in rebellion not
long before the present lesson opens.
David's next oldest son was Adonijah,
whom the death of Absalom had made the
heir-apparent to the throne, and who is supposed
to have been between thirty and forty
years of age at this time. Joab, for a long
time the head of David's army, must have
been well-advanced in years too, and probably
was on the retired list, not merely on account of age,
but because he had deeply wounded King David's feelings
in disregarding his instructions that Absalom's life should
not be taken.
Adonijah thought the time ripe for him to proclaim
himself king, and especially as he had succeeded in gaining
the friendship of Joab, the long-time military leader,
and the friendship, too, of one of the prominent priests.
He made a feast, to which were invited, apparently, all
of King David's sons except Solomon, who was ostensibly
known to be more or less a favorite with his father. The
feast was held not far from Jerusalem, and the arrangement
was made that in the midst of the feast one of the
company should salute Adonijah as king. The others of
his company were expected to echo the sentiment; and
thus the movement would seemingly be a popular one and
not a rebellion. It carried out much as planned thus far.
However, in God's providence, the matter was brought
to the notice of King David, who promptly made the arrangement
with the new general, Benaiah, with Nathan
the Prophet, and with Zadok the priest, to have Solomon
immediately placed upon the king's white mule, as a sign
that the king had approved him as his successor. Then
he was anointed in the name of the Lord; and forthwith
the military salute was given, and the people of the whole
city of Jerusalem shouted their joy, "Long live King
Solomon." Next in turn, by King David's direction, King
Solomon was brought to the throne and publicly crowned.
Adonijah, whose plans seemed to be working thoroughly,
was astounded, and so were those with him, when
they heard the clamor of the people, blowing of horns,
etc., and later learned that it meant that Solomon had
been crowned and enthroned. Adonijah feared for his
life and fled; and his adherents melted away. Later,
however, Solomon sent word to his brother Adonijah,
assuring him of peace.
Thus beautifully King David's public career ended,
not in an eclipse, but at his zenith, in his full maturity of
old age, and in his perpetuation upon the throne in the
person of his chosen son. To him may well be applied
the poet's words:
"He sets as sets the morning star,
Which goes not down behind the darkened west,
Nor hides obscured amid the tempests of the sky,
But melts away into the light of heaven."
SOLOMON, SON OF PEACE
Solomon's name has come to signify wisdom; but
originally, primarily, it meant Peaceful. It surely was a
prophecy of his wonderful life, in which was no war.
Solomon was the son of Bathsheba, after she had
legally become David's wife. Somehow, not explained,
the Lord had revealed to David that Solomon was to be
his successor; and David had promised Bathsheba to this
effect. Solomon was born at a period when King David's
activities as a warrior had very nearly closed and
when the great double sin of King David's life
and his repentance from it had, we believe, wonderfully
moderated and chastened him. His loyalty
to God in this serious matter, his earnest prayer
for forgiveness and his realization of peace from God,
apparently had made a new man of King David. Even
though before this he had been loyal to God, he apparently
was now still more devoted. The peace which he craved,
and which was a mark of Divine forgiveness, may have
had something to do with the gentle and thoughtful character
of King Solomon, and something also perhaps to
do with his name. It may have been given him as signifying
that his birth marked peace with God on the part of
In any event, in Solomon we perceive a different
character from that manifested by any of his brethren
whose histories are recorded. He partook of his father
David's religious disposition more than the others. He
was thus highly favored, and really probably more
gifted. Truly it is time for us to estimate to what extent
[R5701 : page 171] others and ourselves are handicapped or blessed by dispositions
and character-traits which we inherit.
Another thing favorable to Solomon would appear to
have been the fact that his mother was not of a heathen
family, but an Israelite, and therefore more in sympathy
with the Divine arrangement, Law, worship, etc., than
others of David's wives.
Additionally, the Record seems to show that King
David, having in mind a successor to his throne, and perhaps
by that time having realized that he had not done
his full duty by his other children in allowing them
to grow up under the adverse influences of the court,
rectified the matter in the case of Solomon while he was
still young, leaving him partly in his mother's care, and
appointing him as the ward and pupil of the Prophet
Nathan. This excellent start in life doubtless had much
to do with Solomon's career, which we shall examine in
our next Study.