1 Kings 3: Wisdom and folly

1(A) Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt. He took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into(B) the city of David until he had finished(C) building his own house(D) and the house of the LORD(E) and the wall around Jerusalem. 2(F) The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the LORD.

There has been ample speculation regarding Solomon’s relationship with Pharoah’s daughter, many of which has been negative (due namely to the commandment in Exodus 34; Deuteronomy 7:3-4; however, Egypt is not specifically mentioned – rather, the crux of such prevention of inter-marriage is to ensure that these foreign people do not bring with them foreign gods to ensnare the Israelites).  Yet, note that Solomon’s kingdom is a type of the new creation kingdom, and littered throughout Solomon’s reign is a shadow of the inclusion of the Gentiles which has already been happening prior to Solomon’s reign (Rahab in Joshua 2:1-3, 6:17-25; Barzillai, blessed by David in 1 Kings 2 and hails from the tribe of Gileadites from the mixed race of the sons of Manasseh – Numbers 26:29; and the blessing of Japheth, the father of Gentiles, in Genesis 9:27) and truly fulfilled on the Pentecost after Christ’s ascension (Acts 2).

What is the focus of this portion of the chapter however is not his marriage alliance with Pharoah though indeed we should not ignore the significance of this being one of his first actions as king, especially marked after his receipt of the Spirit’s wisdom in this chapter.  Rather, it is that the people were sacrificing at the high places (v.2), just as Solomon had done so (v.3-4), but not because the people necessarily consciously sinned against the LORD.  Rather, the reason is given in v.2 – it is “because no house had yet been built for the name of the LORD”.  Note that Solomon is emphasized as loving the LORD and walking in his father’s statutes (even in his marriage alliance with Pharoah) – but the emphasis is placed on the fact that he is offering at high places, the Hebrew indicating that this is not a good thing (“however” in v.2, and “only” in v.3).

How are we then to reconcile the fact that there is the tent of God, the tabernacle for just offerings; but there being no “house of the LORD”?  This tension may be resolved by understanding that this chapter lays down the blueprint and background behind Solomon’s building of the temple, compared to David’s building of the temple (2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 28).  The focus therefore is not simply an issue of whether these men are sinning or not when they sacrifice in “unauthorized” places like Gibeon (for the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night at Gibeon – v.5; and furthermore reconciled with 2 Chronicles 1:3 where the tent of meeting was actually there at Gibeon as well, though the ark is in Jerusalem – 2 Chronicles 1:4), but the symbolism behind how these Christians who offered burnt offerings to God at different places were united because the house of the LORD was finally built by an anointed son of David.

If sin is not the central thrust of the discussion here, then the inclusion of the marriage alliance with Pharoah falls neatly into place – for we are then speaking of the shadow of the Israelite-Gentile church, scattered around the globe, providing their various burnt offerings but still having no place that they can call home (1 John 2:15).  Yet, such a great task of building the house of the LORD cannot be easily met by mere intelligence or human wisdom – even the less impressive and mobile tabernacle had to be built by architects filled with the Spirit (Exodus 28:3, 31:3, 35:21, 35:31).  Consider therefore Solomon’s concern in relation to how he is to lead the nation as a king, and how to subsequently build this house (1 Kings 5):

5(J) At Gibeon(K) the LORD appeared to Solomon(L) in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” 6And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because(M) he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and(N) have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. 7And now, O LORD my God,(O) you have made your servant king in place of David my father,(P) although I am but a little child. I do not know(Q) how to go out or come in. 8(R) And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people,(S) too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. 9(T) Give your servant therefore an understanding mind(U) to govern your people, that I may(V) discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

10It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12behold,(W) I now do according to your word. Behold,(X) I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13(Y) I give you also what you have not asked,(Z) both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments,(AA) as your father David walked, then(AB) I will lengthen your days.”

Note Solomon’s wise request – he had asked the LORD for an understanding mind to govern His people, to discern between good and evil, for who (but the LORD) is able to govern His great people (v.9)?  What a reverent way to address the LORD, compared to the very arrogance of Adam and Eve in attempting to discern good and evil (Genesis 3:5, 3:22), for themselves (Genesis 3:5 – “you” will be like God) rather than for creation (Genesis 1:26 – dominion over the fish of the sea, birds of the heavens, livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth… for we are made in God’s image – v.27; thus, it is God’s primary role as head of such dominion, which man has but inherited from God as a gift) and His people.

However, v.14 is again a condition which only Christ could fulfill perfectly.  For 2 Samuel primarily marks not the triumph of David, but rather David’s reliance on the LORD who triumphs on His behalf, the Angel who stayed His hand upon David’s offering at Jebus (2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; 2 Chronicles 3:1).  Yet, this is already counted as “walking in [the LORD’s] ways, keeping [His] statutes and [His] commandments” (v.14), despite David’s grave sins of murder and adultery (2 Samuel 11-12, adultery with Bathsheba; murder of Uriah). Thus, the condition is merely that Solomon, like David, must proclaim the LORD as his LORD, despite Solomon’s shortcomings as a man born in the sin of Adam but clinging onto the hope of the Anointed Offspring of Adam (Genesis 3:15) and David (2 Samuel 7).  Where Solomon fulfilled v.14, his son Rehoboam failed miserably for he sinned defiantly and did not return to the LORD for true propitiation like David had (1 Kings 12; 1 Kings 15:6 – there was war all the days of Rehoboam’s life, very different from the peace and safety accorded under Solomon’s reign), finally leading to the rejection of Israel in the Assyrian and Babylonian captivity (2 Chronicles 30-33).

15And Solomon(AC) awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.

Observe how Solomon, after the dream (Genesis 31, 37; Joel 2:28; Matthew 1:20 – often associated with the beginning of one’s ministry, similar to that of a “vision of the night” – Job 33:15), has not turned to worshipping at Gibeon, but immediately travels to Jerusalem before the ark (v.15).  This is his first step in consolidating the Christians in Israel back to the house of the LORD, just as our Christ is now preparing a house for us (book of Ezekiel / John 14:2 / Revelation 21:2), that we should set our sights on the house of the LORD in new creation.  Furthermore, this is a restoration of the centrality of the ark of the covenant, which has been long neglected during Saul’s reign (1 Chronicles 13:3), retrieved by David, Zadok and Abiathar (2 Samuel 15:29), and now no longer shunned to the side and given its full significance as it had been during the time of Moses.  Therefore, to this day, we will look to the day when we worship the LORD before the ark of the covenant in new creation (Revelation 11:19).

16Then two prostitutes came to the king(AD) and stood before him. 17The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. 18Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house. 19And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. 21When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.” 22But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus they spoke before the king.

What a sick scenario, that we see two prostitutes fight over their rightful son.  Here, we see a shadow of the Satan working through the prostitute with the dead son, for Satan’s “offspring” (John 8:44; 1 John 2:22) are but subject to the death caused by Satan himself (v.19; c.f. Genesis 3).

23Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.'” 24And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king. 25And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” 26Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because(AE) her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.” 27Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.” 28And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that(AF) the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.

However, look at the wisdom of Solomon – rather than subject himself to the wisdom which he had before his reign, he now rules more definitively by gift of more Wisdom from God to discern between good and evil.  Thus, the first two actions after receiving such a gift is the immediate worship at the tabernacle; followed by discernment of the wheat from the chaff, the Satan masquerading as an angel of light and pretending to be the rightful mother of this babe.  For Solomon’s kingdom shall not be ruled merely by the sword, but by Wisdom (Proverbs 8).  This first judgment by Wisdom is but a microcosm of what every king has failed or succeeded in doing – the discernment of good and evil for God’s people rather than the king’s people (v.9).  Note the loving mother who yearned for her child in v.26 compared to the Satanic prostitute who would rather the child be divided – at first they are presented as identical, but very swiftly the darkness is exposed and that such is the spiritual perception of God’s wisdom  (v.28), to not only differentiate good from evil but to also exalt the woman who is a prostitute to glory as a mother who yearns for her child; to not only exalt the prostitute-church who has cared for her offspring, but also expose the murderous woman of Babylon for quenching the child of the church (Revelation 17).

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1 Kings 3: Wisdom and folly

1 Kings 2: Peace established

1(A) When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, 2(B) “I am about to go the way of all the earth.(C) Be strong, and show yourself a man, 3and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses,(D) that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, 4that the LORD may(E) establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying,(F) ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way,(G) to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul,(H) you shall not lack[a] a man on the throne of Israel.’

We must not underplay the significance of the handover from David to Solomon, for it is in these very chapters that we see the handover of the typological government of David to the Christocracy of New Creation.  Note the language which opens this chapter in v.2-4, and its parallel to Joshua’s language to Israel upon the conquering of the lands of Canaan (Joshua 22).  These shadows time and time again remind us that the time of the law, as is often associated to Moses (v.3, Luke 2:22, 24:44; John 1:45; Acts 13:39, 15:5), is underlined by the gospel truth of salvation by Christ in the name of Joshua / Yeshua (from Hoshea, salvation, to Joshua / Yeshua, Jehovah is salvation – Numbers 13:16) – and finally passed on from the shadow to the nation Israel.  This is just as we are brought to see that the transition from Moses to Joshua is that of the church under the Israelite law to the church with the gospel boldly proclaimed, and from Joshua to the Israelites as that of David passing the baton to Solomon who represents the new kingdom under an age of rest (Joshua 21:43-45).

The reality of the situation is that v.4 seems conditional – but note the promise made to David in 2 Samuel 7 (the promise-centric nature of chapter 7, under the refrain “I will”, is repeated 9 times in v.9-27), not to mention the eventual demise of Israel as a nation scattered in Assyria and Babylon, and how Christ remained on the throne of Israel despite the royal lineage being effectively marred by four hundred years of silence (Amos 8:11). For this verse, though concerning the king, applies not solely in relation to the king but to the nation; and thus the line of David is not defined by the “visible kings” in the royal lineage, but in the remnant (Romans 9:27, 11:5) and engrafted branches to the vine, to the Christ.

5“Moreover, you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah(I) did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel,(J) Abner the son of Ner,(K) and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed, avenging[b] in time of peace for blood that had been shed in war, and putting the blood of war[c] on the belt around his[d] waist and on the sandals on his feet. 6Act therefore(L) according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace. 7But deal loyally with the sons of(M) Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be(N) among those who eat at your table,(O) for with such loyalty[e] they met me when I fled from Absalom your brother. 8And there is also with you(P) Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day(Q) when I went to Mahanaim.(R) But when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ 9Now therefore do not hold him guiltless,(S) for you are a wise man. You will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall(T) bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.”

It is therefore important, in reading David’s final words to Solomon, to understand what is meant in the context of David’s messianic interpretation of the throne.  David knew that the house of the LORD could not be built by David’s bloody hands (1 Chronicles 22:8); he also knew that Solomon is not necessarily the Anointed One promised in 2 Samuel 7 (1 Chronicles 22 shows that Solomon will be able to establish the shadow of what is spoken of in 2 Samuel 7); but in handing over the kingdom to Solomon (from David the beloved to Solomon the peaceful) we can now see that the old age of corruption within the church is weeded out in the new age of the golden new creation under the new headship of David’s son (Revelation 21 – streets of gold; Matthew 3:12, Luke 3:17 – gathering of the wheat, and burning of the chaff).  That is why Joab and Shimei were not dealt with in David’s lifetime – since David was (eventually) made aware of their treachery as noted in these verses.  This weeding out specifies this son of Zeruiah who murdered the commander of both Israel and Judah, and Shimei this son of Benjamin from Bahurim who cursed David for his worthlessness (2 Samuel 16:5-8).  Note how Matthew Henry views the curse on the sinner spanning ages if undealt with: “His crime is remembered: He cursed me with a grievous curse; the more grievous because he insulted him when he was in misery and poured vinegar into his wounds. The Jews say that one thing which made this a grievous curse was that, besides all that is mentioned (2 Sam. xvi.), Shimei upbraided him with his descent from Ruth the Moabitess… His pardon is not forgotten. David owned he had sworn to him that he would not himself put him to death, because he seasonably submitted, and cried Peccavi—I have sinned, and he was not willing, especially at that juncture, to use the sword of public justice for the avenging of wrongs done to himself. But… His case, as it now stands, is left with Solomon, as one that knew what was fit to be done and would do as he found occasion. David intimates to him that his pardon was not designed to be perpetual, but only a reprieve for David’s life: “Hold him not guiltless; do not think him any true friend to thee or thy government, nor fit to be trusted. He has no less malice than he had then, though he has more sense to conceal it. He is still a debtor to the public justice for what he did then; and, though I promised him that I would not put him to death, I never promised that my successor should not. His turbulent spirit will soon give thee an occasion, which thou shouldst not fail to take, for the bringing of his hoary head to the grave with blood.” This proceeded not from personal revenge, but a prudent zeal for the honour of the government and the covenant God had made with his family, the contempt of which ought not to go unpunished. Even a hoary head, if a guilty and forfeited head, ought not to be any man’s protection from justice. The sinner, being a hundred years old, shall be accursed, Isa. lxv. 20.”

However, there is difference between the death of Shimei and the death of Joab; the former’s outright cursing at David’s house compared to Saul’s house is of no fake religiosity like that of Joab:

“I have two lessons I am anxious to teach at this time. The first is derived from the fact that Joab found no benefit of sanctuary even though he laid hold of the horns of the altar of God’s house, from which I gather this lesson—that outward ordinances will avail nothing. Before the living God, who is greater and wiser than Solomn, it will be of no avail to any man to lay hold upon the horns of the altar. But, secondly, there is an altar—a spiritual altar—whereof if a man do but lay hold upon the horns, and say, “Nay; but I will die here,” he shall never die; but he shall be safe against the sword of justice for ever; for the Lord has appointed an altar in the person of his own dear Son, Jesus Christ, where there shall be shelter for the very vilest of sinners if they do but come and lay hold thereon.” – Charles Spurgeon on 1 Kings 2

It is therefore a symbolic cleansing done by Solomon, that he should start his reign by first ensuring that there is no corrupted remnant left from the previous kingdom.  David did not actively cleanse, but Solomon the new king as the typological second coming of Christ represents the new creation kingdom, ridding Joab the murderer of Israel and Judah; the removal of Benjamin (Genesis 49:27; 1 Samuel 9), the old leaven under Saul’s kingdom typological of the visible but unbelieving church, both removals sandwiching the blessing to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite (2 Samuel 19 – Barzillai who had possibly died of old age).  What irony that men of righteousness are asleep in Christ and men of Satan have yet to have their gray heads brought down with blood to Sheol (v.9; Jeremiah 12:1).

10(U) Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in(V) the city of David. 11And the time that David reigned over Israel was(W) forty years. He reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12(X) So Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.

And so, David “was buried in the city of David, not in the burying place of his father, as Saul was, but in his own city, which he was the founder of. There were set the thrones, and there the tombs, of the house of David. Now David, after he had served his own generation, by the will of God, fell asleep, and was laid to his fathers, and saw corruption, Acts xiii. 36, and see Acts ii. 29. His epitaph may be taken from 2 Sam. xxiii. 1. Here lies David the son of Jesse, the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, adding his own words (Ps. xvi. 9), My flesh also shall rest in hope.” – Matthew Henry

Indeed, David’s flesh now lies corrupted – but his flesh shall rest in hope that the one whose flesh is not corrupted shall stand between the race of Adam as the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45).

13Then Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said,(Y) “Do you come peacefully?” He said, “Peacefully.” 14Then he said, “I have something to say to you.” She said, “Speak.” 15He said, “You know that(Z) the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel fully expected me to reign. However, the kingdom has turned about and become my brother’s,(AA) for it was his from the LORD. 16And now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me.” She said to him, “Speak.” 17And he said, “Please ask King Solomon—he will not refuse you—to give me(AB) Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.” 18Bathsheba said, “Very well; I will speak for you to the king.”

From David’s command in the previous verse, now note how Adonijah rises up to unite Joab and Abiathar in their implied rebellion against Solomon (v.22).  It is interesting how David has foreseen Joab and Shimei’s resistance, but the matters of Abiathar and Adonijah relate specifically to the usurping of Solomon and not David’s throne.  It is now clear that Adonijah’s actions by the end of chapter 1 are empty – and his word in v.13 to Bathsheba is also empty.  What a deceitful tongue, that he should claim that “the kingdom was mine”; that “all Israel fully expected [him] to reign” (v.15), only to concede that Solomon is the rightful king because of the LORD’s appointment.  Two points here – the kingdom was never Adonijah’s, for David was still called the king when Adonijah made public his self-enthronement (1 Kings 1:9-10); secondly, only Abiathar, Joab, and some of his men (1 Kings 1:24-27) expected Adonijah to reign.  The trumpet blast and rejoicing of the appointment of Solomon as king seems to be a thing neglected in Adonijah’s twisting of the historical facts.  Like the serpent, what right therefore does he have to make requests which cannot be refused (v.16)?  What right therefore does he demand from Solomon (v.17) anything at all when he is under the very grace and mercy of the LORD by his apparently penitent actions by holding the horns of the altar (1 Kings 1:49-53)?  He has no such right!  Therefore, how preposterous that he should ask for the most beautiful woman who had been obedient to David, serving David, acting as David’s female companion though David did not know her (1 Kings 1:4), but that Abishag should symbolically overtake Solomon by uniting with the woman specifically appointed to serve David?

19So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her and bowed down to her. Then he sat on his throne and had a seat brought for the king’s mother,(AC) and she sat on his right. 20Then she said, “I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Make your request, my mother, for I will not refuse you.” 21She said, “Let(AD) Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as his wife.” 22King Solomon answered his mother, “And why do you ask(AE) Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also,(AF) for he is my older brother, and on his side(AG) are Abiathar[f] the priest and Joab the son of Zeruiah.” 23Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying,(AH) “God do so to me and more also if this word does not cost Adonijah his life! 24Now therefore(AI) as the LORD lives, who has established me and placed me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a house,(AJ) as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death today.” 25So King Solomon sent(AK) Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and he struck him down, and he died.

It is significant to see that this request came from Bathsheba, who seems unaware of Adonijah’s pretenses, just as Eve was unaware of the serpent’s twisting of God’s word and history.  Yet, unlike Adam who had stood by and let the serpent speak, Solomon immediately responds in his role as the appointed king and as “a wise man” (v.9) and discerns clearly the motivations of Adonijah.  Unlike Adam who had caused the kingdom of the garden of Eden and the rest of creation to fall (Genesis 1:28-30), Solomon stood firm and followed the principle of David’s final words in leading a truly new creation kingdom, ruling by wisdom (c.f. 1 Kings 3).  It is thus fitting that the new commander Benaiah, one of the thirty of David in 2 Samuel 23, shall take the reins in establishing (v.24 – Hebrew for “setting up, preparing”) the kingdom of Solomon.

It is on this catalyst that Solomon immediately acts – and the remaining verses of this chapter are a testament of the work which David did not do but which Solomon has now been appointed to execute:

“Tamar’s father.  Israel’s king.  What would he do to protect his beautiful princess?  Verse 20:

When King David heard all this, he was furious.

Good.  He ought to have been.  But verse 20 should not stop there.  We should read about David’s righteous anger leading to action.  Here is the king.  Here is her dad.  He ought to have gone to his daughter and spoken words of comfort.  He ought to have done all he could to restore her dignity and her reputation.  He ought to have brought Amnon to account.  Tamar was right, such things should not happen in Israel.  So what is the king going to do about this?  David does nothing.  And the kingdom spirals down into greater and greater chaos.  Because David does nothing, Absalom takes matters into his own hands.  He kills the heir to the throne and then, as Absalom goes on the run he becomes a contender for the crown.  If David had only acted here in chapter 13, then the turbulence and blood-shed of the next 5 chapters would not have happened.  But David, the Almighty King, simply wrings his hands.  His daughter and his kingdom needed him to act but he does nothing.” – Glen Scrivener on 2 Samuel 13

Though David had neglected Tamar despite his fury, what of the death of Asahel by Abner; death of Abner by Joab and Abishai, and the death of Amasa (2 Samuel 2:23; 3:30; 20:10-12) – under David’s very nose are these corruptions occurring but under Solomon’s kingdom does true peace and safety reign.

First, the removal of the house of Eli as prophesied in 1 Samuel 3:10-14:

26And to Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go to(AL) Anathoth, to your estate, for you deserve death. But I will not at this time put you to death,(AM) because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father,(AN) and because you shared in all my father’s affliction.” 27(AO) So Solomon expelled Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, thus fulfilling(AP) the word of the LORD that he had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

Though Abiathar’s life is spared, the house of Eli is now replaced by Zadok (v.35) though the true priesthood still remains with the house of Melchizedek as Zadok is but a shadow of that priestly lineage.

Then comes the removal of Joab in v.28-35, the murderer of the commanders of Israel and Judah , Abner and Amasa, respectively.  Note in particular v.30-33:

30So Benaiah came to the tent of the LORD and said to him, “The king commands, ‘Come out.'” But he said, “No, I will die here.” Then Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, “Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.” 31The king replied to him,(AT) “Do as he has said, strike him down and bury him,(AU) and thus take away from me and from my father’s house the guilt for the blood that Joab shed without cause. 32The LORD will(AV) bring back his bloody deeds on his own head, because, without the knowledge of my father David, he attacked and killed with the sword two men(AW) more righteous and better than himself,(AX) Abner the son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and(AY) Amasa the son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah. 33(AZ) So shall their blood come back on the head of Joab and on the head of his descendants forever. But for David and for his descendants and for his house and for his throne there shall be peace from the LORD forevermore.””

It appears that David would otherwise have been held accountable for Joab’s sin, being the king of the nation he is vicariously liable for Joab’s treachery.  Is this not the Hebraic understanding of the king’s propitiation of God’s wrath on his people by standing as the responsible head and mediator of his people (corporate sin in Leviticus 4:13-21; Judges 9)?  Yet, Solomon establishes that David and himself did not approve of such heresy within the Israelite church, and that the LORD himself will be the true Person separating the wheat from the chaff, symbolically resolved in the very tent of God (Exodus 29:37 – whatever touches the altar shall become holy; yet the irony falls on Joab’s guilty status) as Joab, like Adonijah, hid in their overt religiosity and cultural identity as God’s people – but failed to be known and to know God Himself.  Where Joab’s blood shall go down with him to Sheol, so also our Christ stands on our behalf as the true offering at the altar when He was subject to the Father’s wrath because of his vicarious embodiment of our sins as the true King of Israel.  Joab shall not benefit from this propitiation of the Father’s wrath found in the Christ, the same demise of those who stand in the church and hold on to the altar and sacraments but do not stand under the true object of faith which these shadows point towards.

And so, the removal of Abiathar and Joab (father of abundance and Jehovah is his father), two Israelites who are so aptly named and poised to be great Christian saints reminds us of the hollow meaning of such names when they are instead replaced by the righteous Zadok and Benaiah (righteous and built up by Jehovah) respectively:

35(BA) The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada over the army in place of Joab, and the king put(BB) Zadok the priest(BC) in the place of Abiathar.

Finally, to fulfil David’s final words, Shimei is dealt with in the remaining verses 36-46 under the renewed government established by Solomon by the priesthood of Zadok and the army of Benaiah:

36Then the king sent and summoned(BD) Shimei and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there to any place whatever. 37For on the day you go out and cross(BE) the brook Kidron, know for certain that you shall die.(BF) Your blood shall be on your own head.” 38And Shimei said to the king, “What you say is good; as my lord the king has said, so will your servant do.” So Shimei lived in Jerusalem many days.

Note the refrain: “Your blood shall be on your own head” (v.37), the subject earlier touched upon with regards to Joab’s blood being on his own head as well (1 Kings 2:9).  Like Adonijah, Abiathar and Joab, Shimei is subject to their own actions and their own sins causing their own demise.  Either the blood is on the head of David or Solomon, the chapter being rich of imagery of such propitiation of the Father’s wrath should a king stand as the mediator; or the blood is on the head of those who stand not under David nor Solomon.  Yet, in Shimei’s loose oath (v.42-43), we see a man who does not take the LORD’s commandment with seriousness; made an oath to keep Solomon at bay rather than realize the implications of such covenant made (2 Samuel 21:7).  Solomon’s reason therefore of removing Shimei is the same reason which David explained to Solomon – that this cursing towards David in 2 Samuel is but one of the several symptoms of Shimei’s hard heart, similarly portrayed here in his failure to keep this oath and indirectly cursing God’s commandment.  Like the LORD who commanded Adam not to eat from the tree of good and evil lest mankind dies, so also Shimei in his old adamic flesh and spirit ignores this command, though it is acknowledged that Solomon’s command is good (v.38).  It is thus fitting that should Shimei re-enact David’s expulsion from Israel that he himself is pronouncing his self-expulsion (2 Samuel 15:23), not to mention that the brook Kidron represents death, decay and rejection (1 Kings 15:13, 23:12; 1 Chronicles 15:16, 29:16, 30:14; Jeremiah 31:40)

So, the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon finally (v.46), this word “established” repeated throughout this chapter, reminding us of these bloody acts as preparation, as part of the erecting and fitting of Solomon’s kingdom of Salem (peace – Genesis 14:18; Psalms 76:2; Hebrews 7:1-2).

1 Kings 2: Peace established

1 Kings 1: Jesus, King above Solomon

It is easy to presume that 1 and 2 Samuel are but a precursor to the great reign of the kings of Israel.  In some sense, there is truth to that presumption – we have first seen the kings of the world in (Genesis 14); these enraged madmen fighting each other, only to be easily defeated by the Spirit-filled Abraham.  Where the kings fought for land (Genesis 14:18-22) and lordship, Abraham fought to save his nephew Lot.  Such is the love of the Christ who would fight for the one sheep (Luke 15:4-6).  Such is the love of the anointed one who would reclaim the dead bones from the enemy’s bondage (1 Samuel 31:13) to give it a new lease.  A new life (2 Samuel 21:12-14).

Yet, 2 Samuel did not end with a victorious bang of man’s triumph over sin.  It is quite the opposite – much like the first time the Satan appeared in the story of creation, Satan re-appears for the first time in the narration of the story (though referenced by 1 Chronicles 21:1) to tempt the anointed king to number the physical church.  This mandate is so disgusting that even Joab, the murderous army general, thought it to be repulsive.  Yet, the LORD had used this opportunity to display the greater gospel, the flesh and body of Whom David was a mere shadow of.  The Angel of the LORD, who stood by the burnt offering, in the very place of Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1), where the same Angel, Sent One of the Father, would Himself be sacrificed for the sins of mankind.

With 2 Samuel ending with the failure of king David, the inevitable enthronement of Solomon (the oath between Bathsheba and Solomon never mentioned throughout 2 Samuel) is shrouded with mystery.  Is this boy the one who will secure the Kingdom of David eternally (2 Samuel 7)?  Though the Israelites would like to believe so, it is the end of 2 Samuel which has already dictated that this Adam is not to be the true inheritor of the kingdom of heaven, just as the first Adam in the garden was made of dust outside of the heavenly garden.  Solomon, like the rest of the kings in 1 and 2 Kings, are but continuing the baton of the Light, until the Light of the World enters darkness upon the Father’s speech (Genesis 1:3 – “Let there be light” – light was not created) and order is brought to a chaotic world ruled by corrupt kings, hypocritical Pharisees, fallen government, sexual orgies, what have you.

And the weakness of Adam is not only displayed at the end of 2 Samuel, but immediately in 1 Kings 1 – David is old and advanced in age.  He is not the same young shepherd boy who defeated Goliath with a smooth stone.  He is not the same man who had led the mighty thirty.  Instead, we see a faint picture of a return to the garden – the weakness of man in covering oneself up with man-made garment, failing entirely to keep the body warm.  Only Jesus, the Second Person who walked with Adam (Genesis 3:8) in the garden, could provide the animal skin.  And thus, the first death in creation was not Abel, as sometimes improperly chronicled by commentators.  Rather, the first death is the innocent animal, the robe of righteousness over Adam (Isaiah 61).  The mysterious Abishag (“given to error / ignorance of the father”), never again mentioned in Scripture, who is a Shunammite, from the tribe of Issachar (Joshua 13:18) – she is the beautiful woman who can give David warmth.  Yet, simultaneous to David’s weakness in being cloaked by the beautiful flesh; simultaneous to the Fatherly love towards Adam in cloaking him with the beautiful animal garment compared to the filthy man-made rags, is the very fact that both Adam and David have fallen.  Where Adam fell by submitting to the serpent, David here is simply marred by the consequence of Adam’s sin as he nears the very death that Adam had caused.  So the enemy moves like a ravenous wolf (Matthew 7:15), like a prowling lion (1 Peter 5:8), waiting to usurp the Father’s throne.

Is this not the very behaviour of Adonijah (“my Lord is Jehovah”), the son of Haggith (“festive” – 2 Samuel 3:4, a wife of David), bearing such charm like Absalom (2 Samuel 15:13) and appealing to both Joab and Abiathar (who had once aided David in his escape in 1 Samuel 22, bearing the ark of God back to Jerusalem alongside Zadok in 2 Samuel 15:29-36)?  Like Amnon (2 Samuel 13), “…his father had never at any time displeased him…”.  Just like Adam, David had inherited the first man’s sin of silence when his wife listened to the serpent.

5Now(B) Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.”(C) And he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 6His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man,(D) and he was born next after Absalom. 7He conferred with(E) Joab the son of Zeruiah and with(F) Abiathar the priest. And they followed Adonijah and helped him. 8But(G) Zadok the priest and(H) Benaiah the son of Jehoiada and(I) Nathan the prophet and(J) Shimei and Rei and(K) David’s mighty men were not with Adonijah.

9Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fattened cattle by the Serpent’s Stone, which is beside(L) En-rogel, and he invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, 10but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the mighty men or(M) Solomon his brother.

Is this therefore not the classic case of pretence in religion?  That Adonijah should choose the one mighty man not in the ranks of the thirty; one of the two renowned priests who had stood alongside David (2 Samuel 15-19); and chose to invite all the other brothers of David’s lineage and all the royal officials of Judah?  These are all choice men, men of honour, men of influence, great men who can aid Adonijah rise to high places (Luke 6:35, 14:12); but it is the prophet Nathan who rebuked David (2 Samuel 12); it is Zadok the priest and Benaiah who carried the ark and was one of the mighty three respectively (2 Samuel 15, 23); and it is Shimei  (likely to be one of the twelve officers of Solomon in 1 Kings 4:18) and Rei (v.8 – one who was never mentioned again in Scripture but was named explicitly in this chapter simply for his allegiance to David just as we are named for we stand under the banner of Christ) and David’s mighty men who belonged to the caliber of men who would lay their lives before the LORD to retrieve water for David (2 Samuel 23).

Following this, we see the underlying Trinitarian mediation at play – from Bathsheba standing as the witness between David and Solomon, to Nathan, standing between Bathsheba and David in confirming her words that Solomon is the chosen oath.  He is part of Christ’s election, promised by David to Bathsheba and confirmed by Nathan – the importance lying in the fact that Solomon is not David’s explicit choice after 2 Samuel 7, enabling the reader and hearer of this chapter to understand that David saw beyond Solomon.

Notice how in verse 14 that Nathan encourages Bathsheba to first speak, then Nathan enters (v.22) to confirm Bathsheba’s words.  Notice how v.16-21 (Bathsheba’s words) are almost exactly mirrored by Nathan’s words in v.22-27; the latter adding extra details, such as the inclusion of the “commanders” of the army (where Bathsheba spoke only of Joab, the one commander who was invited); and secondly v.25b-27: “And behold, they are eating and drinking before him, and saying,(V) ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26(W) But me, your servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon he has not invited.”  Such is the manner of witness and of revelation, that truth is brought as light into darkness just as the Son’s witness is the Spirit before the heavenly Father, as we see Bathsheba’s witness as the prophet Nathan before the great king.  Notice how, throughout this chapter (at least five times the phrase “King David”, not to mention the numerous times David is simply referred to as king despite Adonijah’s “kingship”) David is still referred to as “King” – as is to denote strongly that Adonijah’s self-exaltation, enthronement and celebration is ridiculed by the narration.  David is still King.  Not Adonjiah.  Therefore this appeal is made even more powerful, as Adonijah appeals to his religious exterior and pretence, but Bathsheba and Nathan appeal to the true king and shadow of Christ whose reason to honour his oath is because of the LORD (v.29-30):

28Then King David answered, “Call Bathsheba to me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before the king. 29And the king swore, saying,(X) “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, 30(Y) as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ even so will I do this day.” 31Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground and paid homage to the king and said,(Z) “May my lord King David live forever!”

32King David said, “Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.” So they came before the king. 33And the king said to them, “Take with you(AA) the servants of your lord and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and bring him down to(AB) Gihon. 34And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there(AC) anoint him king over Israel.(AD) Then blow the trumpet and say,(AE) ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35You shall then come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, for he shall be king in my place. And I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.” 36And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! May the LORD, the God of my lord the king, say so. 37(AF) As the LORD has been with my lord the king, even so may he be with Solomon,(AG) and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”

Note David’s command to the servants who have not defected to Adonijah’s camp – “Take with you the servants of your lord” (v.33).  His first command is immediately mingled with an implication of faithfulness.  Who is their “lord” but David?  Who is the LORD of lords but Yahweh (v.37; Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 136:3; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14, 19:16).  Who are the servants but Cherethites and Pelethites (“executioners” and “couriers” from foreign land – 1 Samuel 30:14; 2 Samuel 15:18; Ezekiel 25:16; Zephaniah 2:5)?  The second command is then in relation to Solomon’s enthronement and anointing by way of the mule (Matthew 21), and bringing him down to Gihon, the valley of grace and one of the rivers flowing out of the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:13) – a powerful image of not only Solomon’s anointing, but also of victorious works (in relation to Hezekiah and the Fish Gate – 2 Chronicles 32:30, 33:14), as well as it being the only natural spring of water in the vicinity of Jerusalem as it feeds the Pool of Siloam (John 9:7).  In this pool of healing, we now begin to see the healing of the nation by the leadership of Solomon one of whose first acts as king is the marriage alliance with Egypt.  This is reminiscent of Gishon as a river in the Ethiopian regions of Cush, reminding us of the Israel-Gentile relationship.

Such is the foundational difference between Solomon being made the heir of David’s throne, as opposed to Adonijah’s enthronement which is not surrounded by the humility of the passage by mule; nor by the Spirit-anointing (Hebrews 1:9; Psalm 89:20; 1 John 2:27); nor by the trumpet blowing reminiscent of the trumpet blowing of the opening of the year (Leviticus 23:24, the seventh month, the month of Tishri, being the first month of the year being the day of trumpets) and LORD’s return (Revelation 11:15).  This is the grand picture of the true enthronement of our LORD Jesus, who by the trumpet blast enters into our world victoriously when creation is riddled with faux-kings (Genesis 14) and a faux Baal (Matthew 4:9), shattering the delusion created by the false angel (2 Corinthians 11:14).  Just as Solomon is anointed as king by both priest and prophet as confirmatory witnesses to Solomon’s new lordship, so also it is by the Levitical priesthood and prophethood established in pre-Israel days (Genesis 14:18; Exodus 2:16; Genesis 20:7; Exodus 7:1) which precedes and underlines the qualification of true lordship, for Christ is not only LORD but also prophet and priest (John 7:40; Hebrews 5:6) before He is proclaimed as LORD of all creation (Hebrews 1:13, 10:13).

38So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada,(AH) and the Cherethites and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule and brought him to Gihon. 39There Zadok the priest took the horn of(AI) oil from the tent and(AJ) anointed Solomon.(AK) Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said,(AL) “Long live King Solomon!” 40And all the people went up after him, playing on pipes, and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth was split by their noise.

Contrast v.40 with v.41 – where there was true joy in the anointing of Solomon, the one appointed by God, we also see a rejoicing at the feasting table of Adonjiah.  However, such feasting has no foundation, just as the feasting of those mighty men of Nimrod in the days of Noah (Genesis 10) were not scenes of Christocentric joy.  This juxtaposition of v.40 and 41 is therefore very poignant in pointing out the eternal gladness of Solomon’s kingship in comparison to the temporary man-made gladness stemming not from God’s election, but from man’s religious self-election.  Joab’s ignorance is akin to the ignorance of the men who scoffed at Noah (Genesis 7; 2 Peter 2:13) – “What does this uproar in the city mean”? (v.41), suggesting that these men of Adonijah neither knew nor served the true king.  “This is the noise that you have heard” (or “voice” which is a better description, the same “voice” of God in Genesis 3:8) – what a clanging stumbling block of a noise in Joab’s ears, that he should receive the true king like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5)!

It comes therefore as no surprise that the chapter ends triumphantly, a picture of rejoicing shattering the false image of v.41 with the delusion revealed in v.49.  “…all the guests… trembled and rose, and each went his own way”.  What a prototypical picture of the day of Christ’s return! (Revelation 6:16-17)  That even Adonijah, in the midst of his fear, would go to the horns of the altar (Exodus 30:10 – where the High Priest shall make atonement on its horns once a year as most holy sin offering throughout the generations), and appeal to King Solomon by first going to the altar of sacrifice where Christ’s blood would lay.  And just is the response of Solomon, upon hearing that Adonijah has laid hold of the altar’s horns (v.51) – that he shall prove he does not hold onto Christ emptily, but that he will prove it by his good works (1 John 3; James 2:14).

1 Kings 1: Jesus, King above Solomon