Adonijah has declared himself king without David’s knowledge. Bathsheba and Nathan let him in on the secret. Now David appointed HIS choice.
Solomon has been David’s choice to succeed him for years but Absalom and Adonijah try to go around him. Now that David knows about Adonijah’s plans he has to move quickly to stop it in its tracks. If he does nothing, Adonijah will be king.
David has been holding onto the throne. He isn’t ready to turn it lose yet. Weak as he is, he still feels he is able to be king of Israel. But Adonijah’s move to take the throne compels him to pass it onto Solomon before it is too late.
David starts the process of transferring his title and kingdom with first reaffirming his promise to Bathsheba. She was the one he first made the promise to and it was a solemn oath. This oath is just as solemn.
I was looking at the oath David made and was struck by how it is worded. “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, as I sword 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” (verses 29-30).
David isn’t making a lofty promise built on some religious dogma. He is making a promise based on a personal relationship with the Lord. He has NO doubt that the Lord lives. He has seen God’s hand in his life personally and abundantly. God has saved his soul out of “every adversity.” His body has undergone hardship and adversity but his soul has been secure. Of this he has no doubt.
David is also making his promise by the God who promised Him a people. God’s words to Abraham have been carried out. His people are a nation that belong to Him alone. God has been faithful to His word. And the word David swears to Bathsheba is to be as true as God’s words are.
No more delay. No more waiting for the right day and the right place. The promise will be fulfilled today; “this day.” I wonder how much longer David would have waited if Adonijah hadn’t forced his hand. Was he planning to pass the kingdom upon death? If so, he would have had to trust that his wishes would be carried out once he was no longer there to enforce them. He would have had to have some kind of formal will because the laws of inheritance in Israel would have favored Adonijah.
Nathan, Zadok, and Benaiah were next to stand before David. Could Zadok and Benaiah have been waiting nearby for David’s call? It would not surprise me in the least if they were. This was an emergency and their presence was sure to be required. Once the three stood before David it was time for the real king to begin his ascension.
These three men were the highest leaders in the land. Joab was commander of Israel’s army but Benaiah was commander of David’s personal army. They were the men who had followed David out of the lands of the Philistines, 40 years ago. I expect that the original men had sons and their sons now numbered among David’s men. These men also included the ranks of David’s mighty men. The ones whom stories were told about. The famous 30 would NOT have attend Adonijah’s affair.
Zadok was David’s chief priest. He was set in this position when the Ark was brought into Jerusalem. Abiathar was his helper, not his superior.
Nathan was David’s chief prophet. God used him to confront David over Bathsheba and Uriah. God also used him in telling David that his son would build a house for Him. God spoke through Gad also but Nathan carried most of His messages to the king. We aren’t told for sure, but I bet Gad didn’t make the invite list for Adonijah’s affair either.
With these three men, and their followers in tow, David sets one more seal of authority in place. Solomon would ride the king’s own donkey. No one but the king or who he appointed was allowed to ride this donkey. It spoke of authority.
Did you notice that David, as esteemed as he was still chose to ride a donkey? Saul had brought horses into Israel and chose to use one to signify his reign. David was a humble king where Saul was a proud king. Jesus also rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The humblest of all rulers. Humility did not take away from David or Jesus’ power. It instead showed their hearts. They served the people instead of oppressed them. Solomon starts his reign on a donkey but ends it on a horse, with the heart attitude shift too. Did you notice that both Absalom and Adonijah used horses for their ‘coronation’ events? Prideful men instead of humble servants.
Solomon is taken to Gihon. I don’t know for certain the significance of this place. I googled it, of course, and came away with a couple possible answers. The one I like best may not really be the answer but it suits my heart. One person stated that Gihon was where the tent for the Ark was erected. This would make perfect sense to me if that were the case. Solomon would be anointed before God that way. The oil and the trumpet, which are used in the tent were used to appoint and announce Solomon’s as king.
Solomon rode from the home of David to Gihon and back. On the way back the people shouted praise to the new king. This trip back foreshadows Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Jesus rode in on the same roads that Solomon did a thousand years before. And in the same manner. On a donkey with the people shouting coronation praises.
One last thing I want to say about the donkey. In both Solomon and Jesus’ case their father/Father chose their donkey. David chose his own for Solomon to ride. God appointed one held in reserve for Jesus to ride. David’s donkey represented his stamp of approval. God’s preparation of the donkey for Jesus showed His hand in every inch of the process and His stamp of approval.
Solomon is taken to the place appointed by David. He is anointed king. And is heralded back into Jerusalem where he takes his father’s throne literally. The sound of the people following in his wake as he made his way back into Jerusalem could be heard for miles around. Those who followed Solomon to Gihon were in excess of 600 men. Add to that women, children, and the people in the city upon their return.
The sound was loud enough to reach the table of Adonijah. The trumpet alone reached Joab’s ears but he didn’t know its meaning. Jonathan, Abiathar’s son brings them the news of what was going on. Adonijah thought Jonathan must be bringing good news. He was, but not for Adonijah. Solomon is king and the sound you hear is the people heralding him. Even David has now bowed to him from his bed. There is NO DOUBT in the minds or hearts of the people as to who the king is that reign’s after David. It is established and sealed this day.
Everyone who had followed Adonijah was terrified, including Adonijah himself. They scattered like roaches when the light is turned on. None would stand with him now. Adonijah was so afraid that he ran to the Tabernacle and took hold of the horns of the altar. “Sanctuary!” He is seeking mercy, the same kind of mercy God would show. He is appealing through God to Solomon for mercy. I wonder if he would have shown the same to Solomon if their roles were reversed.
Solomon’s first act as king is to grant the mercy requested by his brother. But it is a conditional mercy. IF Adonijah accepts David’s appointment of Solomon as king Adonijah will be safe from retribution. If not, he will die. Adonijah agrees to Solomon’s conditions. He is brought before Solomon and he bows to Solomon and is free to go home afterwards. His life is spared but soon will be required of him for his subterfuge once more.
There was no doubt any longer as to David’s wishes. All Israel could see that Solomon was their king in David’s place. David made the choice to lay those he loved into Solomon’s hands just as God laid us into Jesus’. We are safe with our King. He cares for each one of us. God made CERTAIN we could see it if only we would look.
Thank You Father for showing me Your finger prints once again today. You authored each step of the way. You created the way. I am safe with You as my King. Lead me as surely as You led David. Show me the path You have laid out or me to walk. And bring me back any time I wander from it.